Media Bias Even Infects the Funnies

At least one mainstream media cartoonist is using the funnies to spin political history away from the facts.

We saw two versions of Michelle Obama's infamous or famous statement, depending on your persuasion, on YouTube.  In Milwaukee, February 18, 2008, she said,

"For the first time in my adult life, I am proud of my country, because it feels like hope is finally making a comeback"

This was a certified "gaffe." Reasonable people could hear this and infer that, prior to this moment, she had never experienced pride in her country.  A charitable interpretation would conclude that she didn't mean to imply that she had never been proud of her country until that moment.  But there were lots of people out there who were willing to be less than charitable in their interpretation.

Later that same day, in Madison, Wisconsin, she added the word "really", as if to indicate that the pride she was experiencing at that moment was relatively greater than the pride in her country she may have experienced earlier in her life. 

"For the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country, and not just because Barack has done well, but because I think people are hungry for change."

Good move.

This is consistent with the quite reasonable clarifications she gave later, after the whole thing blew up.  I for one believe Michelle Obama's clarifications, and that she has very likely been proud of her country on many occasions.  I think most reasonable people would agree, and this should all be ancient history.

However, the new and apparently "official" version of this statement is being supplied in the July 20, 2008, comic strip Candorville, by Darrin Bell, that appears in the San Francisco Chronicle, Washington Post, Austin American Statesmen and Detroit Free Press:

"For the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country, because it feels like hope is finally making a comeback"

As if she had never uttered the problematic statement, sans "really," in the first place.

In the cartoon, this conflated version is being supplied by a "mainstream media" character, a fat white guy wearing a baseball cap (read: "right wing buffoon") to bait a white guy in a dark suit (read: neurotic conservative control freak) into concluding that Michelle Obama is unpatriotic.

This suggests that the (white) mainstream media are responsible for slandering Obama, and hence, the MSM are favoring McCain.  Now this is an idea that is significantly at odds with what Lee Cary in the American Thinker blogged from the Rasmussen polls on Monday:  

"The belief that reporters are trying to help Barack Obama win the fall campaign has grown by five percentage points over the past month. The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey found that 49% of voters believe most reporters will try to help Obama with their coverage, up from 44% a month ago."

What Cary didn't mention is that Rasmussen also reports that only 14% of voters believe most reporters will try to help McCain.

Darrin Bell has it backwards. The MSM favors Obama. The MSM deplored the fact that this was going around on YouTube back in February.  They seem to be unduly jealous for America's attention.  When Bell suggests that the MSM colluded with right wing kooks to tarnish Micelle Obama's patriotism, he's wrong.  Deceptively wrong.

What Bell is actually trying to do is give the (false) impression that the media are out to inflame anti-Obama sentiment.

Note to Darrin Bell:  You are the mainstream media.

Dr. David Twellman is Associate Professor of Pastoral Theology at Ave Maria University, Florida.
At least one mainstream media cartoonist is using the funnies to spin political history away from the facts.

We saw two versions of Michelle Obama's infamous or famous statement, depending on your persuasion, on YouTube.  In Milwaukee, February 18, 2008, she said,

"For the first time in my adult life, I am proud of my country, because it feels like hope is finally making a comeback"

This was a certified "gaffe." Reasonable people could hear this and infer that, prior to this moment, she had never experienced pride in her country.  A charitable interpretation would conclude that she didn't mean to imply that she had never been proud of her country until that moment.  But there were lots of people out there who were willing to be less than charitable in their interpretation.

Later that same day, in Madison, Wisconsin, she added the word "really", as if to indicate that the pride she was experiencing at that moment was relatively greater than the pride in her country she may have experienced earlier in her life. 

"For the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country, and not just because Barack has done well, but because I think people are hungry for change."

Good move.

This is consistent with the quite reasonable clarifications she gave later, after the whole thing blew up.  I for one believe Michelle Obama's clarifications, and that she has very likely been proud of her country on many occasions.  I think most reasonable people would agree, and this should all be ancient history.

However, the new and apparently "official" version of this statement is being supplied in the July 20, 2008, comic strip Candorville, by Darrin Bell, that appears in the San Francisco Chronicle, Washington Post, Austin American Statesmen and Detroit Free Press:

"For the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country, because it feels like hope is finally making a comeback"

As if she had never uttered the problematic statement, sans "really," in the first place.

In the cartoon, this conflated version is being supplied by a "mainstream media" character, a fat white guy wearing a baseball cap (read: "right wing buffoon") to bait a white guy in a dark suit (read: neurotic conservative control freak) into concluding that Michelle Obama is unpatriotic.

This suggests that the (white) mainstream media are responsible for slandering Obama, and hence, the MSM are favoring McCain.  Now this is an idea that is significantly at odds with what Lee Cary in the American Thinker blogged from the Rasmussen polls on Monday:  

"The belief that reporters are trying to help Barack Obama win the fall campaign has grown by five percentage points over the past month. The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey found that 49% of voters believe most reporters will try to help Obama with their coverage, up from 44% a month ago."

What Cary didn't mention is that Rasmussen also reports that only 14% of voters believe most reporters will try to help McCain.

Darrin Bell has it backwards. The MSM favors Obama. The MSM deplored the fact that this was going around on YouTube back in February.  They seem to be unduly jealous for America's attention.  When Bell suggests that the MSM colluded with right wing kooks to tarnish Micelle Obama's patriotism, he's wrong.  Deceptively wrong.

What Bell is actually trying to do is give the (false) impression that the media are out to inflame anti-Obama sentiment.

Note to Darrin Bell:  You are the mainstream media.

Dr. David Twellman is Associate Professor of Pastoral Theology at Ave Maria University, Florida.