Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Media & Obama: Good Intentions Paving a Rough Road

Original Link:

by Damozel and D. Cupples

We've been worried about this for weeks -- a possible backlash from Hillary Clinton's supporters against pro-Obama (anti-Hillary) media outlets and the passive-aggressive bashing of Hillary that appears to be approved by the Obama campaign.

Apparently, the backlash is already gathering hurricane force -- if a recent Pew poll reflects voters' opinions.

The poll suggests that 25% of pro-Hillary Dems plan to vote for John McCain if Barack Obama becomes the Democratic nominee. About 10% of Obama's supporters plan to vote for McCain if Hillary wins the nomination, according to the poll.

This should gravely concern Obama and the super-delegates, because 25% of the Dems who support Hillary represents millions of votes. That and many voters perceive McCain as a liberal Republican -- i.e., a palatable alternative.

Taylor Marsh, who has received hundreds of emails from Hillary supporters, expressed similar concerns about a backlash:

"The media, Obama and his supporters are underestimating the hardness now solidifying among many Clinton supporters who are saying they will never vote for Barack Obama. There have been grumblings since Obama made the statement that he could get Clinton voters, but she couldn't get his voters [video below]....

"Obama's campaign race baiting made it worse. It was added on to the media bias against Clinton....

"But calling her campaign and supporters racist, which was further aided by MSNBC's Keith Olbermann, was a final straw...."

Why are millions of Hillary supporters finding Obama unpalatable? I can only speculate about the offensiveness (i.e., divisiveness) of some Obama-campaign tactics.

I see why millions of middle-aged and older folks might be turned off by Obama's message that voters must choose between "change" and "experience" -- which aren't mutually exclusive terms.

The media made a bad more worse by bizarrely chanting that message after the Iowa caucus.

I can see why millions of voters are turned off by strong implications that Obama's hands are clean but Hillary's are tainted -- especially given the evidence suggesting that Obama has been pretty good at playing old-style politics (e.g., Exelon, Rezko, the 1996 election).

I can see why "hypocrisy" would come to voters' minds after the Obama campaign sent a fund-raising email that accused Hillary of attacking Obama's supporters. Karl Rove and Rush Limbaugh similarly convinced millions of Americans that anyone criticizing George Bush was also insulting his fans (and their mamas).

Obama's email was as divisive as it was factually questionable -- and hypocritical, given Obama's speeches against "divisive," old-style politics.

Some media outlets have ignored such telling campaign tactics and instead simply attacked Hillary like frenzied campaign volunteers (e.g., Olbermann's recent attack).

Even some Obama supporters are disgusted by the media's campaign coverage. And it goes without saying that Republicans (who will campaign and vote in November) are highly resentful of many media's nonobjective, pro-Obama campaigning.

Lastly, I can see why voters might be turned off by the apparent presumptuousness that Sen. Obama exhibited when implying that he would get most Hillary supporters' votes in November if he were the nominee but she might not get many of his.

Sen. Obama's statement was made worse when campaign surrogate Michele Obama publicly said in February that she might not support the Dem nominee if it were Hillary. Sen. Obama and Hillary have not publicly said that about each other.

A few days ago, incidentally, Hillary publicly said that she would "expect" her supporters to support Obama if he's the nominee (Associated Press). It's a significant statement, but I haven't seen much media coverage of it.

Thanks to media amplification (or creation) of campaign-related hostility, if Obama becomes the nominee, many Dems would have sour stomachs over his victory. That's a bad way to go into a general election -- except from the perspective of McCain supporters.

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