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Media debates its Obama bias

Experts ponder President-elect's portrayal

The question of whether the media exhibited a positive bias for Barack Obama during the presidential campaign made for lively exchange Monday as a panel of experts met at Gotham’s 30 Rock Rainbow Room to discuss “The Media and the Presidency.”

Harold Evans, editor at large of the Week newsmag, moderated the panel, which consisted of MSNBC host and former Republican Congressman Joe Scarborough, Republican consultant Ed Rollins, Slate Group editor in chief Jacob Weisberg, Dan Rather, “60 Minutes” correspondent Lesley Stahl and Week columnist Bob Schrum.

Rollins and Scarborough were adamant that the presidential campaign was infused with pro-Obama spin, though the latter allowed, “The bias was not ideologically based, it was culturally based. Obama was a progressive idea, and it was a great story.”

Rather, while admitting that the Democrat got the lion’s share of the coverage, explained, “Journalism loves the new, and Obama was the new. He was historic.”

Rather continued: “When you got right down to the beating heart of it, this was a race about generational change. This was the YouTube election.”

During the panelists’ opening self-introductions, Scarborough, alluding to his on-air F-bomb earlier in the week, cracked, “I have a show on MSNBC … now with a seven-second delay.”

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