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On Clinton, Obama

Is the mainstream media clueless when it comes to Barack Obama?

Pundits declared Hillary Clinton and John edwards the winners of Monday's YouTube debate, leaving Obama in the cold. So The Fix's Chris Cillizza asked the question: Is the media in America "just missing the boat" on the Obama craze?

What followed could have been a stream of angry rantings about the media, or a polarized argument between supporters of Clinton and Obama, who have been clashing publicly with each other this week. Instead, the question provoked a substantive discussion among more than 100 people about the contrasts between Obama and Clinton, and the ways in which the media portrays those differences.

To be sure, some of the responses took issue with the media's coverage of the Democratic presidential candidates.

"What an odd question," wrote one. "A member of the mainstream media who constantly praises Clinton and ignores Obama is asking why the mainstream media constantly praises Clinton and ignores Obama."

But others focused on the candidates.

"HRC is the head candidate. Obama is the heart candidate," one person posted at 9:59 a.m. Thursday. "The questions is this: how will people vote in the polling booth? With their head, or with their heart?"

Another offered: "One thing that the mainstream media always misses: The fact that people can tell a scripted answer from a genuine answer. That's why Barack Obama comes across as the more genuine candidate in these debates. He may not be as polished as say Hillary Clinton, but regular folks can tell what is real and what is scripted."

And "SteveB" suggested that "Senator Obama has the ability to inspire, but it remains to be seen whether he has the ability to lead. Senator Clinton projects leadership, but she lacks the personal charisma to inspire."

Finally, one person suggests that "If the Fix is truly interested in learning what he missed, he needs to stop by the desk of the Post's movie critic. Movie critics have been trying to figure out why the public disagrees with their picks for eighty plus years. Whatever the answer is, it probably applies to politics as well.

What do you think? Click here to continue the discussion.

--Michael D. Shear

By Post Editor  |  July 27, 2007; 10:28 AM ET
Categories:  B_Blog , Barack Obama , Hillary Rodham Clinton  
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Comments

The media picks and chooses what they want to spoonfeed the public... it has worked for a long long time. The difference now is that the public has the Internet where the pundit is just another blogger!!!
What happened to -Hillary conspiring with Edwards to 'get rid" of some candidates- Not news worthy?
Now she is the first one to call a respectable fellow Senator "irresponsible, naive, silly" and the next thing you know is the media spining and trying to say that he started it all.
Joe Biden was treated differently when he said that Obama was 'Articulate" remember??
We all know that them "boys" are - naive, irresponsible and silly - Don't we Miss Hillary
Too bad, those days are long gone, and the Media better get it too.
Obama is for real, that's just the fact.

Posted by: flower3 | July 30, 2007 4:26 AM | Report abuse

The media picks and chooses what they want to spoonfeed the public... it has worked for a long long time. The difference now is that the public has the Internet where the pundit is just another blogger!!!
What happened to -Hillary conspiring with Edwards to 'get rid" of some candidates- Not news worthy?
Now she is the first one to call a respectable fellow Senator "irresponsible, naive, silly" and the next thing you know is the media spining and trying to say that he started it all.
Joe Biden was treated differently when he said that Obama was 'Articulate" remember??
We all know that those "boys" are - naive, irresponsible and silly - Don't we Miss Hillary
Too bad, that time is over, and the Media better get it too.
Obama is a true

Posted by: flower3 | July 30, 2007 4:19 AM | Report abuse

If we continue to pick people with No experience then we will get another BUSH.
It is so hard to understand we send our kids to school to get the hard experience. He's so pretty lets vote for him is back to BUSH!

Posted by: shockie | July 28, 2007 1:08 PM | Report abuse

If we continue to pick people with No experience then we will get another BUSH.
It is so hard to understand we send our kids to school to get the hard experience. He's so pretty lets vote for him is bach to BUSH!

Posted by: shockie | July 28, 2007 1:07 PM | Report abuse

When asked the question, Hillary not only misrepresented the question (no one asked her to "promise" to do anything) but she also misrepresented Obama's answer by insinuating that he had "promised" to do something when, in fact, he had not. I believe she did so intentionally.

Posted by: mwfree | July 28, 2007 12:39 PM | Report abuse

I agree with vwcat,July 27, 2007, 08:04PM.
Sen. Clinton has "proposed" a lot of stuff but what has she actually gotten passed? I remember the McCain-Obama legislation on campaign financing and it was Sen. McCain who needed Sen. Obama's assistance to get it through. What has Sen. Clinton passed in her 6 Senate yrs?
Why wasn't experience a factor when Sen. Edwards ran for president in 2004 after serving only 3 years in the Senate?
Sen. Clinton represents a female democrat version of "more of the same" while America needs real change like an Obama-Edwards or Edwards-Obama presidency.

Posted by: ja_steed | July 28, 2007 6:10 AM | Report abuse

Several posters excoriated Hilary for changing the words "would you be willing" to "would you promise"? But surely that is not the real issue; the original question contained the phrase "without conditions." It was to this phrase that Hilary responded, saying that a lot of diplomatic groundwork had to be done before such a meeting could take place. John Edwards immediately agreed to her correct answer.

Posted by: asirignano | July 28, 2007 5:34 AM | Report abuse

what I really don't understand is why these main stream media does not investigate the polls they feed to us - there is something wrong when Hillary leads a poll conducted by a firm that is owned by a friend of the Clintons...why does this not get reported?

Posted by: gathuo | July 27, 2007 8:31 PM | Report abuse

I forgot to add.
Hillary is a conventional thinker who has the same old thinking as everyone else and the same ideas that failed this country for 20 years.
Obama is an out of the box thinker with real ideas that work. His record in the state senate (the experience you don't count) shows someone in tune with people and having real answers. He understands the people whereas Hillary is totally out of touch and take us for fools.

Posted by: vwcat | July 27, 2007 8:07 PM | Report abuse

One big thing is why is it that Hillary, who has 6 years as a senator, is allowed the tag of experience just because she borrows her husband's resume. that is not experience.
Yet, Obama, who spent 10 years in the state senate doing actual legislation, is concidered to be inexperienced. It makes no sense. Why is Hillary allowed the free pass of taking from another's resume and you guys call that experience. Why is someone who does have experience not allowed to use that?
also, his time as a Constitutional Law professor is more important today than ever after what this administration has done to it.
I also do not hear much of anything but, spin and sound bites from Clinton. No substance. What is she going to do? what is her policy on issues. You never hear it in debates. Obama has real policy and substance yet you guys reverse it and spin the debates for Hillary and based on what? Saying nothing in a loud voice and her always saying, well, Bill or when I was first lady...
What about now? and because Obama is explaining what he is going to do, you guys say he isn't charismatic enough. when he is you guys say no substance.
I understand the beltwayers want to spin for the corporate, insider Hillary but, it is so obvious it's embarassing when the British media notices. and they think you guys are nuts.
We are electing a president. But, you ask of Hillary nothing. You allow her a free pass on not saying anything and being empty and never showing how she is a leader. it's based on nothing.

Posted by: vwcat | July 27, 2007 8:04 PM | Report abuse

I agree with much that has been said here and just want to add a couple more things. I really don't understand the overwhelming support that Hillary has in this country? She has always come across as a typical politician who cares more about saying the right thing and winning than saying what she really feels and facing the risk of losing. Not too mention, who is she? Hillary has so many people pulling different strings and directing her PR and personal makeovers that the real Hillary Clinton was lost in the shadows long ago. There is just no way that I'm up for the whole Bush, Clinton, Bush, Clinton thing. That is not what is going to move this country forward. Additionally, what you see with the debate on Monday night is the typical CLINTON machine in action. She twists words and their meaning and tries to provoke people into responding in a manner that makes them look bad. This is called manipulation of the public and it's what Hillary and her team do best. I really hope more voters start seeing the forest through the trees when it comes to Hillary Rodham Clinton. Let's start with a clean slate in 2008...

Posted by: kkoz91 | July 27, 2007 5:37 PM | Report abuse

I don't believe either of these candidates are worth it. I believe they are both bought and paid for and both support the North American Union and will keep bases in Iraq even if they pull most of the troops out. Obama's idea for universal health care will simply increase the middle class tax burden. Clinton will just be more of the same.

Ron Paul...God Please Ron Paul

Posted by: jamesrobertlundberg | July 27, 2007 4:06 PM | Report abuse

I love Obama's freshness. He was asked a simple question and gave a simple answer. Hey Hillary can you define the word "is"? I hate that every question needs to be nit picked and pulled apart.
I'm guessing the clinton machine is figuring even bad press is good. Last debate the fiasco with Edwards this one trying to bully Obama. What next picking on Kucinich for his looks?

Posted by: sp_kies | July 27, 2007 3:56 PM | Report abuse

This pretty much sums it up.
See for yourselves:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AyqAR4lJCmw

Posted by: sheguno | July 27, 2007 2:48 PM | Report abuse

We're all good with the Anybody But Bush for President position. I'm moving on to the Anybody But Clinton position. We don't need the baggage.

Obama/Kucinich '08

Mike W.

Posted by: washingtonpost | July 27, 2007 2:36 PM | Report abuse

I really like the comment by zrarieh above which refers to how the candidates answered the question. But it is so typical of POLITICIANS to almost never answer questions they are asked. An earnest answer normally provides the most information with the least amount of words, whereas you can always see through insincerity as you hear many words spoken, with almost nothing concretely stated.

Hillary did have a point here however in her answer when she made an argument that in entering in dialog gratuitously, it favors the other side as giving them publicity etc. Had the question been couched, "Would you negotiate with terrorists?", I think the answers would have all been much different.

The novel format of the debate attempted to cut through the demagogic nature of these types of discussions, and reveals the situation as being quite hopeless. Part of the problem with the question is the definition of term "rouge". Who is a rouge anyway? Is it a person or state that invades another regardless of international law and consensus?

Posted by: xira | July 27, 2007 1:47 PM | Report abuse

What I find extremely ironic is Obama calling, Clinton Bush and Cheney lite.

That statement alone proves who is Bush and Cheney lite. So, here we go and Obama stoops to the neocon's nasty method of political campaigning.

I'm no fan of Clinton and now neither am I of Obama. They've both been marked off of my list.

Posted by: sandy.hollis | July 27, 2007 1:46 PM | Report abuse

As a democratic-leaning independent, I am completely frustrated and annoyed by the Clinton attack machine. She seems to be taking a clear policy difference and spinning it in an attempt to argue that Obama is attacking her personally--when all he is doing is simply showing the difference between their platforms on diplomacy. Did anyone see Clinton's Howard Wolfson on CNN? While David Axelrod was pointing out how Clinton's idea of meeting with Iran, N. Korea, Cuba, etc. only after certain conditions are met, is the same as the Bush-Cheney policy, Wolfson accused Obama of promising to meet with them and playing political games. All this after the alleged frontrunner began the spat by calling Obama's comments niave. Now he's silly? Absolutely shameful. This kind of rhetoric makes her seem even more like a Republican. I now know that if she's the nominee, I'll be voting for a third party.

Posted by: ckc777 | July 27, 2007 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Okay...here's the deal: mainstream media is not reflective of today's America or today's world.

This election is being covered the same way elections have been covered for years.(and, by many of the same people) You are missing a 'worldy' perspective (the same one that would have told you that invading Iraq would not be a piece of cake.)

Commentators are primarily upper-middle class, white males, over 50, who don't understand (or experience) the issues the average American faces. Even when you bring in a woman or person of color, they follow the status-quo.

With the exception of a few journalists who see what's going on via the Internet and in the communities, most of the MSM are taking the easy road -- not bothering to investigate this change in the electorate, just accepting politics-as-usual.

For instance, look in the campaign donations databases and look in some of the moderate and republican suburbs and see who's giving and to which Democratic candidate.

Obama has a lot of 'closet' supporters. People respect his guts to take on the political machine that has controlled the country (and the media) for years and doesn't represent the 'real' America.

Posted by: linnie1 | July 27, 2007 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Focusing more on the answer to the question itself, I find that Hillary made the correct response. The answer she gave reflects the fact that she has far more experience than Obama. Her experience allows her to have a realistic view of what can be done when it comes to international politics. Although, I admire Obama's fresh point of view, he will have too much learning to do as president.

Posted by: mahenf | July 27, 2007 1:05 PM | Report abuse

The question was "WOULD you be WILLING ..?"

And Obama answered honestly and intelligently "I WOULD [be WILLING].", then he went on to explain his answer, which turned out to be exactly the kind of judgment Americans need the President of their Great nation to have at times as these.

By introducing "promise", Hillary either didn't understand the question or foolishly thought it was a good opportunity. I'm delighted because the previous posts show that average Americans (unlike pundits) are picking up on the facts.

The link below has a YouTube video, which must be spread around. It depicts Hillary's naivete and cowardice, her inconsistencies and irresponsibility.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AyqAR4lJCmw

Posted by: zrarieh | July 27, 2007 1:02 PM | Report abuse

It is true about the media having a thing for the clintons. For instance, after the first debate, I watched Chris Mathews almost do a hi-five with Howard fineman and the glee with which they lavished praise on clinton amounted to a verbal hi-five. I can point to alot more incedences but it appears that either the media is terrified of the clintons or they are in awe of them which does not make for fair reporting. It leads to alot of questions not being asked. What happened to the slap Hillary got from Obama about the psoudo-controversy with the pentagon? Nobody Journalist or "expert" seemed to think it was important but reading the blogs and listening to the applause it was significant.

Posted by: jmuchun5538 | July 27, 2007 12:56 PM | Report abuse

The honesty of Senator Obama's comments further strengthens my support for him. Dialogue is so important, and without a renewed committment to pragmatic internatinoal dialogue the worlds problems will only worsen. Senator Clinton is obviously threatened by the support Obama has garnered, hence the attacks on his credibility. And, as far as the media goes, well thankfully my vote counts to.

Posted by: twofeathers50 | July 27, 2007 12:54 PM | Report abuse

These debates are just stunts. The debate featured pre-screened questions again. No wonder we get pre-digested answers.

Politics is a dirty business. Any wonder why we end up with dirty politicians?

- Arye Michael Bender -

Posted by: AryeDirect | July 27, 2007 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone else find it ironic that they are having this childish and unproductive name-calling spat over who would be the more fruitful diplomat?

Posted by: bcrowley | July 27, 2007 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Hillary's people have re-phrased the question and reinterpreted the answer, which is truly just political chicanery. The question was would you be "willing" and Obama answered it directly. He didn't say yes he would definitely rush out and meet these people; he said he would be "willing" which is a total breath of fresh air, a genuine, straightforward openness free from political spin. He got my vote not so much be cause of his answer but because of Hillary's nasty tricks after the debate trying to make him look bad and excuse herself for giving a politically correct and totally disingenuous response.

Posted by: jsedgeman | July 27, 2007 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Hillary's people have re-phrased the question and reinterpreted the answer, which is truly just political chicanery. The question was would you be "willing" and Obama answered it directly. He didn't say yes he would definitely rush out and meet these people; he said he would be "willing" which is a total breath of fresh air, a genuine, straightforward openness free from political spin. He got my vote not so much be cause of his answer but because of Hillary's nasty tricks after the debate trying to make him look bad and excuse herself for giving a politically correct and totally disingenuous response.

Posted by: jsedgeman | July 27, 2007 12:30 PM | Report abuse

What i have noticed with Obama and his supporters is that there is a tight bond between these two where the supporters of Obama are extremely honest to their candidate as the candidate is honest and frank with his supporters. His supporters will only escalate as their candidate himself escalates. Obama's verbal retaliation on Hillary was enthusiastically picked up by his supporters who were now empowered to bring to light the other side of Hillary. I think Hillary should be regretting to have made negative and unjustified comments on Obama

Posted by: fun_fed | July 27, 2007 12:16 PM | Report abuse

All Democrats should be alarmed by Sen. Clinton's challenge to Sen. Obama in Tuesday's debate. Mrs. Clinton, who just a few months ago chastised the administration on Meet the Press for "not being willing to talk to 'bad people," went after Obama for saying the exact same thing, and put words in his mouth to do it.

The question asked of the candidates was "Would you be willing to meet" with Ahmadinejad, Assad, Kim Jong-il, etc. in your first term. Obama answered yes. Clinton then introduced the phrase "promise to meet" to the discussion and bludgeoned Obama with it as though they were his words.

If the American electorate doesn't begin seeing through this sort of chicanery, it will continue to get the type of government it deserves -- the bad kind.

Posted by: brendan.rogak | July 27, 2007 12:06 PM | Report abuse

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