Following on the heels of complaints from Time magazine's Mark Halperin that the press hugely favored Barack Obama during the 2008 presidential election, ABC political correspondent Jake Tapper chimed in today to say that he agreed:
Regular readers of this blog will not be surprised to learn that I too wonder just how fair the media coverage of this campaign was.
Case in point: perhaps the most unfair and negative TV ad run during the entire campaign, by either side, was the Spanish-language TV ad Obama ran against Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz, that got very little media coverage.
Why didn't it get more coverage? If McCain had run a comparable ad -- with unfair charges, trying to exploit racial tensions -- would it have been as under-covered?
In any case, Obama won for any number of reasons, not the least of which were the modern Gold Standard in presidential campaigns and a nation that wanted a dramatic change.
But I believe Halperin's larger point -- since he brought in the media's rather wanting coverage of the build-up to the war in Iraq as well -- is the fact that reporters have an obligation to be better.
Whether the media were in favor of the Iraq invasion is a point that I'd dispute (especially in light of our previous research on the matter). Tapper and Halperin are correct that the U.S. press was excited with the idea of being war correspondents but to conflate that with the extreme bias in favor of Barack Obama that was so bad that the public noticed it overwhelmingly is quite a bit of a stretch.
Still, kudos to both Tapper and Halperin for honestly admitting the press needs to back off its Obama fealty. They are in a small minority willing to speak this truth to the media establishment.