Campaign Watch

By Brent Baker | November 5, 2008 | 4:03 AM EST
At about 2:50 AM EST Wednesday morning, MSNBC went live to NBC News reporter Dawna Friesen in London for world reaction to Barack Obama's election and she triumphantly declared: “It's not an overstatement to say that this is what the world wanted. Poll after poll done in countries around the world over the past few months has showed that people wanted Barack Obama to win.”

After blurry video of Kenyans dancing and singing a song which “had only two words, 'Obama' and 'miracle,'” Friesen held up the front page of London's left of center The Independent and explained how the newspaper's headline “dubbed” Obama "The history man." She also decided to highlight:
The diplomatic editor of The Independent interestingly writing that now is the time to undo the damage done by George W. Bush. I think much of the world does see this as really turning a page, moving on from George Bush. And the diplomatic editor says there's a global yearning for a seismic shift in American foreign policy.
By Brent Baker | November 5, 2008 | 12:36 AM EST
At 11:49 PM EST, live from Morehouse College in Atlanta, ABC News reporter Steve Osunsami choked up and came near tears as he recalled how “my father used to tell us that there's n
By Brent Baker | November 4, 2008 | 11:31 PM EST
In an interview from Chicago's Grant Park taped shortly beforehand and aired on ABC just past 10:30 PM EST/9:30 PM local time, an excited Oprah Winfrey told Good Morning America's Robin Roberts:
I haven't seen this sense of unity since 9/11, really, really, and 9/11 was this tragic experience that brought us all together and now we're all brought together in the name of hope. Not since 9/11 have I experienced anything even kind of close to this.
Of course, the 47 percent who voted for McCain may not share Winfrey's unity.

She had prefaced that contention: “It's my town. My town's been vibrating all day. I mean, from the moment I left the building this morning -- the doorman, everybody vibrates, just great. It's one of the greatest experiences of, certainly my lifetime and it's been wonderful, I think, for everybody in the country who has called somebody or somebody has called them. Everybody was e-mailing everybody standing in line.”

By Tim Graham | November 4, 2008 | 9:59 PM EST

NBC anchor Brian Williams appeared on the Tavis Smiley show on PBS on Monday night and trashed Joe the Plumber's anti-tax cause as a silly issue, not a serious question about the redistribution of wealth: "Look at how our attention was able to get pulled into pigs and lipstick and plumbers.

By Geoffrey Dickens | November 4, 2008 | 7:13 PM EST

During live coverage, on Tuesday's "Today" show, of Barack Obama voting in his home state, Andrea Mitchell postulated that he will have to confront a "liberal" Congress because Obama, himself, is a "centrist." The Senator with the most liberal voting record, according to Mitchell, will be the one to "rein in expectations from and empowered liberal majority in the House and Senate."Mitchell made the following proclamation on the November 4, edition of "Today" show:

By Mark Finkelstein | November 4, 2008 | 5:37 PM EST

It's taken them awhile, but good to see that MSNBC has now seamlessly integrated its own promotional advertising with that of the Obama campaign.

An MSNBC promo that just aired, touting the network's election coverage, concludes: "Watch MSNBC, and experience the power of change."  And as you'll see from the screencap, who is at the center of MSNBC's coverage but Keith Olbermann.  Oh, and prior to its parting shot, the promo's soundtrack is the voice of JFK, in his famous "ask not" line from the 1961 inaugural address.

View video here.

By Tim Graham | November 4, 2008 | 5:14 PM EST

In a Thursday night appearance on the PBS show Charlie Rose, it was revealed that the Democratic ticket could have been Obama-Brokaw. Rose reported: "I think it was Caroline Kennedy who said that when they have the short [running mate] list for Barack Obama, there was a name down there somewhere?" Tom Brokaw replied: "My name was on it." Rose pestered Brokaw to go into public service after his latest NBC stint ends: "There comes a time, you are reminding me of a conceited anchorman who once said to raise your right hand to enlist." Brokaw didn’t utterly reject the idea of serving a new administration: "I understand the need to step up from time to time, and if the right opportunity came along, I would certainly be willing to take a good, hard look at that."

Rose also curiously worried that a President Obama might end up being a very cautious centrist: "What do you make of him? Tell me what you see there. Because I was talking to a friend of mine, and he said, I see someone who is clearly aspirational, someone who is clearly bright, someone who is clearly ambitious in the best sense of that, but who is clearly cautious, and in the end, he may very well be a man of the center."

By Clay Waters | November 4, 2008 | 4:24 PM EST

New York Times reporter Katharine Seelye set the Election Day scene in her front-page story "Election Night (Popcorn Included)," an hour-by-hour guide for interpreting tonight's electoral results. It contained several dire predictions for McCain and the future of the GOP if various states (including Indiana, Virginia, and New Mexico) go for Obama. On the other hand, Seelye warned that if McCain managed to win Pennsylvania, it would not be a crushing blow for Obama, but would instead bring up deep concerns about latent racism and the (perhaps mythological) "Bradley effect," in which white voters lie to pollsters, saying they favor a black candidate, but then vote for the white one.Some select tidbits from Seelye:

By Kyle Drennen | November 4, 2008 | 3:35 PM EST

In the 8:30AM half hour of Tuesday’s CBS Early Show co-host Maggie Rodriguez led live coverage of Barack Obama voting in Chicago and asked Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer: "Bob, how must he be feeling right now?" A choked up Schieffer replied: "Well, I mean, this is a -- this is a remarkable moment in American history. Stop and think about this, 150 years ago there were 31 million people who lived in this country, 4 million of those people were slaves, 4 million people. And, today, here you have an African-American who may be elected president of this country. This is not -- people keep talking about the American people may be ready to turn a page, but it's not just a political page, this is a page of American history." Rodriguez agreed: "Absolutely."

Co-host Harry Smith joined the coverage and actually wondered if Obama was voting for himself: "I'm wondering, I would love to ask him afterwards whether or not he voted for himself...Because having voted in school elections and stuff like that, we were taught as kids sometimes you vote for the other guy because that's how -- that's how -- it's an honorable thing to say that 'I honor your presence here. This was a battle well fought.' And I would be very interested to know whether or not he voted for himself." A realistic Schieffer replied: "I'm betting he did." Smith responded: "Yeah, I'm betting he did. I'm just bringing up a question."

By Justin McCarthy | November 4, 2008 | 3:33 PM EST

Whoopi Goldberg, in defending Reverend Wright, admitted to, at times "cuss[ing] out America." On the November 4 (Election Day) edition of "The View," a conversation about Sarah Palin’s clearance in the "Troopergate" probe quickly morphed into a fight (three on one) over Reverend Wright. In justifying Wright’s "God damn America" remark, Whoopi confessed "I have been guilty of cussing this country out because we have not always shown our best and put our best foot forward."

Aiding Whoopi’s tirade against Elisabeth Hasselbeck, Sherri Shepherd defended Obama’s decision to forego public financing "because they’re swift boating Barack Obama with this Jeremiah Wright stuff." Sherri and Whoopi also scolded Elisabeth for allegedly not understanding black issues and Reverend Wright’s bitterness towards his country.

Adding to the pile on, Joy Behar, for her part, claimed she did not want to sit in judgment as a white woman stating "I don’t really think that I have any business to discuss what goes on in a black church because I am not black." When Elisabeth called out Joy for defending Wright when "Obama hasn’t," Behar comically denied defending Wright. When Elisabeth questioned Obama for sitting in Wright’s church for 20 years, Behar made a bizarre comparison claiming "A lot of people sat- a lot of people sat for eight years while Bush committed his little atrocities. So let’s not cast stones."

By Rich Noyes | November 4, 2008 | 3:05 PM EST
On his syndicated Chris Matthews Show on Sunday, the conspicuously pro-Obama MSNBC host announced how he expected that “election night is going to be emotional for all of us....Particularly if it goes in that historic direction, it’s going to be very emotional for everybody. I mean, everybody.”

A few minutes later, in his closing commentary about the election, Matthews (a potential Democratic Senate candidate in 2010) offered a not-very veiled endorsement of Barack Obama, suggesting his election would mean a “leap towards something better and uniting our country as never before in our history.”

So we’ll be more united than we were after 9/11? More united than during World War II? Maybe the bartender who serves the Obama Kool-Aid at MSNBC had better cut Matthews off — he’s had a few too many.
By Ken Shepherd | November 4, 2008 | 1:43 PM EST

The McCain campaign filed suit yesterday against Virginia in federal court to "force the state to count late-arriving overseas military ballots," reported the Associated Press in a November 3 story. While the Washington Post's Web site carries the 5-paragraph AP article, the paper's print edition this morning punted on running a separate follow-up article.

Instead the Post devoted a few paragraphs on the lawsuit inside a larger Metro section frontpager by staffer Anita Kumar about how the NAACP unsuccessfully filed suit to make "last-minute changes to Virginia's voting procedures in response to allegations" by the civil rights group "that the state is not prepared to handle the predicted historic voter turnout."

McCain's lawsuit garnered just five paragraphs, four of them at the tail end of the 23-paragraph article. The treatment of the McCain suit is not all that surprising. As we've noted before at NewsBusters, the Post tends to yawn over concern about disenfranchisement of military personnel casting overseas absentee ballots: