Campaign Watch

By Justin McCarthy | November 3, 2008 | 4:02 PM EST

Media biased against McCain because his campaign is not doing well. That was George Stephanopoulos’ rationalization on the November 3 edition of "The View." Elisabeth Hasselbeck questioned Stephanopoulos about the media’s pro-Obama bias. With studies out demonstrating the media has been clearly far more pro-Obama in its coverage, Stephanopoulos could not dispute the facts. Instead the former Clinton adviser spun it as a result of the faltering McCain campaign.

By Scott Whitlock | November 3, 2008 | 3:50 PM EST

"Good Morning America" co-host Diane Sawyer prompted Barack Obama supporter Caroline Kennedy to gush about just how excited she was over the senator's possible victory. Sawyer also probed for scintillating details, such as wondering, "Where are you going to watch [the election returns]?" Regarding the Kennedy daughter's endorsement of the Democratic presidential candidate, Sawyer gushed, "So, do you feel that what you wrote has been fulfilled? And that you do have a sense of excitement that people told you they felt with your father [John F. Kennedy]?"

Looking for celebrity gossip, Sawyer reflected on Kennedy's glitzy February appearance with Obama: "You, Maria Shriver, Oprah, standing there for that morning of endorsement. Have you talked to each other? Did you talk to each other this weekend? What are you saying?" The ABC journalist even excitedly referenced the possibility of a position for her in the Obama administration. She bubbled, "So, the speculation game is already begun. And this morning, it is Caroline Kennedy ambassador to name-your-country."

By Ken Shepherd | November 3, 2008 | 3:42 PM EST

Reporter Clive Crook really likes Barack Obama and in a November 3 op-ed practically endorsed him for president. But, the Financial Times reporter worries, the Illinois senator has some loopy economic ideas.

Yes, your just read that correctly. A reporter for one of the Anglosphere's well-respected financial newspapers admits he'd vote for Obama were he an American citizen -- Crook is a subject of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II -- but he hopes his stump speech populism is all a vote-getting gimmick.

As you read this, imagine the clamor, if not outright outrage, if a conservative-leaning foreign journalist like say Mark Steyn endorsed McCain only to question his foreign policy prescriptions (emphases mine):

By Justin McCarthy | November 3, 2008 | 2:13 PM EST

Whoopi Goldberg wants to settle it once and for all: She read the Constitution! Though she apparently still has not read as far as the 13th Amendment. On the November 3 edition of "The View," in discussing a recent Howard Kurtz item noting the tough tone of John McCain’s recent interview, Whoopi once again alluded to her notorious "slavery" sandbag of Senator McCain.

Whoopi took issue with some letters she has received urging her to actually read the Constitution and accused everyone else of not reading "the damn Constitution." Whoopi then seemingly confused the Constitution and the Declaration of Indepdence. She then attacked McCain’s strict constructionist interpretation concluding that an originist judge would return to slavery. Claiming "I read [the Constitution], I know what I was asking," Whoopi apparently missed that the 13th Amendment clearly forbids slavery and any originist judge would know that.

By Kyle Drennen | November 3, 2008 | 11:52 AM EST

Harry Smith, CBS On Monday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith talked exclusively to two Canadian comedians, Marc-Antoine Audette and Sebastien Trudel, who prank called Sarah Palin: "Pranksters pulled a fast one, over the weekend, on vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin. Comedians from Canada posed as French President Nicolas Sarkozy." Smith later asked them: "Did you get the sense when you were on the phone with her, did she have any idea what was going on?" Trudel replied: "No...She was as gullible as Britney Spears. She -- there are only two people that we pranked that never caught on that it was a joke and that we had to explain it to them at the end. Sarah Palin and Britney Spears. And Britney Spears could not ever be President of the United States but Sarah Palin could." Audette added: "But they're both good least." Smith agreed: "That accounts -- that does account for something."

In addition to portraying Sarah Palin as stupid, the comedians and Smith also described how bad her staff was. Smith asked: " long did it take you and how did you start?" Trudel replied: "We started Tuesday, last Tuesday, it took four days. It's our fastest one except Britney Spears, so you can put that in the same category, her staff." Audette added: "It was pretty quick, actually. Because when we pranked Paul McCartney it took us about two months...Bill Gates, a month, Britney Spears, two days, and Sarah Palin about four or five days." Trudel later observed: "Yeah, and it's pretty disturbing to see that idiot's like us can go through to a vice presidential candidate that could be eventually the most influential and the most powerful person in the world...Too stupid comedians...with a bad French accent...and go through her staff." Smith concluded: "I think you said it all."

By Seton Motley | November 3, 2008 | 10:39 AM EST | Media Research Center
Matthew Vadum (Right) Speaking Truth to Flower Power
As Bill Cosby said via Fat Albert and the Gang, it's like school on Saturday: No class. Contributor, the estimable Matthew Vadum of the Capital Research Center, made an October 30th appearance on Comedy Central's The Daily Show, during which he discussed the many illegal activities of the community organizing group Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) and their long relationship with the media's all-time favorite candidate: Illinois Democratic Senator and Presidential candidate Barack Obama.  Soon thereafter, Mr. Vadum changed his Facebook Profile photograph to one of him hamming it up with his Daily Show interlocutor John Oliver. 

This was all too much for New York Times reporter Dan Mitchell.  Mitchell sent Mr. Vadum a poison Halloween Facebook email, which is hostile from start to finish and in which he calls Mr. Vadum the aforementioned body part.

The Mitchell email in its entirety, with the one word redacted so as to maintain our G-rating:

By Ken Shepherd | November 3, 2008 | 12:22 AM EST

In the last Conventional Wisdom feature before the election, Newsweek magazine assigned a sideways arrow for the Democratic vice presidential contender while giving the thumbs down to Gov. Sarah Palin for "sink[ing]" the campaign with a "lack of gravitas."

In doing so, the CW feature dismissed the damaging impact of Sen. Joe Biden's "rhetorical flourishes." Yet among Biden's recent foot-in-mouth moments was one that inadvertently broadcast the Democratic ticket's tax-hiking designs by significantly lowering the $250,000-a-year tax bar the Democratic campaign previously had set.

As the Wall Street Journal noted on October 29, the "'tax cut' threshold keeps falling":

By Rich Noyes | November 2, 2008 | 9:48 AM EST
Going into Tuesday’s election, polls show Democrat Barack Obama with a modest lead over Republican John McCain, but one group whose support of Obama should not be in doubt is the national media. Surveys of journalists conducted over the past three decades show the media elite are extremely consistent in choosing Democratic candidates on Election Day.

If only journalists were permitted to vote, we would never have had a President Reagan or a President Bush, but would have instead faced Presidents McGovern, Mondale, Dukakis and Kerry. It wouldn’t have been close.

In their 1986 book, The Media Elite, political scientists S. Robert Lichter, Stanley Rothman and Linda S. Lichter reported the results of their survey of 240 journalists at the nation’s top media outlets: ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Time, Newsweek and U.S. News & World Report. When asked about their voting patterns, journalists admitted their preference for Democrats:
By Noel Sheppard | November 2, 2008 | 1:53 AM EDT

McCain returned to offer some new, last-minute campaign strategies on "Weekend Update" (video embedded below the fold):

By Brent Baker | November 1, 2008 | 11:29 PM EDT
A beyond overwhelming 96 percent of the staff of, the online news magazine site owned by the Washington Post, plan to vote for Barack Obama. A Tuesday posting, “Slate Votes: Obama wins this magazine in a rout,” reported 55 staff members plan to cast their ballot for Obama, a mere one person will vote for John McCain, the same number (one) who support libertarian Bob Barr. Another staffer replied: “Not McCain.” It's hard to imagine such left-wing uniformity isn't matched at many other media outlets. In a Wednesday posting, Slate Editor-at-Large Jack Shafer (the Barr backer) quipped: “I doubt that Obama will garner 96 percent even in his home precinct of Hyde Park.”

This year's annual staff survey matches the last two presidential contests when nearly every editor and reporter voted for Al Gore in 2000 and John Kerry in 2004 (2004 MRC CyberAlert item). headlined an October 26, 2004 article: “At this magazine, it's Kerry by a landslide!” In 2000, 12 of the 13 in the top editorial positions voted for Gore, with the 13th going not for Bush but the libertarian. In all three years, the Democrat earned the vote of Slate's chief editor, Jacob Weisberg, a former Newsweek reporter.
By Rich Noyes | November 1, 2008 | 11:51 AM EDT

Yes, the media are rooting for Barack Obama. Two studies out in the past couple of days show that it’s not just conservatives who see a strong tilt by journalists in favor of the Democrats: A nonpartisan media monitoring group and a liberal-leaning research organization both confirm the pro-Obama, anti-McCain bias of ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN and MSNBC.

In reports this week, the Center for Media and Public Affairs (CMPA) and the Pew-funded Project for Excellence in Journalism (PEJ) found the most balanced campaign coverage was on the Fox News Channel, although PEJ claimed FNC’s balance was actually a right-leaning bias, since it deviated from the “norm” of other big media:

By Noel Sheppard | November 1, 2008 | 10:45 AM EDT

Talk show host Oprah Winfrey early-voted on Thursday, but apparently had problems getting the machine to accept her choice for president:

When I voted yesterday electronically, the first vote that you vote for on the ballot is the presidential candidate. It was my first time doing electronic, so I didn't mark the X strong enough, or I held down too long. Because then when I went back to check it, it had not recorded my presidential vote

When she noticed this had occurred, she almost had a heart attack (video embedded below the fold, h/t NBer Mazzi):