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One Year Ago: The Media Helped Elect Obama-By Inspiring McCain to Pick Palin

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

One Year Ago: The Media Helped Elect Obama-By Inspiring McCain to Pick Palin

Article excerpt

(COmmetnary) It was exactly one year ago this week that there was a true turning point in the 2008 race for the White House. And it had little to do with Barack Obama. One might even say that it boiled down to the media helping to elect him -- but not by supporting him, in the way conservatives often charge.

Instead, it involved coverage that very well could have hurt him, but that ended up rebounding in his favor, big time.

Of course, Obama might very well have won anyway, by a very narrow margin. But I believe that a true turning point -- though rarely noted -- actually came in the summer, at the Democratic convention in Denver. No, it was not the general good vibes about Obama, the ringing speeches by Teddy, Michelle, Bill and Hill, and by the candidate himself.

Rather, it was the electronic media's overblown coverage of the allegedly widespread threat by female Hillary delegates, and other Clinton fans, to bolt Obama in favor of McCain.

As you recall, the dissidents, known as "PUMAs," got massive face time on TV and, it was said, represented just the tip of the iceberg. And it was also said (by commentators, not just by the new, pro-Hillary media stars), that women, particularly older ones and suburban/blue-collar types who had voted for Hillary in the primaries, would likely abandon the Democrats in November.

There was no firm evidence for this, of course, and few pundits, on TV or in print, seemed to notice that the same handful of disgruntled Hillary delegates appeared on all of the shows. No matter. Obama's possible defeat because of the possible defections was widely predicted.

Why did this matter, since the mass defections never happened? Especially since here and elsewhere at liberal political blogs no one ever took the threats seriously?

Because John McCain and his people bought it, hook, line and sinker, as I explain in my book "Why Obama Won. …

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