Is The Media Being Manipulated, or Are We?
by skohayes, Tue Aug 26, 2008 at 03:49:51 PM EDT
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?