If you want to see an example of the media employing a subtle undercurrent of disdain for Republicans and praise for Democrats, you can't get any better example than the masterful effort at left leaning propaganda that the Boston Herald unleashed on October 26. Even the headline is artful for the negative image in which it casts McCain’s actions while simultaneously presenting Obama as the innocent victim. The subtlety is amazing and really must be seen to be believed.
With the very headline we see that nasty McCain and the obviously innocent Obama as the Herald sternly informs us that, "John McCain keeps swinging socialist hammer at Barack Obama." That mean, "hammering" McCain "swinging" that obviously absurd claim that the Marxist is a socialist! Imagine. The negative image of McCain being an aggressor is painfully obvious.
The first paragraph continues the negative framing of McCain and the portrayal of Obama, the "light worker," as the aggrieved victim.
Republican John McCain used the phrase “that’s not America” yesterday to describe Democrat Barack Obama’s plans for a middle-class tax cut, and Obama said McCain is “throwing everything he’s got at us, hoping something will stick.”
That darned old McCain saying innocent Barack is "not America." How could he? Now, notice how the Herald defines what it is McCain is viciously attacking: "Barack Obama’s plans for a middle-class tax cut." Wait, how could McCain be so mean as to be against a "middle-class tax cut"? Of course, we all know that it isn't a tax cut that Obama is proposing and it isn't tax cuts that McCain is opposing. Then, after showing that McCain is calling people unAmerican, the Herald gives Obama the space to say that McCain is just flailing because, presumably, Obama is such a winner and that all McCain has left to use are undue attacks.
This first paragraph is a perfect example of spin. Negative spin against McCain and positive in favor of Obama. It's masterful propaganda, really. Oh, but there is more.
Campaigning in Albuquerque, N.M., McCain told his supporters to ignore polls that show Obama ahead and returned to a refrain that’s been resonating at his rallies: the idea that Obama’s plan to raise taxes on those who make more than $250,000 and cut taxes for middle-class families is tantamount to socialism.
Point one the Herald makes in this paragraph is that McCain is losing and he is desperate because the polls prove it. Point two is that he is using a line that merely "resonates" but is not really true. Then the final point mischaracterizes McCain's position quite thoroughly.
The Herald doesn’t waste its precious time explaining that Obama is not really proposing any tax cuts. To begin with, by allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire, that will raise taxes on everyone right away. Further, by saying that "95% will get tax cuts," Obama is straight out lying because 95% of the country isn’t paying income taxes in the first place. Also, his claim of a tax hike only on those making $250,000 and up is unsustainable and he knows it. But, the Herald is not interested in facts nor in giving McCain any space to explain his positions. The Herald only wants to fully support every claim and utterance Obama makes quite despite any nuance or facts. Again, actually informing the public of the issues is not the Herald's intention. Propaganda, however, is.
Next we get a bit of pointless and misinformed editorializing after reporting that McCain said, "He wants to spread the wealth around. He believes in redistributing wealth. We’ve seen that movie before in other countries. That’s not America."
America, however, has had what’s known as a progressive income tax for 95 years - taxing wealthy people at a higher rate than the poor; McCain himself has previously endorsed the idea that rich people should pay more in taxes than less-fortunate Americans do.
"However"? Sorry, Herald, but the fact that conservatives and capitalists lost the battle over FDR's socialist ideas on taxation decades ago does not mean that we Americans should take on every manner of socialist policies based on the fact we've been unfortunate enough to have ONE socialist policy in place. Let's put it in an analogy. Should we agree that someone who's stepped on an ant, killing it, go on ahead and graduate to killing people because "killing is killing"? That is the logic the Herald just used to justify accepting the socialist agenda that Obama is proposing. Since we've already taken one socialist policy we should adopt them all, the Herald is positing.
Next we get a subtle slap at Sarah Palin.
While she spoke, the crowd at her rally cried out about Obama: “He’s a socialist.”
Obviously, the Herald is trying to paint Palin’s followers as mean spirited. To the Herald saying Obama is a socialist is just outrageous.
Then, after flavoring the story to show that McCain and Palin are unhinged, partisans, the Herald goes on to show us how sensible and nice their messiah is. They Herald goes says that he is command of the debate and is calmer and smarter than all before him.
Obama, meanwhile, continued to use his massive fund-raising appeal to his advantage.
Today, the Illinois senator planned to unveil a two-minute TV ad that does not mention McCain, but says that Obama will work to end “mindless partisanship” and “divisiveness.”
And then we see the compassionate, caring Obama that the Herald is so in love with.
Obama was back on the mainland after a day-long visit to his ailing grandmother’s bedside in Hawaii. Speaking to an audience of 11,000 at the University of Nevada-Reno, he thanked those who’d sent prayers, cards and flowers.
“It meant the world to her. It means the world to me,” he said.
Doesn’t your heart just melt with that? I'll bet that mean ol' McCain doesn't have anyone that loves him that much!
Next the Herald assures us that Barack is so confident that he is only campaigning in states that Bush won.
For the last 10 days, Obama has been on the offense, campaigning exclusively in states won by Bush four years ago. McCain has been working those same red states, playing defense. His only blue-state destination has been Pennsylvania, where he will return this week for two stops.
See how confident The One is? Of course, what the Herald doesn't bother to mention is that Obama needs to get states that went for Bush before or he cannot win the election. Unless Obama can persuade undecideds he hasn't a chance to win. It isn’t that he’s so confident it’s that he doesn’t have a choice. Sticking only with the states he knows he can win is not a very good strategy at this point, not that the Herald tells anyone that truth of the matter.
And finally we see the Herald helping to buck up the troops by telling Democrats that the “first black president’ will be joining Barack on the trail soon.
On Wednesday, the AP reported, Obama will campaign for the first time with Bill Clinton, speaking at a rally in battleground state Florida.
Hearts are a flutter that the slick Willie and the messiah will take the stage side-by-side.
This piece is a wonder of subtle negativity heaped upon McCain and Palin as it gives support to The One and his campaign. This one is certainly a masterwork of propaganda.
High marks for the effort for underhanded agenda journalism should be the Boston Herald’s reward. But low marks for truth.