Go to HHH home page.
Smart Politics
 


When Words Become Reality: The Media Creation of Barack Obama

Bookmark and Share

Just minutes after the Illinois State Senator's keynote address at the Democratic National Convention on July 27, 2004, media commentators and journalists began to write history by casting Barack Obama in the role of superstar, Democratic leader, and future president of the United States. Perhaps the media did not quite realize at the time that Obama, and a significant wing of the Democratic base, would take their words so seriously, as, less than two years after being elected Senator, Obama is now viewed as a threat to win the Democratic nomination.

After the speech, USA Today referred to Obama as an "emerging star" having "instantly established his credentials as a national political force."

The New Orleans Times-Picayune referenced Obama's "debut star turn," and labled him as "someone already being talked about for a future national ticket."

In The New Republic, Noam Scheiber projected Obama to be "a perennial possibility for a spot on a national Democratic ticket."

As journalistic deadlines approached that Tuesday night, reporters wrote as one, marching to the beat of the same drummer: Obama was a "rising star" (Star Tribune), "one of the Democrats' fastest rising stars" (Cleveland Plain Dealer), a "budding political star" (St. Louis Post Dispatch), and "a rising Democratic star" (Christian Science Monitor).

All these accolades for a man that, even the Post Dispatch acknowledged, had just spoken to a Democratic convention audience (let alone Americans in general) that "knew little or nothing about him."

Several journalists quickly began to make predictions about the fate of this not-yet elected Senator. The Houston Chronicle wrote, "he may well end up the first black president of the United States." A Boston Herald editorial paraphrased a line in Obama's speech thusly: "that brighter day has a name and a year: President Obama, 2016."

Perhaps the media was unaware of the power of their words, and the impatience of the American public—Democrats certainly did not want to wait until 2016 for their next star to shine. Indeed, Obama is currently polling second in (early) polls measuring Democratic support for their nominee in 2008.

Whatever future political success Obama achieves might very well spring directly from the 'uncoordinated, coordinated' media frenzy that occurred in the last week of July 2004. But let us not forget the original architect of this plan: John Kerry. For it was Kerry and his advisors who selected Obama for the 2004 convention keynote address, predicting the State Senator would give a compelling speech and become a popular, new face for the Democratic Party and his campaign. Though, if Kerry would have known just how popular, he may have made a different selection.

Previous post: Upper Midwest Representatives Receive New US House Committee Assignments
Next post: Minnesota's Approval of Pawlenty Job Performance Remarkably Stable

2 Comments


  • only those with brave hearts among the American people will make Obama be their future Leader. a choice to change the life of the suffering Americans who are being threatened all over the Arab Countries. bravo to the Democrats ant to the Americans as abig Family

  • We are seing the results as we speak. it is 2008, and the media has created this candidate, and all I read is how nice Cinderella Obama is, and how bad the new bad wolf of the story is, Hillary Clinton
    The worse part is how the black constituent has forgotten the good relationship and the good deeds the Clintons did for them, and only based on the color of the skin, black voters vote for Obama. This is the most racist group of constituents I have ever seen , voting for a man of inferior qualifications only becuae he is a certain color. I am disgusted at the american media, an empty and shallow media that looks for sensationalism, for paper heroes, for controversy and drama, and sure, they have scored drama, but at what price, our nations future.
    Obama is nothing but media hype, and sure future dissappointments

  • Leave a comment


    Remains of the Data

    Which States Have the Longest and Shortest Election Day Voting Hours?

    Residents in some North Dakota towns have less than half as many hours to cast their ballots as those in New York State.

    Political Crumbs

    Mary Burke: English First?

    While multiculturalism and bilingualism are increasingly en vogue in some quarters as the world seemingly becomes a smaller place, one very high profile 2014 Democratic candidate does not shy away from the fact that she only speaks one language: English. In an attempt to highlight her private sector credentials working for Trek Bicycle, Wisconsin Democratic gubernatorial nominee Mary Burke boasts on her campaign bio page how she made great strides in international business dealings...while only speaking English: "Despite not speaking a single foreign language, she established sales and distribution operations in seven countries over just three years." Note: According to 2010 Census data, nearly half a million Wisconsinites over five years old speak a language other than English at home, or 8.7 percent, while 4.6 percent of Badger State residents do not speak English at all.


    Does My Key Still Work?

    Much has been made about Charlie Crist's political transformation from Republican to independent to Democrat en route to winning the Florida GOP and Democratic gubernatorial nominations over a span of eight years. Party-switching aside, Crist is also vying to become just the second Florida governor to serve two interrupted terms. Democrat William Bloxham was the first - serving four year terms from 1881 to 1885 and then 1897 to 1901. Florida did not permit governors serving consecutive terms for most of its 123 years prior to changes made in its 1968 constitution. Since then four have done so: Democrats Reubin Askew, Bob Graham, and Lawton Chiles and Republican Jeb Bush.


    more POLITICAL CRUMBS

    Humphrey School Sites
    CSPG
    Humphrey New Media Hub

    Issues />

<div id=
    Abortion
    Afghanistan
    Budget and taxes
    Campaign finances
    Crime and punishment
    Economy and jobs
    Education
    Energy
    Environment
    Foreign affairs
    Gender
    Health
    Housing
    Ideology
    Immigration
    Iraq
    Media
    Military
    Partisanship
    Race and ethnicity
    Reapportionment
    Redistricting
    Religion
    Sexuality
    Sports
    Terrorism
    Third parties
    Transportation
    Voting