Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Looking in from outside the echo chamber

From the notebook:
-- Many Republicans and Conservatives were said to be truly surprised by Barack Obama's re-election. We're guessing most were regular viewers of Fox News (and, perhaps, listeners to its counterparts on right-wing talk radio). Consider what they were seeing and hearing inside echo chamber: predictions of a Mitt Romney landslide by "analysts" Karl Rove, Dick Morris and Newt Gingrich, among others; and allegations of bias against pollsters who were near-unanimous in mathematically seeing an Obama victory in the numbers. Add the drumbeat of the all-Benghazi-all-the-time run-up to Election Day and it's easy to understand why the far right was all but hypnotized into anticipating a Romney win. (Newsweek columnist and Republican speechwriter David Frum says the "conservative entertainment complex" - meaning Fox News, etc. - is to blame for the the false hope described above.)
-- Let's be clear: Independent research shows that there was more anti-Romney commentary on liberal MSNBC than anti-Obama rhetoric on Fox News. But from what I heard on MSNBC, while most of its talking heads were hoping for an Obama win, few were actually predicting it, despite the favorable poll numbers. And while MSNBC voices no doubt were optimistic and pleased by the polls, they were quick to point out that the numbers were close, in fact well within the margin of error. In other words, had Romney won, the disappointment on MSNBC would have been palpable. But there wouldn't have been the shock the results engendered on Fox News.
-- By the way, I've come around to Fox News in this respect: If you're going to stake out one end of the political spectrum and let it define your coverage, so be it. But if that's your game, take the word "News" out of your name and stop branding yourself as "fair and balanced."
-- Apropos of nothing, if you're wondering if sexism still exists in the TV news business, take note the number of female anchors who wear sleeveless tops, V-necks and short skirts. The most skin you'll see on a male anchor is when Morning Joe Scarborough wears a golf shirt or Mike Barnicle comes in without a tie.
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