It was a big win for President Obama on Tuesday night. Exit polls had him scoring lots of minority votes – African-Americans again voted in huge numbers for the first black president. But the political bloc that most helped push Obama to reelection was the American media.
All throughout election night, pundits and reporters were talking about the economy and how that had impacted the campaign. That was seldom the story the news media told throughout the election.
According to several exit polls, Romney’s lead on the economy was small and many voters actually thought it was improving, despite years of economic cataclysm. “But Romney is winning early on a key question in the exit poll: Who can better handle the economy? He scored 49 percent to Obama's 48 percent there, though those numbers are still moving,” reported ABC.
No wonder. Networks that hammered President George W. Bush for high gas prices and high unemployment gave their candidate almost a complete pass – blaming Bush more than twice as much as Obama. On Election Day, unemployment was 7.9 percent, actually higher than it had been when Obama took office. Debt, deficit and underemployment were off the charts.
Obama didn’t win despite the numbers. He won because the media didn’t report them. They spent an entire campaign promoting social issues – abortion, gay marriage and more – where journalists near 100 percent support. The onslaught against GOP candidates was huge. The left/media strategy was merely to link Romney with any social conservative they could and hype what that candidate said.
Media Research Center President L. Brent Bozell summed up the campaign news coverage by calling journalism “roadkill.” “The media lauded Obama no matter how horrendous his record, and they savaged Obama’s Republican contenders as ridiculous pretenders,” he wrote.
On Election Day, the media did what they always do – blamed conservatives. CNN’s Anderson Cooper asked the question whether “the Republican Party went too far to the right.” Earlier in the evening, Chief Political Analyst Gloria Borger blamed the Tea Party for Senate losses, instead of crediting them with motivating GOP grassroots voters. “Has the Tea Party really hurt the Republican chances in the last two elections to take control of the Senate?” she asked.
NBC’s Chuck Todd echoed the theme, saying “The Republican party has some serious soul-searching to do.”
In the last days before the election, journalists resorted to one of their old tricks – celebrating a “conservative” who goes off the reservation (sorry, Sen. Warren) and backs the left. In this case, the media foil was New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie whose adoration of Obama in the post-hurricane era resembled a school-boy crush and outlet after outlet celebrated the love story.
Liberal MSNBC reveled in Christie’s comments. “The Last Word” ran a compilation of Christie throwing his support to the president. Major media outlets didn’t raise the question whether Christie was trying to boost his own 2016 campaign. Suspicious reporters might have asked whether Christie, who had been passed over for Romney’s VP slot, might have been a tad bitter.
Why that mattered is that exit polls indicated 41 percent of voters thought Obama’s storm performance had been either “important” or “most important” in their vote.
The campaign spin wasn’t new. Journalists consistently bashed Tea Party candidates or downplayed their success like new Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. At the same time, they ignored how incredibly radical the Democratic Party had become.
Senate candidates Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock were savaged for being out of the mainstream by the press. However, journalists yawned as Democrats continued their massive leftward shift with Fauxcahontas candidate Elizabeth Warren and the first openly gay senator, Wisconsin’s Tammy Baldwin.
It was more than that. Pick an Obama scandal and the media skipped it, covered it up or buried it beneath some bogus outrage about the right. "Fast and furious," Libya, jobs, the collapse of Arab Spring, the failed trillion-dollar stimulus, the cost of ObamaCare, the attack on religious rights and even bowing to foreign leaders – none of them got the press that made-up scandals about Romney received.
That bias culminated in a now famous debate scene with CNN’s Candy Crowley where she incorrectly fact-checked Romney and boosted Obama. Crowley’s action became the perfect metaphor for the bias of campaign 2012 – a media campaign far worse than 2008.
And the worst news of the night? Election 2016 starts today and somewhere journalists are already spinning the result.
Dan Gainor is the Boone Pickens Fellow and the Media Research Center’s Vice President for Business and Culture. He writes frequently about media for Fox News Opinion. He can also be contacted on Facebook and Twitter as dangainor.