The bias has been so massive, palpable, and unprecedented that the scales have begun to fall from the eyes of a few stalwarts of the media establishment. Obama, Mark Halperin of Time noted last week, “has been covered as a candidate, rather than as an incumbent whose record needs to be scrutinized.” As you might suspect, this coincides neatly with the president’s reelection strategy.
The Huffington Post’s Howard Fineman has suggested the media have all but given the president a free ride. “Obama was such a cool and uplifting story to so many in the media in 2008 that they have essentially ceded ground to him that they have yet to reclaim,” Fineman wrote. The president has campaigned “without having to seriously and substantively defend his first-term promises or shortcomings, and without having to say much, if anything, about what, if anything, he might do substantially differently if he is fortunate enough to win again.”
The most explosive criticism of press bias has come from Patrick Caddell, the former pollster and adviser to Democrats George McGovern, Jimmy Carter, and Gary Hart. “We have a political campaign where, to put the best metaphor I can on it, the referees on the field are sacking the quarterback of one team, tripping up their runners, throwing their bodies in front of blockers, and nobody says anything,” Caddell said in a speech.