The Media Narrative On Obama 2012 Is BS, Here’s Why
Over the last 10 years, I’ve learned that the media narrative rarely has any relation to reality. In 2002-3, the media marched along with the Bush administration’s flimsy case for war in Iraq. In 2004, they echoed his message that he was a competent commander-in-chief despite the death toll in Iraq and the refusal to modify the failed strategy there.
In 2007-8 we were told that Hillary Clinton’s nomination was inevitable, and after Obama was elected the media kept telling us health care reform was dead as it moved through congress to become a law.
Now in 2012, there have been three early media narratives about President Obama’s re-election campaign that have already been proven wrong.
Narrative: The Obama campaign is going to be negative.
Reality: While the Obama campaign is, of course, going to make very clear definitions about the choice between Obama and Romney, the first major ad buy by the Obama campaign is this effort.
This is a decidedly positive ad, compared by some to Reagan’s “Morning In America” campaign. You could say the same for the overall theme of The Road We’ve Traveled, the Obama campaign’s mini-documentary. Both the ad and the film go along similar narratives: Obama inherited a crisis, and though there remains considerable ground to cover, he and his allies have made positive reforms for the country. This is not a “negative” message at all.
Narrative: Obama is trying to distract from the economy.
Reality: At every turn, the Obama campaign has made a contrast of his record on jobs to the jobs disaster he inherited. The so-called “bikini graph” has been a part of the re-election campaign’s arsenal. It communicates a complicated topic in a simple fashion: red down, blue up, up good.
The first state-targeted ads from Obama also explicitly reference his record on the economy. All three ads reference economic issues, from the jobs picture to the auto industry rescue. This is a very bad way of not addressing the economy, isn’t it?
Narrative: Obama won’t address Obamacare.
Reality: The campaign just released this video of nurses touting the Affordable Care Act, while other videos released by the campaign highlight the stories of people benefiting from its provisions. If Obama was avoiding Obamacare, wouldn’t it be easier to just said “I ordered Bin Laden killed” rather than go into the weeds about what effects the reform law he passed had?
The media likes to make everything into a storyline, often without concern for reality. That is no different in their coverage of something as important as a presidential campaign. The problem is the narrative is often false.