On air: Does the media pick the winner?

I can’t say I remember looking forward to many US Vice-Presidential debates before. In fact I’m not sure I’ve ever watched one live. That’ll change today though. Biden v Palin will have my undivided attention (if the alarm does the job).

What’s interesting is that I can feel myself becoming keener and keener to watch because of first the media obsession with her impact, and now the media obsession with her weaknesses. It makes a good story and one I want to follow.

But does my interest in the story mean that how I feel about Palin and Biden gets inextricably linked with how the media presents them to me? Am I being naïve to think the power of their narrative won’t affect me, and those of you in the States with a vote?

Dancing to someone else’s tune

The Sun newspaper famously wrote ‘It was The Sun wot won it’ after John Major bucked the polls and won the 1992 UK. So we know where it stands.

But do we really dance to the media’s political tune? What role does the media play in elections in your country? Can someone win without the bulk of the media on his or her side?

There aren’t too many of us who’ll admit doing something because someone else tells us too, but is it time to be honest and say lots of us follow the media’s lead during elections, rather than the politicians?

Does the way the media depicts of the candidates very quickly become how we see them? Or is this to give it far too much influence?


Sarah Palin and what she reads
This clip is being watched a lot online today. Watch it one way and she can’t name a newspaper, watch it another and she’s cleverly avoiding being seen to side with one part of the media. Either way does this kind of clip (in top 10 on YouTube) have a damaging effect?

CNN on the Palin press coverage
Again, Palin supporters might well point out that this clip from CNN is part of the bad press coverage it’s reporting on. Fair reporting, or an attempt to influence?

New Statesman feature that argues the media not political leaders call the shots in the UK

Martin Kettle of The Guardian argues the media has limited sway

Speak to you later.

179 Responses to “On air: Does the media pick the winner?”

  1. 1 Vijay
    October 2, 2008 at 13:51

    The media can decide what the story isthey have editorial control and most often the media think the story is the media.Yeah the the media is the message.

  2. 2 Vijay
    October 2, 2008 at 14:02

    If I don’t know something is happening how can I develop a view on an event,TV ,Radio, Newspapers, Magazines and Website tell what are the stories.
    Brazil.Russia,India , China and Indonesia are comparatively under reported,Why? .
    Does the media pick the winner?If they go over the top with the reaction to Bidens victory over Palin in the VP debate there will be a backlash against the coverage.
    Well the media keep saying that McCain is weak on the economy and Obama is strong,but I think McCain is the one with the Economics Masters degree.

  3. 3 selena in Canada
    October 2, 2008 at 14:10

    To ask Sarah Palin to name a newspaper is so condescending. It is beyond belief that an experienced interviewer would ask the question.

    Have they asked anyone else to name a newspaper? Get real folks!

  4. 4 1430a
    October 2, 2008 at 14:20

    Hello everyone,
    Well I wouldn’t say no because they have a big part to play in someone’s victory.But it has a limit:it can only help in an emotional way-it can pursue people to vote but it cannot force them to.
    Whereas in other activities such as sports,media cannot pick the winner.
    If we talk about politics then yes of course media has a big part.There are many leaders who lose because of bad Public relations.And there are leaders who have used Media to win elections.
    ‘Media’ is a strong force which can make a ‘dead person alive and vice versa’.This is the strongest power which if used with proper care can turn things around in a very short time.Its indeed true that:’Media can make or break’

    Thank you

  5. 5 Brett
    October 2, 2008 at 14:24

    Bush – Gore debaucle, anyone?

  6. October 2, 2008 at 14:26

    The media can have an influence on the voters if they choose to campaign against or for a candidate. There are the media that focus just on the errors or the ignorance of a candidate. This happened, for example, during the last presidential elections in France when the press cited the blunders of the presidential candidate Segolene Royal like her saying Afghanistan was still ruled by the Taliban.

    In countries, where the media is state controlled, the opposition has limited access to radio and television to air its view. The voters are exposed to propaganda rather than to campaigning per se.

    As the media has a great influence, the candidates should be careful about every word they pronounce and should be on constant alert to respond to articles and comments against them.

    Now the internet has become a powerful tool for campaigning, the candidates have to be more aggressive in their approaches to counter-attack disparaging views. It’s all a matter of communication skills and strategies that can make a candidate look smart or dumb.

  7. 7 Brett
    October 2, 2008 at 14:30

    By “The Media” are you referring to all outlets? Well of course most decide a winner. Theres hundreds of blathering commentators on the countless channels spouting off their ideas, or scripted ideas from their producers. I think most pick a winner, but they don’t all pick the same one normally. Just depends what channel and programme your watching.

  8. 8 Jennifer
    October 2, 2008 at 14:32

    The media does influence people and it has the potential to sway people’s vote. I think it can be damaging for people who decide who to vote for based on who has the best headlines. I watched the clip and in my opinion, it’s just hype. I think the media should be used as a tool; not the other way around. Ask this woman an intelligent question and she will give you an intelligent answer. Ask a stupid question and she will reply with a stupid answer and not give you any “dirt”. If Sarah Palin said she read the Frontiersman but not the Washington Post we would have a totally different video clip to discredit her from that angle.

  9. 9 Alexis Massey-Ryan
    October 2, 2008 at 14:34

    Yep it does period, unless public opinion is already strongly one way or the other of course, when its largely middling then the media obviously has a massive sway because its how we get our information about these people. If the media destroys a person via images and reporting, then that is the reality, period.

  10. 10 Dennis@OCC
    October 2, 2008 at 14:52

    Whoever-wrote this ….Set your alarm clock earlier…so u can see it…

    I do not think that media picks the winner!


  11. 11 Angela in Washington
    October 2, 2008 at 14:54

    The media may focus on one canidate or another but the purpose of the debate is to sway voters in one way or another. If we think most voters are unintelligent and will listen to anything the media states, then the media choses the winner of the debate. However, it depends on the media outlet one chooses to view. I personally love MSNBC because I love hearing people say what I think but won’t say. However, I enjoy listening to Fox News, as well, because I like to know what others think of the issues. If one watches Fox News, they will say that Palin wins, regardless of her performance. On the other hand if one watches MSNBC, they will say Biden won, regardless of his misstatements. I personally think McCain won the last debate but I already cast my vote, so his performance did not influence my decision. Thankfully, I can watch this debate tonight for a laugh because someone is going to mess up!

  12. 12 Dennis@OCC
    October 2, 2008 at 14:54

    In my earlier opinion, I will revised it! And I will say, that there are some media outlets out there…that wants a certain candidate i.e. party to win the race….


  13. 13 Bob in Queensland
    October 2, 2008 at 14:56

    I wonder if the days of this sort of media control are actually coming to an end. The conventional media is becoming increasingly fragmented and specialised with many people only watching news that reflects their existing prejudices rather than guiding them. On the other hand though, the internet is making it increasingly difficult for news to be “controlled” as it once was.

  14. 14 Angela in Washington
    October 2, 2008 at 14:57


    I beleive asking Palin to name a newspaper is condescending but if you ask an indepth question that most interviewers would ask, people would say that you are being to hard on her.

  15. 15 Katharina in Ghent
    October 2, 2008 at 14:58

    I think the media can have some influence, but generally it won’t go so far as to “make” someone a winner. In Austria the most popular newspaper (like the British Sun) often puts its support behind a special party, and it’s fair to say that the party gets a few more votes because of it, but all that they actually do is enhance the general sentiment that’s already out there.

    The thing is that even if one specific news-outlet supports one party, there will be at least one other news-outlet that will support the other party, so in the end it probably evens out quite well.

  16. 16 Julie P
    October 2, 2008 at 14:59

    Here is the thing about people running for public office they choose to run out of their own free will knowing that during the time they are running life is a fishbowl, which brings to mind the old expression: “If you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen.”

  17. 17 Jessica in NYC
    October 2, 2008 at 15:01

    I wouldn’t say the media picks the candidate alone, but I would say the winning candidate is selected 40% by the media, 40% by special interest groups and 20% by public opinion.

    Many people, it is certainly true for americans, do not closely follow politicians or their stance on issues or policy records. In their cases, the media influences people’s choice in politicians. It is crucial to have media that is unbias as possible, but with network corporate ownership whose profits and growth is directly tied into to one party or the success of a specific candidate it seems that they create more news than report on it. When was the last time ANY of us watched a new programs in which you did not know the complete political affiliations of the host or more importantly how they felt about the issues?

  18. October 2, 2008 at 15:02

    Hello James here from Kenya here, spin doctrine is not so intense like the west but still even on our flawed 2007 elections some media company favored the opposition. Let me not name the media company coz i might go looking for a job there. But like in the US where mediaspin is rife, there the media can pick the candidate and influence the electorate. In 1960 when JFK debated the unshaven
    bland Nixon those watching TV thought Kennedy the good looking chap did spledid.Those on radio thought Nixon was more into substance and thought Nixon won the debate. Recently the Boston Globe endorsed McCain so in essence the Globe has swayed some of its royal readers toward the John McCain. On Sara Palin I think if tonight she doesn’t stumble over facts and she is comfortable then she might do better in the debate. The politics of today i feel even looks matter.Which is why as a man I would rather keep busy staring at Sara Palin than Biden.

  19. 19 Dan
    October 2, 2008 at 15:08

    I really wonder where we are going when Bob and I agree.
    There are so many sources and resources I see the mainstream media becoming increasingly irrelevant except to Right Wing Talk Radio who needs something to rail against.

  20. 20 Robert
    October 2, 2008 at 15:10

    The media can’t directly make somebody win an election. If though the opponent has any flaws with them then the media can promote these and damage the rival to their prefered canditate. We are currently seeing this in the US elections (Palin’s inteview performance) and in the UK (Brown’s slightly cold image).

  21. October 2, 2008 at 15:11

    In Nepal, we are experiencing that Media pick the winner and also always support the winner, no matter what is wrong or right they are doing. Really till now it is seen that Nepali media are working indirectly or directly as a speaker of certain political parties, thoughts and institutions in their reports not only in editorial.

    It is also true that majority of the people are linked to the party. But they always want to see, watch and hear the accurate, balanced and concurrent reports. But media are losing the path to this point.

    Blogs are gaining the popularity in Nepal as well in recent months with respect to the mainstream media.

  22. 22 Jessica in NYC
    October 2, 2008 at 15:13

    @ Salena

    “To ask Sarah Palin to name a newspaper is so condescending…Have they asked anyone else to name a newspaper?”

    Yes, they do, most of the time it’s done by the press core. Bush was also asked this same question. As a matter of fact, I cannot remember when I politician was not asked. It was a big deal, because Palin could not name one, that’s the only reason who saw it covered by ever network. Which, again, contributed to her already well documented lack of knowledge on foreign or domestic polices. The reason the media asked, it because networks want to know which news outlets they use. I have friends who lobbied politicians and the groups I lobbied with never not knew what source of media the politician read. Any guess on which newspaper lobby groups would lean on to cover a story when they were after a “certain” someone’s support? This is also why we have media watch-dog groups.

  23. October 2, 2008 at 15:14

    Hi WHYSers!

    Unreservedly, media bias play a role and a very important one at that, in elections. Certainly, in the case of the last primaries on the Democratic side, there was a sort of anti-Hillary narrative which seemed to have won out in the end. Does that mean I am any less pro-Obama? No, it does not! However, it is to make the point that the media can and do have a very powerful influence on political outcomes. What is interesting about all this, of course, is the fact that the media do not seem keen on admitting that their political views are instrumental in shaping the state in multiple ways. Who watches the watchdogs?

  24. 24 Luz Ma from Mexico
    October 2, 2008 at 15:15

    Of course the media have a wide impact in politics. At least in my country they were a critical piece in the last presidential election. In my opinion, they were the “tool” in very dirty campaigns, where personal vilification of the candidates was the standard. The issues were not discussed, but rather the “personalities” of the candidates. The election was so tight, that the transparecy of the election was put into question.

    The consequence was the polarization of the society and the constitution of a week government. The outcry of the society was so loud that in November 2007 the Congress passed a broad reform of the electoral law that bars political parties from paying for radio and television advertisements. The media was outraged, because they have made very good business tearing the country apart -politically speaking- for decades.

  25. 25 Jessica in NYC
    October 2, 2008 at 15:15

    And Ros…

    I’ll be watching tonight’s debate with popcorn in hand.

  26. October 2, 2008 at 15:23

    Media coverage cannot be completely, if at all, free of the biases of the persons who report, produce and edit the stories which are broadcast/ published for public consumption. What is required, it seems, is a thorough media literacy campaign to educate the public on how to use media properly (?). As an example, there is a very rooted public opinion that of the two most powerful newspapers in Jamaica, the Daily Gleaner and the Jamaica Observer, the Observer is the most negative in its treatment of the current leader of the Opposition. Indeed, preliminary research seems to indicate that negative media coverage of, especially, the current Leader of the Opposition when she was the Prime Minister, did have a serious impact on her at the polls.

    Does this mean the media have the power to determine outcomes and choose winners in elections? Possibly. However, it is worth remembering that it is not the media alone which are responsible for electing public officials, as there are more actors in the state than would be suggested by such an analysis. A more sophisticated response would be to gauge the extent to which media consumption influences choices and to see how far and in what ways such choices, ultimately, impact the health of a state’s political machinery.

  27. 27 Brett
    October 2, 2008 at 15:24

    I’m with Jessica on that one, waiting to see ole girl run circles like its indoor track season.

  28. 28 Shaun in Halifax
    October 2, 2008 at 15:26

    CNN claims to be “the most trusted news source.” Anybody here actually believe that?

    Last time I checked (and according to my notes from J-school) the media’s mandate is as follows:

    “To report the news in an impartial and fair way.”

    We, the public, give you, the journalists the most precious gift we can: our trust. You have the power to sway opinion, overthrow governments, cause mass hysteria, and hold people accountable.

    When you do your job right, the public does not come away with an opinion. You give them the information so they can form their own opinion. When media panders to sensationalism, buzz-words, marketing gimmicks and political pressure, it doesn’t let us make that decision. It tells us our opinion.

    But to answer the question: if the general population is ignorant, uneducated or does not have the capacity to understand the issues, the media will be able to sway them and thus control them. When the population is educated and capable of critical thought, the media doesn’t have a chance to control them, because the population will realize this and won’t stand for it.

  29. October 2, 2008 at 15:26

    The analysis of the complex web of relations (of power) between media and their audiences might, I believe, prove to be a more challenging discussion which requires the use of hard data and facts rather than opinion. Perhaps this is why so many are willing to say that the media (alone) are responsible for electing entire governments. That, of course, is a flawed analysis.

  30. 30 Dennis@OCC
    October 2, 2008 at 15:29

    @ Jessica in NYC Comments at 3.15PM

    I will be watching tonight’s debate for my political science
    and i hope it is fun and has many fireworks….


  31. 31 Jessica in NYC
    October 2, 2008 at 15:36

    It absolutly matters how the media presents a canditate and the positions it takes on policy initiatives. I can’t watch certain TV news programs without speaking to my television in a very unhappy tone. I once had a job that required me to be well informed on a specific issues so I read how all major newspapers covered that issue. It was the best skill I learned from that job. How many people read newspapers who have an opposite bias to our own?

    It’s clear from my posting on this blog that I lean left, but you wouldn’t know which areas I lean a little right on (they do exists). Often times my “conservative” stance are suppressed by the way an was an article is written or the subject is presented. That influences how strongly I will advocate for an issue. There are subjects I have strongly advocated for on this blog that are actually the opposite of how I personally feel about the issue, because of the other person’s derogatory presentation of it. (If anyone guesses which issue it is I’ll send you a–the best–desert of your choice from NYC)

  32. 32 Jessica in NYC
    October 2, 2008 at 15:45

    @ Shaun in Halifax

    “Last time I checked (and according to my notes from J-school) the media’s mandate is as follows: To report the news in an impartial and fair way.”

    Those days only exist in our text books now are part of history class. *SIGH* Do you ever read any of the media-watch-dogs articles and reports? Also, reports (think it was nielsen) shows an increasing numbers of Americans are turning to international news outlets for their media coverage of varies issues. Look at how many Americans are active on this blog?

  33. 33 Angela in Washington
    October 2, 2008 at 15:52


    Although the media can be biased on certain shows, I think CNN is quite neutral. Fox News is very conservative, one can’t even give an opposing statement (Not Fair and Balanced Reporting. I love MSNBC but they are so liberal it is funny! Additionally, I talked to one of my friends who was in Iraq for a year and he said the only cable news channel in Iraq was Fox News. He said the Pentagon only had Fox News, as well!

  34. 34 Angela in Washington
    October 2, 2008 at 16:00

    I personally beleive Americans are very educated and most Americans want a president like themselves, very educated. This is precisely the reason we elected W., he is very intelligent.

    Additionally, as Sarah Palin said on Hugh Hewitt’s show “I think they’re just not used to someone coming in from the outside saying, “You know what? It’s time that normal Joe six-pack American is finally represented in the position of vice presidency.” I think that that’s kind of taken some people off guard, and they’re out of sorts, and they’re ticked off about it, but it’s motivation for John McCain and I to work that much harder to make sure that our ticket is victorious, and we put government back on the side of the people of Joe six-pack like me, and we start doing those things that are expected of our government, and we get rid of corruption, and we commit to the reform that is not only desired, but is deserved by Americans.

    I am so happy that someone is now coming to represent normal six pack Americans because they have never been represented before, since we have already had an intellectual president.

  35. 35 Shaun in Halifax
    October 2, 2008 at 16:02

    @ Jessica

    I don’t watch CNN, FOX, MSNBC or any other ‘big media.’ I don’t trust them to put the public interest before the interests of their bosses and owners.

    And if anybody disagrees that statement, ask yourself this question: Will the Wall Street Journal ever run an article critical of Rupert Murdock?

  36. October 2, 2008 at 16:08

    This is really a chicken or the egg question. The media only puts forth programming people will buy. However, the programming they offer can influence people to be more vocal about opinions or perspectives they may have felt ashamed of at first. So which is it? Do people watch programming they like, or do programs make people like them? Who has done the most influencing this election, FOX or CNN? Their story and programming choices are defiantly different. Is this source of influence different this time then it was in ’04? If so, why? Did the media make that change in choice, or did people change their source to fit their pre-existing opinion?

  37. 37 selena in Canada
    October 2, 2008 at 16:12

    Last night there was a French Language Leaders’ debate in Canada.

    My take on today’s analysis of the debate could be:

    It didn’t go the way someone wanted so when they reported the polls they revealed the number of people sampled, in this case 565 people.

    The underdog Liberal Leader Dion actually was favored by 40% of those polled. There were five leaders who took part in the debate, so that was amazing.

    To the ordinary person who knows nothing about polling 565 seems like a very small number. It is easy to conclude that someone, either consciously or unconsciously, played that card to negate the impact of the polls.

  38. October 2, 2008 at 16:13

    @ Jessica in NYC & Shaun in Halifax:

    The point of news coverage is, as you rightly say, to tell the facts and accurate ones at that in, hopefully, a clear and unbiased kind of way. It is, however, hardly the case that this is the media’s only vocation. After all, news all day, by itself, would make for an extremely dull and uninteresting subject for consumption all the time. That means there has to be some variety in terms of issues presented as well as the styles of presentation. The problem is, therefore, not in the types of information presented by the American media, necessarilly, but in terms of how such information is delivered and whether the presenters/ journalists/ broadcasters feel any real need to adhere to professional standards. We can disagree and quite strongly, no less, but we do not have to descend into the gutters to do so. Nor do we need to abscond our professional obligations in the process.

  39. 39 steve
    October 2, 2008 at 16:13

    @ Shaun

    Do you even get all of those channels in Canada? When I lived in Michigan we got CBC, but even in hotels in Canada I’ve never seen more than having CNN.

  40. October 2, 2008 at 16:22

    The matter of making our positions known, I believe, is only important where it is (absolutely) required. We do not have to agree with a particular issue/ position but we do need to do our jobs properly and effectively. Case in point, I am a very strong advocate for Faith, having recently converted to Christianity via Roman Catholicism. I do not go with the now popular opinion in various parts of the media that, to be religious (have faith) somehow renders one incapable of commonsense and good judgement/ rational thought.

    Recently, I heard on an interview on Outlook, in which George Harney seemed to be pandering to this very position by seeming to suggest that to be religious is to somehow lack the ability to make sensible, rational judgements. This, notwithstanding that I think Mr. Harney a man of sound judgement and professional committment. He failed to interogate his guest – a Florida-based teacher at war with the School District (?) on whether to teach Creationism or Evolution, in a way as to have him explain clearly his position and seemed to be implictly agreeing with him. I was very disappointed with the report and have been meaning to write to complain to the BBC.

    That, I think is a sign that the media have to, themselves, always review their positions and take a seriously committed approach to practising professionalism at all times. As for American interests in this blog, I would count that as a sign that the BBC are doing their jobs of covering American politics, well. It is only (?) but a function of the heavy focus on American politics/ economy in the business of international news. CNN, of course, carries what I think is distinctly ‘American Line’ in most of reports and would, therefore, seem more biased in its coverage of its domestic politics, in my view.

  41. 41 Anthony
    October 2, 2008 at 16:24

    They CAN decide, but I think if the media was gonna make anyone win, it would be the republicans/McCain.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  42. 42 Alex from Clevaland
    October 2, 2008 at 16:30

    The media should present information without bias, however this will not happend. It is up to the reader watcher or listener to sift through the mass amounts of information being thrown at them. Instead of watching only Fox News (typically conservative) or CNN (typically liberal) watch both and be critical of each. Listen to both Glenn Beck and NPR and read both the New York times and the Wall Street Journal.
    People need to be amore critical of what they are told by the media.
    Barrack Obama promises the every wish of every inrerest group, while saying that he will not raise taxes on the middle class. The critical listener would ask how this is possible. If taxes are raised then the US economy would most likel;y slip into default. Higher taxes would cause people to withdraw money from the bank and pull fund from investments. If this happened the USA will slip into depression and take the rest of the world’s markets with it.


    CHANGE is all you will have in your pockets after you are taxed if you vote obama

  43. 43 Shaun in Halifax
    October 2, 2008 at 16:35

    @ Steve

    I can’t speak for everyone, but we get most of them. I get CNN, CNNH, CBC, FOX, and CNBC. On satellite we get all the major 24hr American news networks plus BBC 1 and 2 I think.

  44. 44 Jens
    October 2, 2008 at 16:43

    Alex from C,

    realy, ist that so? maccain promises tax cuts for big coorperations and the 5% wealthy. i must assume you are rolling in money then. Obama takes a different view that after having bleed the middle classes dry it is time to change this and yes it is a change from the failed policies of the last 8 years. what you people forget is that bush has driven this country to edge of ruin in the hope of being remembered as a great president, which he certainly was NOT. i am always flabergasted when average joe making less than me proclaims that the republicans are his friend. they are not. they are driven by greed, war, and making money for their top 5% buddies. look at the state of the country, we have people living on the street, many war veterans and we fight a war that was not necassary…i care about americans and frankly could not care less about iraq. i pay taxes so that we a nation are better off……

    does the media pick the winner. i don’t think so, or maybe yes, just listen to the vile comments on AM by rightwing radiostations. if you believe these lies you believe that a pitbull with lipstick is qualified to run one of the greatest nations. I don’t think so.

    nevermind, funny how the republicans keep that pitbull on a very short leach. wonder why????

  45. 45 Shaun in Halifax
    October 2, 2008 at 16:44

    @ Raw, Jessica and Angela

    I didn’t mean to imply that the ONLY job of the media is to be impartial etc etc etc. Although I firmly believe it should be the First Commandment of journalism. The public trust is simply too powerful and too delicate to violate. But these ideals are codified (or they’d better be) in the ethical guidelines of a newspaper. Just a few from the BBC’s:

    Serving the public interest
    We seek to report stories of significance. We will be vigorous in driving to the heart of the story and well informed when explaining it. Our specialist expertise will bring authority and analysis to the complex world in which we live. We will ask searching questions of those who hold public office and provide a comprehensive forum for public debate.

    Editorial integrity & independence
    The BBC is independent of both state and partisan interests. Our audiences can be confident that our decisions are influenced neither by political or commercial pressures, nor by any personal interests.

    Impartiality & diversity of opinion
    We strive to be fair and open minded and reflect all significant strands of opinion by exploring the range and conflict of views. We will be objective and even handed in our approach to a subject. We will provide professional judgments where appropriate, but we will never promote a particular view on controversial matters of public policy or political or industrial controversy.

    I just think these should be the litmus test for responsible journalism. Any responsible citizen should look at the sources of media they consume and hold them up to these Big Three ethical standards.

  46. 46 Nikitas
    October 2, 2008 at 16:44

    The media certainly helps to decide the outcome of the election. I believe that this (USA) election more than any other has proven fair in media coverage. I’m sorry to say but previous elections in the United States have been unfairly reported on by the media, more often than not swinging to the conservative side of things. I believe Americans as a collective have come to realize the value of the general impression the community of nations have of them and how it affects their dealings. They are now more than ever concerned with being perceived as a truly great nation. The world doesn’t see America as it once did and now I believe Americans are losing sight of the original American dream.

    The idea however that the media are obliged to provide any information of a bi-partisan nature is absurd. All media outlets are privately owned and are free to report towards any bias they so choose. Television stations, newspapers, radio stations, podcasts even are owned and governed by the private sector for the most part and not public entities. The best way to ensure that you are receiving the real story is to follow several outlets. Try listening to the BBC, Deutsche Well, NRP, RAI, ERT, Le Monde, etc… If you speak more than one language than find a channel in the languages you speak and get a totally different perspective. It is up to us to not only be informed but to also question the sources, perspectives, motives and legitimacies of our media.

    Can I also ask, why it would be condescending to ask the vice-presidential (and heartbeat from the president) candidate what she reads? Of course we ought to know what our leaders read and write, what they watch and say. These individuals represent us and if they’re not keeping up to speed on current events and ensuring that they get the news from every angle and know enough to mention simply one newspaper, then there’s a problem. For goodness sake, Palin could have just said I only read the ‘Anchorage Press’ and that response would have been better than to say ‘all of them’! The women’s movement is being far too sensitive towards her candidacy. When challenges are posed to Barak Obama he doesn’t call them out as being racist, he faces them head on and welcomes the interest. He doesn’t freeze up and stumble.

  47. October 2, 2008 at 16:50

    @ Alex in Cleaveland,

    I wonder though, whether your suggestions in terms of the ‘critical thinking’ that you feel is necessary for the (average) media user, is not itself very narrow in terms of the options given in your post? The problem, I think, is less about which media one uses but that there is range, dynamism, access and, hopefully, objectivity. When the options are narrowed to only two main positions, then, we are right back where we started – not having any options at all.

    What might be a more appropriate (?) suggestion, I think, is to use the media in such a way as to assume that what you hear is trustworthty to the extent you yourself are part of that relationship. The uncritical acceptance of only two positions (or any position for that matter), though vastly dissimilar, undermines this effect by suggesting, in some ways, that these are the only positions worth considering. That does not really help. Media users need to avail themselves of all available information and make a rational determinatioin, accordingly, about what gets reported as well as what does not.

  48. 48 Jessica in NYC
    October 2, 2008 at 17:08

    @ Shaun in Halifax
    *huff* The “quality” of the WSJ has diminished since Rupert Murdock bought it. Re the other “stuff”, I gottacha and understood what you meant. I am a politics junkie so I will follow most outlets, but it is difficult to trust American media, because of their special interest ties. When Gore conceded Ohio and America media reported it, I refused to accept it until I read it on the AP and BBC.
    @ Alex from Clevaland
    “CHANGE is all you will have in your pockets after you are taxed if you vote obama”

    That’s better than hungry, bankrupted and dying. (See Health Care, Tax cuts for the rich and Cost of living for the poor and middle-class, and Labor policies)

  49. October 2, 2008 at 17:08

    In an Election season, ignore the media at your own peril. The Media plays a very important role in helping politicians win or lose elections. It’s for this and other reasons that politicians often do their best to warm their way into the hearts of media outlets and in some cases making use of the proverbial ” Brown Envelope”. Information dissemination is a very important tool for election propaganda or otherwise. Warm your way into their editorial hearts, there is a good chance you would come out tops.

  50. 50 Dennis@OCC
    October 2, 2008 at 17:12

    Nelson Isibor,
    has said it correctly, ignoring the media at this time is doing so, at your own peril….


  51. 51 Dennis@OCC
    October 2, 2008 at 17:14

    Regarding the media’s involvement:
    Some of the media, is going to be independent during this election season, some will be in the bed with the politician, that they want to win…and the rest will be shaking around the world, to be on the side of the winners.


  52. 52 Dennis@OCC
    October 2, 2008 at 17:16

    About when I accept it, is on The BBC and/or after I have found the same story about a politican on 2 different news services….


  53. 53 John in Salem
    October 2, 2008 at 17:18

    The media only gives us what we want, and what we want is to hear about the other guy’s weaknesses, not about our guy’s strengths.
    We all know that bad news sells. Hearing and reading about the positive side of our candidates is boring – give us the dirt and we’ll buy a copy every time

  54. 54 Jessica in NYC
    October 2, 2008 at 17:19

    @ Jens

    That’s right, preach it! LOL

    I am can’t wait for the smack-down tonight, it better not disappoint! The pitbull will be let off her very short leach. I just Biden can keep his gaffes to a minimum.

  55. October 2, 2008 at 17:23


    Asking Palin about a newspaper is – well, to be honest I can’t find the word for it – but that was such an easy question to answer she could have lied and given the Name of the WSJ, WP, even NYT. But she couldn’t think on her feet fast enough other than to waffle and “play” dumb.

    To the question:

    I watch CNN, Fox, CBC, and they are, in my view, pathetic in comparison to the BBC, ITV and Channel4. If you think Palin gets it hard now, my sweet Jesus if Paxman had an interview with her she would leave in tears!

    Ask WHYS to get him on the show – look up his interviews where ever you can – the man is a beast! And – funnily enough – he asks the questions that you and I want answering. And he doesn’t leave it at that. Some politicians won’t even speak to him because they have no clue what he will do to them.

    The US media as a whole is biased, but I have yet to see one that is biased toward the left, the real left, not the US left.

  56. October 2, 2008 at 17:25

    @ Jens,

    A very pointed response. I do share some of your views, though, especially in terms of the “justification” for and the costs of the war in Iraq. (Like you, I do not care about Iraq in larger sense that had Iraq been left to figure out these aspects of its work, then, there would, without question, be no need to worry about them in the ways we have, currently.)

    Your points in relation to driving America to brink of ruin in the relentless quest for historical greatness is very much on the mark, in my view. What would be interesting is to discover whether the actual costs of the Iraq expedition/ crusade(s) have had any impact on the now ailing economy of the ‘greatest nation in the world’. Is there a connection and, if so, does this connection also mean that Bush and the Republicans have played an even greater role in causing the near collapse of the American banking system?..Just curious.

  57. October 2, 2008 at 17:26

    @ John in Salem, well said. That accounts alot for the PHD (Pull him/her down ) commercials we have seen in recent times in the course of the presidential election campaigns in the US . And trust me now that Obama is opening up a lead in the polls, you can expect a vicious attack from the McCain team. The end gain: to sway the polls back to McCain’s favor.

  58. October 2, 2008 at 17:26


    *huff* The “quality” of the WSJ has diminished since Rupert Murdock bought it.

    Murdock doesn’t think you are intelligent enough to be given unbiased news. But from what I read he isn’t too impressed with Palin – so that is saying something.

  59. 59 Dennis@OCC
    October 2, 2008 at 17:27

    And thanks to the moderator who made my comments in ITALIC….Could you send me the information on how to do it…October 2, 2008 at 5:12 pm

    i think it would be a good idea, to have world have your say, invite jeremy paxman on the show…..


  60. October 2, 2008 at 17:31

    @ Alex,

    The one way the media does influence votes and elections is through “marketing slogans”. like “nobama!!”. Slogans are what the blissful site on a debate platform when they have not proof or policy observations.

    If you were truly objective, you would have checked out Obama’s website and read his explanation. One thing is ending the war that has cost as much as the “bailout” plan has. Letting the Bush tax cuts expire will increase capital. Increasing funding to the middle class which will return greater tax revenues. John McCain offered an $.18 “gas tax holiday” that every economist said would just increase profits for the oil companies. Shallow dumb perspectives on economics has been what has gotten us here. Or, in words that you can understand.

    “No McSame!!”

  61. 61 Angela in Washington
    October 2, 2008 at 17:32


    I respect your point of view. You did not state that taxes would rise for corporations, and people making more than $250K, a year. On the other hand, McCain wants tax cuts for businesses that would definitely reduce tax revenue, more than not raising taxes on the middle class. The middle class pays a lot of taxes but most of the tax revenues are from large corporations and wealthy individuals. Additionally, there are so many loopholes in our tax system that few corporations pay the actual tax rate.

  62. 62 Jens
    October 2, 2008 at 17:33

    @ jess,

    yeah the pitbull will be let of the leach, but will probably wear an electric collar, so they can zapp her, when see starts rambling on about putins head in alskan airspace.

    i truely hope the rottweiler will show his teeth without looking like he is going to rip her to shreeds. you know the oh she is only a woman sympathy vote could come out, which i think is bogus. if you want to play on a level playing field do so and don’t come afterwards with the gender excuse. trust me putin will not look on her as “let’s play nice she is only a girl, that wears glasses”.

  63. 63 Jens
    October 2, 2008 at 17:34

    @ nelson,

    they already started with the revered Wright connection, let’s scare all the whities voting for obama. it’s so sick

  64. 64 Jessica in NYC
    October 2, 2008 at 17:38

    @ Will

    “But from what I read he isn’t too impressed with Palin – so that is saying something.”

    That’s not saying much to me… all news outlets (even Fox) have recently criticized her for saying dumb things, especially after Katie Couric’s interview.

  65. 65 selena in Canada
    October 2, 2008 at 17:40


    If someone had ask me about newspapers, I am afraid I would have done as Palin did. I would not have graced the question with an answer.

    There is really no need to be vicious. It might be fun for an audience that likes to see someone skewered for sport but it is a throwback to a brutal past and denotes an ignorance that should not be tolerated in a civil society.

  66. 66 Jens
    October 2, 2008 at 17:43


    yes i think there is a definet and obviouse link between the war and the economy. spending over 5000 bucks a second on the iraq war, zapps the goverment and the economy of money. just imagine all the projects you could carry-out in the usa with that money. things like health care, we get older and the market is ever exapnding with new therapies etc. if that money was spend to give good care to people not only we had better health care but better paid health care proffesionals, that go and spend money. what about education, again you have more people getting education and more people working in the fiels. what about research, just look at the expansion of alternative energies, more dollars leads to more research more researcher and faster development. these are only a few aspects, you have to think that all these “primary” economies are supporting “secondary” ones like suppliers and simple things like supermarkets etc

  67. 67 Dare Afolabi
    October 2, 2008 at 17:44

    Its not the media thats deciding who will with elections, thet merely provide the people with information, on which their voting pattern is decided,
    wether the information is unbaised or untainted is another issue entirely.

    i dont think the media, as we know it can single handedly decide who will win an election, even if they tried.

  68. October 2, 2008 at 17:44

    @ Jens, sooner than I thought. Some left and right wing news outlets carried comments from top Republicans chiding John McCain for being “too soft” on Obama. I also think the Media has substantial revenue to rake in from campaign ad’ turning a blind eye to content.

  69. 69 Robert
    October 2, 2008 at 17:45


    Silence is a graceful answer

    Demanding the interviewer ask a real question is a graceful response.

    Stumbling like Palin did is panicking.

  70. 70 Angela in Washington
    October 2, 2008 at 17:46

    I think the Rolling Stone is slightly liberal but they have some good articles:


  71. 71 Jens
    October 2, 2008 at 17:48


    she did not answer, BECAUSE she did not have a clue. it was not a fact of not gracing the answer, it was a the vacuum between her ears that did not allow for an anwser. how hard is it to mention your local newspaper, nevermind new your time, washington post, wall street journal, or for that matter USA Today, which you get in every single hotal shoved underneath your door…..saying nothing always looks more stupid than saying somethin, well unless she would have only said the Wasila Weekly…….which probably was the only thing on her mind and even she knew that would sound absolutly ignorrant.

  72. 72 Jessica in NYC
    October 2, 2008 at 17:52


    The rottweiler just needs to follow some simple rules:
    1) He can’t call the pittbull by her first name, to avoid any sexist in innuendos.
    2) He needs to keep his answer short to avoid gaffes.
    3) The important one: He needs to focus attacks on McCain and keep topics on foreign policy where the pittbull is weakest and he is strongest.

    I would really love it if the pittbull could mispronounce more foreign leaders names and or mis-id them. Then blame the media for criticism of her dumbness.

  73. 73 Brett
    October 2, 2008 at 17:54

    @ Jessica:
    “CHANGE is all you will have in your pockets after you are taxed if you vote obama”

    That’s better than hungry, bankrupted and dying. (See Health Care, Tax cuts for the rich and Cost of living for the poor and middle-class, and Labor policies)

    And Jessica FTW!!! lol

    You beat me to the punch on that one 😉

  74. October 2, 2008 at 17:55

    Re Media bias: Just like beauty, objectivity/impartiality is in the eyes/ears/mind of the beholder.

  75. 75 Brett
    October 2, 2008 at 17:58

    @ Jessica:
    I would really love it if the pittbull could mispronounce more foreign leaders names and or mis-id them. Then blame the media for criticism of her dumbness.

    You really are on point today lol.

    I remember someone else getting upset about the media for a similar focus on flaws and ignorance…. Maybe Palin should shave her head too….

  76. 76 selena in Canada
    October 2, 2008 at 17:59


    I am not saying that Sarah Palin has a clue or has not a clue. There is really no way for me to know that. She has been dumped into the fray and attacked viciously. It has take all her time to keep her head above water.

    But ask yourself how many clues the people who got Wall Street in a mess have, when all is said and done? What I am saying is Sarah Palin can do no worse that all the supposedly intelligent oh so wise men that put the average investor in the do do.

    Step back for a minute and look at all those men who are so equipped (lol) to lead. Give me a break!

  77. October 2, 2008 at 18:04


    A woman I detest, Maggie Thatcher, would have put Curic in her place – but even she would have answered. Thatcher stood up to men and women alike – she knew she was a politician and would have to take the bumps and scraps that came with the job. Regardless of her gender she did what she thought was right.

    You see – it isn’t that we don’t have benchmarks to score Palin on, there are many women out there who are tremendously successful and any number of them would have been a better pick. And, to put it like so many US ‘News” channels put it – “What do we know about her. Hell – they even say that the US doesn’t know Joe Biden.

    I have known about Joe Biden for years! “And I ain’t no damn yankee”. Is it a taint on the US voter that they don’t know about Joe Biden? I can understand why they wouldn’t know about Palin. Palin, because she is a woman, has a free ride in this debate – and I am surprised that more women are not outraged by it – especially the more orthodox feminist. If it had been Hillary Clinton there – well, need I say more?

  78. October 2, 2008 at 18:09

    @ Nelson,

    I am agreed with your last points about objectivity. I think, though, that we can strive towards achieving fairness and balance. The problem, however, is that so very few of us want that. We would rather go with the party line, or the house style as a way of showing a united front. It is even expected. Hence, journalists end up, mindlessly (?), supporting the majoritarian position and may, ultimately, subvert their own professionalism in cases like partisan politics. Media watchdog groups and journalism accreditation boards along with a very critical and informed civil society/ citizens lobby group are good ways of addressing these gaps.

  79. 79 Brett
    October 2, 2008 at 18:09

    As we just heard, Palin = Pathetic… The media told the truth, whats the problem here?

  80. October 2, 2008 at 18:11


    That’s not saying much to me… all news outlets (even Fox) have recently criticized her for saying dumb things, especially after Katie Couric’s interview.

    Yes, you are correct.

    I have never seen another politician who is running for president sit in on an interview with his VP to protect them from “gotcha” questions.

    Why the polls show Palin and McCain so high is still beyond me.

  81. 81 John D. Augustine - WI USA
    October 2, 2008 at 18:11

    The short answer? Not always. A case in point would be Wiliam Proxmire, a Senator from the state of Wisconsin, whose most enduring legacy on Capitol Hill was probably the Golden Fleece Award, which was established in 1975 to call attention to particularly wasteful government spending. He was lesser known for having succeded Senator “are you now or have you ever been” Joseph McCarthy.

    But relevant to the question, he was most famously remembered here in Wisconsin as the man who was returned to office time and again by simply standing around in public places and shaking the hands of his constituents. I had that privilege on an ordinary day on an ordinary trip to the local pharmacy sometime in the 1980’s.

    As I recall, the encounter was less informative than the average TV spot. He was just standing there, and as I passed, he reached out to me and said: “Hi, I’m Bill Proxmire,” and shook my hand. There wasn’t much more to it than that. But it was certainly an act which indicated his interest in hearing the thoughts of the people who he represented. And it was an act which didn’t cost a penny, and from which the media stood nothing to gain.

  82. 82 selena in Canada
    October 2, 2008 at 18:13


    Sarah Palin did put Couric in her place. She showed the woman up for what she was… a national interviewer trying to put down a person from that backwater place, Alaska.

    Palin did not do it the Margaret Thatcher way (now there’s a pitbull). She did it by keeping her personality intact.

    No everyone would have been able to do that.

  83. October 2, 2008 at 18:14

    the onus though, is on the public to become more discerning and informed. we have to demand higher standards and be willing to interogate our own positions, even if that conflicts with the popular position. truth is, the media are run by human beings who, like their audiences, suffer from the same shortcomings, wants and desires. most people are aligned around certain key issues of importance when it comes to poltiics and (also) want their candidates to do well. some will even resort to using media platforms to these ends, explicitly. not a bad thing, in and of itself, if clearly stated and reasons given (I think). however, to pretend to be ‘objective’ and at the same time work against those ideals is a problem.

  84. October 2, 2008 at 18:17


    You must have watched a different interview than me. She stumbled and fell over herself trying to answer a simple question, which, specifically, newspapers/magazines do you read to get your world view.

    Palin simply did not answer.

    We must therefore agree to disagree.

  85. 85 Darwin
    October 2, 2008 at 18:18

    You have got to be kidding.
    For the last 8 years there has been next to no news on US T.V. It has all been small brained crap.
    Sara is a Dope, my 12 year old grand daughter knows more.

  86. 86 Alexander
    October 2, 2008 at 18:19

    Palin’s answer about which newspapers she reads reminds me of Bush’s not knowing which book he read last. I wonder if Karl Rove will now have her carrying newspapers around.

  87. October 2, 2008 at 18:19

    The truth about Palin is that she has made blunders just like McCain, Obama, Biden, Bush, the list goes on and on. It’s just that in this case her own blunders were far too big to sweep under the carpet and to make it worse, it’s now a recurring decimal.

  88. 88 Alison
    October 2, 2008 at 18:20

    I’m not a Palin fan by any means, but this is a typical overreaction. I thought her answer to the question was completely valid. I don’t think she took the question as “Can you name a newspaper?’. The question she answered was ‘How do you keep yourself informed all they way up there in Alaska?”

  89. 89 Trent West
    October 2, 2008 at 18:20

    All news is biased because all human beings are baised! Not matter how impartial a reporter is their belief system is reflected in the way they interpret what they are reporting on. What we see or read or hear is what the news directors think, and whole heartly believe we should hear.

    So use your own filter when you take it all in.

  90. 90 Alexander
    October 2, 2008 at 18:21

    I admit I don’t read newspapers very much, but I do read “The Economist” and “The New Republic” regularly and listen to NPR daily.

  91. 91 Tonye
    October 2, 2008 at 18:23

    Hello again.

    First of all, to answer the question presented for this discussion, I would normally agree that the media has a lot of sway, but if we look back at the events of the (American) elections in 2000 and 2004, the media was obviously, and clearly against George Bush… and he’s still here today… stolen election or not.

    Secondly (and it’s just my opinion) but there’s too much at stake to take this election lightly, or vote flipantly or based on petty personal bigotry.

    At first I felt that the choice of Palin, was a smart strategic move on McCain’s part, even though my vote is not going to him. Looking at it with greater perspective, considering McCain’s health, Palin’s outlook on things, and obvious weaknesses, this is too much of a risk; not just for America, but for all of us globally ( the current financial crisis has clearly illustrated that!). I AM CONCERNED.

    Obama, seems to clearly understand what he’s up against ; race, limited time in the senate, heavy criticism from whites, blacks, Democrats, Republicans, conservative talk radio, and, oh yeah… even the formidable Clintons… and he’s stood up to every one of those challenges.
    I think the issue of experience and readiness clearly, or lack thereof clearly points to PALIN.

  92. October 2, 2008 at 18:24


    When I read your angry posts about how Palin was “attacked” by the demur Katey Couric it makes me realize again that we the people SEE things completely differently.

    How about the question that Palin melted down on? The one that went, “…are there any other Supreme Court decisions that you disagree with?” Was that another “gotcha question?”

  93. 93 Angela in Washington
    October 2, 2008 at 18:26


    I think she is not prepared for the national stage. She has made many mistakes. I was more distraught about what she said about Russis and her knowledge of foreign affairs. She may be a great governor but I want a president and vice-president that represents America’s greatness. I don’t want someone to think of our leaders as being unprepared and uninformed. We had that enough with W. We need someone to represent the greatest country in the world, not some “backwards” view.

  94. 94 Scott (M)
    October 2, 2008 at 18:26


    OBJECTIVITY is not presenting equal amounts of stupidity with equal amounts of smarts! We will ever get this????????

    You don’t have objective media, or objective anything by simply giving equal airtime and coverage to every possible side. This dumb objectivity that your past guest, Susan Jakoby, spoke about, is rampant in America and now it appears to be rampant all over the planet.

    In a more perfect world the media WOULD be liberal, although if anything it generally isn’t, because it is engaged in dumb objectivity. The media in a democracy should be liberal, because it needs to be about inclusive values, it is suppose to be objective. Objectivity is generally a liberal concept. Sorry, you can’t be inclusive and be conservative at the same time.

    – Media is inherently a liberal idea!
    – Media is by definition, when it is doing it’s job correctly, a liberal endeavor!

    Until we realize this incredibly important concept we will go around in circles debating this ignorant question!

  95. 95 joe in the united states
    October 2, 2008 at 18:29

    Yes, the media holds great sway over popular opinion, essentially because the majority of the U.S. population does not choose to take the time to do its own research. They merely digest the clips, soundbites, and analysis they are fed through the major news outlets, which each hold their own biases. With so little of the overall picture presented by mass media, most voters will make a decision based on the limited knowledge they glean from the already limited amount of knowledge presented. This is one of the real dangers of media consolidation.

  96. 96 Suzanne in San Francisco
    October 2, 2008 at 18:30

    This is a great topic, yes we are being influenced by the media, both print, TV, radio and online. I like to think that I make up my own mind after sifting through everything. To answer the previous comment, I know from the media that Ralph Nader is also running for president . As to Sara Palin, she is the one shooting herself in the foot. She has run around in circles and not answered many questions directly, whether it be what newspaper she reads or supreme court decision she disagrees with. Her comment about her recent passport and foreign travel was that she didn’t come from a family where the parents send their children off to europe; that they didn’t have the money; that she went to work..was quite offensive to me. I have gone to school and worked and paid for my own foreign travel. Oh Please! I can’t wait for the debates tonight!

  97. October 2, 2008 at 18:30

    @ Will,

    I am not so sure I can readily agree with your conflation of the ignorance of Americans, a reality (?)that most people (no dis!) are convinced is the result of a sort of a continental (?) insularity, and lack of a rigourous feminist critique of Palin. What I would be inclined to say, however, is that like some others before, is that politics has become a spectacle, a sort of sport for the popular and the populist but not one in which common sense or even a common understanding of key issues need to prevail.

    In that regard, feminism is either seen as bad or as, necessarilly, supportive of all women. Both positions are incorrect. For if Feminism is bad then so too is the desire to seek balance and equity in society, especially in the case of traditionally imbalanced and unjust power relations which, historically, disfavour women. If it is supportive of all women and not so much a set of agenda items which are perceived as critical to this demographic which has traditionally handicapped by unjust systems of power (run mostly by certain kinds of men), then, it is not (really?) Feminism.

    The point is that, in the era of instant sound bytes, pretty faces and dazzling smiles – all of which are compounded by ratings and popularity, there is hardly room for serious critique whether in terms of the panelists or the audiences. That is sad! So, we are back at square one – who is more popular – ‘Bush in drag’, or the dude said to commit too many gaffes for his own good!

  98. 98 Tom D Ford
    October 2, 2008 at 18:33

    The media just exposed her to the public, that’s all.

    I hate to say it but the subject of Sarah Palin just demands that the phrase “Airhead Bimbo” be brought back into use to describe her. Her looks are all she has.

    I agree with Kathleen Parker, Sarah Palin should withdraw.

  99. 99 Mark in California
    October 2, 2008 at 18:33

    I think the difference between the so-called liberal media and the rest, is that so-called liberals engage in critical thinking and questioning. If Fox News is the alternate to the likes of NPR and the BBC, all I hear from Fox are softball questions and cheerleading. A politician should be grateful for the opportunity to answer tough questions. McCain and Palin have shown themselves for what they are in the face of even mild questioning: Defensive and inexperienced, respectively. Likewise, by the same liberal media, Obama will have to answer the much publicized question of “where’s the substance and details?”

  100. 100 Julie P
    October 2, 2008 at 18:34


    Right off the top her head, given that she is conservative should have been Texas v. Johnson.


    The next should have Bowers v. Hardwick.



    Georgia v. Coker


    They are commonly known cases.

  101. October 2, 2008 at 18:37

    Richard, in Baltimore:

    I’m sick and tired of the oft quoted “liberal bias” of the media. If you look at most of the media outlets in this country they are owned by large corporate entities. As far as I know these corporations are not generally liberal in their outlook. In addition most talk radio is conservatively biased and they are at least as influential as the “unbiased” news media.


  102. October 2, 2008 at 18:37

    Jane Babcock in Oregon:

    Could it be Americans are circulating the bizarre answers Sara Palin has given in her interviews because they are truly concerned about her ability to lead our nation in the awful event John McCain should die and feel everyone should get a chance to see just how capable she is. Admit it, no matter who might be running for such an important office, if they gave such inane answers to very simple questions they all would be ridiculed off the map. I am not a politician but I would have had no problem answering any of the questions given to her. She should not need to be coached she should know the answers going in.

  103. 103 Jessica in NYC
    October 2, 2008 at 18:37

    Ros– Yes, I can.

    2008 Democrats: Hillary Clinton, Biden, Edwards, Richardson, Dodd…
    2000 Republicans: McCain, Giuliani, Huckabee, Romney, Thompson…
    2004 Democrats: Kerry, Dean, Edwards, Gephardt, Graham, Kuccinich, Sharpton…
    2000 Republicans: Bush, McCain, Quayle, Buchanan, Elizabeth Dole…
    2000 Democrats: Gore

  104. 104 Robert
    October 2, 2008 at 18:37

    The media is not liberal or conservative, it’s corporate. It’s sensationalistic so it can generate revenue for it’s sponsors.

  105. 105 Shaun in Halifax
    October 2, 2008 at 18:39

    Has anybody noticed a trend here?

    I’m trying to remain objective, but it seems to me that whenever Ms. Palin is confronted with a question she doesn’t want to answer (or can’t) her ‘people’ start screaming about how sexist the question was. And whenever McCain gets asked a question he doesn’t want to answer, the answer becomes “when I was rotting in my cage in Vietnam…..”

    Am I completely off-base here?

    Just an FYI, I’m COMPLETELY against being politically correct. After reading Orwell’s Politics and the English Language and hearing George Carlin’s shell shock/ptsd rant, I realize that being p-c and ‘getting offended’ is what people do to cloud the issue and disguise the real meanings. Better to be an equal-opportunity offender: if you offend everybody, nobody can accuse you of playing favorites.

  106. 106 Petra - Czech Republic
    October 2, 2008 at 18:40

    I think the media is the one who actually decides. Don’t know if in every country but certainly in the Czech Republic. Unfortunately people here are still not able to create their own clear opinion, they follow the media, and what’s worse, usually only one kind of media. People here are like sheep, they like to follow. But, on the other hand, there is to say that actually it is hard to choose a candidate because the power of the media is very strong.

  107. October 2, 2008 at 18:40

    @ Scott (M),

    interesting arguments, however, I seem to recall that media are not just about being ‘liberal’, as much as providing a useful (?) forum in which to explore the likely possibilities of ‘all sides’ coming to the table and having a discussion, at the very least reflecting (or so we are told!) society in its range and complexity. the media do not have to be ‘liberal’, necessarilly, as much as they need to and are required to be fair and balanced. That is their role in any system of governance, chief among them a democracy. there is no prerequisite, per se, for media to practise a ‘liberal agenda’ as much as a professional ethic. this allows them to be able to entertain difference even where they do not agree with such a position.

    the problem is, therefore, not whether media are ‘inclusive in’ the wider sense of this kind value (liberal politics), but that ‘inclusiveness’ and ‘liberal’ positions are, effectively, code words to register certain pre-determined positions which are expected. should we ever be in disagreement, then, there is almost always the likelihood of the criticism that one is neither inclusive nor liberal. neither position is true!

  108. October 2, 2008 at 18:41

    While I think the media has a great deal of influence on public opinion, I actually am posting to refute the common myth, recently repeated by one of your callers, that a slowly boiled frog will allow itself to get cooked to death. This is not true. See the myth-busting site snopes.com:


  109. October 2, 2008 at 18:43

    In the eloquent words of singer/ song writer Jack Johnson:
    Fact is only what you believe, and fact and fiction work as a team.

  110. October 2, 2008 at 18:44

    and we have seen enough examples of this in the coverage of the american elections. the ‘fire branding’ of Obama’s pastor, for instance, bear testimony to this point. that is, the so-called ‘fire and brimstone’ type of preaching is perceived as reactionary (read anti-american) and, therfore, ‘typical’ of disaffected black (people). how ridiculous! that, from the ‘liberal’ american media CNN! the point is that all the media need to do is their jobs and do it well! Simple!

    October 2, 2008 at 18:48

    The “media” aside, I think journalism in the U.S. is in big trouble, and that is something a democracy should worry about. Too much consolidation has led to this explosion of the “media” as a hybrid of entertainment/politics/news.

    I support real journalism and hope that our country will shift back to a press that is not driven by profit as its top goal rather than the exposing of the truth. The internet may be a way of accessing massive amounts of information, but journalists are the ones who produce that information and so we should find ways of supporting a healthy press that has top journalists who take the time to get to the truth of whatever the issues of the day are: environmental, economic and political.

  112. 112 Shaun in Halifax
    October 2, 2008 at 18:48

    I’d like to pose a question to the professional journalists in attendance here. In your experience, just how politicized are your editors? Have you ever pitched a story and gotten a response to the effect of “we can’t run that b/c of the boss/offensive/etc?” Or have you gotten a different answer and suspected your editor was protecting his/her interests?

  113. 113 Cory
    October 2, 2008 at 18:49

    Is the media biased due to the corporate owners? Most media organizations seem to have consolidated, and some are run by entertainment divisions. Is there a media elite as less reporters dispense information to the public?

    The corruption of our government, financial system, medical system etc. probably effects another of our sacred institutions.

  114. October 2, 2008 at 18:49

    Kudos to the BBC for taking the lead in that regard, which is not to say there are not areas of contention in my book, much to the contrary! just that the BBC are much keener on self reflexive critique, by comparison. on topics like Mugabe and his leadership (or the lack thereof) of Zimbabwe? Well, that is another matter altogether.

    So, yeah the media are instrumental in shaping public opinion and might even impact the extent to which a leader is either brought to or removed from power. however, they have to have a context in which do so. media are not independent of their contexts/ socieities. they are an important part of it/ them.

  115. 115 Jessica in NYC
    October 2, 2008 at 18:50

    Speaker who brought up the Bill Clinton and McCain coming in from behind to grab their party’s nomination. Excellent point!
    @ Bret–
    Only today, I’m on point? 😦

    RE: Partisan

    Nope, don’t agree. I think the media here follow the stories that sale them “papers”. If it is a story leaning to the left or right is a matter of coverage. Stories are always twisted to suit their needs.

  116. 116 Jessica in NYC
    October 2, 2008 at 18:51

    @ Will

    “I have never seen another politician who is running for president sit in on an interview with his VP to protect them from “gotcha” questions. Why the polls show Palin and McCain so high is still beyond me.

    …Because many people still vote based on issues that are “deal breakers”. For many religious conservations, no matter how much they disagree with their party’s nominee, being anti-choice is the only issue that matters. If you take out a women’s right to choose and gay rights from US Political issues, there would be much more middle ground.

  117. October 2, 2008 at 18:51

    William, in Oregon:

    Not a defense of Sarah Palin, but another reason for her to fumble answer: She didn’t know what “the right answer” might be, and was afraid to say the wrong thing. She hadn’t been coached with an answer to the question.

    I don’t think Sarah Palin is qualified. I believe that she’s intelligent, but WAY out of her depth.

  118. October 2, 2008 at 18:52

    Adrienne Glenn:

    How come the right wind conservatives are so powerful if the media which they call too liberal are against them? Clearly the media are not as influential as they think.

    As regards Sarah Palin, if she is ignorant of the issues and is running for senior office, then surely it is the job of the media to reveal this. They are reporting her answers. She said it, not the media! Why is that called a liberal bias, CNN has given a lot of airtime to pointing out Joe Biden’s many gafs.

  119. 119 joe in the united states
    October 2, 2008 at 18:52

    I beg to differ with Scott (M)’s comment. He presents one of the fundamental misconceptions about open-mindedness and objectivity. Open-mindedness is often linked with liberalism, but in truth, both liberals and conservatives are often guilty of clinging to their own left or right leaning beliefs and effectively ignoring the points the other side makes, rather than truly considering what is being argued.

  120. 120 Shaun in Halifax
    October 2, 2008 at 18:53

    fun factoid:

    According to Noam Chomsky from his doc Rebel Without a Pause, liberal radio actually has MORE restrictions on free speech than conservative media.

    Makes sense when you think about it too: on liberal radio, they’re so frightened of offending somebody, there’s a laundry list of taboo subjects. On conservative radio, anything goes. The message might be completely racist or full of bs, but at least they’re allowed to talk about it.

  121. October 2, 2008 at 18:53

    Jim Hargrave:

    Ever since Sarah Palin was chosen she has faced more scrutiny than any other candidate. To ask her a question about what she reads in an effort to trap her is ludicrous. Liberals are looking for anything to try to shed a dark light on her. And to give them anything at this time would be foolish on her part.

    I would be more concerned as a liberal what Biden will have to say because he has siad some foolish things the past few weeks and no one has called him on it.
    Just make the field fair.

  122. October 2, 2008 at 18:54

    Barbara Bull from Corvallis, OR USA:

    Please do not feed this claim that the US media is unfairly sympathetic to liberal views. It was the media being afraid of being accused of bias that made it easier to go to war in Iraq. Finally the general public no longer believes everything the politicians say, and the media, including CNN, is trying to deliver balanced coverage, and ask appropriate questions despite accusations of being sexist or racist. Perhaps you can focus on what more fair coverage would look like rather than the narrow question about how liberal the media are.

  123. 123 brae IN AUStralia
    October 2, 2008 at 18:55

    im from australia and im only 13 and the media over here plays a big part in politics although im not eligible to vote the recent elections media coverage was very biasd towards our current PM kevin rudd and as a young person i don’t go looking into media so i only see the portion that majority of people do and it heavily influences my opinions on politicians.

  124. October 2, 2008 at 18:56


    I have no idea whatsoever what you were saying to me, sorry for that – but it didn’t make any sense.

    I did put question marks in the appropriate areas of the sentence, so I was asking a question rather than making a statement. Sorry if I confused you.

  125. October 2, 2008 at 18:56

    Michelle Lipla, Oregon:

    When Sarah Palin came on the scene we knew NOTHING about her. Our current President (whose views she mirrors) has proudly said he does not read newspapers. Katie Couric asked her which newspapers she reads to try to get to know her – and rather than say “I don’t read newspapers” she babbles and gives a non-answer. She doesn’t want to lie and say the name of a paper that she doesn’t read, but she doesn’t want to tell the truth and say she DOESN’T read the papers – so she babbles.

    The fault is with Ms. Palin – not the questioners!

  126. 126 Miriam Kavanagh
    October 2, 2008 at 18:56

    I am on a college campus and I can’t go 20 feet without being asked if I am registered to vote. Having an Obama sticker or button seems to be more of a fashion statement than a political statement. I think the media makes people painfully aware of who you can vote for, but doesn’t really tell you who to vote for in the end.

  127. October 2, 2008 at 18:57

    Two party restriction in U.S. makes the media the 3rd relationship. If minority party candidates, eg Matt Gonzalez of Peace and Freedom, was included in the debates a third viewpoint would be heard. Unfortunately the main parties deliberately excluded 3rd party candidates.
    P.S. Like Sean I also prefer the radio to reading rhetorical blogs but also to TV.

  128. 128 Sauron K.
    October 2, 2008 at 18:57

    I think we can not help but be influenced by the media because if it was not for the media, no one would have any information at all on the candidates. We rely on it for the information. However, what we do with that information and how we interpret it is up to us. I think we should take it all “with a grain of salt” as some Americans say.

  129. 129 Jessica in NYC
    October 2, 2008 at 18:58

    @ Ros

    Yes, the media has influence in picking between Clinton and Obama for our primary. For me, Clinton and Obama’s policy stance was like splitting hairs. I flipped flopped between the two for months, but all the media sexist coverage on Clinton in the end tilted me her way.

  130. 130 1430a
    October 2, 2008 at 19:00

    great show guys…..

  131. October 2, 2008 at 19:05


    For many religious conservations, no matter how much they disagree with their party’s nominee, being anti-choice is the only issue that matters. If you take out a women’s right to choose and gay rights from US Political issues, there would be much more middle ground.

    I could be wrong – but isn’t there something in the US Constitution about separating state and religion? I could be wrong.

    Does this then mean that McCain, because of Palin’s outrageous views, has brought religion directly into the election? This can, by a lesser value, be said of Obama. Palin, because of religious dogma, says certain things need to be removed from the statute books.

    Obama is a Christian and wears that on his sleeve.

    I need to be on the show before the election is over – I want to take on McCain’s supporters re his perceived patriotism.

  132. 132 Angela in Washington
    October 2, 2008 at 19:06


    I never felt the media was being sexist to Clinton. Her style was different than Obama’s style. She was an attacker and the media regarded her that way. Obama was more positve and was regarded that way. I usually treat people according to the way they act. Just like Palin came out of the gate fighting but when the media came after her to try to get information, they were stopped. It usually seems that the people that attack the most can’t handle it when it is done to them and they start whining about it. I didn’t agree with Clinton but she is a heck of a lot better than McCain and Palin.

  133. 133 Shaun in Halifax
    October 2, 2008 at 19:06

    @ Jessica in NYC

    I just wasn’t keen on having 24 years of Bushes and Clintons in the whitehouse.

  134. October 2, 2008 at 19:07

    The american media is often biased and sadly, there are a lot of americans who are comfortable with getting all of their information from these sources. When this happens, it is devastating for us as a country. For those, the media influences them heavily. (although I am not arguing that the media does not have any influence on the country- one has to be objective and critical when analyzing the information)

    It is very sad that we americans get more reliable information from the BBC.

    As far as Gov. Palin goes, she has been showing her lack of capability by giving poor answers to simple questions ever since her VP nomination. For her to not answer questions such as what newspapers or sources she gets her information from, what other decisions were made by the US supreme court besides Roe v Wade, and what other legislation Sen. McCain has been a part of creating and passing in his 26 years of service in the Senate is despicable. The media cant make an intelligent person look stupid!

  135. October 2, 2008 at 19:08

    Sarah Palin is a powerful woman, undeniable proofs Obama is deleted Palin speech and all news from YOU TUBE, as well as every day she is attacked by Obama biased media.
    Also it would not be wrong to sat that 2008 is not an American election it is power struggle between historic White House and Islamic world.

  136. 136 Angela in Washington
    October 2, 2008 at 19:08


    I think most Americans want a politician that is religious but not someone that would bring religion into decision making, since this country does not have a state religion.

  137. 137 Scott (M)
    October 2, 2008 at 19:09

    joe in the united states,

    Sorry, Joe, your argument isn’t sophisticated enough. You use the word beliefs. As if the alleged beliefs on the left and right were apples and apples. When they are apples and injection molding. Conservatives are the side with the ‘beliefs.’ They are the side with the religion. The very definition of conservative (disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc., or to restore traditional ones, and to limit change) indicates a mind made up. A mind made up is not open-minded. Do you have something to say otherwise?

    Your comment doesn’t actually go far enough, to analyze what the beliefs inherently are, how they are constructed. You are engaged in the ‘dumb objectivity’ I mention, as if all sides were peachy-creamy and can stand up to the same test of inquiry, when they can’t!!!

  138. October 2, 2008 at 19:11

    @ Will,

    well, i guess that that is my bad! I am actually saying that any effort to suggest that feminists do not critique Palin is really a flawed position to take; that is, if that was your intent. I may have read you wrong, though. plus, american media are not really interested, I find, in a ‘feminist position’ in politics, not when they can have pretty faces, etc.

    it is simple really, the media are largely uncritical in their treatment of Palin; that is, to the extent that I have been keeping up with the coverage. to suggest that it is sexist or offensive (to a feminist agenda) to critique Palin or that feminists are silent elides the larger point that the media do not want to hear these positions. So, Ros might well be right – the media do pick the winner by not asking the tough questions or highlighting the ‘difficult’ issues.

  139. October 2, 2008 at 19:14

    the question is, how much tougher do the media need to become other than to simply (?) say Palin is ‘not suitable’ for the job of VP/ President? That is the tricky one, I suspect. So, on with the show!

  140. October 2, 2008 at 19:21

    @ Will,

    Is it that McCain is not patriotic, or is that there is particular version of patriotism that seems to trump all the others in American politics? Like you said, Obama ‘wears his religion on his sleeves’ for the obvious (?) reason that he has an Islamic name, compounded by the unlikeliness (?) of his race. McCain, on the other hand, plays up his ‘everyman’ credentials in an effort to counter any sympathies towards Obama in this regard. It’s war. Plain and simple! They are both patriotic (?) to the extent that they are in public service and are vying for the top job in America. What is doubtful is whether these differing versions of patriotism are mutually exclusive. Can you have an Islamic name, be black and a Christian while you run for President or should you be an old (er), (white), war veteran? Are those the requirements for being the American Presient?

  141. October 2, 2008 at 19:27



    I think most Americans want a politician that is religious but not someone that would bring religion into decision making, since this country does not have a state religion.

    That is what confuses me – why is it that the country has to have a state religion? Isn’t religion a personal choice? Wasn’t it Reagan that brought this whole hyperbole into the equation and getting the religious right to vote?

  142. October 2, 2008 at 19:28

    If it was not for media, both the leaders and voters would be winking and smacking each other in the dark. Media is therefore a leader shopping showroom! , MALAWI

  143. 143 Scott (M)
    October 2, 2008 at 19:28


    The media seeks the truth. How can you seek the truth and not be liberal? How can you be fair and balanced and not be liberal? You think an agnostic and a Christian are on equal footing? If you balance them you get fairness and a sound argument? Well you don’t.

    The media is not just out there to represent different sides equally. It is there for truth. For investigations. For answers. You don’t get the answers to how we got here by balancing a Creationist and a Scientist.

    By what you suggest, how can the media do its job? How can it balance intolerance and tolerance? It can’t. Which is why the media should be liberal in an intellectual sense.

  144. October 2, 2008 at 19:29

    This is crazy,the media that influence you are the same media that condems you. Media always see the negative aspect of someone. From Nigeria

  145. October 2, 2008 at 19:32


    I am actually saying that any effort to suggest that feminists do not critique Palin is really a flawed position to take; that is, if that was your intent.

    My position is clear. I cannot understand why, after decades, feminists who do believe in equality of gender are not stating their ire at a “woman” being given a free pass because she is a woman.

    You either believe in equality or you don’t. Either stance to me is up for debate, yet I do believe in equality of gender – that is my intent. Take from that what you will, sir.

  146. October 2, 2008 at 19:33

    An independent media is an integral part of a democratic electoral process,which influences it.

  147. October 2, 2008 at 19:34

    Although the media influence the way people vote a great deal, but not in Nigeria. The electoral body decides who wins or loses elections here.

  148. October 2, 2008 at 19:39


    Can you have an Islamic name, be black and a Christian while you run for President or should you be an old (er), (white), war veteran? Are those the requirements for being the American Presient?

    I look at Obama as being the best man for the job as a whole. I neither care if he has an African name, nor his skin pigment or his religion – I care nought for any of that.

    If you are asking are there Americans who will not vote for him because of those aspects of him – yes there are. But at the end of the day – it is a US presidential race – we on the outside can only look on and see what they do and then deal with it afterwards.

  149. 149 Manu, Accra, Ghana
    October 2, 2008 at 19:44

    In Ghana, I get my most of my American news, comment and analysis from the Real News Network (http://therealnews.com) which is member supported and does not accept advertising, government or corporate funding. It is clearly run on a shoestring yet it asks questions which the mainstream media, including the BBC, tend to avoid.

  150. October 2, 2008 at 19:48

    @ Will,

    I was not suggesting any of that at all. In fact, I am less interested in knowing your personal feelings/ opinions on this matter, as much as I am questioning what appears to be your claim(s) about ‘patriotism’ in regards to McCain. I am, in fact, suggesting that both men proffer different versions of the same (?) ideology in various respects. The question is whether the discerning men and women of the American electorate will reflect the savvy and sophistication required to distinguish these characteristics? Or is it that, they will take the position that one is ‘(more) patriotic’ than the other and that (alone) becomes the basis for electing a President?

    Whatever happened to issues and real concerns? Who has the better set of policy positions? Who would make America and the rest of the world safer? After all, that is part of why we (non-Americans) are as vested in this discusion. Issues of ‘patriotism’ or the lack thereof are really, intended to cloud the issues rather than advance any meaningful discussion(s) of what is actually happening in these elections.

  151. 151 Alan
    October 2, 2008 at 19:52

    The media does have a great deal of influence in shaping public opinion. I believe this can be very dangerous, especially due to the lack of diversity in major media outlets and informational sources. Although here in the US we have a variety of television networks and media sources, ownership of all of these outlets boils down to an alarmingly small number of corporations (Time Warner, Viacom, Disney…). Some say major news sources in the US can be traced to only 6 corporations.

    This is a huge problem since the information that these news outlets release is inherently filtered to protect sponsors, as well as corporate and political ties. You rarely find a negative news story about a group (political organization, corporation, etc.) which has close ties with one of these corporations. So you don’t hear about the violence perpetrated by US sponsored governments in South America whereas political enemies such as Russia are regularly vilified. (If you are interested in reading more about media filters you should read Chomsky’s Manufacturing Consent).

    These filters create a great deal of distortion when seeking honest, fair, and balanced information. How can the public be expected to make informed decisions when key information is being withheld or distorted by a monopolized media that is more concerned with protecting its allegiances than with providing true and accurate information.

    One last point. How many Americans know the number of presidential candidates running for office this November and who can tell me their names? Although there are legitimate candidates running for office other than McCain and Obama, the only ones you hear about are the Republican and Democratic party candidates. The other parties are not even allowed to debate with the main parties even though they’ve legitimately earned the right to run for office. This is a huge problem. For a society to be truly democratic, we cannot have such a limited choice in our leadership and in our media coverage.

  152. 152 selena in Canada
    October 2, 2008 at 19:58


    Sorry if you thought I was angry. I was more saddened than anything. It saddens me to see the vitriol against a woman who has, for whatever reason, risen to the position of Vice-Presidential candidate for the Republican Party.

    She doesn’t need an exam. She just needs to be able to work with the people who make up the Executive Branch and the government. She can never know everything. Do you really expect her to know everything?

    It scares me that in the face of the monumental economic crisis foisted upon the globe by all the brilliant people currently running the show that Americans can be fixated on the kind of job Sarah Palin will do.

    It is a wait and see attitude with them all.

    By the way, I like the Republican Party about as much as I like the Conservatives in Canada. Believe me that is not much!

  153. 153 selena in Canada
    October 2, 2008 at 20:00


    You think Sarah Palin is getting a free pass? Where have to been hiding? 🙂

  154. October 2, 2008 at 20:01


    My perceived patriotism is only guided by the attack on Sen Obama’s patriotism when it was said, because of a lapel pin, that Obama can’t be as patriotic. McCain hasn’t worn one once, including during the 9/11 commemoration.

    There hasn’t been the dysfunctional media hype over this – we have to ask why?

    Is it because McCain flew for 20 hours in combat and was imprisoned for 5 1/2 years that he is given a pass? If so then I feel it is wrong and a disservice to those other POWs who were held at the same time.

  155. 155 Enzo1990
    October 2, 2008 at 20:04

    Of course most of us are influenced to some extent by the media, no matter how media-savvy we are. That doesn’t have to mean they lead us by the nose.
    My experience of US news is that it tends to be populist and sensationalist, and that there is media bias both ways, though I think non-US listeners are too quick to accept the idea that there is a liberal bias in US mainstream media. That’s been a GOP mantra for decades, but the ownership patterns say something different.
    Years ago, I used to write press releases as a community organizer (a much less successful one than THAT one) and would send them to the two big, local, papers, one supposedly liberal, one supposedly conservative. The ‘liberal’ one would bend over backwards looking for an ‘opposing view’ to balance their final article (not always being entirely fair, either). The conservative one would nearly always print it as was. In the short run, what the conservative paper did was nicer for our (very progressive) causes, but it was sloppy, and revealed an attitude toward content that I wasn’t comfortable with (though they were both considered reputable). To read real news, rather than a bunch of PR, I read the supposedly ‘liberal’ paper, while knowing they weren’t always fair, either.

  156. October 2, 2008 at 20:05

    @ Scott (M),

    I will have to agree to disagree with you. Being liberal and being truthful are not the same things, by a long shot. One can be truthful and balanced and anti-liberal simultaneously. As a matter of fact, being balanced is not mutually exclusive to being either agnostic, or even non-Christian. You appear to have confused a number of these issues in the celebration (?) of liberal politics at the expense of everything else. That is not the answer to the ‘spectacle’ of talking heads giving varying (often opposing views) on a set of issues, as has become the norm in today’s media practises.

    What is the goal of media? To make us informed/ aware, educated (some claim) and even entertained. It is part of the vast ray of interests that their audiences have and they (media) must meet these or perish. Someone said above that the media are businesses. This is, perhaps, the most accurate position of all. They often do what is economically expedient if not politically expected. After all, they need to remain in business. Somebody has to pay the piper for the music to go on. So, no there is no requirement for the media to be liberal in the pursuits of fairness, balance and credible, if not entertaining and educational information.

    …Indeed, I would argue the nobility of truth, such as it is, has very little place in this discussion as well, given that ‘truth’ can, itself, be so fluid/ relative in certain contexts,…but I digress!

  157. October 2, 2008 at 20:10

    @ “The Media”

    One thing about “The Media” is that the media, newspapers, magazines, books, blogs, pamphlets, handouts, billboards, are also the “Free Press,” and without them there would be no freedom as we experience it in the U.S. It is up to every individual to decide for him or herself what they believe.

  158. October 2, 2008 at 20:12

    @ Will,

    But that is the point, sir. Do not fall prey to the temptation to view the peripheral ‘concerns’ in the interests of defending your candidate. These are all part of the effort to lead us away from real concerns. So, yes, I share that position. However, I am no less convinced that Obama is patriotic than McCain. The real question is whether that (alone() is a substantive premise on which to seek passage to the highest office in the land? Is it enough to say that because I flew over a country and was taken prisoner that that qualifies me to be President? If so, let us all line us to be POWs! There is more to this issue. Pandering to the sentiments, such as they are, about patriotism or the lack thereof, limits the debates in such ways that none of us are any better for it.

    will McCain’s plans in terms of following Osama Bin Laden to the gates of hell, help us in the turbulent world politics of wars and rumours of war? Will drilling in Anwar drive down the price of oil immediately, or even in the near term future? How far and in what ways are the Republicans and the Democrats prepared to go in the interests of bipartisan partnerships, especially with the looming meltdown of the American banking system? What about health care for some and tax breaks for the few? Are these issues relevant in terms of the election and how does that impact the rest of us who are watching all this unfold? Those are but some of the issues worth considering in my view.

  159. October 2, 2008 at 20:22

    @ Will (in reference to gender issues),

    I am actually questioning your arguments about ‘a feminist position’ regarding coverage of/ reactions to Palin. Is it fair to say that feminists have been silent, in part, because what you consider a ‘feminist position’ has not been (clearly?) articulated for your benefit? Is that the same as saying that Palin is getting a ‘free pass’? What is a feminist position? And, why should they be any more vested in critiquing Palin in this as compared to other elections?

    Note, in response to the last question, I am not suggeseting that they should not. I am only asking why? Why, in other words, is the much sought after ‘feminist position’ given so much play in these elections as compared to others or other periods in American politics? Truth is, that women’s issues are people issues! We need to get that! Notwithstanding biology, women in America or anywhere else in the world for that matter, all want the same things as men – to be free to live the lives they desire for themselve – whatever that means!

  160. October 2, 2008 at 20:27

    to suggest that the ‘feminist position’ is silent or that the American public ‘ignorant’, insofar as their review of these elections, earlier, miss the larger point of the relationship between media and their audiences. the notion that any one position is, necessarilly, ‘feminist’ is part of the miseducation. CNN and the other media, perhaps, need to explain in clear and simple language that in the end if they have been ‘soft’ on Palin, it is because they have not been doing their jobs well. And, if the American electorate refuses to ask (tough) questions of the candidates and are blinded by presumably ‘pretty smiles’ and ‘funky’ glasses, then, it is there own fault then the country topples further into ruin pursuing Osama ‘to the gates of hell’! the tragedy is the rest of us out here will also be affected. how sad!

  161. 161 Scott (M)
    October 2, 2008 at 21:10


    Two portions of the the definition of ‘liberal’:
    -free from prejudice or bigotry; tolerant
    -open-minded or tolerant, esp. free of or not bound by traditional or conventional ideas, values, etc

    I haven’t confused anything. You are not going deep enough. Conservative views are inherently subjective. There are indeed more ‘beliefs’ in a conservative view, more things set in stone—more things decided. If a mind is ‘decided’ on so many issues its outlook or worldview is inherently more subjective then a world view which is liberal. This isn’t just about the political. It just happens to often manifest itself that way in the media.

    Now, you’ve hijacked the role of the media in order to say: all is okay. Now, you’ve hijacked the definition of truth suggesting: it doesn’t matter in this discussion. The truth is not fluid, if it changes it wasn’t the truth all along. If the media has no responsibility toward the truth, then we shouldn’t bother with this discussion at all, because the media is useless.

    – You write: One can be truthful and balanced and anti-liberal simultaneously.
    – I write: They can’t. If you are anti-liberal by the definition above, you would be: NOT ‘free from prejudice or bigotry’, and NOT ‘tolerant.’ This is NOT truthful and NOT balanced.

    Unfortunately, we have collectively come to view the terms liberal and conservative, as nothing more then I like green and you like blue, which is inaccurate. They are more equivalent to something like: I don’t have a favorite color, and you love blue, and then engaging in a discussion on color.

  162. October 2, 2008 at 21:38


    I am getting to the ‘I’m scratching my head on this’ position.

    I thought I made my position clear – I do believe that feminists should be speaking out against the ‘hands off’ approach because Sarah Palin is a woman.

    What is it that you don’t understand about this position. The feminists I know all are quite outraged that Palin isn’t being questioned about her positions on such things as Roe V Wade – and why she isn’t being questioned about having raped women pay for ‘rape kits’.

    They and I feel she should answer these ethical questions – where am I confusing you on that?

    If we want, as I do, a gender equal society we have to treat both genders equally, by default. You could go the other way and say that Biden should only go on 3 interviews and not speak about the many things he has done in the past – that would be just as equal – I suppose.

    By all means, Rawpol – if you have a definitive stance on such matters then rather than questioning my position please state yours. That could clear things up for the blog reader.

  163. 163 John in Scotland
    October 2, 2008 at 21:54

    A more subliminal way in which the media dictates the debate is in the way it often constructs and limits the debate .

    The question essentially dictates the answer in that it set s the parameters of the discussion . Formulate it one way …you get one answer …formulate it another way …you get a different answer .

    All to often it can also think its promoting differing opinions in the so called experts it chooses , but the difference is in some cases are only superficial. They often hold to the same ‘ hidden assumptions’ , This is often the case when we here politicians from’ both sides’ discuss an issue .

    One of the issues recently discussed was on whether people should be made to vote . Well one of the reasons many people don’t bother is at a more subconscous level….they realise that despite what looks on the surface to be ‘difference ‘ they experience the politicians as being the same .

    This sort of contradiction becomes stressful to the psyche and so they disengage from it .

    What it does tell us is that we are not getting to the root of issues that concern us , and so the media with all the best will in the world is failing to deliver . It needs to re examine itself ,and ask is it ‘asking’ the right question.

  164. 164 smithcopper
    October 3, 2008 at 02:03

    Depends on the media. Hopefully, people will vote for their interests not against them. Conservative media favors McCain and a lot of people are happy about the choice of Palin, at first one would have thought it was the 2nd coming. To some it was …ugh the gender card. Obama is sometimes represented with “black cool” and at times fumbles and can’t give a straight answer either and chose Biden who’s been voting on the wrong side of things for a long time. Obama is not such a great candidate. Palin might turn it around. They are all puppets and swimming with sharks. We need strong leadership the republic can trust on all levels …people with a mindset of “servant leadership” to represent the people. There is nothing new under the sun. There will always be greed and politrickians lying to us with a smile on their faces or trying to scare us into backing bad policies then laughing at us behind our backs. Wall Street and Washington should keep in mind crime spreads from the top down. If they continue to stick us up with bad policies foreign entities will control our market. Even Clinton confessed the mess of Wall Street was the fault of democrats ..of course to deflect blame from himself for propelling CRA at ludicrous speed.

  165. October 3, 2008 at 10:57

    with the little i know,if at all the media can influence people to buy treated mosquito nets to beat malaria and even empower us on the need to take care against AIDS,then politics results aint a major thing that cant be influenced by some media.


  166. 166 Matthew
    October 3, 2008 at 16:14


    BBC TV seen as being liberal and socialist in it’s perspective here and in the USA is not if you really study and analyse information from elsewhere and other sources and countries. ITV – populist and not investigative at any real level, with the odd very late night exception, Sky TV, Sky News – Murdoch. Only Channel 4 is open and investigative and ruffles government feathers on a consistent basis, but is a minority audience. Channel 5 nothing of real substance to talk about in the youngest terrestrial channel in our catalogue of 5 in total. Sky owned and controlled by Murdoch from a media that has a right wing agenda and bias attached to it. He has media corporations, newspaper concerns and businesses all over the globe, hence the rather appropriate called News International and News Corps being the global umbrella for all his businesses and a gross over control and monopoly of influence on a truly massive scale. Now if that isn’t media bias and influence (infesting itself) reaching into every nook and cranny of most peoples lives in the West and now the Far East, then WHAT THE HELL IS?
    By the way he DETESTS THE BBC and labels it in the exact same manner as truly is the identity of his megalomaniac’s empire. He has called it a monolith and a divisive organisation (basically standing in his way of continued global media domination) by Murdoch and his merry men.
    Murdoch’s publications worldwide adopted hawkish views with regards to the 2003 invasion of Iraq. During the build up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, all 175 Murdoch-owned newspapers worldwide editorialized in favour of the war. Murdoch also served on the board of directors of the libertarian Cato Institute. News Corp-owned Fox News is often criticized for alleged conservative bias, though it denies these allegations. His reach and corporate tentacles envelops millions of people’s lives in the USA, the West in general and an increasingly worrying monopoly of influence throughout Asia and the Far East.

  167. 167 Matthew
    October 3, 2008 at 16:44


    Please take note – you need to find out which newspaper proprietors are affiliated to which political party or political stand and viewpoint. The same goes for the TV stations and all visual and aural media – when you find out if they are partisan in their political leanings one way or the other, then you begin to get an insight into how they go about, gathering the required information, reporting the story, formatting it, developing their angle, editing it and presenting it for public consumption.
    Only when you know if there is an agenda involved and there usually is, then you can make an informed judgement, decision and develop a response into how you best accept and ingest that information and what you do with it, contend or agree with that placed in your view.
    In the UK the largest circulating daily and weekly newspapers are the Sun & Sunday edition called News of the World, a deeply populist and conservative leaning paper with a circulation of over 3 million readers a day. These the Times, The Sunday Times are overseen and controlled by News International Corporation, that is owned by Rupert Murdoch who owns Fox TV and Twentieth Century Fox concerns across the board, Sky, My Space and many many others.
    The Daily Telegraph – broadsheet traditionally conservative, Daily Mail – tabloid traditionally conservative, Daily Express tabloid – conservative/right wing, Daily Star – tabloid owned by Express Newspaper Group, Daily Mirror – tabloid traditionally socialist, Guardian – broadsheet traditionally socialist and The Independent trying to strike a balance of information/left wing. The majority are right wing agenda papers and have a larger sales and circulation figures than the socialist/left wing leaning papers. It is fairly safe to say that most people in the UK glean their daily news information primarily from these sources.

  168. 168 Bryan
    October 3, 2008 at 19:47

    Matthew October 3, 2008 at 4:44 pm,

    And what about the BBC?

    Publicly funded and obliged by its charter to be impartial and to inform, educate and entertain, it falls way short of these requirement on a daily basis.

    And although it is fair to say that the majority of the licence fee-paying British public does not subscribe to the BBC’s world view, the corporation stubbornly refuses to balance its output, insisting on promoting the narrowest of narrow PeeCee, left wing agendas and campaigning for all the “right” causes. If it were a privately-funded media organisation, people could choose whether or not to pay for it. It isn’t and they can’t. It is an absolute disgrace that people are forced on pain of imprisonment to support it.

  169. 169 Matthew
    October 4, 2008 at 08:31


    Good to know you’re not giving up your rant at the BBC.
    Unfortunately, if you were to examine the level of censorship, in fact censorship isn’t quite the right description. It’s more the deliberate and judicious removal of salient points that allows an item to presents itself in such a manner being applied by the BBC News television reporting and most news networks arena in general.

    A case in hand, I was in Serbia recently (having been there 8 times since 2000, and shortly after the concerted 72 day and night bombing raids by NATO’s largest air force since World War 2) and witnessed via their media the capture of Radovan Karadzic, suspected war criminal for crimes in Bosnia during the horrendous civil conflict there in the 1990’s. You note I said suspected war criminal. Currently there is no cast iron information to say he had a hand in or was directly responsible for what befell many Moslem citizens. But the western media news agencies, particularly Sky, and the BBC as well have labelled him in such a fashion. I’m not saying he’s guilty or innocent, lets make that TOTALLY CLEAR right now!

    What I am saying is that I watched on B92 Serbia’s best news channel an example of this, of what was left in and what was left out by the BBC. The Sun newspaper immediately referred to him as the “Beast of Bosnia.” so immediately conveyed him to 3 million readers plus in the UK daily, as being exactly that. It is the UK’s biggest readership of any national newspaper and metaphorically instructed it’s readers to sentence, and have him hung drawn and quartered in an instant.

  170. 170 Matthew
    October 4, 2008 at 08:32

    Only the Guardian newspaper reported differently, and to a minority audience.
    At The Hague Tribunal for War Crimes preliminary court proceedings, the judge and Karadzic had a slight break down of communication and misunderstanding of a certain issue being discussed at the time. They both uncontrollably and inadvertently laughed in the moment.
    It was not something that either of them could control. Such is human nature, these things happen in the most peculiar of settings, and the majority of us don’t see and get to hear about unless you’re there and witness it firsthand.
    But when the news media try to take us to that area and allow us an insight into events there, they should have a duty to convey the actuality and reality of what is taking place. Otherwise you are being disingenuous to say the least with your viewers, listeners and readers.
    The BBC News 24 and others neglected to include this as part of the retelling, and said Karadzic was laughing at the court in a disdainful and dismissive manner. The Sun and others reported him as laughing and sneering at the court and showing total disrespect for the proceedings. Now if people do trust the information being imparted to them; let’s be honest many of us accept the version of events as accorded to us by the major news networks, how are we to be any the wiser as to what is actually happening at anyone time in any given situation, most particularly on the international stage. I can cite you a never ending list of whereby the real truths and understanding are being obfuscated and deliberately steered towards one agenda, and one agenda only.
    This is not a left or right bias issue; this is an HONESTY and TRUTH ISSUE!
    We are all being potentially duped no matter where our political leanings are, and by the institutions we are supposed to place our considerable faith and trust in.

  171. 171 Bryan
    October 4, 2008 at 10:18

    I agree, but again, people are not forced to pay for other media. As an example, I cannot watch CNN because it consistently pushes an agenda. It’s like being told not only what to think, but how to think. So I don’t watch it and I don’t pay for it. The BBC is similar to CNN but the British public is forced to pay for its biased reporting.

  172. 172 Shakhoor Rehman
    October 4, 2008 at 11:00

    The Media is often used as an excuse by those who lose. It is certainly the case that many contenders in elections do not get a ‘fair crack of the whip’ in coverage because they are not considered ‘newsworthy’ by people in authority whose capacity to judge such things is open to serious question and that is why some are calling for legal changes in electoral, coverage provision.Nevertheless, I do not believe the Media can determine the result of any election merely influence it more or less decisively in certain circumstances. Whether that means that to a degree elections can be rigged is another matter. In the main, I believe people can still judge for themselves rightly or wrongly who is the best for them.

  173. October 6, 2008 at 11:40

    There are many trila ,
    one of those a media trial,
    it very importent for general public,
    and sophisticated for political leaders,
    no doubt, it has played a crucial role ,
    in success and defeats in the elections.

    The fact of the day is that,
    media has drowned the ship of Musharraf in Pakistan,
    with full and prudent support of the United States.

    Republican and Democrate in the United States,
    are facing media,
    which is supporting republicans,
    because, they are confronted with the policies,
    adopted by Republicans,
    during the last eight years,
    with the refference of war in Iraq,Afghanista,
    and targeting civilians in Pakistan.

  174. October 6, 2008 at 12:23

    Through media,
    we ,in Pakistan know that,
    a secret orders were issued by the president,
    in regard to attacking in side Pakistan.

    By the media,
    secret jails were made in Cuba,
    where arrested persons were kept under different allegations,

    It is media ,
    which told us that,
    how much ecnomic aid has been granted to Pakistan,
    for combat to resurgents,
    in lawless trible area,
    attributed to Afghan and Pak border,

    Media exposed to the world people,
    what Republican done during its eight years,
    like the country,United States,which was strong ecnomically,
    to day facing ecnomic crisis.

    who is responsible for bloodshed in the world,
    especially in Iraq,Afghanistan,and Pakistan.

    In fact,
    Republicans are facing media trial,
    so there is chances of its success in the forthing coming election,,
    in the states.

    It would be doubtless to say,
    media has played crucial in winning and defeating ,
    in the elections.

  175. October 6, 2008 at 15:22

    @ Will,

    I certainly don’t agree with your remarks in terms of the questioning of Palin in a more rigourous way and certainly in terms of what you have said above. She must answer these questions. What I am worried about, as I read in your remarks earlier (and forgive the late response!), is the assumption that there is a ‘feminist position’, which not only makes it self manifestly known by pre-determined feminists but that any other consideration outside of that narrow definition are to be considered unfeminist. This is where I disagree. Indeed, I have read with interests where people on this blog have advocated being “tougher” on Palin (even I have said so, in the past!). However, unless we define what that actually means, as you did in the last entry, then I am always unclear as to what people want answers to. My position is that, notwithstanding issues of abortion, rape, etc. there are other concerns which impact the question of rights, equity and women’s involvement in that discussion. To which extent, there is no one Feminist Position, but multiple positions, including some of the concerns you articulated in your last entry. I questioned your arguments because they seemed to have suggested that there is only one such position to which you were privy but did not state so as to be clear.

  176. October 6, 2008 at 15:50

    @ Will,

    the first line should have read: “I certainly do agree…”

  177. October 6, 2008 at 15:52

    @ Ros,

    there seems to be a problem here. I responded to Scott (M) above, a short while ago, and it appears that the entry was either removed or not posted. Either way, I am not sure what has happened.

  178. October 6, 2008 at 16:19

    @ Scott (M),

    I responded to your post earlier, however, it appears it was edited off the board or something. Which is completely amazing to me, as there was nothing there that suggested or stated an offensive tack.

    That being said, I wish to highlight that I disagree with your comments above, notwithstanding your definitions of liberal, etc. The point is that being liberal and or conservative does not (also) equate with being truthful and or objective, necessarilly. The media can occupy either of these positions as well as all the in between positions and still remain committed to achieving objectivity (to the extent that that is possible) and truthfulness as part of the larger committment to giving us factual, valid and provable information.

    Does that mean that ‘truth’ as a set of experiences about reality can shift? Yes it does. More than a question of facts and figures, of which all are in agreement, there is the kind of ‘truth’ that is largely subjective and is experienced in very personal ways by different people, at different times, even in relation to the same sets of provable facts and figures. In that regard, ‘truth’ is not, necessarilly, contingent on objectivity or, for that matter, a liberal/ conservative politics. We embody different elements of these states of being whether together or apart, as a result.

  179. January 23, 2010 at 08:12

    ofcourse the media picks the winner.

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