Love Is On The Air

Friday, February 29, 2008


Do the media have a crush on Barack Obama? National Journal columnist William Powers thinks so. Powers says that while Hillary Clinton has to work to recast herself against a pre-written narrative, Barack Obama is virtually a media blank slate.

Comments [30]

Chris Gray from New Haven, CT

Oh, yeah, despite having the audio tape of Obama's book "The Audacity of Hope" on our kitchen table, awaiting a listen, that slipped my mind.

Wrong again on several points!

Mar. 05 2008 11:52 PM
Chris Gray from New Haven, CT

Well, I was kiddingly predicting a Clinton/Huckabee ticket with the slogan "Bring back Hope!" long before Barack jumped on the hope bandwagon and was simply pushing "Change You Can Believe In".

As of this moment, with MSNBC projecting a voting win for Clinton in Texas and reporting a personal call from Obama to Clinton plus a schedule of six (6) morning television appearances by Hillary, I have a funny feeling we will hear something that will confound the pundits tomorrow. Then, again, I am often wrong.

For example, the reason her audience on the Daily Show was so dead last night was they couldn't really hear the conversation.

Also, though a near life-long New Havener, I have a niece who was "born in a trunk in Pocatello," Idaho, lived there for about eighteen months up until just 9 days before she was born (when her Mom and Dad and I were being snowed upon in Yellowstone and I was naively tempting a buffalo to gore me) and over her first three years and also traveled up to Butte and over to everywhere from Cody to Casper Wyoming (even staying in JC Penney's empty house in Kemmerer and bunking in with the former Mayor of Rawlins and his girlfriend).

There are great people all over that area just as there are horrid nut cases, but the land and sky is unforgettably beautiful.

Sorry, though, I can’t agree to judge statements on stand-alone merit. Especially when I find motives suspect or identity obscured.

Mar. 05 2008 01:52 AM
eva from california

Hi Judi,
I'm glad you don't regret your decision to have children, I know quite a few women journalists who would probably be happy to trade places with you. I hope you are getting good care in Montana for your joints. I will try to find some links to some interesting studies I have recently read on alternative approaches to joint damage, maybe it will be useful?
I don't know Moraga too well, but being from the Bay Area, I think you made a good decision to move to Montana, especially since you have kids. If you're a native, this place has changed so much and so quickly. I guess that goes for most places in this country now, but I don't remember such a fierce focus on accumulating vast amounts of wealth back in the day. And these poor performance-driven children, I worry about them.
Ah, the good old days when this place had strong blue-collar neighborhoods... all gone now.
Watching the returns, absolutely amazed. Who knows how this will end, or if it will end anytime soon?

Mar. 04 2008 09:49 PM
Judi Phillips from Montana

Thank you Jack,

You are right, merit is really what is important, but there are issues to each of us that are near and dear to our hearts that sometimes only certain candidates address. One of those issues for me, aside from what I've made sortof obvious is healthcare. I'm smart, but I have a disability (joint disease) that renders me pretty useless in societies eyes. I should've stayed in college and become the journalist I had set out to at one time. But I had children instead, and don't regret a moment of it. At 43, these realities can be pretty harsh. I want a pres. in the White House who hears the pleads of people like me. Bush sure didn't.

Yes, Glacier Park and the Bay Area are both beautiful in their own ways. I don't know much about the mid-west, but heck this whole country has beautiful aspects about it. Whether it's the environment, food, culture, or awesome people, dang we're just a great country!

The environment is important to me as well, and I don't know much about Obama's position with that issue. Hope he gives it the weight I feel it deserves to counter the last nightmare decade, that is assuming he gets a chance to! Let's hooooope!

Mar. 04 2008 05:54 PM
Jack from Chicago

What does it matter whom I support? Judge my posts on their own merits, just as I do yours.

I've always wanted to go to Glacier and think the Bay area is about as beautiful as a place can be, but I judge everything relative to the flat, flat lands of Illinois.

Mar. 04 2008 10:24 AM
Judi Phillips from Montana

O.k. Uncle, Uncle!

I'll sure as hell vote for Obama over McCain, but I suppose I could close with saying that I am very disappointed that there haven't been more democratic candidates to choose from and I'm looking forward to possibilities with other women in the future, maybe Feinstein!, ;-D

Eva, Montana is beautiful and I love it here. Lifestyle is harder, but simpler. People are great, er for the most part. Maybe that's because there so many of us DAMN CALIFORNIANS up here! he, he. I live next to Glacier Park on the West side, Flathead Co.

I'm from the East Bay, Moraga. My family still lives there. How about you? What part of CA do you hail from?


Mar. 04 2008 09:49 AM
Homer from Athens, GA

This identity is an intentional HOAX!

It is really the "devil I know" guy (oops, one of the reasons I have always used the name, Chris Gray, is to obscure my gender - I used to cheer people who addressed letters to the editor of my senior citizen newspaper to Ms. Chris Gray for guessing a woman might be behind the name and, either way, it would be less offensive to address a woman deferentially).

I could manufacture new identities to bolster my arguments all night, as I suspect has been done by others.

My point in this hoax is to remind readers not to assume that a poster is writing what they know is true or that what they are writing actually reflects their opinion.

Judging from past posts from "Jack from Chicago", I find it hard to believe he really supports Barak, though it sure looks as if he has a better chance of beating McCain.

Sad to say, Hillary's appearance on the Daily Show tonight doesn't give me much hope for her campaign. The audience in Stewart's studio was 400% more boisterous in support of her than those actually in the room with her. Even Jon commented that they were bored. I'd say funereal.

Mar. 04 2008 02:40 AM
eva from california

Hi Judi,
Hope Montana's treating you well. I'm not surprised to hear that you're from the Bay Area. Did you grow up in San Francisco or the East Bay?
Your notion, I think, boils down to the idea that the devil we know is better than the devil we don't know. There are times I'm inclined to agree, but not now.
Gotta say the grassroots organization behind Obama is the "we" that's missing in Hillary's campaign. David Brooks has a great article in the Times today which discusses the bottom-up, internet-influenced style of the Obama campaign, and what it means for the future of political organizing - which is weird, because a friend, whose daughter works for Clinton, was talking about the same thing tonight - how HRC's campaign was just blown away by the organization and tech-based reach of the Obama campaign. Here's the article:
BTW, did you hear that a "mess" of quant students from Stanford have skipped this whole semester to work on the Obama campaign? Explains the technical reach. It was on Lehrer's show on Monday. Besides that, I do agree with Jack, who posted above - the allegations that Obama is somehow a supporter of Farakhan when Obama has publicly rejected and denounced him are quite absurd.

Mar. 04 2008 01:42 AM
Jack from Chicago

I'm impressed, and appalled, by the intellectual contortions you are forcing yourself to go through to find some reason to support Clinton. Obama addressed Dwight's comments and rejected and denounced Farrakhan's endorsement. You probably wouldn't have voted for Kennedy with all that Catholic pope baggage.

If the best thing you can say about Clinton is that "the Nation has probably seen the worse(sic) with Hillary and Bill and we can’t help but go forward," that hardly seems like a reason to vote for her. You can compare their views on the Iraq war, Iran sanctions and NAFTA and see significant differences, though she's changed her stance on NAFTA recently to match his. All elected officials are scrutinized closely. Why go with the one who has shown she can screw it up despite the scrutiny versus the one who hasn't?

Mar. 03 2008 05:58 PM
Judi Phillips from Montana

One thing I do know is that the Nation has probably seen the worse with Hillary and Bill and we can’t help but go forward. We don’t know what is inside that cool exterior of Obama’s just waiting to reveal itself, like it or not, we will be stuck. I don’t like that about him. It’s easy for the media to play darts on Hillary because she’s a clear target. I like twenty-twenty vision, but we have double vision with Obama now and hind site may end up being our only clear view. Hit’s from the media deflect off Obama’s clean and very clear slate simply because there’s nothing there for anyone to grab hold of. At least Hillary has a record we can use and enjoy a little more predictability because of that very fact! She is less likely to screw up because of the fact we scrutinize her closely. I just don’t trust the people who I know will be inherently connected to Obamas adjenda.

Mar. 03 2008 03:48 PM
Judi Phillips from Montana


Being a Bay Area Native I was fond of Feinstein and love the idea of Feinstein on the Ballot, but she’s not, neither are the others.

I’m sorry for my flippant use of the serious word ‘love’, for Bill’s acts were indeed shameful; I was using it as a contrast for the equally serious word ‘war’, which men, conservative ones particularly, seem to be so good at getting us into.

Hillary and Bill made some mistakes, but we’ve all seen worse, and I think they also have equally good plans to go forward with even in contrast with Obama though not terribly different. Conversely however, I certainly don’t want to vote for anyone who has any ties with any church that exalts the existence of a person like Louis Farrakhan. That just plain makes my skin crawl.

Mar. 03 2008 03:48 PM
eva from california

Dear Judi,

Sorry to hear the etymological dictionary is in storage. I don't think you should feel your karma has been harmed because you posted your opinions on this site, or because you engaged others in a passionate discussion. In fact, I think that would be a common misconception about the meaning of karma.

But let's talk about dharma, not the overused karma.
Don't you feel a bit unnerved, as a woman, by the implication that a vote for Hillary is a vote for women? I think a vote for Boxer or Feinstein or Barbara Jordan would have been a vote for women. But I think the Clinton treatment of women is pretty sour. You mentioned that Bill had "loved a few women". Well, I can't see that his behavior was very loving. In fact, I think it is quite the opposite of loving.

Are you confusing the sex he had with underlings and less empowered women as "love"? For women in my generation, it was very uninspiring that Hillary did not address how deeply abusive of women Bill had been.

Mar. 03 2008 01:47 PM
Jack from Chicago

(sorry hit submit by accident)

and showed how her foreign policy and national security "experience" failed her miserably in her votes for war with Iraq and potential war with Iran. It's her poor decision-making and poorly run campaign that have her in the position where she is now, not unequal treatment by the media.

Mar. 03 2008 12:16 PM
Jack from Chicago

I think it's interesting that everyone is ready to believe that the media is swooning over Obama but they find it crazy when people say that Bush gets excessively negative treatment by the media.

For my part, I don't see any unequal treatment. Clinton got herself into trouble with her flip-flop on NAFTA

Mar. 03 2008 12:11 PM
Judi Phillips from Montana

<< I think you mean subscribe to, not "prescribe to." >>
Yes, I stand corrected, and I knew you would comment about it as soon as I posted that message. My mistake, I meant SUBscribe. Yes, PREscription is something YOU need from having to put up with the messages in this Bulliten. Called Karma.

<< At least the last two thousand years? Okay, so you're not well-read on antiquity.>>
Then again, my mistake I wasn’t historically accurate. I was figuring the last 2 thousand years of printed history would be the most relevant; however I suppose I should have extended that to some few thousand years before the Sumerians! Would that be sufficient?

<< wouldn't rely on wikipedia for everything.>>
Additionally, I don’t have my dictionaries with me, they are in storage. And I wouldn’t rely on readers to whip out the ole trusty, dusty etymological dictionary either. Yes, it is great to know the historical meaning of words, like that of “witch” which, to me is a high complement, so please indulge.


Mar. 03 2008 10:40 AM
Chris Gray from New Haven, CT

Excuse me, spirit of Mr. Buckley, I meant to write Mr. Wolfson failed to "cite" it.

Mar. 03 2008 05:42 AM
Chris Gray from New Haven, CT

As an unaffiliated voter I had no ballot in Connecticut’s primary but it disturbs me to read many of the statements above about Senator Clinton, written as if the writers actually knew her or her motives.

So far, I have only had four encounters with either Clinton and my first, with both, was to receive a wave from them as I, an obviously then-homeless man, mooned under the window of a young woman whom I mistakenly adored. It struck me as a kindness.

In separate encounters with Bill, he ignored me despite my being the engineer for an interview with Joe Lieberman on Yale radio, whom he accompanied and, years later, had no idea what I meant when I told him, "Win!" on a rope line on New Haven's Church St. Later that campaign season, I told Hillary, "You are as charming as your husband," to her surprise, on College St. Tonight, to correct that, I wrote, "He doesn't hold a candle to you."

I also told her that she had her "3am Moment" on Nov. 30, 2007 when a hostage incident caused her to suspend her campaign activities for the duration of it and travel to Rochester. This showed, not only her capacity to keep a cool head and make the correct judgment about priorities, but also the truly empathetic and compassionate leader she could be, if voters allowed her to be. Only her surrogate on This Week yesterday did not have the presence of mind to site it.

Obama is a blank slate upon which we project our hopes. He might be fine, but better the devil I know.

Mar. 03 2008 01:52 AM
Susan from New Jersey

I'm very disappointed in the media in this country. They have provided a very one sided picture of this race between Hillary and Obama. It's been upsetting to watch because there's not even an effort to appear to be fair - it's clear that Obama is the media darling and can do no wrong. It's also very sad to listen to how many people are willing to vote for someone who has 2 years experience in government - he's not governed anything, yet people are very willing to vote him the next President of the USA. Yes, we need to have this country presented by someone who is honest and real, but they also need to be able to actually do the job of being President. He's not even knowledgable about Iraq, Iran and Afganistan - that's not helpful when there is so much at stake.

Mar. 02 2008 07:16 PM
eva from california

Alice and Carol,
Is it possible that, as Bill Powell pointed out, Obama manages the press better than Hillary does, and that this wise management has garnered him kinder treatment?
Is it also fair to suggest that many in the media, having considered Obama a lightweight who would drop out early, are acknowledging his strategic intelligence on the campaign trail in their coverage? Are they not simultaneously obliged to present news on the Clinton campaign, even when that is negative?
If so, how does that constitute misogyny or sexism? They treated her with kid gloves for quite some time last year, and you weren't complaining then...
May I suggest that it's not about the misogyny or the sexism, but it is about choosing an intelligent, thoughtful leader who can inspire across gender and racial lines? In other words, just because it's not about Hillary, doesn't mean that it is somehow "unfair" or without substance.
I'm frankly impressed by how Obama talks (in a very feminine way, actually) about the "we" in "we the people." Hillary sees her campaign not in terms of the community, but in terms of herself.

Mar. 02 2008 05:43 PM
Alice from Seattle, Washington

I was very disappointed in this segment. Sexism is subtle and ingrained in our society and our speech. But when the commentator described Hillary Clinton as "calculating" and "manipulative" and in the same sentence went on to describe Barak Obama as "tactical" without addressing the value judgments inherent in those word choices, I was appalled. The commentator was certainly entitled to his opinion, but I rely on shows like "On the Media" to push its guests when they engage in blatant sexism as was done in this segment.

Mar. 02 2008 04:53 PM
Carol from Minneapolis

Ugh - your show was basically - yes the media has a crush on Barack and we are perfectly correct to do so and now that we acknowledge that, we are, ON THIS SHOW, going to continue to further the notion that Barack is some kind of saint! Why not take the gloves off BEFORE the nomination is decided? That is when it is most important. Please can the Obama drivel.

Mar. 02 2008 04:28 PM
eva from california

In response to your further comments:
"I don’t prescribe to any religion which tells me that there is only one MALE god, and that ordained by Him I am a subservient by-product of His Male creation."

I think you mean subscribe to, not "prescribe to."

You then wrote: "For at least the last two thousand years women have been seriously duped, as well as enslaved, abused, murdered, belittled and debased based on this premise."
At least the last two thousand years? Okay, so you're not well-read on antiquity. But say you're right and "for at least the last two thousand years" women have been ill-treated and/or worse. That's still not a reason to vote for a politician as dishonest and partisan as HRC.
I cede your point on terminology, but if I were you, I wouldn't rely on wikipedia for everything. The meaning of words changes with time, and it’s useful to know the original root meanings.

Mar. 02 2008 01:44 PM
eva from california

Dear Judi:
I acknowledge your statement that you are not a feminist, although, because of some of the very broad issues you have cited, I do find the word useful.
I consider myself a humanist, as well as a feminist. As such, I distrust Hillary Clinton, who does not seem to value women's (or anyone's) issues as much as her access to power. Simply put, this is embarrassing to Americans, regardless of gender. Let me offer a specific, rather glaring recent example. She has repeatedly been asked to provide her tax returns. She has repeatedly said that she is too "busy" to locate them and/or release them.
Why should I be expected by other (usually older) women to vote for someone who is so incompetent that she can't locate her tax returns? If I couldn’t locate relevant documents at work, I would be fired. But I am expected to give Hillary a pass on this due to "sisterhood"? Please. Of course, the real reason we can't see them is....?
You have made clear that your reasons for supporting Hillary are based on gender. I reject such simplicity. As for wanting a woman in office, that does not demand that we choose whatever woman happens to come along. I would have happily supported Barbara Boxer, Barbara Jordan, and Geraldine Ferraro in a race for the presidency, because they exemplify true leadership – independent of any husband’s coat-tails.

Mar. 02 2008 01:30 PM
Judi Phillips from Montana

Oh and additionally,

I don’t prescribe to any religion which tells me that there is only one MALE god, and that ordained by Him I am a subservient by-product of His Male creation. For at least the last two thousand years women have been seriously duped, as well as enslaved, abused, murdered, belittled and debased based on this premise. In fact, majority of the problems on this planet have a very male face. It is far over due that things change. Racism is a symptom of poverty and women’s issues span all of it. I’d be happy to have a president in office who is human and not afraid to show it.

Oh and I’m sorry, I thought antonym was opposite, so wouldn’t that be “love” of women, not hatred? Additionally, if you look up ‘misanthropy’ you’ll find “somebody who hates humanity, or who dislikes and distrusts other people and tends to avoid them” Wikipedia has a more in-depth definition. The word does not convey the same meaning (loathe) towards men particularly the way misogyny does towards women. There simply IS NO counterpart.

Mar. 02 2008 10:16 AM
Judi Phillips from Montana


Thank you for your thought provoking responses.

First, I don't consider myself a "feminist" any more than men who care about male issues and their equal treatment in society consider themselves "masculinists", thank you very much. I do however believe that equality; racial and sexual equality are extremely important and we are a long distance from either, even in this race.

I want a woman in office because women's issues particularly span all issues of humanity in all corners of the planet. Our issues are human issues. We are the HALF OF THE HUMAN RACE who give birth to and are usually the primary caretakers of the future generations that must put up with our mistakes and shortcomings. Women NEED to have more power in making policies that govern these very human issues which affect health and prosperity. I feel (and by the polls, I see I am not alone) that Hillary would be a fine candidate. I don’t agree with your citings on any level. I believe she’s a good politician and candidate and I think her plans are better than Obamas. The Clinton’s legacy was marred through the media and the Christian Religious Right. Bill and Hillary did nothing new this country hasn’t seen before. O.k., Bill loved a few women. First he, is not Hillary, and secondly, better to have that on his rap sheet than having murdered a few hundred thousand people as a result of war!

Mar. 02 2008 10:15 AM
eva from california

Sorry, Ms. Philllips, but I just re-read the last part of your comment, which states:

"I don’t “hate” men by a long shot, but just the same I want a counterpart synonym for the word ‘Misogyny’ in the dictionary!!"

Two bits of information you might find helpful: 1) what you call a "counterpart synonym" might also be called an "antonym", and 2) the antonym for misogyny already exists, it's called... misanthropy. Yes, "-anthro-" means "man" in ancient Greek. (Although I've heard that some so-called "feminists" feel that the ancient Greeks were defined primarily by their sexism, and they thereby eschew the language as much as possible. They may also eschew Obama. We may survive quite happily without these so-called feminists.)

Mar. 02 2008 12:40 AM
eva from california

Dear Ms. Phillips: As a nearly-40-year-old single working woman, I disagree with your assessment that "Obama has been pushed to the forefront… because he is a black man." Obama is being pushed to the forefront because he is consistently cogent and unfailingly diplomatic, two qualities we desperately need in our President. And as a woman, I disagree with your insinuation that the anti-Hillary sentiment in this country is due to sexism/misogyny. For the majority of Democrats, the rejection of Hillary Clinton stems from the one fact: she is a poor candidate.
Why ? 1) Because she cannot take responsibility for her own shortcomings, including her initial bungling and mismanagement of health care. 2) Because she has mismanaged both her previous lead AND her campaign. 3) Because she is divisive. 4) Because she can’t manage her own campaign finances. 5) Because a future President shouldn't have regular meltdowns on the campaign trail, as we have seen in the last month. And 6) because the Democratic Party was hurt tremendously by Bill and Hillary Clinton, two narcissists who were so self-involved and covetous of their own power they actually made the majority of Americans believe that "compassionate conservatism" was a viable option. Lastly, may I inform you that Hillary is in no way a fitting feminist symbol. Without her husband, she’d be nowhere. We as Democrats owe her nothing for the Clintons’ damage to the party. Instead, we should send them a bill.

Mar. 02 2008 12:21 AM
Judith A. Phillips from Columbia Falls, Montana

I don’t believe that the average middle class or poor people of this country have any real power any longer and that we are all being ubiquitously controlled and massively brainwashed by a system that makes choices for us and not in our best interest, but rather in the interest of the popular choices of the wealthy who control the politicians and alas the media. What’s wrong with – one person, one vote?

Aside from that, another reality is that Obama has been pushed to the forefront, not because he is a better candidate, but because he is a black man. As a country we are being collectively urged to “atone” for the sins of slavery, and absolve ourselves by voting Obama into office. Then the sexist men of this country are going to ensure he blocks Hillary to reinforce their own prejudices. So then that leaves people like me, as we ponder on yet another group of viable male candidates, saying, “O.K., …sort of like looking in the yellow pages in the bible belt under the subject ‘Religion’. So which form or sect of oppressive, mind-controlling, monotheist, patriarchal religion would you like to choose from?” It’s all the same for me. Here goes another four years. Maybe if Obama was a woman....

Mr. President, I don’t “hate” men by a long shot, but just the same I want a counterpart synonym for the word ‘Misogyny’ in the dictionary!!

Mar. 01 2008 01:02 PM

Lost me at "I guess," Ypsilanti

Mar. 01 2008 10:34 AM
Michael J Richard from Ypsilanti, Michigan

I guess I have a somewhat jaded take about the media's coverage of the presidential candidates. It seems to me that the media (especially mainstream) likes to build up a candidate, create a buzz about them, hoist them up onto a nicely carved pedestal. Then, once the candidate is above all others, and makes a nice easy target, they pick up the nearest stone and throw it at them.

Hillary Clinton was the presumed front runner (seems like since the day she was born), she's taken a lot of stones, and understandably, is feeling a bit put upon. In fact, the media is amazed she's still hanging on, and they're taking side bets on which of them will deliver the final blow. Put she's still hanging on to the pedestal, with Barack Obama standing on her fingers.

The media, not wanting to seem too blood-thirsty, are still focusing their tosses on Clinton, maybe lobbing a few stones at Obama, gently enough so that he can easily catch them, and gently toss them back. But... once Clinton can hold on no longer and lets go of her grip, Obama will be up there all alone...

The media doesn't want the best candidates, they want the best targets.

Mar. 01 2008 08:21 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.