So, I opened up Firefox and my AOL home page loaded up, and the headline was "McCain at War with the New York Times." I start reading the story, and quickly noticed something stand out like a strobe light. Written by Devlin Barrett, a AP political writer who followed the Clinton campaign earlier this year, this is clearly another example of the Ron Fournier camp taking control of one of our venerated news institutions.
The relationship between McCain -- a frequent reader of the newspaper -- and the Times has been rocky. Yet such a grudge could pay political dividends for the presidential candidate, as criticizing the liberal media often improves a candidate's standing with Republican Party conservatives. That's critical for McCain, who has never been their favorite.
Since when does anyone besides toolbag Republicans consider the media to be liberal? This is especially funny, considering liberals think the media is completely in the bag for Republicans anymore. It's also sad, though, because it shows how quick Fournier is to destroy any pretense of objectivity.
There's already a diary on the rec list referring to the AP story of Obama backing away from McCain's challenge (which, sadly, is the headline being used on Yahoo!, meaning that millions are being led to believe Obama's a coward), and in the same day, we get a second AP story that has adopted, hook, line, and sinker, the Republican framing. I have never seen the phrase "liberal media" used before in a news story without the quotation marks, and Barrett's article used it as if it were proven fact.
For all of McCain's carping, kvetching, bitching, whining, pissing, moaning, and groaning about the media's unfairness to him, the fact is that even if the vast majority of newspapers desert him and call him on his bullshit, having the AP, the (formerly) trusted nonpartisan reporting agency whose articles appear in hundreds of newspapers nationwide, become his subtle mouthpiece in this campaign would be a horrible blow to Obama.
There are enough challenges in Obama's way. His name, his race, his unconventional approach to campaigning, his reluctance to play the same old games. If the game were called fairly by the referees (the press), Obama would have an easier time of it, but the press doesn't want to call it fair, because if they did, they wouldn't have exciting "horse race" stories to file. It's sickening. I graduated the University of Michigan wanting to take my college news experience and be a real-world journalist, but so much of what passes for "news" anymore makes me leery of it. I'm doing some freelancing right now, but it's been business news, which keeps politics out of it, by and large.
Anyways, though, as I suggested in the other diary on the rec list, pushing for Reuters to replace AP would be a good start, I think. Reuters is a better news agency these days, and apolitical, which is what the AP should be. While we're at it, we should see about organizing a boycott of AP, starting by pushing at Yahoo!, Google and AOL, who use both Reuters and AP stories, to use Reuters exclusively. The loss of that revenue would hurt AP quite a bit, I'd imagine.
Ideas, suggestions, information is welcome.