Tuesday, September 30, 2008

FoxNews.com: Bailout Bashing

by Alex Mazer

This week on the Fox Site I wanted to look at an article more specifically rather than just the website as a whole. The article I found interesting is Obama, McCain Play Politics With Bailout Failure. This article talked a lot about the plans that both candidates have to fix the economic problem.

I thought this article was some what biased because the majority if not all of the quotes within the article were quotes from McCain. On the other hand though, the quotes all seemed negative. Also one of the sentences said that Obama had no comment on the good or bad plans of his running opponent.

As I read further however, I found that each opponent was equally taking stabs at the other. I found this funny because this article makes both candidates sound like a bunch of old women bickering at eachother. It will be interesting to see how this next debate is reported on.

I also looked at some video of the infamous Fox commentator Bill O'Reilly. In my opinion I feel like there is no finger pointing going on by him in this clip. Instead he is blaming the government as a whole. Now this may be a rarity but this proves that he is cabable of being less biased.

So in conclusion for the blog of the week. I can see where there are biases sometimes but when we really listen and keep an open mind we can see that there are many things that are unbiased about the site.

ABC.COM: Yes? No? Yes? No?

Nina Wieczorek

Yes. Clay Aiken likes men. And another question is answered now: The presidential debate finally took place. In front of an audience kept in the dark and not allowed to applaud or to interfere in any other way, Barack Obama and John McCain discussed foreign policy issues and also the current financial and economic crisis. In the end, according to the media echo, neither candidate surprised people or stuck out.

This also was the impression of foreign media like El País or Le Monde.

What I wondered, while it wasn't clear whether or not the debate would take place, are the candidates now still working senators and should they act in this function (e.g. working on the bailout plan) or are they now in a new role and more asked as leaders and executives than legislators?

No game changer?

Though the debate didn't end with one of them clearly being better than the other, it had a strong effect on the numbers:
Polls show a strong swift towards Obama who leads now 52% to 43% over his rival in the ABC poll. Viewers said he offered better solutions to the mentioned topics.

But, what are his solutions worth? A fact check on abc's homepage shows that both candidates seem to turn the truth a little bit...

Not Enough Background
Especially as the average user and voter usually doesn't know too much about numbers such videos are quite important. But I missed an article explaining clearly which economic reforms Obama and McCain each support. What are the differences between them? What would be the outcome? How easy are these plans to realize?

Is that Fair?
On the front page (and also on other news-omepages) is an ad 'Paid for by Obama for America', but there is no ad for McCain. The user only always sees that he has to be registered to be able to vote for the democratic presidential candidate, McCain doesn't get any advertising space.

That's Fair
Another thing that I observed was that the skin color of the candidates isn't mentioned in any article. I think that's good, because it shouldn't be a criterium for a person's qualification for being president of the US. On the other hand, does this media tabu reflect voters' reality? Is it really not on people's minds?

Thursday there might be more 'Fuego'

And so we don't forget about the VP's - on Thursday it's their turn to show their rethorical skills and what they exactly stand for.

MSNBC.com-- Driving the Economy...and Saturday Night Live

Jaime Baker

This week on MSNBC.com, all eyes were on the economy and the bailout plan. It even seemed to really overshadow the debates. I think that was mainly because no one knew if the debates would happen until that Friday. A main focus was on how each candidate countered the other's view on the bailout and the economy. A lot of blame is being thrown at both parties, because they both supported the bill. McCain will get a lot of grief for the failure of this bill because he was one of the people who went out on a limb to support the bill. His campaign needs to worry about inheriting some of the blame for the economy, plus try to support the plan.

Barack Obama is also catching some of the blame, with people saying that he did not do enough to try to help pass the bill. But he has less of a chance of taking a big hit in polls because of the bailout plan failing, mainly because he didn't put his head on the chopping block like McCain did.

There was some focus on the debate, but mainly about the fact that while more than 50-million people watched it, that was down 10-million from the first presidential debate four years ago, and less than the projected record breaking audience. According to a poll, most MSNBC viewers said Barack Obama came out on top in their views. Obviously, even the debates were driven by the bailout and economy issues.

One other big story on MSNBC.com this week was Saturday Night Live's use of Sarah Palin in a few of their skits. The skits have Tina Fey making fun of Sarah Palin, but have not focused on just the Republicans, but have been sticking it to both parties. But MSNBC.com seems to think it could sway voters opinions. I didn't realize SNL had that ability...I don't think they did either.

NBC-TV: Candidates are like Boxers...

by Samantha Pompeo

As the date of the election inches closer and closer, the candidates are being pitted against each other more than ever. After the first presidential debate, where the candidates were treated like boxers sitting in their respective corners, everything on NBC has been John McCain versus Barack Obama. Each side is given a chance, as it should be, to prove how it can one-up the other. And it’s not a subtle tactic by the news organizations.

The presidential debate was the first bell that rang in the boxing match. At the very beginning of the debate, there was a certain invisible blanket that covered the candidates. They greeted each other with a handshake, trying to maintain the façade that they always treat each other with the utmost respect. But, if you go to approximately the 10 minute mark on the debate video below, even the moderator wants the candidates to go head-to-head. When Senator Obama is responding to a comment by Senator McCain, the moderator tells Obama he needs to say the response directly to his competitor. At this command, McCain quips “Are you afraid I couldn’t hear him?”

The jabs continued throughout the debate, as they should. The candidates shouldn't feel that, in order to maintain appearances, they need to pretend to be friendly with one another. It seems that NBC and the other news networks are finally realizing this.

The Today Show is a NBC program that tries to incorporate politics, health, entertainment, and other topics into its four hour time slot. At the beginning of the program on Monday, Matt Lauer introduces a package by Andrea Mitchell about the candidates. The title? "Obama vs. McCain."

The package, like the debate a few days before, pits the candidates against one another. But why now? Why does it seem that all of a sudden, NBC is trying to show that it's a real battle between the presidential nominees? Perhaps the interest in the debate lit a bulb in the cumulative heads of the news managers at the network.

Something I really liked about the package directly above was the fact that Mitchell incorporated the clips from Saturday Night Live into the story. The side-by-side video of the Sarah Palin/Katie Couric interview and the SNL video was genius in that it directly showed the correlation between the interview and the skit. At the end of the package, in Mitchell's live tag, she mentions that Obama VP candidate Joe Biden has had slip-ups as well. But, what are they, specifically? This is something Mitchell doesn't dive into.

Is this a form of candidate discrimination: putting Palin's mistakes for the world to see but only briefly mentioning Biden's? I'm not exactly sure, but no one can argue that the Sarah Palin presented in the Katie Couric interview was something that could not be ignored.

At the ungodly hour of 3:30 in the morning, a rerun of Meet the Press came on NBC. The show was hosted by Tom Brokaw and had the two chief strategists of the campaigns on the show. Like the debate before it, the strategists were given questions about the candidates' policies and told to respond. And, like the debate, the strategists tried to remain civil and friendly for a few minutes until the real issues were presented.

Once again, it was candidate against candidate. But, the strategists weren't trying to impress one another or remain graceful. They were trying to do what they do best: help their candidate win. It was interesting how, throughout the various topics the strategists touched on, the camera would quickly cut to a two-shot of them.

Fox News Channel: The Economy Remains Front and Center

By Allison Herman

Fox spent a lot of time this week focusing on the economic situation on Wall Street and how both candidates are handling the situation. Fox talked about how McCain may have dropped the ball a bit when he tried to take credit for the bailout bill – which ultimately didn’t pass the House. At the same time, they were talking about the comments House speaker Nancy Pelosi gave before the House voted on the bailout bill. I felt they weren’t being particularly nice to either side – saying McCain should have done this or done that, and he may have hurt his campaign, and saying Pelosi’s speech probably swayed the Republicans in the House to vote the bill down.

Fox also spent a lot of time talking about the first presidential debate. Several different reporters and politicians weighed in about both candidates, but Fox did seem to focus more on John McCain than Barack Obama. At the same time, I felt that they weren’t letting McCain off the hook too easy. They kept talking about what he should have done and what he should have said. And while a majority of the time was focusing on the Republican candidate, I thought it was reasonable and logical criticism. Maybe McCain is the one who has more work to do after the first debate to help boost his popularity again. After all, the polls Fox was showing say that Obama’s ahead again after Friday’s debate.

What really irked me when I was watching Fox News Channel this week was that I happened to flip on a segment called “Hannity’s America.” It was just this one guy, Sean Hannity talking about politics, and mostly the first presidential debate. From start to finish it was a ridiculously right-wing stance. I don’t think ratings or money from advertisers should be any reason to show commentary shows like that on a news network. This just further proves to me that these commentators are the reason Fox News gets the criticism of being ultra-conservative. It’s not the nightly newscasts – it’s the entertainers posing as news commentators.

CNN-TV: How was the coverage? That’s debatable.

by Christina London

“You’re now looking at the back of Jim Lehrer’s head.”

That’s how Wolf Blitzer kicked off CNN’s coverage of the first presidential debate, and I knew I was in for a fun ride.

I think every network and cable channel faces the same basic challenge when it comes to debate coverage: how to make it different. All it is is essentially two hours of the same three talking heads. How do you set your coverage apart from the rest?

CNN tried to do this with the “Audience Reaction Meter,” and, in my opinion, failed miserably. I couldn’t find a picture of the meter, so let me try to explain it. During the debate at the bottom of the screen, CNN displayed a graphic to gauge how the audience was feeling at any given time. Each group was represented by a thin horizontal line: blue for Democrats, red for Republicans and green for Independents. The lines would rise when people were feeling positive and fall when they were feeling negative.

My first question was, whom does that graph represent? After scavenging the CNN Web site, I realized the people in the studio audience were the ones being polled. I felt like this left out viewers at home and that they could have easily made it a national poll via the Web. More importantly though, the reaction meter was highly ineffective (especially on my little TV.) It reminded me of the lifeline I saw on “Grey’s Anatomy” the night before. The lines always fluctuated the same and never indicated who was doing better in the debate.

“Fact checking”
When the debate was said and done, Anderson Cooper and Blitzer hosted an additional 90minutes of post-debate reaction. They brought on panelists who were supposed to be fact checking what was said. However, this facade quickly came down: they were just pundits arguing how their candidate clearly did the better job.

However, I did learn some fun facts about the debate. Did you know:

  • 3,000 journalists from around the world were expected to cover the debate?

  • By 11:15, both campaigns had already put out statements that their candidate had won the debate? (That’s only 15 minutes after it ended.)

  • Half of the time was devoted to finances and the economy, NOT foreign policy like it was supposed to be?

  • Vocabulary Lesson
    "YouTube moment"- a video clip worthy of being played again and again on YouTube

    I've heard the phrase "YouTube moment" before, but I've never heard it thrown around on network news like it was during the debate wrap-up. Many of the pundits agreed that there was only one "YouTube moment" from the debate. Take a look as Barack Obama tells John McCain "John, you're wrong" on the war in Iraq:

    Do you think there were any other "YouTube moments" from the debate?

    Monday, September 29, 2008

    ABC - TV: "Pointing" Out the Differences in the Debate

    Monique Ozanne

    It may have been called a debate, but Presidential nominees John McCain and Barack Obama spent a lot of time agreeing with one another on the bailout plan. However they were also quick to point the finger at one another on the war, taxes, and other apparent differences.

    Sitting in my apartment with my roommates, and Homecoming guests for the weekend, we tried to relax and keep our personal political viewpoints to ourselves, while enjoying the debate. While waiting for foreign policy to be discussed, I could not help but notice the camera angles. While it was a pool camera feed, it seemed that there was a heavy focus on how Obama always pointed to McCain when referring to him or his campaign, but McCain would point to the audience and never look at Obama. With this undertone being the only striking difference between the candidates in the debate, my guests and I were puzzled as to who won the debate. When I looked for ABC commentary on the debate however, the network seemed to feel the same way about a winner.

    Digging deeper to find the winner, I was surprised to find that ABC did not come forward to award either candidate with a win. Instead the network used their post-debate slot of time to lead a discussion with analysts, who were able to decide the winner. I think this was a good move for ABC because it will receive credit for not claiming a winner themselves. They left it up to the viewer to decide, and led very fair coverage of the debate. It was not until after the weekend that ABC decided to release polls that put Obama slightly ahead of McCain. I find this to be a strategic movie on ABC's behalf by inferring that Obama may be on top in these polls because of the debates.

    MSNBC-TV: We MUST Have a Debate Winner

    by Brooks Jarosz

    All of the chatter for this 24-hour news network centered around Friday night's debate. But even before the debate began, one presidential candidate wasn't even sure if he would even show up. Of course that candidate was John McCain and as you may have guessed, Keith Olbermann had no trouble talking him down. Olbermann wasn't at all afraid to say his man, Barack Obama had clearly won the debate. While I may agree in some respects, doesn't it come down to which candidate's policies you support? The answer to that question is 'no!' when it comes to political coverage on MSNBC-TV, said to be "the place for politics".

    It's all in the chase!
    The horse race is a big deal to the network as they analyze the punches thrown by the candidates and back them up with sound bites. Olbermann had no problem taking bits and pieces and using them in alternative context. It even got down to what the candidates were wearing. Olbermann sited Obama wearing an American flag pin and John McCain, the war hero, not wearing one. Why it may seem like something small, I know some people that were tuning in will instantly judge John McCain. By no means am I endorsing John McCain or advocating Barack Obama. I've just taken notice to the left-leaning attitudes expressed in overabundance on MSNBC-TV. Olbermann, who is many times on when I tune in, leads the pack of extreme liberals.

    Rachel Maddow, an MSNBC host, was on Olbermann's show earlier one night last week. While she repeatedly gave her opinion on the debate saying "I think..." at least six times, she did say something I do agree with. Maddow explained that the winner of the debate is determined by the number of juicy sound bites produced by a candidate. She explained that it's those sound-bytes that get played over and over and can essentially determine who had the upper-hand on the situation. The issues are not discussed, rather the banter between candidates. This 'juiciness', is what the media goes after and replays constantly on the 24-hour networks. How does that serve the people? How are people becoming educated on issues? How are citizens able to understand where a candidate stands? Allegedly, they're not!

    Politics...it can be fun to make fun!
    Morning Joe had a segment called "News You Can't Use" that was just that, but funny! They talked about Tina Fey playing Vice Presidential Candidate, Sarah Palin on Saturday Night Live. Speaking of her, where did she go? I think she fell off the radar. Showing clips of the SNL broadcast made this segment even more amusing. The anchors couldn't stop laughing and begged for more clips which included Obama, McCain and Bill Clinton. While politics can get very serious, I enjoyed this lighter moment. Keith Olbermann even referred to David Letterman's show where McCain was supposed to make an appearance and didn't show up. Letterman whipped out jokes that pointed at McCain, giving him a hard time for not being there.

    And while we're on the topic of humor, I have to leave you with a comment Hardball's Chris Matthews made to John Heilmann of New York Magazine. Matthews said it is important that you pick a president you don't mind listening to because it is someone you'll have to put up with for the next four years. Then he proceeds to ask Heilmann if McCain seemed troll-like to him. I thought to myself, troll-like? Matthews referred to a press conference where McCain seemed rather grumpy. I just couldn't stop laughing when I imagined John McCain under a bridge as a troll. Then, he described Obama as the college prof. I'll leave you with that clip below...

    CNN.com: The (Not So) Beautiful Bailout Battle

    by: Julie Hartz

    Tune into any TV station or log onto any news website, and I can almost guarantee the top story will be the Big Bad Bailout. In an effort to further understand our huge financial crisis, I asked a family member recently what it all meant. Although it was a scary truth to face, it is a problem plaguing our country and we need to deal with it. I cannot say whether or not this Bailout Bill was the right legislation, but apparently the House didn't think so. You can read it for yourself and make your own decisions, but I warn you: it's very long.

    I have to admit that with all this talk, I did expect the Bailout Bill to pass the House vote. We've heard over the past few weeks that the country needs to save these financial institutions and eventually the economy will bounce back. But when is eventually? Will our generation be paying for the mistakes that have occurred over the past decade well into our venture over the hill? These are all questions I still need answered.

    But it has not taken the separate parties to start pointing fingers. Nancy Pelosi has been a huge target.

    And of course, Democrats blame the Republicans and vice versa. CNN.com offers a refreshing alternative, however: They want YOU to share your opinions about our financial meltdown.

    This way, bloggers can interact with one another and share their viewpoints. It's a safe, open way to put your opinions out there or learn from others. Whatever way you get involved with the financial crisis, I suggest you learn as much as possible. Our economy is clearly having a difficult time right now, and the more educated decisions you can make, the better. And remember: this doesn't mean you still can't have any fun! Just know what's going on in our world and our country.

    CBSNews.com: Meet the Parents...and More

    by Cristina Mutchler
    Palin's Parents
    Sally and Chuck Heath, Governor Palin's parents, sat down exclusively with CBSNews.com to discuss topics such as Palin and John McCain's working chemistry and relationship, as well as the impact of running for VP on Palin's kids. This was the first I've seen of her parents, and I thought it was an interesting idea.

    Watch CBS Videos Online

    Just to clarify...
    Did John McCain know where weapons of mass destruction were? Barack Obama seems to think so. But Reality Check clarifies exactly what he meant by this comment. On October 1, 2002 McCain said, “I think we know where there are at least some of these weapons stored and being developed. I think it would -- we have sufficient evidence, if we were allowed to go in, that we could uncover at least some of his capabilities, certainly not all.” Six months later McCain was asked about the same issue on NBC on April 9, 2003 and replied, “I think we'll find weapons of mass destruction." More of your unanswered questions can be found in this section of the site.

    Rating the Debate
    The hot question right now is, did either of these guys win? Minutes after the debate aired, CBS News conducted a nationally representative poll of around 500 uncommitted voters to gage their reactions. Thirty-nine percent of uncommitted voters polled thought Barack Obama was the winner, with twenty-four percent claiming John McCain won. Thirty-seven percent saw the debate as a draw. Forty-six percent of the people said their opinion of Obama got better tonight, while thirty-two percent said their opinion of McCain got better. Numbers of those polled seem to show that Senator Obama received better feedback from the uncommitted voters, but check the rest of the percentages to see the other poll results.

    Presidential Questions
    This week, Katie Couric asked the presidential candidates about their favorite movie of all time. McCain answered "Viva Zapata" starring Marlon Brando. Obama's answer? The Godfather One and Two. Interesting...never thought you'd find the potential President's favorite movie on CBSnews.com!

    A College Town's Opinion

    Here at Ohio University, students are actively involved in campaigning, and its quite common to see volunteers at every street corner trying to get more people to register to vote. But CBSNews.com had an interesting article this week about ANOTHER college town- this one, in Oxford, Mississippi. The blogger wrote that a quick glance at college campaign festivities at the University of Mississippi clearly indicate that John McCain was the slight favorite. What impression do you think visitors get of Ohio University?

    NBC News.com: Extended, Historic, and No Videos

    by Stine Eckert

    For this blog I concentrate on NBC News.com's videos in the Latest Program, Web Only, and Politics section as well as on the First Read blog, which is part of MSNBC.

    Apart from the obvious: the first presidential debate and reactions from first-time, independent, and undecided voters, and continuing coverage about the candidates take on the economic crisis, and Sarah Palin's struggle to answer to Katie Couric's questions (coherently), there were a number of remarkable videos on NBC Nightly News online -- and one lemon.

    Extended Videos
    NBC provided another gem of online video journalism: a great video from Sept. 23, 2008 of an extended interview with Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili in which he details his views on all presidential and vice presidential candidates.

    Here are some snippets of President Saakashvili tip-toeing around who is his favorite politician among the quartet:

    Sen. Joe Biden (D-Delaware):

    “He is an old friend […] amazingly smart and competent on Georgia’s issue.”
    Gov. Sarah Palin (R-Alaska):
    “I had a brief chat with her when she got nominated, she called me back to Georgia. [She is] very interactive, very amicable, […] she made a really good impression.”
    Sen. Barack Obama (D-Illinois):
    He says Sen. Obama has showed the same competence and level of support as Sen. McCain: “When he called me [during the conflict with Russia] he was very well prepared. He really understood the issue and made some very good statements […]which supported my people morally.”
    Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona):
    “Sen. McCain I first met many, many years ago in the mid-90s. I was a young parliamentarian; he was already an important senator and he was very much interested in our judiciary reforms, legal reforms and we kept in touch with them ever since then. He’s visited Georgia many times. […] Sen. McCain is someone who inspired me personally for many years.”

    Here’s some context:

    President Saakashvili:
    “During the conflict [with Russia] I spoke almost every day with Sen. Obama and Sen. McCain […] On the second day of the conflict when everyone was expressing their solidarity Sen. Biden called: ’I know everyone is calling for solidarity but I’m not calling for that, I want to submit to the Senate Committee a, b, c, d.’ I hung up the phone and thought, wow, this is the first guy that means business. But Sen. McCain was also extremely supportive, extremely helpful. He had been talking for years that something like that would happen, it was not new for him, he had anticipated it and his worst expectations came true.”

    The interview gives a fascinating insight into Georgian-U.S. relations. Saakashvili also talked about the recent warring between Georgia and Russia likening Russia’s claim that Georgia attacked first to the German Nazi Party’s excuse to start WW II because of an attack by Poland. Saakashvili went on to say that every politician bears some blame in this game.

    Isn’t it amazingly great that broadband connections, server space, and online video journalism make it possible to bring the presidents of the world into our homes at our whim replaying answers as we wish?

    It would be interesting to know who initiated the NBC interview, NBC or Georgia, other U.S. individuals to back up Georgia and show strong ties with the East European country?

    By the way, NBC Nightly News online has a great collection of 40 extended interviews section in its web only section including talks with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi the Venezuelan ambassador to the USA Bernardo Alvarez, U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan William Wood, former Columbian presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt who got freed after six years in captivity by FARC rebels as well as Bill Gates, Al Gore, the Clintons, McCain, General Petraeus and other U.S. figures.

    Historic Videos
    NBC Nightly News provided several pleasant surprises. NBC provided eleven(!) historic videos of former debates including the very first ever televised debate in 1960 with Democrat John F. Kennedy and Republican Richard Nixon. The clip’s reporter talks about the importance of images as Kennedy’s “good looks” helped him triumph over a “pale” Nixon “without make-up”.

    The other videos give impressions of the debates between 1976 and 2004.
    One of the most interesting at the moment might be an exciting clip that runs for almost five-minutes and features a part of the first vice-presidential debate of October 15, 1976 in which Democrat Walter Mondale and Republican Bob Dole debate about Nixon’s Vietnam policy. The anchor announces that probably about 85 million viewers will watch this debate, which was broadcast from Houston, Texas. This video is again a great service to the public as a lead up the first presidential debate of this election season provided by NBC’s online editors who sometimes do use their archives and the Internet’s potential to provide such neat extras.

    No Video

    On Saturday (Sept. 27, 2008) there was unfortunately a video that promised “reactions from seven undecided voters to the first presidential debate” but upon clicking on the thumbnail and impatiently enduring the advertisement the suffers a disappointment: White on blue it read: “Due to usage restriction we are unable to provide this video.” Why didn’t NBC just take it from their video array? Please, don’t promise what you can’t deliver.

    Tuesday, September 23, 2008

    MSNBC.com: Debate and Kissing Skills

    by Jaime Baker

    With the first debates just around the corner, MSNBC.com used a New York Times piece breaking down the past debates of each Presidential candidate. By reading the two articles, it would seem as though John McCain will be able to gain a few points in the race. McCain's track records in his 30-something national debates has been very good. After looking at most of his debates, the article says he used many of his insticts from when he was in the services. He is an aggressive competitor who is very good at seemingly scolding his opponents.

    Barack Obama has always been a very good public speaker, so it surprised me to hear that the New York Times thought he would not fare as well in the debates. They make a good point in saying that one of his strengths may cause him problems in the debate. He is always very calm and cool and has good reasoning skills, but it may make him seem vulnerable and maybe a bit less in control. Another problem for Obama is that the first debate is about foreign policy, a subject in which McCain seems to excel in debates. I didn't realize that the debating past of the two would have such a huge role in this race.

    The one thing that really bothered me this week is actually a little odd in my opinion. One of the head stories on MSNBC.com is about a former Brazilian model who used to date John McCain...or at least, she did for a week.
    She talks all about how he was a "good kisser" and very romantic. Why is this a head story on MSNBC.com? This is something that would be a lead story in US Weekly, not on MSNBC. But, I mean, hey, great for John McCain. I'm sure a ton of people have wondered about his kissing skills.

    NBC News.com: Background, Berettas, and Breaks

    by Stine Eckert

    For this blog I concentrate on NBC News.com's videos in the Latest Program, Web Only, and Politics section as well as on the First Read blog, which is part of MSNBC.

    Good NBC Online Background

    Yesterday (Sept. 22) two long interviews with Sens. Barack Obama (19 minutes) and John McCain (10 minutes) were uploaded to provide more detailed background on their stances toward THE topic, the economy. So for everyone who has been sound bitten too often, here are the full version, a great boon to the public. Thanks NBC, that's part of the beauty of online journalism!

    But Nightly News features more background on issues and the candidates’ takes on them in two series.

    One of them is called Where They Stand, which is neatly archived online reaching back to the first issue comparing candidate’s approaches on education from Feb. 24, 2008. Currently 13 videos are available including their takes on the economy, health insurance, Iraq, environment, immigration, and providing change.

    The other one is Briefing Book: Issues ’08 and not only gives the positions of the candidates but provides more background on why dealing with China, Iran, and Pakistan is so important to U.S. foreign policy. The series features text, sometimes video, and further links to articles concerning topics such as same-sex marriage, energy, immigration, taxes, globalization as well as medicare & social security. It replicates somewhat the Where They Stand series and is uploaded once a week.

    The two series are a good start toward a more issue-oriented election coverage but it would be desirable to extend the topic list to more (detailed) issues including climate change, science & technology, abortion, gun control, crime, food regulation, Internet and communication laws, and government reform as well as U.S. foreign policy concerning Latin America, Africa (especially Darfur), Europe (especially Russia as a rising power and the E.U. as a major trading partner), Afghanistan and North Korea.

    More Background Online

    There are a couple a great websites for more background. Number one claims to sum up the stance of every candidate on every issue for not only federal positions: www.issue2000.org Another great website that the First Read blog referred to is www.factcheck.org. In the upper left hand side of their homepage, there is a link to a short videocast summing up all fact gaffes of the week.

    ‘Don’t Fool With My Beretta’
    Democratic Vice Presidential Candidate Sen. Joe Biden seems to be as gun toting as what is usually stereotypical Republican. So far the election campaign has not often mentioned weapon issues – except for the almost mantra-like repeated hunting habit of Gov. Sarah Palin – and it came as a surprise when Sen. Biden commented on the issue in front of coal miners as a post of the First Read blog reported on Sept. 20, 2008: “The Delaware senator predicted that Republicans would seek to sway voters by threatening that Obama would take away guns. Biden, claiming to be a gun-owner […] said: ‘Barack Obama ain’t taking my shotguns, so don't buy that malarkey. […] If he tries to fool with my Beretta, he's got a problem.’

    What is Sen. Obama’s stance on the 2nd Amendment?

    There Are Breaks from Election Coverage -- For Better or For Worse
    Sunday especially and the weekend in general seem to be a day without election coverage. It seems kind of odd that during the period in which many U.S. citizens would have more time to read and inform themselves about the election no current coverage is offered. But maybe this is not the worst thing I have discovered this week but a welcome break in the never ceasing blips about who is where with whom saying what when in what manner. For the sake of consistency and to use the Internet’s full potential for public service it would make more sense to continue coverage between Friday noon and Sunday night.

    NBC-TV: Another Week but More of the Same

    Samantha Pompeo

    It has been a week since the Wall Street crash of 2008 but the news programs on NBC are not letting you forget. Every mention of the candidates has to do with their economic plans, especially during the nightly programming. This makes it extremely difficult to get any other policy information from the station. While I understand that it’s a hard time financially for some people, there is more to the candidate’s plans than just how to solve this crisis.

    One thing I really appreciated was that “Nightly News with Brian Williams” is doing its best to keep the public informed. On Monday night there was a segment titled “Where They Stand” which detailed a certain part of the candidates’ platforms. With all the discussion about “lipstick on a pig” it’s nice to finally get back to what the election should be about: the issues. The policy discussed was taxes but what else to expect with the way the station is talking about the economic crisis 24/7.

    On two instances of “Nightly News” the reporter boasted about his “exclusive” interviews with both John McCain and Barack Obama. But, when time came for his package, the sit-down with Obama was the only video shown. When showing John McCain, the typical video of him standing on a stage, talking to a crowd was used. The one time this same type of video of Obama was shown, the crowd was heard clapping at the end. But this was not the case with McCain. It could have been how the speech was prepared but it also could have been deliberate.

    Whenever the network uses graphics of the candidates, there’s always a subtle reminder of which side the candidate is on. Profile pictures of McCain and Obama were shown “staring” each other down with nice colorful borders. McCain was surround with red and Obama with blue. This was yet another stab at reminding voters that there are red states and blue states and we have to choose.

    It’s difficult to say whether NBC is doing its best to remain unbiased on its coverage of the candidates. It seems that both McCain and Obama receive equal face time but are they presented the same? I’m sure it’s difficult to present a story without some of your personal feelings creeping in, regardless of how much you claim otherwise. I wouldn’t want the “liberal media” to continue to torture the voices of the right. No, that would be wrong. :)

    Monday, September 22, 2008

    CNN-TV: The Truth Squad is Out to Get You

    by Christina London

    “No bias and no bull.”

    That’s just one of the many ways CNN has described its election coverage. Last Saturday, the channel set out to prove it. It devoted an hour-long time slot to the “Truth Squad”: reporters who examine if accusations one candidate makes about the other are true or false. Like we talked about in class, some local channels will perform “truth tests” on campaign advertising. They’ll pick a particular ad and dissect it, finding out if the statements are valid or not. Here, CNN does the same thing.

    Let’s look at one story from Truth Squad member Alina Cho:

    Barack Obama: The most liberal of the liberal?

    Here, Cho examines a McCain ad comparing Sarah Palin to Barack Obama. It argues that Palin is a reformer who has stood up to Big Oil. It then accuses Obama of being the most liberal senator in Congress.

    According to the National Journal, which claims to be a non-partisan magazine, Obama did rank as the most liberal senator last year. (He ranked 16th and 10th in previous years.) However, the liberal Americans for Democratic Action doesn’t buy it. It says if you look at Obama’s entire voting record, you’ll see that several other senators rank as more liberal.

    Still, the only “non-biased” source Cho could find was the National Journal. So the verdict? TRUE.

    Watch out, John McCain. The Truth Squad’s after you next…

    MSNBC-TV: Wall Street Steers Campaign & News Coverage

    by Brooks Jarosz

    As the Bush administration attempts to fix the economy by pumping in trillions of taxpayer dollars, eyes turn to the presidential candidates for approval or disapproval. Neither John McCain nor Barack Obama say they fully support the current administration's plan, however, neither offers a clear solution. During NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams, reporter John Harwood tries to round out the economy issue and the candidates' views. Harwood said the economy issue only helps Obama in his fight for change. Harwood also said it has caused McCain to quickly shift the economy argument to a few corrupt individuals.

    The candidates had the chance to say a few things and that opened a recent episode of Hardball with Chris Matthews. McCain said Obama had no plan at all. Obama tries to link McCain to Bush asking who has been running the country the last eight years. And reporter Carl Quintanilla continued a series called Where They Stand, highlighting various political issues. This week it was taxes and specifically focusing on the government's proposal. While it was quite interesting, it still came off as a campaign commercial for Obama. You be the judge...

    Palin is still making headlines
    Like it or not, the news media, including MSNBC-TV, continue to seek out the "real" Sarah Palin. Rachel Maddow spent a good ten minutes discussing and commenting on some controversial issues. I'm of course talking about the troopergate scandal, the family issues and even political tensions. Maddow leaned left as she said Palin is getting caught in "more denials" and becoming rather secretive. She sets up the idea that Palin has had this bad streak within her and that she has turned to advisors that at one time or another worked on George W. Bush's campaign. Maddow went a step farther and had Alaska Senator Lyda Green on the program to question her about Palin. Palin and Green worked side by side at one time but a new approach to a political campaign and policy separated them. According to Green, Palin raised taxes, alluding that having her as Vice President or President would be a bad thing.

    Figuring it all out
    With the current government still thinking about what to do with the economy, the two presidential campaigns seem to be twiddling their thumbs. Both are said to fear losing support and remain careful in selecting the right wording. MSNBC was quick to point out the failures of the current presidency. Four major tragedies were blamed on President Bush including 9/11, Katrina, the Iraq War and now the economy.

    Overall, it seems that MSNBC is constantly repeating old information to the viewer. This information is beat to the death. With the struggling economy it's hard to determine who's going to come out with the right plan. Lately, it appears both campaigns have had to act reactive to a couple different situations. I predict in the next couple of weeks both parties will have firm outlines on how the economy can be fixed and bail itself out.

    ABC-TV: Another Day, Another Bailout

    Monique Ozanne

    With just six weeks left until the 2008 Presidential election, ABC News was focused on the state of the economy rather than the candidates. ABC News highlighted how Congress reacted to the proposed government bailouts, emphasizing the negativity coming from Capitol Hill. What is so interesting about ABC's coverage is when the first crises arose, ABC managed to keep coverage just to the facts, and questioning the outcome. Now that there are outcries of disdain and anger about the bailouts, ABC has a new focus for this story. They are also sparking discussions about how Obama and McCain are going to vote on this bailout bill and what the risk factors are involving which way these candidates vote.

    But despite the economic crisis, ABC has allowed its separate shows to divert their attention to more hot button issues. Their new initiative for the next few weeks 50 states in 50 days will highlight where the candidates are going and where they will have their big battles. On World News Tonight, Charles Gibson will be busy with the candidates on the campaign trail. Monday night focused on Virginia, an important battleground state, especially for the Obama/Biden ticket, which ABC says is working very hard to make it a Democratic victory.

    Senator Joe Biden in Woodbridge, VA

    But what about Nightline and 20/20, shows that attract the prime time and late night audience. For some reason these programs still manage to be focused on news that might not be on people's minds. The 20/20 show that aired Friday centered around Diane Sawyer's interview with Alec Baldwin regarding his divorce and child custody battle.

    In all fairness however, ABC has found ways to personalize a lot of stories regarding the disaster on Wall Street. Another story on 20/20 talked about who exactly this economic downfall was affecting, and how CEO's may not feel as much pain as some of the middle men.

    ABC's Good Morning American anchor Robin Roberts interviewed FOX's Bill O'Reilly this morning and discussed his new book entitled "A Bold Fresh Piece of Humanity." O'Reilly was prompted by Roberts to talk about the current "economic mess" and bailout, and O'Reilly said that we need new people in Washington. He said the government's job is to protect citizens such as when there is a food recall, the government orders that food to be taken off the shelves. But when it comes to financial problems, the government is no help. He said the big companies, such as AIG and Lehman Brothers had no idea that they were being given "bogus paper", and people have a right to be furious. http://abcnews.go.com/video/playerIndex?id=5864062

    CNN.com: Jargon, Change and the Teleprompter

    by Julie Hartz

    This week on CNN online, I realized just how in-depth the election coverage has become based on how many different articles and sections there are online. There was one section that was particularly interesting to me, mainly because I have never seen this as an option before. The section was titled, Jargonbuster. Basically, it has a huge list of commonly used Election-related words, and their given meanings. It was quite easy to navigate, and for those who are new to the election extravaganza can now understand what all of those crazy words are spouting out of the candidates' mouths.

    Example from Jargonbuster:
    Wedge Issue: A key issue used by one or both parties to show clear differences between the two parties or candidates. Wedge issues are often raised to get each party's "base" supporters out to vote. The abortion issue is used to get out supporters of a woman's right to choose, and supporters of the unborn child's right to life. Gun control is a wedge issue generally separating Democrats who often support stricter gun control legislation from Republicans who are generally against gun-control legislation.

    The best article that I saw this week on CNN online was one about 'change' and the election. The article details how, with McCain's choosing Sarah Palin as his running mate, he has jumped on Obama's change-fueled campaigning efforts. It also talks about how both Obama and McCain's choices of running mates are purely political. But can you really blame them? It would be silly to have a choice that was not political, considering this IS a political race they're running in. Both Palin and Biden
    pick up where their Presidential nominees leave off. Palin makes McCain a more social, appealing choice as president. Biden brings more experience, particularly overseas, to a candidate that has been criticized for being too young and new to Washington.

    Another aspect of the article explores how the election has turned into a blame game, with both Obama and McCain accusing the other of falsehoods through biting, below-the-belt political ads. The election has become more about the candidates' mistakes and blunders rather than focus on their issues. It made me think about how our nation needs to look at the candidates for who they would be as President, and what they believe they can do for our country. No more nasty political ads. No more 'he said, he said'. Research each candidate's stance on what is really important to you and don't necessarily believe everything you see on TV.

    The worst article I saw this week was this silly three-paragraph blurb about Senator Obama's teleprompter. The information in the article basically says just that he uses a teleprompter to give his speeches and now it's coming with him on the campaign trail. Who cares?? And, does that really merit an article on CNN online? I'm not sure if people were disappointed and upset about this, but I thought it was a trivial matter to focus on, and a waste of space.

    Fox News.com: Changing it's Image?

    by Alex Mazer

    After discussion in a couple classes this week about media bias and which networks have biases and which do not, I wanted to look at Foxnews.com to see if I could find any biases and decide for myself. As soon as I entered the site, I scrolled down to see a link for a commercial. This commercial is promoting Fox News in general as a non-partisan source for all your election coverage. I found this to be very interesting because many people will argue that Fox News is a very conservative news channel. Fox is obviously aware it has this reputation and is taking steps to change that image. You can find the commercial at Foxnews.com elections page in a box in the right hand column.

    Another Fox News Election promo

    Another thing that I noticed on the site was that there was a link for 24-hour video streaming. This could go against Fox's attempt to make the channel known as a neutral channel. When there is 24-hour video streaming, some anchors tend to run out of things to talk about and begin to add their own opinions. Having both of those things on the same page not far from each other definitely surprised me.

    Right below the 24-hour live streaming link there is a question of the day box. The question of the day today is "Which candidate has offered the strongest plan for fixing the economy?" The results of the poll say that McCain has the stronger plan. Is this a realistic opinion, or a reflection of Foxnews.com's more conservative audience.

    In the right hand column there is a box that links to stories published by the Washington Times. I like that there are links to other sites for election coverage. This provides other sources for web users to find election coverage and not have to rely on the same site every time.

    CBSNews.com: Presidential Questions, Palin and Preparation

    by Cristina Mutchler

    The logo says it all- Campaign 2008 Horserace. Most media outlets are portraying the two most talked about guys right now as competitors in a race to the polls- focusing not so much on the larger, more important issues. But CBSnews.com did a good job, in my opinion, in covering and comparing not only the two candidates, but also other aspects of the campaigns, the elections, issues, and other fun-to-play-with political tools that can be found on their page. Many of the one-on-one stories with the two candidates do go in-depth and allow for personalization of Obama and McCain and their stories. The site didn’t include much of the election “gossip” that sometimes seems to sneak its way into election news coverage, but it did include somewhat lighter stories that are a brief and easy read for the . And the ’60 minutes’ section revealed an in-depth look at candidates for a special edition of the show.

    CBS News anchor Katie Couric’s and other journalists’ contributions to the site add to the ongoing adrenaline rush before Election Day. Couric regularly grills the two presidential candidates on certain issues, and viewers are invited to watch the video or read the transcripts in the Presidential Questions section. The candidates answer everything from their character flaws to thoughts on terrorism at home.

    Watch CBS Videos Online

    Couric also spent last Thursday riding with Barack Obama’s running mate Joe Biden on his treck through Ohio. Viewers can watch as Biden talked taxes, investments and financial markets with Couric, and gave some valuable answers to those looking for answers to the money issues.

    Watch CBS Videos Online

    Biden's video shares the ever-important thoughts and positions as a potential VP, and this week there wasn’t a comparable story with McCain’s running mate Sarah Palin, though there was still plenty of other buzz about her available on the site.

    Hacker Attacker
    Palin’s personal Yahoo! email account was hacked into recently, and sources say some fingers seem to be pointing at the son of Democratic Tennessee state representative Mike Kernell. His 20-year-old son, David Kernell’s, residence was searched by the FBI, and the investigation continues. On a very different note, Palin also made headlines on the site when she suggested ways that the McCain camp would allow citizens to have more public access with regards to financial matters at a rally in a Philadelphia suburb today. She noted previous tactics used as Alaska's governor that actually put the state's checkbook online. You can also read Couric's blog post titled 'What Would You Ask Sarah Palin?' as she prepares to interview the Alaska governer.

    First Debate Prep
    And the preparation doesn't stop there. The special 40th anniversary broadcast of 60 Minutes this week features McCain and Obama, again side-by-side, and their positions as they get ready for the first debate scheduled for this Friday night. Obama opens up about how race is affecting and could affect this extremely important election, while McCain let us in on his faith and his more “rebellious” years. Both interviews make for an informative focus prior to the big debate.

    CBSnews.com offers a plethora of information regarding Election 2008, and I didn’t even cover half of the week’s most interesting topics. Check out the page for yourself to get a diverse look at election coverage, and in the meantime, keep reading for the best, worst and most unique stories up until the big day!

    CNN.com: The Blame Game

    by: Julie Hartz

    As I began my virtual exploration of CNN.com this week, the first thing that popped out to me—even before I read any articles—were the titles. “GOP blamed for Wall Street Crisis”, “Palin Accuses ‘Obama-Biden Democrats’ of spreading ‘lies’”, “Bill Clinton says Dems shouldn’t attack Palin.”

    As you can see, there’s a common thread between these titles: they are all about each party blaming one another. Well since these articles caught my attention, I decided to take a deeper look past the headlines to see what sort of substance was behind them. What I found was quite surprising.

    In the interest of not wanting to repeat myself, I’ll just detail the article that affected me the most. In the article where Bill Clinton says the Democratic Party should not ridicule Sarah Palin’s skimpy resume,

    Clinton says, “Why say, ever, anything bad about a person? Why don’t we like them and celebrate them and be happy for her elevation to the ticket?” Now this sounds like a really nice thing for a Democrat to say about a Republican... especially weeks before the election. Then I think back to the primary season, and remember how critical Bill Clinton was of Barack Obama before he was chosen as the Presidential Candidate.

    Was Clinton not doing exactly that? It’s funny how someone’s attitude can change so quickly when his wife is off the ticket. I do agree that the accusations and digging into personal lives has gotten very old, very quickly. But that was the pot calling the kettle black.

    Another story that caught my attention sends us back 8 years to the Florida recount catastrophe. In the article, “Florida Voting Issues Raise Fears of 2000-like debacle” problems with Florida’s local elections are creating a panic that the same thing is going to happen in November of ’08 that happened in ’00. Apparently Florida is using paper ballots that can be read by an “optical reading device”; however there have already been issues with the judicial race in Palm Beach County.

    Election officials say the system should work, however skeptics will be left crossing their fingers election night that all works as planned.

    ABC.COM: Obama, McCain and the economy

    Nina Wieczorek

    Finally: The candidates focus on (one) issues!
    And it's not Sarah P. The selected topic is the US-economy. So, did Obama's campaign benefit from this focus on a domestic issue versus McCain's team, which intented to keep people's eyes on foreign policy problems, like Iraq or Afghanistan?

    Lots of Background Available
    In all of ABC's big online content categories the two candidates and the economy play the main role. The Vote 08, The Note,

    and also the Political Radar offer background information, comments and current videos and news on the candidates referring to this issue, for example the (too short) Fact Check-video .

    Quite funny but is the little countdown that reminds the user on how much time is left till the first Presidential Debate.

    Ouch, My Ears!
    One of the candidates, however, didn't really stand out on abc.com this week for statements on the economy, but for entertaining videos and tv-performances: Sarah Palin! Though, she wasn't really the one who was funny, it's some of the impersonators , among them especially Saturday Night Live's Tina Fey sticks out with her little Beauty Queen crown...and this ear-hurting voice.

    Dossiers: If You're Looking for Someone Special
    Besides this little fun stuff I think the many different categories in the political radar are really useful.
    The user can find current news, videos and dossiers with articles about the candidates and other politicians. So, if you're only interested in stories concerning Hillary Clinton, click on her name and you'll find quite a bunch of recent articels published by the website.

    Perhaps Too Many Categories
    In all, however, the site might provide too many categories for an easy and quick overview over the recent events and latest developments. At the front page there are these three already mentioned rubrics, the headlines, watch video, ABC News Program, abc News To Go (a must-have for your coffee-to-go) – where do I find what? It's quite redundant sometimes and the user can't make a clear distinction between the different links.

    Not Very Critical
    It seems the media tries to establish a new favourite term – Troopergate . There still remain questions about the firing of Alaska's ex-Security Chief and the issue keeps on being covered. But, what about Palin's reproach against Iran and its nuclear program? Saying someone plans a second holocaust should not be said that easily – does she have any prove?

    Anyway, I think that, especially in comparison to foreign media (e.g. this german website of one of the two big public tv stations), the coverage of those remarks is much less critical.

    Surprise, surprise!
    It seems everbody wanted to surprise me this week :)
    George W. Bush, because he's back in the spotlight and still president (somehow it's easy to forget about that after last week's discussions...), Bill Clinton because Hillary wouldn't have liked to be VP, Joe Biden because Obama won't take his Beretta, Sarah Palin because she doesn't protect her e-mails, Barack Obama for the accusation of having anything to do with the KKK and finally John McCain because he locates Spain in South America.

    Fox News Channel sure does love Sarah Palin

    By Allison Herman

    On Friday, Fox News did a story about a college professor who offended conservative students when he allegedly gave an unfair writing assignment, telling his students to criticize Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin. Fox had an interview with one of the Republican students who said he was offended by the assignment. I thought the idea was good and viable, but the way it played out on the show was all wrong. The questions the anchor asked were clearly biased and leaned to the right. Also, I felt that the story didn’t have much credibility. The tease for the story was very misleading, as are most teases, but I think that it could have been much better written to more accurately portray the story. Also, the details from the student and the details from the anchor describing what actually happened with the assignment didn’t match up completely, which made me doubt the credibility of the whole situation. I felt that Fox News dropped the ball with that story.

    However, they did do a good job of showing both sides of the story when the newscast went to the “Strategy Room.” Fox did an interview with two women who were discussing the importance of the Catholic vote in the November election. One guest was a former advisor for Hilary Clinton, while the other was a former GOP chair in Virginia. The segment was incredibly entertaining because both of the women were so obviously opposed in their opinions about who was going to win the Catholic vote and what each thought about the recent controversy over Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Biden’s pro-choice stance, despite being a Catholic. The same anchor who did the interview with the Republican student also did the interview with the two women, but the second interview was much better formatted and used fair and balanced questions.

    I was also really impressed with the use of presidential polls during the dual segment. Several polls were referenced and used by the anchor and the guests, but it really worked because it was tied into good conversation and debate, which I felt made for pretty good TV. I thought this was the perfect instance where polls were used correctly and actually added something to a newscast.

    Friday, September 19, 2008

    ABC News.com: Lots of Palin, and Some Games!

    Nina Wieczorek

    'Does this woman have any friends?'
    That was all the e-mail from Germany said. I got it after the exclusive interview Mrs. Palin gave abc's Charlie Gibson. Well, how many friends she really has, I can't say, but I can say that she gets a lot of attention these days on abcnews.go.com.

    No News Balance
    Sure, she's been a surprise for most Americans and now they want and need to get to know their possible future Vice President – and obviously also her family. But the current Palin-related explosion of news gives her simply too much spotlight. You might get the impression that she is running for president, not John McCain. For example the coverage of a comment Obama made about lipstick on a pig, which actually didn't even have anything to do with her.

    And what about Joe Biden? On Wednesday, if ABC online payed any attention to him, then it was so hidden, that I couldn't find him. I think this whole hype might fade away within the next days, but still, the last week the Alaskan Governor didn't have to share the country's media attention with any of the other candidates. Especially as her first longer interview (...in which she allegedly lied to ABC-TV, according to Walt Monegam, former Public Safety Commissioner in Alaska...) took place last Thursday and Friday.

    The 'Full Interview' wasn't that full...
    Whoever didn't watch it live could find it on ABC's homepage. The full interview is there in a written format, but I couldn’t find a video of the whole interview. However, there are three newscasts, each of about 5 minutes long, claiming to be the full interview. Actually, they are only a cut-together of some of the statements she made.

    ...but full of surprising statements
    „War with Russia may be necessary if Georgia were to join NATO and be invaded by Russia“, so says Palin. Yes, if a NATO member gets attacked, the other members help this country. That's what the treaty is about. But, besides the fact Georgia is not close to being a NATO member, and Russia, full of economic problems, is hardly so short-sighted to invade Georgia, mentioning a war with Russia, while the atmosphere between Washington DC and Moscow is far away from good, just shows that she lacks foreign policy experience.

    Another, but less earthshaking statement came from the so far quite quiet Sen. Biden, posted on Thursday: Hillary might have been a better pick than he. Why so shy?

    Good Presentation
    With daily updated articles, the site offers a lot of different media: slide shows, lots of videos, articles, interviews and also some interaction. Viewers can not only comment on the articles, but also play the 'Match-O-Mat II'. This funny game gives you 13 quotes, either made by Obama or McCain. You have to click on the one you agree with more. In the end one of the two candidates sitting on a seesaw is going to be kicked from it up into the sky. This game provides you in an entertaining way not only with information on different political issues, like health care or the war in Iraq, but also allows the user to come to an opinion on these issues without any judgement on the persons.

    Next to this game the section, „The Note“, is quite good. Here the users find comments on different aspects of the current debates.

    One new woman in the White House already set
    No matter who will finally wins the presidential election in November, one new woman for the White House has just been anounced according to the website's 'Entertainment' section, Barbra Streisand. She'll be honored there by the Kennedy Center in December.