During the 2008 presidential election cycle and now, during this 2012 presidential election cycle, the pro-Obama bias of the mainstream electronic and print media: ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, PBS, NPR, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Denver Post (among others), is so obvious that it is beyond question and proven over and over again by The Media Research Center, Accuracy in Media, and other media-watchdog groups.
The MSM have every right to state their political preferences as editorial comments; however, it violates every canon of journalistic ethics (oxymoron) when they lard what should be "just-the-facts-ma'am" reporting with their left-wing political bias.
Only the Fox News Channel makes an effort to be "fair and balanced." Unfortunately, Fox News founder, Roger Ailes, insists on including a number of flaming liberals such as Bob Beckel, Juan Williams, Alan Colmes, and others on some of his panel programs when all one need do to access their lock-step-knee-jerk-liberal viewpoint is watch the MSM.
The question is not what the regime-compliant mainstream media (MSM) are doing, but why? Some of the answer can be found in the research done by Professor Robert Cialdini who discovered six key "Principles of Persuasion" which are: "Reciprocity, Commitment and Consistency, Social Proof, Authority, Liking, and Scarcity."
In the case of the MSM, the most applicable principle is: "Commitment and Consistency." In 2008, for any number of reasons, many of them valid with regard to the poorly chosen Republican nominee, and because Mr. Obama offered the first opportunity to vote for an African-American president, the MSM were clearly pro-Obama; and especially anti the pro-family, Sarah Palin.
But why, after President Obama's domestic and foreign policies have failed so badly as to make the hapless Jimmy Carter look like a genius, do the MSM continue to promote his re-election? Answer: Having acted as the MSM did in 2008, the MSM are compelled in 2012 by the "Principle of Commitment and Consistency" which is as follows:
Commitment and Consistency: If people commit, orally or in writing, to an idea or goal, they are more likely to honor that commitment because of establishing that idea or goal as being congruent with their self image. Even if the original incentive or motivation is removed after they have already agreed, they will continue to honor the agreement.
In other words, the MSM painted themselves in a corner in 2008 and, despite the evident failures of the Obama administration; the MSM are unable to abandon their commitment to President Obama.
Post-debate, President Obama trails slightly in many of the correctly weighted polls that are not beholden to the MSM (see: www.unskewedpolls.com). The noted columnist George Will explains why President Obama's polling numbers have not gone totally downhill: "The nation, which is generally reluctant to declare a president a failure - thereby admitting that it made a mistake choosing him - seems especially reluctant to give up on the first African-American president."
"The Principle of Social Proof" also helps President Obama. "Social Proof" states that people will do things that they see other people doing. The MSM are tribal: They travel together. They hotel together. They drink together, and they do not socialize with people who do not share their political world-view or, as the Germans say: Weltanschauung. Really, it's that simple.
Nationally syndicated columnist, William Hamilton, was educated at the University of Oklahoma, the George Washington University, the U.S Naval War College, the University of Nebraska, and Harvard University.