Media Shaping the Presidential Election: Establishment Media Bias Shapes the Theme of the Presidential Elections, Helping to Create a Republican "Flavor of the Month" Front-Runner

Article excerpt

How does establishment media bias shape. the theme of presidential elections? Most veteran conservatives have long known that television personalities and major newspaper reporters give far more political donations to Democrats than Republicans, with almost no donations at all to genuine conservatives. The Washington Examiner reported in 201 0 that, according to a Center for Responsive Politics survey about employees donations in 2008 at the three major news networks (ABC, NBC, and CBS), "The Democratic total of $1,020,8 16 was given by 1,160 employees of the three major broadcast television networks, with an average contribution of $880. By contrast, only 193 of the employees contributed to Republican candidates and campaign committees, for a total of $142,863. The average Republican contribution was $744." This corresponds with earlier studies of the party registration of major media personalities and reporters conducted by the Media Research Center.

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Even affiliates of NewsCorp, which owns Fox News and the Wall Street Journal, gave to Democrats in 2008 by a three-to-one margin, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. NewsCorp and the other media continue to give heavily to Democrats in the 2012 cycle as well, though NewsCorp CEO Rupert Murdoch gave $1.25 million to the Republican Governors Association in the 2010 cycle.

Although the establishment media has a strong bias for liberalism and government intervention, it's not political donations alone that reveal the real media influence on elections. The establishment media's real major influence--what truly shapes the election--is whom it chooses to shine its spotlight on. That's the key bias and the reason for the "flavor of the month" of Republican presidential front-runners throughout 2011.

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"Flavor of the Month" Media Spotlight

When Representatives Michele Bachmann of Minnesota and Ron Paul of Texas finished at the top of the August Iowa straw poll, the media chose to cover the Bachmann candidacy alone. The day after Bachmann finished first in the straw poll (with Ron Paul a mere 1 52 votes behind. out of 1 6,892 votes cast), she landed interviews on all five national Sunday political television shows. Meanwhile. Paul was booked on none. Within days, Bachmann was at the top of the national polls in the presidential race.

Author, talk-show host, and Current TV commentator David Is Rota told CNN's Reliable Sources after the Iowa straw poll, "Ron Paul doesn't fit the narrative," saying that Ron Paul's divergence from the Republican Party neoconservative agenda creates media bias against him. Paul is a social conservative and the most fiscally conservative candidate in the race. But unlike all of the other Republican candidates he opposes unnecessary U.S. forces being deployed abroad and supports abolition of the Federal Reserve Bank. "And so," Sirota concluded of Rep. Paul, "he's being sort of written out of the story because he can't be put through the. prism of the red versus blue summer Camp color war idea that dominates so much of out' politics. It's really sad, because here's a guy who has had political success, who by every other metric that any candidate would be judged by would be included as a front-runner or at least in the debate about who is going to win or could win the Republican nomination.

But a month after the Iowa straw poll, after a few verbal miscues by Bachmann the media had redirected its spotlight to Texas Governor Rick Perry. Perry became the September 'flavor of the month. Perry botched several debate performances. and the media cast about looking for another neoconservative alternative to Mitt Romney. That chance for another flavor of the month came when Herman Cain won the Florida Presidency 5" straw poll September 24, the weekend after Ron Paul won the California GOP straw poll.

Paul had won a straw po11 in a larger state, and by a more decisive margin, but Cain's agenda was more in line with the media narrative of a neoconservative being delectable. …