Bring It On!

Perhaps you’ve begun to notice a theme to my diary posts today

October 26th, 2006 | by Craig R. Harmon |

centering around bias in the media. You’re right.

No commentary needed. Sometimes it’s just best to let them speak for themselves.

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  1. 13 Responses to “Perhaps you’ve begun to notice a theme to my diary posts today”

  2. By tos on Oct 26, 2006 | Reply

    Halperin must be lying because he’s on FOX.

  3. By Jersey McJones on Oct 26, 2006 | Reply

    What’s really funny is that Fox and O’Lielly would have anything to say about any of this at all!

    JMJ

  4. By Craig R. Harmon on Oct 26, 2006 | Reply

    Hey, msm comes out and admits to its biases, that’s news. You expected to hear about it on MSNBC or CNN maybe?

  5. By ken grandlund on Oct 26, 2006 | Reply

    One right leaning political editor does not equal the entire MSM cabal. The O’Rielly had a rightie news editor on his show is no surprise at all. Why doesn’t O’Rielly do a little admitting about his own brand of truth-stretching and fact-ignoring ‘news’ reporting? Where’s the fair, balanced take on that?

    To me this ‘admission’ is little more than getting information you want to hear from a tortured suspect. Not very authentic in my book.

    Face it, the media is not the independent watchdog it was supposed to be. The media moguls have conglomerated themselves into a powerful but small clique. The court the ruling parties accordingly. With the overtly business friendly administration and it’s rubber stamp congress, big media has never had it so good as they do now.

    A truly liberal media would have excoriated this administration during the run up to Iraq…they did not. They took the press releases and regurgitated them to the public. Hell, we don’t have a ‘liberal’ media problem, we have an ‘independent’ media problem.

    There are as many in the media profession that lean right as lean left. I know. I’ve worked in broadcasting for the last 15 years. More often, those leading the show (management) lean right while the rank and file lean left AND right fairly equally. If anything, the balance is tilted right to a small degree.

    If you judge content though, by and large, the media is filling the airwaves with low quality, base level humor to rake in the largest audience. Critical thinking and reporting is no longer sought by the vast public so much as entertainment is sought. Entertainment media is neither left or right. It’s in the middle, holding out a hand for dollars and cents.

  6. By Craig R. Harmon on Oct 26, 2006 | Reply

    I’m sorry…”tortured suspect”????

    Ken, the Note (ABC news’s blog) carries a 12 point game plan for msm’s coverage of the last two weeks before election. This is not just one editor. This is ABC putting this up in public and out in the open for all to see.

    It would be comforting to think that this is just a pot-shot without any connection to reality but, honestly, this is simply admitting what’s been obvious for years to anyone who doesn’t actually agree mostly with the editorial slant of big media on the issues that matter most to Liberals and Conservatives.

    Your criticisms of the merits of most news coverage is right on but denying what even the big news agencies can no longer deny seems a bit, well, less than critical thinking.

    The news agencies haven’t excoriated the administration enough since then to make up for their lack of skepticism before hand? Heck, even Kerry and Edwards were talking about the immanent danger posed by Saddam. That doesn’t show a lack of Liberal bias (unless you are suggesting that Kerry and Edwards lack Liberal bias too), that shows that they failed to be sufficiently skeptical. Many Liberals supported the war when people were convinced that Saddam had WMD.

  7. By Craig R. Harmon on Oct 26, 2006 | Reply

    I just think it silly to doubt the bias of news reporters when well in excess of 75% of reporters and editors self-identify as Democrats and Liberals on most issues. Is it really true that only Conservatives can’t keep their biases out of their work? I can’t believe that anyone could believe that. People are creatures of bias. It plays a part in everything we do.

    I’m going to be away for many hours now so I won’t be here to respond but carry on. 

  8. By ken grandlund on Oct 26, 2006 | Reply

    well Craig- I went to the current “The Note” and found nothing like the 12 step plan you’re reporting here. But I do note that Halperin is pushing his new book, which likely is what this whole O’Rielly interview was directed towards.

    Still, ABC news directives are not necessarilt held by all the news outlets, so without a link to the 12 step plan, I can’t say that this is an industry wide decision or rather something being touted to sell a book.

    My “tortured suspect” note was to illustrate that you can get people to say anything you want them to given enough incentive. Halperin is right leaning and has a book to sell. He may be saying these things simply to promote himself, and O’Rielly wants him to say these things to ‘prove’ his own biased opinion.

    By and large, the editorialists I read in papers over the years (and I’ve lived all over the place in this country except the NE), and I mean the local paper editor staff, have been right leaning. Nationally syndicated columnists are another thing altogether. The liberal bias is simply not accurate. I don’t go around claiming a conservative bias towards all the papers I read, but a surprising number tend to favor conservative politicians and/or policies.

    Television media is different than print, and radio another story. It’s hard to argue that talk radio is primarily conservative. Television media is less conservative or liberal, unless you are talking about socially accepted norms, then the tv industry is decidely liberal, but again, that is entertainment and not news.

    Some stories come out heavily liberal or heavily conservative, but there is no national media concerted effort to be one or the other, and indeed medie ownership is largely conservative, so if there was a corporate bias, it’s not liberal.

    A big news agency can speak for itself, so if ABC wants to say it’s been too liberal, who am I to argue. but for one company to paint the entire industry as something is little more than opinion, and certainly not fact. (And again, Halperin is selling a book. Not exactly unbiased there.)

  9. By ken grandlund on Oct 26, 2006 | Reply

    Craig- I work in the industry. I’ve worked in the Northwest, the Southwest, and the Midwest. I’ve lived in the south (Mississippi) too. I can tell you that in my own personal experience that the vast majority of workers in the news business are not liberal. The split is more a reflection of the country as a whole, about 50-50. Polls don’t cover everyone, only a sampling. And though statistical data can tell you about trends, it does not always represent an accurate representation.

    Ask the majority of Americans if they are Christian and they will tell you they are, but ask if they follow all the dictates of Christ in their daily life and you will find they do not. Self-described liberals can be middle of the road folks or even right leaning liberals and still be counted as liberal. That doesn’t mean they inject every liberal idea into their work. Indeed, most do not as they would lose their jobs. Unless you work for a self-described liberal news media like Air America or Fox news, most reporters, editors, and producers try to lay out information. Sadly anymore, they often just copy/paste and call it a day.

  10. By Craig R. Harmon on Oct 26, 2006 | Reply

    Ken,

    Here’s the Note 12 step for Democratic victory on November 7th. It is the first part of a very long article. Enjoy reading. It was not given as a plan for ABC to follow but their view of what they term:

    How the (liberal) Old Media plans to cover the last two weeks of the election:

    It’s not prescriptive but predictive. Rather how they see the coming coverage.

    I’ll leave it at that. Thanks for your take.

  11. By ken grandlund on Oct 26, 2006 | Reply

    Thanks for the link- I’ll give it a gander.

  12. By ken grandlund on Oct 26, 2006 | Reply

    As you said, this is predictive, not prescriptive. To me, it reads like a crying list of what these authors (at least some of the right leaning) think the media (which BTW includes them) will do, with a heavy amount of sarcastic spin. If ABC is saying that this is wrong, let’s see if they counter this prediction with some right leaning reporting of their own.

    I especially like item 3- “Refuse to join the daily morning Ken Mehlman-Rush Limbaugh conference calls, despite repeated invitations.”

    Why should an unbiased reporter take what those guys have to say as factual information anyway? Mehlman is a paid mouthpiece for the right and Limbaugh is hardly an unbiased fount of information. By listing this, they expose their own bias towards rightie talk, and expect us to believe that those sources are indicative of unbiased media. Hogwash.

    Item 5 is another hoot. “Paint groups that run ads or do turnout for Republican candidates as shadowy, extreme, corrupt, and illegitimate; describe their analogues on the left as valiant underdogs, part of a People’s Army (with homage to Rich Lowry). ” They media doesn’t have to work hard to uncover the funding for these types of ads. Hell, with the corruption uncovered already on the republican (and their supporters) side, Team R has pretty much painted themselves.

    Or item 6- “Care more about voter disenfranchisement than voter fraud.” Okay- so where is all the right wing media concern about voting systems that can be hacked and leave no paper trail for manual recounts? Don’t worry, they say, no funny business here. Of course, those systems have proven to be hackable but are being toted out as viable by the corporate muckymucks of those systems, who BTW, happen to be good friends of the GOP.

    I could go on, but the point is, if these people in media (presumably movers and shakers in their own right) think the bias is too left, why don’t they try some unbiased reporting to counter it? Could it be because they are too busy whipping up some right slanted reports as rebuttal? Why not simply report the fact without spin, unless the spin can be attributed to a quote.

    Thanks for this link, as it clears up the focus of your post. But this laundry list is far from an admission by “THE MSM” that all reporting is done with a liberal bias. It’s just another complaint form from people with an agenda.

    Boo Hoo! The right has had the federal government sewn up for at least 6 years. They’ve controlled all the debate, made all the legislative rules, stacked the courts, and shown us how corrupt they can be. And now they want me to feel bad for them because they couldn’t sew up the media too? Sorry- truth of the matter is they do have the media, or at least those who control the media, and they’ve been paying them with sweetheart media rules ever since. I guess they long for the days of yellow journalism (ala Hearst) too. Instead, they have reporters who tell us the war is going badly, the republicans are in trouble, the economy for real people is not doing well, and that congress is awash in corruption. If reality has a liberal bend, they’ll just have to deal with it.

     

  13. By Craig R. Harmon on Oct 26, 2006 | Reply

    Ken,

    If ABC is saying that this is wrong, let’s see if they counter this prediction with some right leaning reporting of their own.

    I don’t think that anyone would be served by “right leaning reporting”, nor do I think anyone with any sense of responsibility is calling for right leaning reporting. They are calling for reporting that doesn’t photoshop a halo the organization’s favored candidates or does the opposite to the candidates that they do not favor, that makes the attempt at not backing ANY party or candidates in any race or any particular issue OR, in a display of honesty and recognition that all reporters are political animals with opinions that they cannot turn off when they approach and write a story, to openly admit that they are not neutral reporters, that they take sides and that no one should suppose that their reporting is anything other than opinion pieces in the guise of straight news.

    How refreshing would THAT be?

    Why should an unbiased reporter take what those guys have to say as factual information anyway?

    Why not? They participate in such calls from Democrats. Why would an unbiased reporter take anything that they have to say as factual? You see. The very question indicates why you don’t recognize bias in the news. First your question assumes that they (the reporters) are unbiased. My contention is exactly that they are not unbiased. None of them. Some may do a better job of hiding their biases and of balancing the various sides of issues and campaigns than others but there’s no such thing as an unbiased reporter or editor. And since they take dictation from the Demcorats, why not from the Republicans? It’s not a reporters’ job to make value judgments like you have here. It’s their job to report the news to the people and let the people make up their minds about who and what to think.

    Furthermore, I’m not saying that they should take anything they (the Republicans) say as factual any more than they should take anything the Democrats say as factual. I’m not saying they shouldn’t ask probing, embarrassingly tough questions from all sides but to do as you suggest simply makes my point for me. It is an indication of their (the reporters’ bias) to stay away on account of the fact that the politicos and pundits are biased. As I say, they have no problem listening to Democrats and reporting, usually uncritically, whatever biased crap they have to say. Why not the same with Republicans?

    By listing this, they expose their own bias towards rightie talk, and expect us to believe that those sources are indicative of unbiased media. Hogwash.

    No. Again, they don’t have to treat anything that would be said on such conference calls as factual or unbiased. They can attend, ask questions, be as skeptical as they wish. Showing up doesn’t validate the procedings and listing #3 doesn’t mean they expect us to believe that these are sources of unbiased information. If reporters avoided all sources of biased information, they’d have nothing to report. Certainly they’d have nothing political to report. It’s not a valid objection, in my mind.

    They media doesn’t have to work hard to uncover the funding for these types of ads. Hell, with the corruption uncovered already on the republican (and their supporters) side, Team R has pretty much painted themselves.

    The point of #5 is not that the reporters shouldn’t dig into the corruption of Republicans. The point is that they should be as inquisitive of all politicians, their adds, their sources of funding, their connections etc EQUALLY. It is obviously these people’s opinion that that is not happening, that Democratic candidates are being treated in the news differently than Republicans, thus the “halos” comment regarding the treatment  of Democrats.

    Okay- so where is all the right wing media concern about voting systems that can be hacked and leave no paper trail for manual recounts?

    Again, your question ignores the actual concern here. They aren’t asking reporters, right or left, to be more concerned with voter fraud from Democrats and ignore the voter machine problems. They’re asking them to be AS concerned with problems that implicate Democrats as they are with problems that implicate Republicans.

    You see, you are missing the point entirely. They aren’t calling for reporting favorable to the Right. They’re calling for reporting that isn’t so obviously and biasedly favorable to the Left. Not “Don’t be so mean to the Republicans/Conservatives” but “If you’re going to be mean, be equally mean to Democrats/Liberals”. “Be equally skeptical of Democrats when they speak as you are of Republicans”.

    They obviously don’t think that’s too much to ask. I’m not so sure. I think it is too much to ask. What is not too much to ask is for reporters to come out and admit whom they plan to vote for when they cover political campaigns so that readers know to expect that reporter’s stories to favor that candidate. What is not too much to ask is when a reporter covers a court case that, for example, is looking at an abortion case that they report that they are utterly pro-choice, that, in their opinion, a fetus is of no more moral weight than a discarded toe-nail clipping, if that’s what she thinks so that her readers know not to expect a balanced discussion of the pro-life side, so they won’t wonder why so few words are given to the other side and why the pro-choicers are given twice as many opportunities to comment for the pro-choicer side, are allowed to directly rebut the quotes provided by the pro-lifers, why the only pro-life opinions are weak set-ups to be easily knocked down by the pro-choicers.

    This I don’t think is too much to ask. That way anyone who wants to balance that reportage will have to look elsewhere, where reporters report their own political leanings and ideas on the issues that they report upon.

    If we can’t have unbiased reporting, at least we could have biased reporting where the biases are acknowledged up front and openly.

  14. By Craig R. Harmon on Oct 26, 2006 | Reply

    And these sorts of admissions leak out every now and then. It’s not just at ABC. There was also this from the ‘04 election by Evan Thomas, the Assistant Managing Editor of Newsweek:

    On Inside Washington, a weekend discussion show taped at and run by the Gannett-owned CBS affiliate in Washington, DC, WUSA-TV, and carried by many PBS stations across the country, Thomas pointed out the boost to the Kerry/Edwards ticket provided by the press corps:
         “There’s one other base here: the media. Let’s talk a little media bias here. The media, I think, wants Kerry to win. And I think they’re going to portray Kerry and Edwards — I’m talking about the establishment media, not Fox, but — they’re going to portray Kerry and Edwards as being young and dynamic and optimistic and all, there’s going to be this glow about them that some, is going to be worth, collectively, the two of them, that’s going to be worth maybe 15 points.”

    Yes,  let’s talk about media bias, shall we?

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