The Power of the Media?

Without going into too deep detail about this the bottom line is we all need to be cautious how we interpret the information we receive from the media. I am willing to accept the premise of Hellemann’s article – Obama, in his role of media darlin, has gotten away with things that Hillary never would have – but he misses the mark in a big way. The treatment of Clinton comes mainly from the “you are either with me or you’re against me” attitude the Clinton camp has taken. Read the article and let me know your thoughts.

2 Responses to “The Power of the Media?”

  1. plum says:

    The link you’ve got points to the wrong article. It should point here:
    http://nymag.com/news/politics/powergrid/44211/

    I agreed with a lot of what Hellemann had to say. I’ve thought for a long time that Hillary has been treated unfairly by the media. Now, this is patently unfair, and it’s pretty obvious that the Obama camp has not helped matters by egging the press along. He’s also benefited from a honeymoon with reporters that is bound to end. (In fact, as a guy who voted for Obama but without that much passion, I think it will be good for him to face some real pressure; he needs to show some mettle.)

    Also, the biased coverage really muddies things and is not in the interests of democracy. Now you’ve got people who hate Hillary and would never vote for her; you’ve got people who appear to be voting for her simply out of sympathy; you’ve got lefty bloggers who are taking her side simply out of a desire to stand up for the underdog; you’ve got people drawing the worst interpretation out of every tic and mistake made by Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. It’s just hopeless.

    But finally, I just want to say that Hellemann’s major narrative completely misses the mark. Like a lot of pundits — and even bloggers — he insists on seeing the two candidates as products of messaging, as if their campaign narratives were cut out of whole cloth. He reads them both as texts, which is just ridiculous. Texts are creations of the imagination, but the “branding” of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama depend on the characters of the candidates. If Obama comes across as Mr Clean, maybe because that’s an essential part of his character (although I’m sure he’s probably exaggerating to an extant). One of the most salient parts of his biography — one that Hellemannian cynicism can’t explain away — are the years he spent as a community organizer and civil rights lawyer. Those are essentially selfless acts that aren’t mirrored in Clinton’s biography.

    Hellemann’s analysis is sure to be picked up by the loopier element of the left blogosphere (e.g. Larry Johnson, Taylor Marsh) as justifying their mission to twist Obama’s biography 180 degrees. But while I don’t think he’s the liberal firebrand that Clinton’s trying to paint herself to be, he’s certainly not a product of market research.

    (Sorry for the long post…)

  2. Dynamic says:

    There’s no doubt that the media narrative is a major force in determining the outcome of an election, and controlling that narrative is a fundamental component of any campaign’s strategy.

    Hellemann claims that McCain’s meta-narrative is “spun from pure gold,” which is the grossest of exagerations. Certainly he has the best of any of the Republican contenders, and his being a true veteran is a powerful asset, but one has only to look at his outright rejection by much of what should be his base and it becomes apparant that his narrative is also described, at least in part, by his policies, and those policies are popular on neither the right nor the left.

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