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McCamy Taylor's Journal
Some of my relatives swear that Obama is the distillation of all that was good about the sixties and Hillary is the evil establishment. Some of my relatives swear that Hillary is a goddess and Obama is a tool of the corrupt Daley Machine. Those two sets of relatives are not currently talking to each other, even though they are both lifelong Democrats.

That is the kind of product loyalty that soft drink manufacturers aim for when they come up with slogans like Coke: It’s the Real Thing



Or Pepsi: The Choice of a New Generation



Some people can taste the difference. Many people can’t. Then there are those who prefer RC Cola. I do not know of anyone who has disowned their relatives over soft drink preferences.

As we can see if we read Character and the Primaries of 2008:What Were the Media Master Narratives about the Candidates During the Primary Season? from the Pew Research Center, the press and the two remaining Democrats treated the primary as if they were selling Democrats a product.

“Issues? Issues? We don’t need no stinkin’ issues!”

http://pewresearch.org/pubs/854/candidate-...

In addition to all the “character” stuff—you know, Obama is the “change” candidate and Hillary is “ready on Day One”—the press mostly talked about the monster truck derby that used to be the Democratic Primary, before the 24 hour news networks decided to turn it into a spectator sport (Monster Super Tuesday my ass).

Looking beyond the master narratives about the candidates personally, coverage overall in 2008 has so far focused largely on the horse race. Fully 78% of the stories studied between January 1 and the first week of May have focused on political matters, such as who won the latest primary. By contrast, policy stories made up 7% of the stories, personal matters 7%, and the candidates' public record, 2%.


You got that? 7% policy, 2% record. We might as well have been electing the nation’s number one soft drink for all the information the press corp was giving us.

There is even more information at
http://journalism.org/node/11268

Here we find out that the two candidates got more or less equal treatment---if you average out different coverage at different sites. Their news media coverage was twice as positive as it was negative. The candidates themselves propelled and controlled most of their own positive character stories and were successful at forming the public perception of their image. Hillary/Coke created the impression that she was the “Real Thing”---tried and true and therefore ready on Day One. Obama/Pepsi created the impression that he was the “Choice of a New Generation”---not the same old same old and therefore an agent of change. The press pretty much went along with whatever the candidates had to say about themselves.

One interesting note, a table shows that the Clinton campaign was the source of 60% of the negative assertions which appeared in the news about Obama, while the Obama campaign was the source of 40% of the negative assertions which appeared in the news about Clinton, indicating that each campaign was doing a brisk business in oppo. You do not usually hear Coke ads telling buyers that Pepsi drinkers have cooties, but hey, no analogy is perfect.

One bit of oppo that did not come from the Clinton camp—the Rev. Wright story that Fox News interjected into the primary campaign was the number one story, taking up almost 7% of the primary coverage. This is truly obscene when you consider the problems which face the country----recession, war, energy crisis, global warming, civil liberties in danger---and shows just how decadent our press has become that it would rather discuss this non-issue than deal with the real problems that we face.

However, one of the difficulties for the press and for the voters has been that Sen. Obama and Sen. Clinton are a lot like Coke and Pepsi, which has made it difficult for the press to find something to discuss. They are both moderate, corporate friendly Democrats whose campaigns represent milestones for demographic reasons. They are prominent Democrats from major Blue states with ties to big players in the Party—Hillary to Bill Clinton, Obama to the Daleys. They have almost identical policies on most issues if questioned. Either one is electable. When John Edwards dropped out of the race, I decided not to choose from between the two of them, because there really did not seem to be any difference between them---except that some people will swear that one of them is great and the other sucks. And other people will tell you the exact opposite.

People will tell you the same thing about Coke and Pepsi, too. I am partial to Coca-Cola myself, but I wouldn’t vote Republican if someone offered me a Pepsi.

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McCamy Taylor
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Member since Tue Nov 9th 2004
"God appears and God is light to those poor souls who dwell in night But does a human form display to those who dwell in realms of day." Blake
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