Network reporters not only accentuated the positive, they tried to eliminate the negative. Look at labels. The networks minimized Obama's liberal ideology, only referring to him as a "liberal" 14 times in four years (many of those came in 2004). In contrast, reporters found twice as many occasions (29) to refer to Obama as a star during the same period, whether he was a "rock star," "rising star" or "superstar."
The networks also downplayed or ignored what could have been major Obama gaffes and scandals. Obama's relationship with convicted influence peddler Tony Rezko was the subject of only two full reports (one each on ABC and NBC) and mentioned in just 15 other reports. CBS played it down in just part of a story, with reporter Dean Reynolds insisting "no one has charged Obama with wrongdoing, something he has been quick to point out." No one cared very much that a political fixer headed to prison had helped Barack Obama buy his pricey house in Chicago.
CBS and NBC also initially downplayed controversial statements from Obama's longtime pastor Jeremiah Wright, but excessively praised Obama's March 18 speech on race relations, his response to the Wright furor. The networks ran minute-long soundbites complete with family pictures. Liberal and conservative pundits alike came on TV and honored the Obama address as a historic moment.
What of Wright's more outrageous claims, such as the ridiculous conspiracy theory that the U.S. government invented the AIDS virus as part of a plan to eliminate the black race? Rev. Wright appeared on Fox's "Hannity & Colmes" on March 1, 2007, but it took the networks an entire year to even mention his name. By the time ABC ran its first vicious Wright soundbite, 42 states and D.C. had already voted.
When the convention starts in Denver, viewers might want to step into their rubber hip boots and wade through all the sugary goo. The nominee will be compared to Moses, George Washington, Frederick Douglass, and Tiger Woods before it's all through. We can only imagine how monstrously upset they'll be that the Republicans dare to assemble and oppose their beatific vision.
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