All entries for Wednesday 29 October 2008

October 29, 2008

Race for 2008: Is tonight when the tide turns?

Thank goodness for our election laws.

Tonight, Barack Obama will straddle three national TV networks to tell the American people what he will do for them.

It’s an interesting idea, but could it spectacularly backfire?

The backlash has already begun, with Obama’s ten-year-old daughter Malia. She asked her mum: “Are you going to interrupt my TV?”. She was reassured the broadcast wouldn’t be going out on the Disney Channel.

But it will be going out on Fox, NBC, CBS, MSNBC, Univision, BET and TV One.

Fox has had to push back a major sporting fixture to avoid a clash with the Obamathon.

He’s also appearing on tonight’s The Daily Show – an appearance I’ll definitely be checking tomorrow on More4 – as well as doing several big interviews over the next couple of days.

Obama isn’t so much going for blanket coverage, as suffocation.

There’s a real danger that the 30-minute broadcast will come across as arrogant.

McCain’s already jumped on it, saying: “No one will delay the World Series with an infomercial when I’m president”.

The piece is apparently high on ‘Americana’ – flags, strings and Presidential imagery.

But why’s he spending $6m on broadcasting it when it’d still get millions of views if he stuck it on YouTube?

The polls are apparently beginning to tighten – could one last burst of arrogance pop the bubble?

(He’s already joked about his face being on Mount Rushmore!)


If you're alive today, it's because this man spared you

Jack Bauer fans click here

Love the last line.


Swearing on TV

What exactly is the problem with Sachsgate – the abusive message left on Andrew Sachs’ answerphone, or the use of the ‘F’ word on a public service radio station?

If it’s the latter, then there’s a big debate to be had.

Swearing on TV (and actually not radio, so much) has exploded over the past few years.

The Brand/Ross affair went out at night on a radio station listened to almost exclusively by adults.

On the other hand, Jamie Oliver’s Ministry of Food programme was jam-packed with f-words, c-words and other verbal vomit.

For a programme that’s trying to appeal to as many people as possible – families especially – how is that a good idea?

I think the 9pm watershed should be scrapped – swearing, offensive behaviour, sex, drugs and alcohol should be shown or not shown depending on who the audience really is, not just when the programme’s shown.

Ministry of Food was the sort of programme that should have been played in schools – with the kind of language that Channel 4 left in, it never will be.

==

Listening to BBC Radio 5 Live, it’s interesting how people who support Brand and Ross are flooding out of the woodwork now they’ve been suspended. I’m on their side, I have to say.


Race for 2008: Is the media rooting for Obama?

The Republicans have been facing an uphill battle ever since George W. Bush won the 2004 election.

The media hunt as a pack, and the collective pendulum has been swinging towards the Democrats for the last two years.

I might have called it just a little bit wrong when I said of Joe Biden: “[calling Obama ‘clean’ will] probably be his only notable contribution to the campaign”, but I wasn’t alone when I predicted whoever won the Democrat primary would take the White House.

But the ease with which Obama has got this far is starting to worry people.

Michael Malone writes that as a journalist, he’s ashamed of the bias shown towards Obama.

While the media has gone through Sarah Palin’s bins, trashed John McCain’s wife Cindy and given anything John’s said little serious attention, Obama and Biden have had it easy.

Malone says it’s not because of journalists, but because their editors have only been selecting – and commissioning – stories which help smooth the wheels of the Obama campaign, and perpetuate the narrative that appeals most.Obama worship

Why?

The media pack loves a good story. America’s first mixed-race President is an incredible one, which everyone (including the British media) have got caught up in. This is only the biggest, most expensive, most anticipated election in decades because of Barack Obama’s colour.

There’s also a slightly more sinister side to this. McCain dying in office would be an enormous story. Obama dying in office would make the death of Princess Diana look like a footnote in history.

No matter what happens, an Obama presidency will bring with it more drama than President Bartlet managed in seven seasons of The West Wing.

A changed dynamic in Congress also appeals to their instincts. It’ll give them a common enemy in just a few months, and a filibuster-proof 60 seats for the Democrats in the Senate means the effective opposition isn’t the Republicans, but the media.

Put simply, if Obama wins next week, it’s the end of business as usual.

And that’s why virtually every newshound is rooting for him.

News coverage of George Bush – in fact his lame duck status – has come about because the media got bored with him. The war in Iraq isn’t working. The war in Iraq isn’t working. The war in Iraq isn’t working. Say it several times, and people get bored of that story. You can change Iraq for ‘financial stimulus package’, ‘healthcare’ or really any other Bush policy, and it becomes tiresome pretty quickly. News coverage of the White House has been minimal since early 2007, when the race for 2008 really began.

The narrative of the past six years has been full of failure. Obama might not have intended to woo the media with it when he came up with his slogan, but change is exactly what they want, never mind the electorate.

The bias in the coverage of this election looks more than likely to help bring that change about.

> Politico in the States defends itself against pro-Obama bias


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