One could make the claim that Obama’s historic election was a perfect storm of activism, proactive campaigning, technical knowledge, and a public’s desire for dramatic change. Part of this storm, no doubt, was the support of a few key players in the media. Not even counting those online or in print media, television had its own strong voices there to keep the focus off of negative campaigning and sharply on Barack Obama.
This isn’t the usual charge of liberal media bias. This is to recognize the group effort of some passionate, overtly biased players, and we’ll call them the Barack Obama All-Stars.
1. Tina Fey. Almost immediately, Sarah Palin became an obvious national joke once Fey got hold of her on Saturday Night Live. Although she admitted she didn’t like playing Palin and hoped that on election night she could stop, her Palin was so watchable and funny, it almost helped the McCain/Palin ticket. Except that it didn’t. At times, Fey even quoted Palin verbatim. That made it all that much worse, didn’t it? It was just so dead on, it spread like wildfire. No one could deny who and what Palin was after watching Fey, you betcha.
2. Oprah Winfrey. By coming out politically for the first time in her multi-decade career, Oprah finally drew on her earned clout and probably turned around many a voter in doing so. While she didn’t spend a lot of time on Obama, she certainly didn’t give equal time to the McCain campaign. Oprah finally cashed in her chips. How sweet it is.
3. Keith Olbermann. Perhaps no other on-camera personality was as influential or as persuasive as Olbermann, who called out every devious move by the McCain campaign and became one of the most watched commentators on TV. He may have even beat Fox News’s O’Reilly on a few occasions. With his “9/11 T.M.” and his “Worst Person in the World,” Olbermann might annoy one, but few could deny his claims.
4. Rachel Maddow. Articulate, funny, and whip-smart, Maddow, Olbermann’s cohort in crime, almost became the voice of this year’s election where liberal media is concerned. While Olbermann sometimes lost his cool, she never did, opting instead to keep the Republicans pinned under her own sense of decency. When McCain chanted “bomb bomb bomb, bomb, bomb Iran,” Maddow was horrified and she let audiences know whenever she had a chance.
5. Jon Stewart. Although The Daily Show made the occasional swipe at Obama’s team, they made continual fun of Sarah Palin and McCain’s organization. One suspects that the self-imploding McCain/Palin ticket stepped in it again and again, and The Daily Show was just there to report on it, but it was fairly obvious from the get-go that the show had a thing for Obama. Then again, who didn’t?
None of this is to say that Obama wouldn’t have been elected without these all-stars, or if they had “liked” McCain better it would have changed things. The fact is that the McCain/Palin ticket made their own bed the moment they tried to smear Obama’s good name. Once they did that, they morphed into evil Disney villains and from then on out it was smooth sailing for the Obama team. Still, it helps to have friends in high places.