Washington Post Ombudsman: Yes, we controlled the election.. our bad!

Deborah Howell at the Washington Post confirms what we all knew– the media had a huge tilt towards Obama during the campaign.

At least she’s honest about her newspaper. What I have to wonder is– after the nominating process was pretty much over in June, why didn’t she say anything in mid-August? Surely the articles had the same trend there. But she didn’t. She sat on the results until after the election, when such a broad criticism of her newspaper would carry some clout. Now, it’s just a footnote. Here’s two of the big issues:

The count was lopsided, with 1,295 horse-race stories and 594 issues stories. The Post was deficient in stories that reported more than the two candidates trading jabs; readers needed articles, going back to the primaries, comparing their positions with outside experts’ views. There were no broad stories on energy or science policy, and there were few on religion issues.

As McCain was forced to be more negative (because the press was so positive), the emphasis on “negative campaigning” was placed on McCain– so McCain was the more negative candidate. The lack of focus (and front-page emphasis) on the issues of the campaign clearly favored the candidate who had fewer specifics and a more feel-good candidacy (Obama).

Nice to bring that up now. There’s more:

The op-ed page ran far more laudatory opinion pieces on Obama, 32, than on Sen. John McCain, 13. There were far more negative pieces (58) about McCain than there were about Obama (32), and Obama got the editorial board’s endorsement.

And what about Palin and Biden?

One gaping hole in coverage involved Joe Biden, Obama’s running mate. When Gov. Sarah Palin was nominated for vice president, reporters were booking the next flight to Alaska. Some readers thought The Post went over Palin with a fine-tooth comb and neglected Biden. They are right; it was a serious omission.

Let’s not mince words– Palin was crucified in the media from day one. She never got a fair shake, and the Post did nothing to help that.

Howell’s analysis is welcome, but incomplete. We know the photos were about equal– but how many had a halo around Obama? And did McCain ever get the halo treatment? Try that same Google search with McCain.

More proof that they who control the flow of information can control the electoral process.


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My name is Doc. Welcome to my blog. If you're visiting from another blog, add me to your blogroll (and I'll happily reciprocate). I have a Ph.D. in Chemistry and live in Wisconsin. If you have any questions, feel free to email me. My email is docattheautopsy at gmail. (No linking to deflate the incredible spam monsters).



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