Objectivity is sacred to American journalism, drilled into j-school graduates and expected of reporters. But treat these reporters to an evening of Democrat propaganda and watch them turn into giddy fangirls.
Mainstream media in the US slants liberal. This is not a controversial statement: studies taken in the early days of the Trump administration revealed a persistent bias against the Republican president, newspaper reporters and cable news producers have confessed to rigging their coverage against him, and university research found that reporters were 13 times more likely to identify as “liberal” than “conservative.”
They usually don’t admit this, and even the most biased will still pay lip service to the idea of objectivity – think Fox News’ “Fair and Balanced” tagline or CNN’s “reliable sources.” However, Wednesday night’s speeches at the Democratic National Convention had them jumping out of their seats with excitement.
Barack Obama, naturally, stole the show. No sooner had he spoken than Politico’s Ryan Lizza was digging out the thesaurus to lavish Obama with superlatives. “Barack Obama just delivered the finest convention speech in modern history (again),” Lizza tweeted. “Spell-binding, chilling, optimistic, beautifully written, and expertly delivered. Incredible moment.”
Barack Obama just delivered the finest convention speech in modern history (again). Spell-binding, chilling, optimistic, beautifully written, and expertly delivered. Incredible moment.
Lizza extended his praise in a flowing article, describing how Obama “torches Trump like American democracy depends on it.”
Obama’s speech was eloquently delivered, and rattled off well-worn Democratic tropes – “decency,” “fairness,” progressive ideas “echoing down through the generations” – while President Trump was accused of having “no interest in treating the presidency as anything but one more reality show.”
Yet the way the Washington commentariat described it, you’d think he’d delivered the Gettysburg Address and the Emancipation Proclamation at the same time. MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow was “slayed” by the speech, while her colleague Joy Reid called Obama a “poet” and declared what he had to say as “one of the most important speeches I’ve ever heard.”
Barack Obama’s speech tonite, without a cheering crowd, had the intimacy and powerful impact of an emergency Oval Office address to the nation. Chilling.
I’ll have more to say about Obama’s speech later this week for HuffPost. But I can say right now that this was the most important speech of his political career, and quite probably his best. Historians will be writing about it for a long time.
It makes you cry just to remember how an honorable president sounds
And it wasn’t just Obama who got the pundits riled up. Kamala Harris, Joe Biden’s running mate, delivered a speech that was part personal tale, part liberal invective, checking off such concepts as “structural racism,” feminism and gun control. The Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin, fresh from crying her way through Obama’s address, was once more moved to tears by Harris’s speech. So, too, was CNN’s Van Jones, who blubbed his way through his commentary on the speech.
Lots of people watched @KamalaHarris while holding their daughters’ hands tonight. Usually, the VP brings the blow torch – but tonight Kamala built a campfire. When you have a strong, proud black woman out there taking a stand and making history… that’s a BIG deal. Beautiful. pic.twitter.com/9OXA84q7RQ
OK, I’m now crying
.@KamalaHarris: You were spectacular tonight! So proud to know you from when u were an @EmergeAmerica graduate-I know I’m not alone in pledging work my heart out for a sizzling-and-steady, inspiring-and-history-making, competent-and-passionate blend of a ticket! #BidenHarris2020
Rubin, supposedly the Post’s “conservative” blogger, declared that the entire convention was on par with a “superb mini-series,” and worthy of an Emmy award.
These videos are remarkable, the best of the convention. Do they give Emmy’s for conventions?
With only one more round of speeches remaining on Thursday evening, the country’s top Democrats and their cheerleaders will get an opportunity to catch their breath and compose themselves. The Republican Party’s own convention kicks off on Monday, but even if the chattering classes have any tears left after this week’s affair, it’s extremely unlikely that they’ll treat the GOP to the same level of sycophantic adulation.
It’s also unlikely that viewers felt quite the same way. Biden does lead Trump in most polls, but ratings for the virtual convention are already coming in substantially below those of previous years. As Biden makes his final speech on Thursday night, President Trump is set to speak to Fox News’ Sean Hannity, a reliable ally of Trump’s. For the publicity-hungry president, the scheduling was likely no accident.
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