The Listening Post

US election fever

Examining Barack Obama’s re-election and the prospect of four more years of partisan journalism in a deeply divided US.

After eighteen months of campaigning, endless hours of airtime, and more sound bites than anyone cares to remember, the American electorate has spoken. The US election will eventually prove to be the biggest news story of 2012 in terms of coverage.

And there are plenty of media angles to explore: The unprecedented amount of money spent on advertising by the official campaigns and their shadowy Super Pac surrogates; the increasingly polarised media landscape in the US, epitomised by Fox News on the right and MSNBC on the left; and there was the collective insistence on the part of the networks and the pundits they employ that, despite poll after poll showing the incumbent ahead, this was a horse race, much too close to call. Never let the facts, or the polling data, get in the way of a good story. The Listening Post team was up all night watching the coverage to bring you this week’s News Divide – US media election fever.

Quick hits from the media world: China bans access to the New York Times after it prints an investigation into the wealth of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao; a new batch of texts between British Prime Minister David Cameron and former NewsCorp CEO Rebekah Brooks sheds light on their cozy relationship; in Russia, a law banning websites deemed harmful to children goes into effect, but critics of the Putin government say it is designed to target them; and a Sudanese journalist is allegedly kidnapped by the Sudanese government’s security service.

Argentina’s president vs. the media

This week, thousands took to the streets of Buenos Aires to protest, among other things, President Cristina Kirchner’s media reform laws which would break up the country’s main media group Clarin. Critics have portrayed the president as a power-hungry despot and the architect of a media apparatus of an Orwellian bent. Supporters say Cristina Kirchner is doing what governments around the globe have long done – moderated the power of media companies. Caught in the tussle are journalists who say their profession is the main casualty. The Listening Post’s Marcela Pizarro reports on Argentina’s power struggle being fought in the name of democracy on both sides.

We close the show with one final look at the US presidential election. While President Obama can look forward to four more years of press briefings, photo opportunities and foreign tours, it is not yet clear what the future holds for Mitt Romney. The New York based Gregory Brothers did have one idea, though. Their video ‘Romney Sings Succession’ is our web video of the week. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did.


Listening Post can be seen each week at the following times GMT: Saturday: 0830, 1930; Sunday: 1430; Monday: 0430.

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