Helping Out Eugene Kane

By Aaron Rodriguez


The Fallacious Reasoning of Eugene Kane

In his column, posted on November 5th in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Eugene Kane observed the immensurable importance of electing a black man to the presidency. Kane said this about Obama's plight to the White House,
Obama's victory represented an electoral wipeout, but the popular vote was relatively close. If you are up on your civics lessons, you know voting for president isn't like "American Idol"; it's more like a board game in which the winner takes all on a state-by-state basis. In that regard, Obama's victory was the result of superior planning and a better overall campaign. He won fair and square.

ImageI understand that as a proud and committed African-American, Mr. Kane was speaking from the inner recesses of his prideful heart. And for this reason, it is my duty to help him understand that Obama’s victory was most definitely not the result of superior planning, nor is it the outcrop of a “fair and square” election process.


It’s quite simple actually. In a democracy where the electorate plays an essential role in appointing a qualified and proficient government, the source of information by which the electorate derives civic knowledge must be fair, balanced, and truthful. And since the media has demonstratively failed to do this, it is important for Eugene Kane, as an actor of the free press, to recognize what is truly “fair and square.”

Biased Media Reporting

The Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism released an investigative report on the balance of media election coverage. The results were staggering. According to their report, unfavorable coverage of John McCain outweighed his favorable coverage by a factor of 3 to 1. Barack Obama's coverage, however, was 7% more favorable than unfavorable. In terms understandable to most of us, this means that Barack Obama was the media darling.

Interestingly, the Pew Research report concluded that there wasn’t conclusive evidence that the media was pro-Obama in their coverage. The report further added.

They [the data] do offer a strong suggestion that winning in politics began winning coverage, thanks in part to the relentless tendency of the press to frame its coverage of national elections as running narratives about the relative position of the candidates in the polls and internal tactical maneuvering to alter those positions.

In other words, media coverage tends to react to the overall sentiment of those polled, rather than the polls reflecting the undue influence of the media. What the report doesn’t add is that the polls traditionally lean toward liberal candidates due to the tendency of conservatives to avoid pollsters. If this is true, then the report has tacitly admitted that media coverage will naturally lean toward democrat candidates.

Putting aside the findings of this report for a moment, how does the Pew Research Center account for the fact that John McCain received twice the negative coverage of Obama when Obama has at least twice the skeletons? To be fair, McCain’s skeletons can be represented wholly by mentioning Charles Keating and Gordon Libby, the former of which McCain was legally exonerated.

Obama, on the other hand, has a far more impressive closet.  William Ayers, Jeremiah Wright, Tony Rezko, Rashid Khalidi, Louis Farrakhan, ACORN, Small School Workshops, Democratic Socialists of America, and the New Party are a powerful mix of terrorists, criminals, anti-Semites, Marxists, and socialists that would rightfully cause the glands of any headline-driven news network to salivate incessantly.

Eugene Kane, if you are reading this, hear me out. If you believe that Barack Obama won this election fair and square, then you sir, are grievously blind.

Due to ease of accessibility, the American media is the single most powerful source of information on the planet (Yes, even more powerful than the mighty internet), and the media is discernibly liberal in their political orientation.

In 2004, the New York Times found that Washington-based journalists voted for John Kerry over George Bush at a ratio of 12:1. During the 2004 election, Gallup polled registered voters and found that more than half believed the coverage favored John Kerry over George Bush. The Pew Research Center polled the same election and came to a similar conclusion. In 2006, Gallup polled American adults and found that twice as many believed the media is more liberal than conservative. In 2007, Zogby polled likely voters and found that nearly two-thirds believed that the media had a liberal bias.


Media Coverage of the Iraq War

The conclusion is not difficult. In a democracy where the electorate depends on the media for fair and balanced information, conservative candidates will find themselves pissing in the wind. Seven years of pummeling president Bush over the war in Iraq has seared the American conscience and poisoned the electorate. Even conservatives were inclined to dump on Bush.

In 2007, the Pew Research Center analysis found that 81 percent of the overall public voiced confidence in the accuracy of the media reports concerning the war in March of 2003. In 2007, only 38 percent believed the war coverage was accurate. The increasing negativity of the war coverage took a hard toll on the Bush Administration and his approval ratings dipped to 25%. This is only three points higher than record-setter Harry Truman during WWII. The media did an excellent job keeping a careful tally of soldiers killed in action and thoroughly investigating how many innocents died in the collateral damage. Day after day, America saw the blood and carnage of the war. The imagery was murky, depressing, and unbalanced.

Early in 2008, when the violence in Iraq began to drop and the surge began to spread stability across the landscape, the frequency of media coverage plunged significantly. From the date the surge was announced, the war coverage trajectory steadily declined in correspondence to the decreased levels of violence. In January of 2007, the Iraq war made up 25% of media coverage. By January of the next year, the coverage fell to just 3%.

When news networks were questioned about their diminished war coverage, the answer there was an increased cost of keeping embedded journalists that began to trim their roster. Fair enough, but McClatchy Newspapers and Fox News managed to maintain their rosters and resisted cutbacks. John Stack, VP of Fox News, stated, “We still have a full compliment of people there, operating in a very difficult environment. That hasn’t gone down at all.”

Apparently, some networks were willing to cover the news in Iraq despite the costs, or better yet, despite the decreased violence. Yes, ostensibly there is little utility reporting a war where progress means successfully rebuilding a nation and empowering people to exercise their freedom to participate in a democratic government.


Eugene Kane Contributes to the Problem

I gladly offer a congratulatory "yay" to president-elect Barack Obama on his victory of unprecedented proportions, but I will not entertain the delusion that his ascent to the White House was a matter of “superior planning.” Although David Axelrod and company ran an efficient campaign, they’ve had a strong and pressing wind at their back. If there is any doubt about the pervasive force of the liberal media Mr. Kane, just ask yourself why there were more journalists digging up dirt on Joe the Plumber than investigating Obama’s role in the Chicago Annenberg Challenge. No, Obama didn't win "fair and square." When the accomplished media is running interference for you, it's amazing what a smooth ride it can be. Mr. Kane, instead of contributing to the problem, how about some fair reporting?
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