Why is this graphic on the front page of the NYTimes? That is a semi-rhetorical question. I understand that it is an attempt to show that even though Obama won, he lost some of the support he had in 2008, yadayadayada, but the mass of red arrows covering the nation are so initially misleading to the eye, it all seems rather bizarre. Is the paper trying to seem bipartisan and lean a little more right like the graphic it chooses to analyze?
Check out it’s headline from the night of the election: OBAMA’S NIGHT: ELECTORAL ADVANTAGE HOLDS; POPULAR VOTE IS TIGHT. I hate to be nit-picky, but could they not have created a title that just announced the winner, rather than discrediting the win by saying the popular vote was tight? NBC’s website says: “Victorious Obama.” Huffpost: “Viva Obama!” Fox: “Four More Years: How He Did It.” WSJ: “Obama Wins, Faces Divided Congress.” The NY Post’s website doesn’t even have the election as its main story! The Drudge Report has an info-graphic of Dow Jones dropping today and says “Own It!”
How a media outlet chooses to represent the win is a bias in and of itself: do they choose to just state the fact, predict the woes Obama now faces, or diminish his victory by showing its closeness?
All are fair – nothing is a blatant lie or factual error. Obama does face a divided Congress. The Dow Jones did drop a little today. Obama does owe some of his success to Latino voters.
The Guardian (international) wrote, “President Obama wins four more years as America delivers decisive verdict.” BBC: “Barack Obama: ‘Best is yet to come.’” Le Monde: “Barack Obama en position de force.”
After months of election coverage, how can writers frame the story? Is it a surprise Obama won? Silver was pretty on target. Is the biggest story today the danger he faces with a Republican controlled House? How is it ethical that we as citizens leave the shaping and framing up to a select few writers?