Sunday, March 02, 2008

Do the Media Have a Crush on Obama?

Although Valentine's Day has passed, some might argue that the press still pines for Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama. For example, the New York Times just published an op-ed entitled, "A Card-Carrying Civil Libertarian" in which the Jeffrey Rosen, a law professor, argues: "If Barack Obama wins in November, we could have not only our first president who is an African-American, but also our first president who is a civil libertarian." How very relevant to our visit from Geoff Stone and our unit on civil liberties!

In addition, as heard on National Public Radio's On the Media,
National Journal columnist William Powers thinks [the media have a crush on Obama]. Powers says that while Hillary Clinton has to work to recast herself against a pre-written narrative, Barack Obama is virtually a media blank slate.
Think about what we have discussed in class throughout the year: human beings attach so much power and importance to narratives. You can listen to the 7-minute interview of Powers by clicking the play button below:



Based on what you've seen and heard in the past few weeks, what do YOU think? Are the media truly in love with Obama or will they change their feelings once they need a new narrative?

12 comments:

Hannah D. said...

I listened to the "On the Media" piece and let me start off by saying that is one of the most interesting viewpoints of the campaign that I have heard in a while; it almost makes me want to learn more about the topic of a "FLOP." Powers raises some very important points here, like how Obama is the first exception to the "7 Media Milestones For Political Candidates" since Regan. He says Obama has not had a major flop in his entire campaign, only small ones that he has recovered quickly from. What was very interesting to me is how the interviewer brought up the phrase that Obama "sheds a cold light of rationality" on the campaign. I did not really understand it, but going back, I can tell that through Obama's intelligence, he has found ways to make Clinton look very stupid. But is a flop inevitable? I can see where Powers thinks that a flop is inevitable, but through this election, there have been plenty of major milestones, and I think that this is the first year where there really will not be a MAJOR flop. That being said, I think that the media will stay on Obama's case until they find a flop, but I kind of believe that they will somehow shift narratives once the election process blows over.

sarah said...

The main question is really difficult to answer but I do feel that the media is definitely directly focused on Obama. In my opinion, I would say that Obama is currently attracting more positive media than any other candidate. It's a tough question because every day and week is different. When Hilary starts to cry in a public speech, all the attention was directed to her, but on the other hand, Obama recently had to defend himself from being affiliated with terrorist connections through a church leader. From what I hear in school and see outside of class on tv, the majority of what I hear is about Obama.

Bolos said...

Wonderful commentary from Sara and Hannah D! I wonder if, ironically, Obama's approaching "flop" will come from a place none other than the North Shore of Chicago.

If you don't understand what I am hinting at, I'll explain tomorrow in class!

Eli said...

Monday is going to be a big day for the campaign. I have a feeling that Hillary Clinton's campaign is going to come out with something very big on Obama. Read my blog, I just wrote about it. Something that will change up the polls.

Sara D said...

I thought this was a very interesting thing ot listen to. After thinking about it, I have come to realize that the media definitly is "in love" with Obama. I think, as Hannah pointed out, the has not been any major "flops" that Obama has had to deal with. He has been quickly able to recover from the little bumps along the way of this electoin. However, just in the nature of presidential elections, I do agree that it is inevitable that there will be something that will end up shedding a bad light on Obama.

Jace said...

I think that we have to recognize the fact that the reason Obama is in the news is because he is surging in popularity, credibility, and statistically. To say the media "loves" Obama, is a very broad and vague conclusion. First of all, who is the media? FOX? You bet not...is anyone forgetting the drama and media slams about the picture of Obama wearing a turban? I wouldn't say that the media is in "love" with him. I would say that his fervency and popularity is giving him more media coverage.

Lars said...

I dont think that the media are truly in love with Obama. Whenever I watch the news with my parents, the negative stuff is always first, like murders and conspiracies, because that's what catches the public eye. I think that the media want to build Obama up so they can shoot him down. If it did seem like the media was in love with Obama, maybe it was to make the other candidates look bad.

Brandon said...

For the past two weeks, SNL have used these two openings to poke fun at certain supposed biases toward Obama.

Agretch said...

If this is possible, i agree with both Jace and Bobby (Lars) at the same time. I think that the reason Obama has recently been the center of attention is because he is leading in all the polls, but there hasn't been anything big in a while so the news just has to keep talking about him for lack of another big story. It's all about the big story, not actaully getting the real and important news out there. I also like how the topic of a "flop" came up and how Obama hasn't quite had one yet. I think that he eventually will, not because he'll makea big mistake, but because there's that big lull right now in the news, when he does something small (which is bound to happen since they're watching his every move) there will be a lot written on it and a lot of contraversy. Guess we'll have to see what Bolos has in class for us tomorrow.

Sam B. said...

I agree with Jace, i do not think that the media is in love with Obama. I think it is more a case of him rapidly gaining popularity as well as delegates. It is more of a case of him winning eleven straight primaries over Hillary that is gaining him such positive media coverage. Let's not also forget that he was completely blasted by the media for his turban debacle.

Topher11 said...

I feel the media does have a crush on obama. why? well one reason is that maybe Hilary is personally such a repulsive personality that the media gravitates towards anyone besides her. An two is that obama seems to give the same ora that John F. Kennedy did, hes young energetic and seem to be clean as a whistle. His wife contributes a lot to charity and personally I gravitate towards Obama . hes a joy to listen to and gives me something to look forward to.

Harlesbarkly said...

I personally believe that the media are so pro Obama because he is "new and spicy". He extremely different from past candidates for various reasons. First, his name is not a typical American presidential name. Past names were names like Jefferson, Clinton, Roosevelt, Adams, Bush. I do not think that his name means that he is not American, but it is a new and different name that people are attracted to because they never sen it before. Also, He is a minority running to for the position to lead one of the most powerful nations in the world. He is also, a "young gun" a fresh new face that the media can advertise. I know these are very broad terms but these are just a few reasons why the media are so pro Obama.