Newsweek reporter Michael Hastings reveals his bias on the campaign trail

A bit of honesty from a presidential campaign reporter for Newsweek who at least recognizes that he is not objective:

On covering Rudy Giuliani:

I had a recurring fantasy in which I took him out during a press conference (it was nonlethal, just something that put him out of commission for a year or so), saving America from the horror of a President Giuliani. If that sounds like I had some trouble being “objective,” I did. Objectivity is a fallacy. In campaign reporting more than any other kind of press coverage, reporters aren’t just covering a story, they’re a part of it—influencing outcomes, setting expectations, framing candidates—and despite what they tell themselves, it’s impossible to both be a part of the action and report on it objectively.

To Huckabee:

He gave an impromptu press conference in the aisle, telling us all he’d recently given a speech in the same ballroom where four years earlier Howard Dean had unleashed his scream. “What would your scream sound like?” a top political reporter for CNN asked. “Could you do it for us?” Huckabee didn’t take the bait, but it gives some sense of how the press felt about the man. We thought he was a joke…


Over the next few days, I took up my post in the lobby of the Homewood Suites, figuring I might get a glimpse of Huckabee in an “unguarded moment,” just in case he ended up being the nominee or vice president. Maybe I’d catch him swearing, or bringing in a hooker, or breaking out in spontaneous prayer.

On McCain:

I’d met him and thought he was affable, and I imagine he was at one time as honorable as everyone says. But his views on war and foreign policy, the way he fetishized the idea of sacrifice, unnerved me a little. He seemed to have gone just a little crazy, Captain Ahab–style.

And Hillary, where he at least was more in tune with her “basic ideas.”

I thought it might be better jumping over to the Democrats; at least I wasn’t appalled by their basic ideas. But Hillary Clinton’s campaign was killing me. I could feel my soul die a little more with each cigarette break I took, each prepackaged meal I stuffed into my face.

Despite the attitude of her staff, Hillary herself seemed okay. She was more charming and funny and human than I expected her to be.

On taking sides:

I wanted Obama to win enough delegates to end this thing. But Hillary didn’t lose, and even though the math was clear for everyone to understand, she kept on going. So I kept e-mailing and phoning and cornering her staff, trying to find out what was happening, what she was thinking. But I didn’t care anymore if I got an interview. I didn’t want to pretend that I thought she should win. I didn’t want to pretend that I was enjoying being “a part of history.”

On Bill and Hillary:

The game summed up the frustration felt by Bill and Hillary, which had become palpable. Why the hell do the media hate us? Why the hell does Obama get a pass? Why the hell did we lose in Iowa? Why the hell aren’t we winning?

And for me, the question was, Why the hell am I covering this?

With such bias seemingly accepted by the mainstream media is it any wonder that coverage is so slanted?

What bias?

via Glenn Reynolds


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