NY Times' Post-DNC High: 'Barack Obama Laps the Field,' Fox 'Under Fire' for Bias, But Not CNN

The New York Times post-convention political roundup praised Democratic stage-craft, Hillary Clinton’s acceptance speech, and forwarded complaints about bias at Fox News (but not CNN).

Adam Nagourney’s “Stark Contrasts in Style and Substance” praised Democratic convention stagecraft and says that as a speaker who can “move a crowd, seize a moment...Barack Obama laps the field.”

Democrats are much better at staging a convention. It was visible every night over these past two weeks, in the size of the crowds, the energy in the hall, the caliber of the speakers, the celebrity of the celebrities, and the basic coherence of the messages.

In the end, Donald J. Trump delivered a rough, and at times halting, reality-television show; Hillary Clinton offered a polished Hollywood production. The next few weeks will tell how much of a difference that makes in what matters most: whether voters prefer Mrs. Clinton or Mr. Trump.

But Mr. Trump’s sloppy convention was a missed opportunity, and sent up warning flares for Republicans already concerned about his capacity to grapple with the basic mechanics of American politics.

Nagourney showed himself a big fan of Obama’s “pure political talent” (though Bill Clinton came second).

Finally, with apologies to George W. Bush, Jimmy Carter, George Bush and even Bill Clinton, this convention showed once and for all that when it comes to pure political talent -- the ability to move a crowd, seize a moment, and deliver a speech that rises to a challenge -- Barack Obama laps the field.

Reporter Michael Grynbaum picked up on one Republican complaint about disparities in the networks' convention coverage -- but found a way to blame Fox News for another -- in “Clinton and Trump Duel in Prime Time.”

None of the three broadcast networks cut away when Mr. Obama, Mr. Clinton and Senator Bernie Sanders spoke past 11 p.m. That choice irked the Republican National Committee, whose communications director, Sean Spicer, issued a statement accusing the networks of unequal coverage.

“We can see quite clearly that each network have given anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes extra per night of prime-time coverage to the D.N.C.,” Mr. Spicer wrote, noting that the networks did not air a late-night speech by Senator Joni Ernst of Iowa, a rising Republican star, on the first night of the Cleveland convention.

Grynbaum found an excuse.

Ms. Ernst’s appearance was delayed because a prior speaker went far past his allotted time, an error that was widely cited by political operatives as an example of sloppy planning on the Republicans’ part.

Newsbusters’ Tim Graham picked up on Spicer’s complaint.

While Grynbaum was prodded by a Republican to note (and then excuse) a pro-Democratic coverage disparity, he relayed independently that Fox News “came under fire” for its lack of coverage of one of the “week’s most powerful moments” -- according to Grynbaum and his paper, which put a profile of the speaker, Khizr Khan, on its front page Saturday.

Some of Fox News’s programming choices, however, came under fire. The network did not air a speech on Thursday night by Khizr Khan, a Muslim immigrant whose son, an Army captain, was killed in Iraq in 2004. Mr. Khan’s appearance was among the week’s most powerful moments; while he spoke, Fox News aired commercials and commentary that was critical of Mrs. Clinton.

“We reported on the speeches and cited them throughout the evening and into today, as well,” Jay Wallace, Fox News’s executive vice president of news and editorial, said in a statement on Friday.

CNN opted for more speeches and less commentary, airing extended remarks by convention speakers rather than frequently cutting to analysis from pundits.

But Grynbaum skipped another CNN controversy that garnered wide attention. NewsBusters Matthew Balan discovered that during the four nights of the Democratic convention, CNN ran 18 of the Democrats’ taped videos, for a total of 62 minutes of airtime, compared to just 3 Republican videos totaling 14 minutes. Among the ones ignored: videos about the Benghazi terror attack scandal and the Fast and Furious gunrunning scandal.

Alan Rappeport and Matt Flegenheimer, reporting from a Democratic bubble, found Hillary Clinton’s flat acceptance speech gaining praise even from Republicans in “Candidates Woo Battleground States.”

While Democrats generally considered Mrs. Clinton’s acceptance speech on Thursday night to be one of her best, Republicans offered reviews that were more mixed. Many considered it to be a classic liberal speech filled with policies they could never support, but some Republicans who still refuse to support Mr. Trump expressed remorse about the direction of their party and offered some praise for her address.

Meanwhile, the return of the liberal media’s favorite “conservative” blogger, Andrew Sullivan, was celebrated by reporter Jennifer Schuessler. The main appeal? Sullivan’s recent anti-Trump diatribe in New York Magazine:

In May, Mr. Sullivan rejoined the political fray with a 7,000-plus-word cover article in New York magazine denouncing Donald Trump not just as a dangerous politician but a threat to democracy itself. The article spurred wide debate and whetted the appetite of fans for a fuller return to the arena.

Mr. Sullivan -- a idiosyncratic gay Catholic conservative and unabashed Obamaphile -- spent the last two weeks live-blogging the Republican and Democratic conventions for New York, weaving in responses from his loyal if not uncritical crew of “recovering Dishheads,” as he put it. On Friday, Mr. Sullivan spoke about what has changed since he left the online fray. Here are edited excerpts.

....

You were also reunited with your old friends the Clintons. You are, as you like to remind people, a Clinton hater of long standing, though you plan to cast your first vote as an American citizen for Hillary. Has anything in the campaign so far made you see her differently?

Sullivan answered: "She hasn’t changed, for good or ill. She’s who she is. She’s the only thing standing between Trump and us. She’ll do."

Schuessler urged Sullivan back into the fray: “Still, do the past few weeks leave you tempted to return to regular blogging for parts of the election?”

 

Clay Waters
Clay Waters
Clay Waters was director of Times Watch, a former project of the Media Research Center.