A senior journalist pointed out to me that after the first presidential debate, Radio New Zealand reported that Obama’s performance in the first debate was “disappointing”.
ABC in Australia used the more accurate and non-partisan description that it was “widely panned” because of course Obama’s performance was only disappointing if you were a supporter of his.
Language can be quite powerful, in the way it can reinforce impressions. The journalists who pointed it out to me said he is a believer in not using partisan adjectives in news reports. This is especially the case for state owned media.
And we even see this a bit today, with a Stuff story which says “Could Mitt Romney really steal the White House from Barack Obama today?” – I don’t think the use of language in this (otherwise good) story is a huge issue. But I do think that the use of language in reporting can be quite powerful in affecting views.
Tags: 2012 US Presidential election, Media