The Media Bias Pendulum Swings

Remember all the mileage Clinton got out of the SNL bit that depicted the media as Obama-lovers? Obama finally has a comeback.

His campaign just fired off an e-mail to supporters complaining about the “gotcha politics and distractions” that dominated last night’s debate:

In fact, it took more than 45 minutes before Barack was asked about the economy, health care, or foreign policy. … Regrettably, Senator Clinton seemed all too comfortable with that type of debate.

It’s been a running subplot of this campaign that Clinton gets tougher coverage. She famously cited SNL in a debate, claiming that the moderators might want to give Obama a pillow. She also complained about having to answer too many questions first. Academic studies have confirmed that the media has been skewed. Both the Project for Excellence in Journalism and the Center for Media and Public Affairs concluded that Obama received overwhelmingly favorable coverage. But that was in 2007—before most people had heard the words Wright , Goolsbee , Power , and bitter . Clinton has managed her own woes of late, Bosnia chief among them. But it’s hard to deny a leveling of the field. (Although Clinton now receives more coverage than Obama, according to PEJ.)

So that’s another silver lining to last night’s ABC debate: It lets Obama join Clinton in hating on the media—and using it to raise cash. Plus, it’s easy to pivot from that to Clinton’s “negative attacks,” as his campaign did in a conference call earlier today. But as much as Obama complains about negativity in this campaign, don’t forget the ways in which he benefits from it. My guess: Last night’s debate nets him so much cash he’ll have to make Charlie Gibson and George Stephanopoulos bundlers.