Category Archives: Media Observation

Both sides of p0rn, thru the Fairness Doctrine

Congratulations, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), you’ve said what may well win you the Single Stupidest TV Sound Bite of the 2008 Election Season award. And that takes some doing.

The very same people who don’t want the Fairness Doctrine want the FCC [Federal Communications Commission] to limit pornography on the air. I am for that… But you can’t say government hands off in one area to a commercial enterprise but you are allowed to intervene in another. That’s not consistent.

So Senator Schumer believes that you can’t regulate hardcore smut flicks and, at the same time, not regulate mainstream conservative talk radio, because that just wouldn’t be “consistent.” You see, it’s all or nothing when it comes to government intrusion. You can’t hide your kids’ eyes from a degrading cable goatsex simulcast, and still leave them free to turn the radio to Laura Ingraham. For the love of all that is sacred, Think Of The Children!™

Which side of this inconsistency bothers you more, Sen. Schumer? That mainstream conservative talk radio may be inappropriate and harmful to minors or those with delicate sensibilities? Or is it that bondage reels won’t give sufficient “equal time” to the submissive party for rebuttal?

More here, here, and here.

UPDATE: Barack Obama has won the election. First, congratulations, Mr. President-elect. Second, I ask that you resist Sen. Schumer’s entreaties for an appointment as your new Minister of Information.

Word spreading about hostility to coal?

Ohio Coal Association president Mike Carey has made his and his organization’s thoughts known on Obama’s stated plans for slow strangulation of the American coal industry:

“Regardless of the timing or method of the release of these remarks, the message from the Democratic candidate for President could not be clearer: the Obama-Biden ticket spells disaster for America’s coal industry and the tens of thousands of Americans who work in it.

“These undisputed, audio-taped remarks, which include comments from Senator Obama like ‘I haven’t been some coal booster’ and ‘if they want to build [coal plants], they can, but it will bankrupt them’ are extraordinarily misguided.

“It’s evident that this campaign has been pandering in states like Ohio, Virginia, West Virginia, Indiana and Pennsylvania to attempt to generate votes from coal supporters, while keeping his true agenda hidden from the state’s voters…”

More commentary, with expanded text of the OCA statement, here and here. References made to an old Biden Gaffe Watch favorite.

No word yet as to the effect of Obama’s “bankrupt” comments, or Carey’s response, on other coal-producing swing states such as those Carey mentions, or others such as Missouri, Iowa, Colorado, or New Mexico.

Ouch. And again I say, ouch.

Mary Katherine Ham at the Weekly Standard blog has assembled this collection of clips into what she calls “Obama’s Attack Ad on Himself”:

The number of fundamental policy positions on which Obama has simply and brazenly reversed himself is staggering, especially (as MKH puts it) while “floating above us all as the post-partisan redeemer of America.” Ham expresses regret at not having posted this video earlier; I regret it also, since it’s over three and a half minutes long (way too long for a TV spot) and won’t be carried anywhere but the Web; if it had been released earlier, it might well have filtered into TV news coverage. I should note that I don’t say that as a knock against her (it’s a very effective clip collection, and good on her for getting it out); just as a measure of agreement that it’s a shame it took longer to assemble the requisite video than she expected.

More here, here, here, and here. Jim Geraghty sums up the message: “All Barack Obama Statements Come With an Expiration Date. All Of Them.” The blog post that follows that title, a roster of major policy positions that make up Obama’s flip-flop playlist, is truly breathtaking; a wonder to behold.

Not to bring up polls again, but…

Yes, I know I blogged earlier that I didn’t want to blog on polls, because they’re unreliable this year due to the complete absence of solid and consistent standards, demographic balances, or turnout models from one poll to the other. However, I’m going to blog on polls once again before the election is over, and I’ll be staying true to my word because it’s another blog post on polling unreliability.

OK, I also know it sounds like I’m trashing a field of professional study of which I was a part for some time, but I’m really not; I still believe in the basic soundness of political polling. I simply think this year’s election dynamics are unique in their unpollability. However, there is an area of political polling in which I have never had any faith, at least not since I knew what they were. The area is that of the damnable exit poll.

More wonkery, notes of caution for Obamacolytes, and reasons for optimism for McCainiacs, below the break.

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Obamfomercial ratings match Perotgramming

Oh, that has gotta hurt bad.

Nielsen announces that TV ratings for Barack Obama’s multi-network blanket infomercial only slightly beats out the mind-numbing pie-chart party broadcast by billionaire circus sideshow Ross Perot on Election Eve in 1996. Perot went on to win slightly over 8% of the vote.

Now some people might say that a 21.7% share is pretty good. Those people would be right if it hadn’t been insanely hyped, broadcast over five networks, and featured one candidate of only a two-candidate race. (Captain Ed’s got my back.) As it stands, the Nielsen ratings reflect the expected audience of such a production. The people who watched were the ones predisposed in the first place to sit through a gauzy tribute to Barack Obama for half an hour. That is to say, those who are already hard-core supporters.

The rest of the viewing public already knew what was coming.

No. 1 on YouTube for a reason

Obamagirl is prettier, but if I were an undecided voter this weekend, this video would put even her out of my mind. Make absolutely sure you watch past the spoken part.

I saw this video some time back (it’s was uploaded two months ago), but according to the BBC it’s become “the most-viewed election-related video on the YouTube website” since then, racking up over 11.3 million hits as of this posting.

The most striking part about it (outside of its content) is that while the McCain campaign did make a decision early on to spend less money on TV and more on YouTube advertising, the campaign never even had a hand in this. It’s entirely homemade; filmed, edited, and uploaded by volunteers, and starring an Iraq veteran who remains nameless throughout. McCain’s most effective Internet ad didn’t cost him a dime.

UPDATE: Fox News’s Shep Smith interviewed the no-longer-unnamed soldier, Sgt. Joe Cook, during his hour-long show. It was actually a fairly good interview, with Smith pressing Sgt. Cook to explain his assertion in the video that Sen. Obama has been “disrespectful” to the troops, but doing so respectfully himself, and in a manner that evokes a civil and enlightening exchange.

As with Joe Wurzelbacher and Tito Muñoz, I hope Sgt. Cook has a minimum of skeletons in his closet, or he can expect a lot of unwanted attention in the next few days. Fortunately, this late in the game, and with the race this close, I doubt that even the most bloodthirsty oppo professional on Obama’s staff, or the most starry-eyed Obama cheerleader in the media, will be so stupid as to go through the garbage cans of a wounded Iraq veteran who served honorably.

The Obama press purge continues

First it was radio. Then it was TV. Now, finally, the Obama campaign has completed the media-suppression trifecta by cracking down on unsympathetic newspapers.

In a report first broken by Drudge, it appears three newspapers have been booted from the Obama campaign plane: the Washington Times, the New York Post, and the Dallas Morning News. As it happens, all three are papers that had the nerve to endorse John McCain for president.

The campaign says it needed to make room on the plane for “network bigwigs” and reporters from the black magazines Essence and Jet, all of whom are naturally more interested in seeing a President Obama sworn in. The Washington Times feels especially aggrieved by the decision, since they have been with the campaign since Day One:

“We’ve been traveling since 2007 with him. … We’re a relevant newspaper — every day we break news,” Solomon said. “And to suddenly be kicked off the plane for people who haven’t covered it as aggressively or thoroughly as we are … it sort of feels unfair.”

He said the newspaper protested but was turned down again by the campaign.

“I can only hope that the candidate who describes himself as wanting to unite the nation doesn’t have some sort of litmus test for who he decides gets to cover the campaign,” Solomon said, noting that the Obama campaign’s decision came just two days after the paper endorsed McCain.

(Emphasis mine.) Thus falls the latest blow in the saga of what I’ve called Battered Media Syndrome. After swamping a radio show with shrill and hostile nuisance-calls to penalize it for hosting an Obama skeptic, then barring not one but two TV stations who had the temerity to ask Joe Biden uncomfortable questions, the campaign has now denied access to reporters from print newspapers who decline to pledge allegiance to The One.

Will their colleagues who still have their access shake off their Battered Media Syndrome and stand up for their fellow journalists? Or will each of them simply keep telling himself or herself “well, at least I know he still loves me” until their own next misstep gets them jettisoned as well?

If Obama is elected, I can’t wait to see what the evolution of the White House press corps makeup looks like.

(More reaction here and here. Don Surber is also noticing BMS symptoms; he tries his hand at explaining it, and may have some points, but frankly I’d rather just see them shape up.)

UPDATE: I’m getting emails calling to my attention how John McCain kicked Maureen Dowd and Joe Klein, both frequent McCain critics, off his plane, and that I should condemn that too, shouldn’t I?

Well, no. Dowd and Klein are opinion journalists, not reporters. When they lost their seats, the New York Times and Newsweek still had reporters aboard; the publications themselves were not barred as the WaTimes, NYPost, and DMNews were from Obama’s plane. Indeed, some time back a NYPost columnist was booted from the Obama plane for a less-than-flattering column he wrote about the candidate, and I didn’t say anything, because the Post still had a presence on the plane (their reporters), and frankly Obama isn’t obliged to give a seat to a guy with a history of slamming him.

There is no excuse, however, for ditching the entire press crew of a publication for their editorial board’s position, especially reporters; doubly especially in the last week before the election when such coverage is crucial.