The Myth of the Media Bias Toward Barack Obama

Candidates have always complained about media bias; John McCain is no different—and is off base.

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Former Texas Sen. Phil Gramm, the now resigned economic guru to Sen. John McCain, was right to say there were whiners among us. However, they were really his colleagues in the McCain camp howling over news coverage rather than over economic woes.

It is almost pathetic to see McCain's aides hopping mad over coverage of Sen. Barack Obama's trip to the Middle East and Europe. If that is the crux of their strategy, it is a sure loser in public relations.

After all, McCain himself had criticized his Democratic rival for his failure to visit the war zones earlier. The presumptive GOP nominee then jumped on Obama for what he was saying in Iraq as naive and defeatist. The senator from Arizona had his comeback, and it was carried fully on the networks and in the papers.

The Obama trip is news—pure and simple. The McCain crowd just doesn't like the TV pictures coming out of the trip.

Over the course of the next few months, both candidates are certain to have their highs and lows. Then they will both get a bump during the two conventions in Denver and the Twin Cities.

Is the press having a love affair with Obama? Let's examine the record. He was stung for flip-flopping on intelligence issues and funding for a war he opposes. His numbers on healthcare have been examined and found to be confusing at best. His problems with preachers were covered to a full extent. In his primary marathon with Sen. Hillary Clinton, the attacks on him were widely covered.

News in political campaigns is always seen in the eyes of the beholder. If your candidate is under fire, the press is ganging up on him in favor of the other guy. If the coverage looks too favorable, you yelp about it, too. It has always been this way.

In 1960, much of the press learned its lesson for more fawning coverage of a young and handsome Democratic candidate named John F. Kennedy. By comparison, the dour Republican Richard Nixon had a right to complain.

That was then, and this is now. McCain's aides can howl into the wind (or whine) all they want. It won't be long before some in the Obama crowd will complain that McCain is getting too much favorable coverage as a war hero running ahead of his party's congressional candidates.