Call on RealClearPolitics to Get the Popular Vote right: MICHIGAN COUNTS!

Right now, we all know, that when you count every state that voted, and thus EVERY VOTE, Hillary Clinton has the highest number of popular vote. Barack Obama CHOSE to remove his name from Michigan's ballot, and has now been given delegates that are not his. But right now, a talking point on the Daily Kos and HuffPo, even some here, is that RealClearPolitics has Barack Obama leading in the popular vote. People are able to debunk that myth only if they click on the link and THEN it shows them that with every state that voted, which includes Michigan and Florida, Clinton leads. But RealClearPolitics is misleading by not using that count on the front page. Email to tell them to stop smearing and lying about the Clintons. She has the most popular votes, not Barack Obama. We MUST not let the talking point that he has more because RCP has it on the front get around, because their count disenfranchises voters. COUNT EVERY VOTE, INCLUDING MICHIGANS! Hillary leads the popular vote.

remember email to get them to tell the TRUTH.

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A Corrupt Media.

As some will note I have written several diaries now on the failure of the fourth estate during this primary season.  The reactions to these pieces were mixed from agreement, indifference and denial of any bias in the coverage.  But with the recent feeding frenzy of the press in response to former White House press secretary Scott McClellan's new book - nothing could be clearer: A CORRUPT MEDIA HAS FAILED.

Amongst other things, McClellan's asserts that the media's failings are primarily responsible for the rush to war in Iraq and complicit in enabling the Bush administration.

And through it all, the media would serve as complicit enablers. Their primary focus would be on covering the campaign to sell the war, rather than aggressively questioning the rationale for war or pursuing the truth behind it... the media would neglect their watchdog role, focusing less on truth and accuracy and more on whether the campaign was succeeding. Was the president winning or losing the argument? How were Democrats responding? What were the electoral implications? What did the polls say? And the truth--about the actual nature of the threat posed by Saddam, the right way to confront it, and the possible risks of military conflict--would get largely left behind...

If anything, the national press corps was probably too deferential to the White House and to the administration in regard to the most important decision facing the nation during my years in Washington, the choice over whether to go to war in Iraq. The collapse of the administration's rationales for war, which became apparent months after our invasion, should have never come as such a surprise. The public should have been made much more aware, before the fact, of the uncertainties, doubts, and caveats that underlay the intelligence about the regime of Saddam Hussein. The administration did little to convey those nuances to the people, the press should have picked up the slack but largely failed to do so because their focus was elsewhere--on covering the march to war, instead of the necessity of war.

He goes on to blame a liberal media bias, but that's a whole other story.  PBS's Bill Moyers devoted an entire show in April 2007, entitled Buying the War to answering the questions of a complicit media.

How did the mainstream press get it so wrong? How did the evidence disputing the existence of weapons of mass destruction and the link between Saddam Hussein to 9-11 continue to go largely unreported? What the conservative media did was easy to fathom; they had been cheerleaders for the White House from the beginning and were simply continuing to rally the public behind the President -- no questions asked. How mainstream journalists suspended skepticism and scrutiny remains an issue of significance that the media has not satisfactorily explored. How the administration marketed the war to the American people has been well covered, but critical questions remain: How and why did the press buy it, and what does it say about the role of journalists in helping the public sort out fact from propaganda?

But what's more interesting about the fallout of this book is the sudden Mea Culpa by some members of the press.  

Katie Couric:

"... I'll start by saying I think he's fairly accurate. Matt, I know when we were covering it--and granted, the spirit of 9/11, people were unified and upset and angry and frustrated. But I do think we were remiss in not asking some of the right questions. There was a lot pressure from the Bush White House. I remember doing an interview and the press secretary called our executive producer and said, `We didn't like the tone of that interview.' And we said, `Well, tough. We had to ask some of these questions.' They said, `Well, if you keep it up, we're going to block access to you during the war.' I mean, those kind of strong-arm tactics were really...

CNN's Jessica Yellin on 360:

Yellin: I think the press corps dropped the ball at the beginning. When the lead-up to the war began, the press corps was under enormous pressure from corporate executives, frankly, to make sure that this was a war that was presented in a way that was consistent with the patriotic fever in the nation and the president's high approval ratings.

And my own experience at the White House was that, the higher the president's approval ratings, the more pressure I had from news executives -- and I was not at this network at the time -- but the more pressure I had from news executives to put on positive stories about the president.

I think, over time --

Cooper: You had pressure from news executives to put on positive stories about the president?

Yellin: Not in that exact -- they wouldn't say it in that way, but they would edit my pieces. They would push me in different directions. They would turn down stories that were more critical and try to put on pieces that were more positive, yes. That was my experience.

Washington Post's Dana Milbank::

Of course he`s right.  We didn`t do as much as we could have and the fact of the matter is we did raise these questions.  And I mean I guess what Scott`s just saying in a backwards way there is they were just doing a particularly good job of keeping the facts out of the public domain.

What's worse is as Eric Boehlert points out, the warning signs were provided by Senator Edward Kennedy, who largely was ignored by the press.

Specifically, back in September 2002, with the Bush administration and much of the Beltway media rushing to embrace war with Iraq, Kennedy delivered a passionate, provocative, and newsworthy speech raising all sorts of doubts about a possible invasion. Unlike today, the political press wasn't very interested in Kennedy or what he had to say about the most pressing issue facing the nation. Back in that media environment, being the voice of American liberals didn't mean much.

So what is the moral of the story?  

Boehlert puts it best "let's not forget that it wasn't that long ago that the media did their best to ignore what Kennedy had to say. And when it ignored Kennedy, and when it ignored the voice of liberals, the press -- and the country -- paid a dear price."

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Pew: Media was fair to BOTH Dems

So while the source is Variety, which is a bit unusual, one thing you cannot say is they run unfavorable coverage of the Clintons (who have received, mostly rightfully so, rock-star treatment over the past 12 or so years from Variety).

The Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism and the John Shorenstein Center on Press, Politics, and Public Policy at Harvard have done a study on the primary coverage. You can read the whole thing here.

Their results?

In general, both have gotten pretty good rides, it appears. The coverage under review included reports on the candidates' character, history, leadership and appeal, and many of those reports were equally positive on both candidates.

Clinton's and Obama's attacks on each other have also gotten equal traction in the press. The study showed that the most common negative media take on Obama is that he is inexperienced, on Clinton that she represents the politics of the past.

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Sexism Might Sell, But We're Not Buying It!

On May 23, the Women's Media Center together with Media Matters launched a new video and online petition campaign illustrating the pervasive nature of sexism in the media's coverage entitled "Sexism Sells, But We're Not Buying It." 

"While Hillary Clinton's campaign has cast a spotlight on the issue of sexism, this isn't a partisan issue: it's about making sure that women's voices are present and powerful in our national dialogue."

Below is a statement about the video from WMC president Carol Jenkins.

May 20, 2008 (New York) - With a new video illustrating the pervasive nature of sexism in the media, The Women's Media Center is speaking out against the notion that sexist coverage is the path to commercial success for today's struggling media companies. As the sexist tone reaches a fever pitch with networks chase ratings in this historic presidential election, Carol Jenkins, president of The Women's Media Center (a nonpartisan 501(c)3 organization), delivers this message to both consumers and media executives:

"We know that media companies today are under tremendous pressure to build audiences and drive ratings, but this type of vulgar, sexist commentary is not the way to do it. Women wield tremendous financial power in the United States. Our message to media companies: if you think that sexism sells, think again, because women in America are not buying it.

"As our new video shows, the media's sexism is not specific to a candidate or campaign. But the presence of a woman, front and center at last on the national political stage, has sent shockwaves through a media grappling with ongoing problems of diversity. Hillary Clinton's campaign has cast a spotlight on the institutionalized sexism that The Women's Media Center was founded in 2005 to combat, providing us with a unique moment to examine ourselves and the media we consume. This is about the inherent and unnecessary obstacles that women face every day in speaking out and participating in the national dialogue."

In the video released today, "Sexism Sells, But We're Not Buying It," The Women's Media Center and its partners including Media Matters and the National Women's Political Caucus document 30 examples of gendered, sexist coverage from the mainstream media (far from an exhaustive list). From jokes about a woman's appearance to specific gendered insults, some media professionals this election season have fallen far short of their responsibility to report and educate.

Women are a driving force in the U.S. economy with a purchasing power of more than $7 trillion a year, and purchase fully 82 percent of all products and services in the U.S. Earlier this year, The Women's Media Center joined NOW, the Feminist Majority, and the National Women's Political Caucus to speak out against the particularly egregious remarks Chris Matthews made about Hillary Clinton's campaign, when he said that "the reason she may be a front-runner is her husband messed around" (MSNBC's Morning Joe, January 9, 2008). Speaking for more than 15 million women across the United States, the coalition secured an on-air apology from Matthews, and assurances from NBC executives that steps were being taken to address the situation. Yet the situation persists, which is why The Women's Media Center is taking this next step, releasing a video and launching an online petition campaign to allow women to speak out against this continuing sexism.

The Women's Media Center is working to make sure that issues of gender and media do not slide to the backburner. For more information on The Women's Media Center and to join our campaign to make women more visible and powerful in the media, please visit tml.

If you would like to join their petition campaign and send a message to the media, please visit here.

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Hating Hillary.

As has been stated for some time now, the media has and continues to carve up HRC during this Democratic primary. As Andrew Stephen notes, "the unshackled sexism of the ugliest kind has been shamelessly peddled by the US media."

The massed ranks of male pundits gleefully pronounced that Clinton had lost the battle with Obama immediately after the North Carolina and Indiana primaries, despite past precedents that strong second-place candidates (like Ronald Reagan in his first, ultimately unsuccessful campaign in 1976; like Ted Kennedy, Gary Hart, Jesse Jackson and Jerry Brown) continue their campaigns until the end of the primary season and, in most cases, all the way to the party convention.

None of these male candidates had a premature political obituary written in the way that Hillary Clinton's has been, or was subjected to such righteous outrage over refusing to quiesce and withdraw obediently from what, in this case, has always been a knife-edge race. Nor was any of them anything like as close to his rivals as Clinton now is to Obama.

The media, of course, are just reflecting America's would-be macho culture. I cannot think of any television network or major newspaper that is not guilty of blatant sexism - the British media, naturally, reflexively follow their American counterparts - but probably the worst offender is the NBC/MSNBC network, which has what one prominent Clinton activist describes as "its nightly horror shows". Tim Russert, the network's chief political sage, was dancing on Clinton's political grave before the votes in North Carolina and Indiana had even been fully counted - let alone those of the six contests to come, the undeclared super-delegates, or the disputed states of Florida and Michigan.

The unashamed sexism of this giant network alone is stupendous. Its superstar commentator Chris Matthews referred to Clinton as a "she-devil". His colleague Tucker Carlson casually observed that Clinton "feels castrating, overbearing and scary . . . When she comes on television, I involuntarily cross my legs." This and similar abuse, I need hardly point out, says far more about the men involved than their target.

But never before have the US media taken it upon themselves to proclaim the victor before the primary contests are over or the choice of all the super-delegates is known, and the result was that the media's tidal wave of sexism became self-fulfilling: Americans like to back winners, and polls immediately showed dramatic surges of support for Obama. A few brave souls had foreseen the merciless media campaign: "The press will savage her no matter what," predicted the Washington Post's national political correspondent, Dana Milbank, last December. "They really have their knives out for her, there's no question about it."

The cheerleading for HRC's political obituary is no more evident in the fact that the 'its over' meme has penetrated public consciousness of which many are buying it hook, line and sinker.  The primary may possibly be over for HRC - but the candidate has not quit and in fact has stated that she is doing otherwise.

On Tuesday nights' primaries, the BO campaign talking point of reaching the pledged delegate threshold was reported virtually everywhere as breaking news as if this was a milestone that somehow made him the winner of the contest.

... but because the overwhelmingly pro-Obama media - consciously or unconsciously - are following the agenda of Senator Barack Obama and his chief strategist, David Axelrod...

This despicable media treatment of HRC has not gone over well with many of her supporters, and it would appear that their anger and galvanization are getting stronger.  All of which makes it more ironic, since it would appear that the more she is vilified by the press, the stronger her numbers seem to be getting.  

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