Is The Media Being Manipulated, or Are We?

Eric Boehlert, over at Media Matters talks about the coverage of the Democratic convention in some frank terms.
Titling his article: "Hillary Clinton speaks at convention. The press concocts a story", Eric introduces us to some history:

At the Democratic National Convention in 1992, Jerry Brown, who finished a very distant second to the party's nominee, had his name placed into nomination and addressed the assembled convention. After seconding his own nomination (true story), Brown delivered a fiery speech that thrilled his unruly supporters inside Madison Square Garden. Brown's ill will toward nominee Bill Clinton was so legendary that The Atlanta Journal-Constitution considered it newsworthy that Brown's convention address "avoided a direct attack" on the nominee, while the Los Angeles Times noted Brown "did not specifically endorse presidential nominee Bill Clinton."

Indeed, for weeks leading up to the convention, Brown refused to back his party's nominee, complaining to The New York Times in June that supporting Clinton was like buying a ticket for the Titanic.

Four years earlier, the Democratic convention in Atlanta witnessed even more tumult from the second-place finisher when Jesse Jackson, furious at being passed over for the vice-presidential slot by the party's nominee, Michael Dukakis (who failed to call Jackson and tell him the VP news), threatened to withhold his delegates' support from the party's nominee. In fact, just hours before the convention began, Jackson's supporters threatened to place the candidate's name into nomination for the vice presidency, which would have created a massive floor fight between Jackson and Dukakis' pick, Sen. Lloyd Bentsen of Texas.

Now that we've gotten the history lesson over with, let's all think about the kind of media attention that there has been over Hillary speaking at the convention, and supporting Barack Obama?

Now, take those historical nuggets from 1992 and 1988 and transport them to Denver this week, and try to imagine what the press reaction would be (not the political reaction, but the press reaction) if Hillary Clinton delivered her address Tuesday night and did not endorse the Democratic Party's nominee.

Honestly, I have trouble even picturing the response, mostly because there has already been such an unhinged media response (see Maureen Dowd, if you must) to Clinton's finishing second, speaking at the convention, and supporting the party's nominee. If she snubbed the nominee? We'd probably see a media-credentialed riot, with hordes of pundits and reporters roaming the late-night streets of Denver (Pitchforks? Probably) in search of Clinton and looking to inflict long-term pain.

Where is all the strife they're talking about? Why is strife and divisions the only subjects the media can talk about, when it's obvious (or should be) to most of us, that this is a unified convention?

Is the media ignorant?
Or are we being led around by the noses like we were before the Iraq war?

Tags: Hillary Clinton, Media, unity (all tags)

Comments

9 Comments

rec'd of course.

Is the media ignorant?
Or are we being led around by the noses like we were before the Iraq war?

YES TO BOTH.

by canadian gal 2008-08-26 03:52PM | 0 recs
We are

the media is simply doing as their corporate master want them to do.

by kevin22262 2008-08-26 04:06PM | 0 recs
Re: We are

Washington Woman has it exactly right. The media are presenting a distorted and extremely stupid mishmash of ridiculousness and spicing it up with weird and ubiquitous references to POW camps and Democratic Party strife - and the reason for such misbehavior, if one applies Occam's razor is blatantly obvious to the most casual observer.

by QTG 2008-08-26 04:18PM | 0 recs
except

my name is Kevin.  :)

by kevin22262 2008-08-26 04:43PM | 0 recs
Re: except

 There's nothing wrong with that. :)

by QTG 2008-08-26 05:00PM | 0 recs
whew!

thanks.

ummm... I think?   ;)

by kevin22262 2008-08-26 05:09PM | 0 recs
This was all very predictable.

In fact, I predicted it here, on August 7th:

http://www.mydd.com/comments/2008/8/7/19 527/20482/43#43

...And don't forget, this means the whole convention will revolve around nothing but Obama and Hillary making-up with each other.  Maybe not on the floor, but certainly in the media, where the rhetorical question will be how much of it is genuine, how much is forced, and can a divided Democratic party win in November.  This will be what we spend the DNC Convention talking about.

This is bad news. Obama must have already picked a veep that he knows the Clintons will hate, or he wouldn't have agreed to this under such pressure that it makes him look weaker.

I'm finally starting to worry about November.  I wasn't until now.  I realize the post-Hillary partisans are overjoyed by this and can see little wrong with it, but it makes Obama look weak, right up to the day of his acceptance speech.  That is so much time to lose.  You can bet that McCain will not come out of his convention without a significant bounce because of their unity.  And they will have Lieberman on the podium too, probably.

Seems even more obvious, in retrospect.

by Dumbo 2008-08-26 05:50PM | 0 recs
Re: This was all very predictable.
Actually, while your prediction ran true as far as the media coverage (pretty impressive!), I think you're falling for the very thing that Boehlert talked about.
 IOW, the media coverage has convinced you that "allowing" Hillary a roll call vote (when there has always been one) and a top speaking spot at the convention is a bad thing, when it's nothing of the sort.
by skohayes 2008-08-26 05:57PM | 0 recs
Perhaps you had to read the news for

the same day.  That was the day that it was also announced that Bill would get to speak in prime-time on the third day of the convention.  (And it was about two days after Bill told an interviewer that Obama was qualified to be president because the constitution only requires you to be over 35.)  So we suddenly had the prospect that most of the convention was going to be about the Clintons.

In retrospect, how could things have turned out any differently?  The narrative was predestined:  The tension between the Clintons and the Obama campaign.  The PUMAs fit very nicely into that narrative, and they showed up at the convention on queue.  I could not have predicted, however, that McCain would be running commercials on CNN IMMEDIATELY AFTER Hillary's speech, blasting Obama with her words and then claiming that Hillary was Obama's victim.

This is a major fuck-up.

As for the roll-call vote itself, there were ways to do it without having it contribute to an overall sense of melodrama hang over the proceedings.  Please note, we haven't even GOT to the roll-call vote yet.  Party elders should have stepped in and tried to lower the volume somehow.  I can't say Obama bears no blame in this -- his people were too accomodating, apparently in the hopes that their concessions would mollify Hillary supporters, which it didn't do.

Just got through watching on CNN just now, a Hillary delegate being interviewed, crying and saying how she couldn't vote for Obama in November.  That's not what this convention was supposed to be about.

I am so fucking disheartened.  I hope Obama can turn things around on Thursday, but things did not have to be this way.

by Dumbo 2008-08-26 07:50PM | 0 recs

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