2008 November 09 Sunday
Washington Post Admits Obama Bias

Usually the liberal press denies its overwhelming liberal bias. But in a rare bit of honesty on this subject Washington Post ombudsman Deborah Howell admits the her paper's uneven handling of Obama and McCain.

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. The Post has several conservative columnists, but not all were gung-ho about McCain.

Stories and photos about Obama in the news pages outnumbered those devoted to McCain. Post reporters, photographers and editors -- like most of the national news media -- found the candidacy of Obama, the first African American major-party nominee, more newsworthy and historic. Journalists love the new; McCain, 25 years older than Obama, was already well known and had more scars from his longer career in politics.

The number of Obama stories since Nov. 11 was 946, compared with McCain's 786. Both had hard-fought primary campaigns, but Obama's battle with Hillary Rodham Clinton was longer, and the numbers reflect that.

McCain clinched the GOP nomination on March 4, and Obama won his on June 4. From then to Election Day, the tally was Obama, 626 stories, and McCain, 584. Obama was on the front page 176 times, McCain, 144 times; 41 stories featured both.

Before McCain ran for the Presidency and even while McCain was trying to win the Republican nomination McCain was the press's favorite Republican. This should have been a tip-off to Republicans that McCain is to the Left of much of the party. Once McCain clinched the nomination the press's interest swung clearly toward attacking him and puffing up Barack Obama.

In this particular case of press bias I can't say I'm angry since I do not like McCain and think he would have made a bad president. Plus, the Republican leaders needed to be punished for their many bad decisions while in power. The big downside: Obama will probably be more willing to push immigration amnesty thru than McCain would have been. I think the backlash from the Republican base against the last time McCain and Bush tried to push thru amnesty made McCain decide to think twice about pushing it thru even though he's for it.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2008 November 09 03:38 PM  Media Critique

Stephen said at November 9, 2008 7:02 PM:

Dump the winner-takes-all Presidential system. Instead, spread your risk with a Parliamentary system.

Jerry Martinson said at November 10, 2008 12:03 AM:

Journalists are just naturally left-wing, much as small business owners are right-wing. It's probably in the organization of the brain. It always amazing me about how journalists seem genuinely shocked at accusations of left wing bias when reporting and editing bias is going to be a obvious natural product of their own bias. This is why fox news had some market success, although I don't really like their coverage either. Notice how politicians that they don't like are always prominently identified as "right" but those they secretly admire are "left":
1. Hard-line communists in eastern Europe countries are "right", but Che is "left".
2. Milton Friedman is "right" but US socialists are "left"
3. Republicans in a scandal always have a prominent "R" by their name but where was the "D" with Gary Condit, Marion Barry, or Elliot Spitzer.

Not only are most journalists left-wing, but they tend to have poor quantitative skills relative to their other skills.

This past election, I had to e-mail no less than 3 journalists to inform them that 2/3'rds is not 66% but rater 66.6666667% - there were a few measures that required 2/3'rds approval that only got 66.1% and they published stories saying that they passed because they thought 2/3'rds was exactly 66%. One even asked me in a reply that they won't correct their story because they weren't sure about the 2/3'rds > 66% unless the measure's proponent said so - I guess simple math now needs sources. The grammar and writing style of these journalists are nearly flawless, but then there are always frequent serious mistakes where "million" is used instead of "billion" and for some reason the editor never catches these sorts of crazy things. It's also rare to see something in a list or table when it would convey the idea much better than their prose. It wouldn't surprise me that these same journalists sit around the water cooler and make fun of how Bush pronounces "nuclear" as "nook-u-lar", thinking that somehow their preferred spelling-centered pronunciation makes them intellectually superior.

Poor quantitative skills in the J-school crowd bodes poorly for us lay readers when journalists try to cover things like government budget issues as well or important economic choices. Oddly, despite being quantitatively challenged, the editors of large media are big on having an "accounting" style coverage of the Long War, where each soldier's death is reported with the running total for the year, month, and year-over-year results. They never really talk about what's really going on - you can only find out from blogs which is sad.

Ned said at November 10, 2008 4:17 AM:

The best thing is to have nothing to do with the liberal MSM. The left-wing networks and newspapers have been shedding viewers and readers by the millions. Pretty soon the problem will self-correct.

Robert Hume said at November 10, 2008 9:54 AM:

I hope that Obama will gently pull back from "comprehensive immigration reform" because he is smart enough to realize the damage that it does to blacks.

He might lean on his campaign mantra that "We are One Nation". That would seem to argue that the citizens here now, the citizens who voted for him, are One Nation; and that it is his responsibility to see to their welfare and not to the welfare of citizens of foreign lands who would like to come to the US to better their economic condition.

Robert Hume said at November 10, 2008 9:56 AM:

Obama might also refer back to the Clinton administrations report "The New Americans" chaired by African-American Barbara Jordan. That report showed that immigration brings no significant benefits to present citizens.

Bob Badour said at November 11, 2008 2:28 PM:


I live in a parliamentary democracy. I desperately wish to flee to the very Republic that elected Obama President. I have wished that for 6 years now.

We recently had a federal election here. The government was elected by a whopping 22% of the registered voters (37% of the 59% who actually bothered to vote). For the past 20 years, all of our governments have been corrupt, ineffective or both. I fail to see the magical salvation of having a parliament that would instantly end all that ails the US.

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