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Talking Points Memo: President Obama and the Liberal American Media

Last night on The O’Reilly Factor, Fox News contributor Bernie Goldberg spoke out about President Obama and the media. He said, “So they drooled all over him four years ago and all they could find now are gaffes in Romney’s trip. Look, obviously journalists are Barack Obama’s most loyal base. They will not abandon him and they’ve got too much invested in him.”

Tonight in the Talking Points Memo, Bill O’Reilly expanded on Goldberg’s sentiments. He began with the example of John Kerry versus George Bush in the 2004 presidential election. There was a University of Connecticut study of 300 journalists nationwide that found 52 percent supported Kerry, the Democratic candidate, while just 19 percent favored Bush, the Republican

incumbent.

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In 2007, the Pew Research Center conducted a survey of 585 journalists. The results showed that 32 percent of those surveyed describe themselves as liberal, and on the other side, eight percent considered themselves conservative.

A 2008 Pew survey assessing the tone of the presidential campaign between Barack Obama and John McCain found that less than a third of the stories about Obama were negative, while more than a half cast McCain in a negative light. Additionally, less than 20 percent of the stories about McCain were positive, but more than 33 percent about Obama were favorable.

O’Reilly posed the question, “What does this mean in the upcoming election?” First of all, he said, “It gives the Democrats a major advantage because their agenda, whether it’s bashing Mitt Romney or promoting the president, will be covered far more extensively than the Republican agenda.”


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“Second, stories that make President Obama look bad will be played down in the national press,” O’Reilly charged, “while anything Mitt Romney does will be described as a gaffe, a mistake or just plain dumb.”

Even more expansive, O’Reilly said that the cumulative effect will be to influence those voters who don’t pay attention. He said, “Those of you who watch The Factor and listen closely to what the candidates are saying will not be likely influenced by the media … But the folks who spend most of their time in recreational pursuits could be very much influenced by the pro-Obama coverage.” Talking Points estimates that reasoning will give the president about three to four percent of the popular vote.

So, why are many journalists liberal? O’Reilly spoke from his experience of working at CBS. He said peer pressure is the main reason because, “if you were not politically correct, if you were traditional, you were suspect in the eyes of management and that included Dan Rather.” He said that when he worked at ABC News, things were not as bad because Peter Jennings did not approve of blatant partisanship. O’Reilly concluded that journalists today want to tow the liberal party line because many are educated at liberal universities and brought up in liberal environments.

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