You've all heard it a dozen times over. The Mainstream media is an arm of the Democratic National Convention. It has a liberal bias. Time and time again you've heard that line.
Now on SOME things, yes. Reporters, journalists they have some liberal bias. Things like gay marriage. A LOT of homosexual people work not merely at Hollywood, but also in the news industry. Quite a few in makeup and design alone. So there's probably more of a comfort level around homosexuals among journalists than most people have. And when it came to, say, the Scopes Monkey Trial, well...the jury's back. Evolution's not just an unsupported theory. But hey, they were professionals back then. I'm sure they gave the Noah's Ark side a fair shake despite not believing it themselves.
You don't gotta believe me, though. You MIGHT believe Bernard Goldberg, a man not known for being a liberal "sissy" as some might say. Goldberg's most valid point in his book "Bias" is that reporters tend to have more liberal views than the public on social issues. In one case, Goldberg cites an eighteen-year-old Los Angeles Times survey of three thousand journalists nationwide showing that they have more liberal views than the general public on things like gun control (78 percent of
journalists favored tougher controls eighteen years ago, while only half the public did), prayer in public schools (74 percent of the public said yes eighteen years ago; 75 percent
of journalists said no), and the death penalty (eighteen years ago, 75 percent of the public supported it, versus only 47 percent of journalists).
So, in regards to social issues...yeah. There's some liberal bias there. But does the mainstream media have a liberal bias in general? In regards to slanting news in a liberal way? Are there marching orders coming from the left wing to the mainstream media to make all Republicans look bad and all Conservatives crazy and anybody remotely left-wing look as visionary and compassionate as Jesus Christ himself?
Why do I say that? Let me ask you this. Do you remember when the Monica Lewinsky scandal broke and EVERYBODY couldn't get enough of hearing about where President Clinton kept his cigars? I could probably count the number of newspapers that DIDN'T cover the story on one hand.
And then, of course, there's the 2000 election. The press seemed to HATE Al Gore. They decried him as a serial exaggerator and a liar, running against a likable, if not kinda stupid, Republican.
There are, however, other, more important biases. Usually they stem from what's known as "The Profit Motive", a huge factor in Capitalism. They enjoy playing up a "sensationalist" angle.
What does that mean? It means they wanna cover sex, death, or please, please, PLEEEEEAAAAAASSSEEE, both!
Then there's the "Get it First", bias. You might remember when Gabby Giffords got shot. NPR stupidly said she was dead. Other news stations followed suit. Then...woops! Turns out she wasn't dead! In her haste to get the story first, NPR got the story wrong! And the "Get it First" bias ended up screwing things up in the 2000 presidential election.
Then there's the "Hoping there's a war to cover" bias. Just...just look at what happened in Iraq. I can't even...I just...ugh.
You get the point. And the point is, yes. The Mainstream Media's got bias. But it sure as hell ain't Liberal!
Unfortunately...there IS a right-wing media. And they ARE biased. They don't care about a modicum of fairness. They have one mission, as made obvious by one Matt Labash of the Weekly Standard.
"The conservative media likes to rap the liberal media on the knuckles for not being objective. We've created this cottage industry in which it pays to be unobjective. It pays to be subjective as much as possible. It's a great way to have your cake and eat it, too. Criticize other people for not being objective. Be as subjective as you want. It's a great little racket. I'm glad we found it, actually!"
See how this works for them?
And who IS the Right Wing media? People like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Micheal Savage, Peggy Noonan and Fox News.
Here's how it works. They concoct an inflammatory story that services their political goals. They repeat it. They embellish it. They try to push it into the mainstream media. All too often, they succeed. Sometimes, they fail. But even when they fail, they succeed, by proving the mainstream media has a "liberal bias" by refusing to cover those stories. This lets their industry get away with stuff as bad as rape, just like Clinton did-
AAAGH! See?! SEE?! I almost fell for it! THAT'S how sick these people are!
But if you don't believe me, let me actually quote a little Rush Limbaugh for you on something you might think would be harmless. In this case...neckwear.
"Let me give you another example here of the press. This may be as good as an example as I could cite to show you how it is that the left has stereotypes. Now you people all know that I have introduced a new line of neckwear, commonly known as ties. And that I have, right now, we've got four styles, four designs that are out there, and we are always working on more. . . . "
See, evidently, the liberal media had deliberately misrepresented his mail-order tie collection. Yeah, this is an old issue from an old Rush limbaugh broadcast, but I think it IS as "good an example" as to pointing out stereotypes. Like the stereotype that all Republican talk radio hosts are liars.
"So I'm at the United Press International wire and I'm, reading the People section and there's a story there about the new Rush Limbaugh No Boundaries tie collection, and would you like to hear it described? "Limbaugh's ties are as conservative as he is. Blue, white, red, and gray stripes." My friends. The last thing my ties are is conservative. That's why we're calling it No Boundaries! These are . . . the last thing in the world these ties would be described as would be conservative. There's not one stripe! On any of the ties!"
You might think this would be over. It isn't. Wait for it...wait for it...
"I mean, that is another example of the stereo types that the left, and I am including the press in this, have about conservatives. . . . It was my wife Marta who came up with the whole concept, to tell you the truth, of No Boundaries. And she said no themes on these ties, no ties to issues, no ties to politics . . . These are going to be gorgeous, beautiful ties that anybody would want to wear to make themselves look better. And they are. And there's not one stripe! Not one stripe! On any tie!"
"They could have called me first to ask me about it. They could have called and said, "Hey, we hear you got some new ties out; we'd like to see them; we're going to write a story."
We GET it, Rush! We get it!
"In this battle for the soul of democracy, it is more and more clear that the press, which has a designed Constitutional role, can't be trusted, cannot be counted on. My gosh, if the press, which Constitutionally is protected so as to get the truth, is this far off as often as they are, then is it any wonder that there is a new media led by me, America's truth detector? No, there's not. Quick break. Back to the phones in just a moment ."
...okay. Now for me to refer you to a little thing called the "Google Image Search".
I see plenty of his No Boundaries ties with stripes on them. PLENTY. But hey, if you actually are interested in wearing some of them...here. Lemme give you the link.
See, Shiela, the woman who designed them, was one of Limbaugh's wives. She still makes ties. Now, my issue isn't with the fact that Limbaugh was hocking a tie line. My issue is with him going on and ON about how "there's not one stripe" when there so clearly ARE stripes to be seen. Either he's so stupid he didn't bother to really look at the ties properly, or he just doesn't care about the truth. Either way, this is not a flattering picture to paint yourself with, Rush.
Let's go back to the 2000 election. You might remember that Al Gore had said during the first debate that he'd gone down to a disaster site in Texas with one Federal Emergency Management Agency director, a man named James Lee Witt. Truth was, he'd gone to it with a DEPUTY of James Lee Witt. Gore had been to other disaster sites with Mr. James Lee Witt...seventeen in fact...but not that ONE site. The press was all OVER him!
Contrast that to the reaction the media gave with this little whopper Bush told during his first debate, a lie in regards to his tax cut proposal. "I also dropped the bottom rate from fifteen percent to ten percent because, by far, the vast majority of the help goes to the people at the bottom end of the spectrum."
The truth was that THE BOTTOM 60 % GOT 14.7 PERCENT OF HIS TAX CUT. Now THAT is a pretty damn serious misstatement. MUCH worse, I would think, than mixing up when you'd gone to a disaster site with someone. Did the liberal media comment on it?
No. But this was, again, because they thought he was just dumb and didn't know. He's not dumb. George W. Bush was just a complete and absolutely dishonest SLEAZE.
Let's take another example from the 2000 election.
In the 1980s, Gore was one of the handful of leaders who foresaw the tremendous potential of Arpanet, an emergency military computer network. As both a congressman and a senator, Gore fought tirelessly for the funding that
would turn Arpanet into what is now the Internet.
The Internet, as you may know, became a big hit in the nineties and briefly enjoyed a great deal of media coverage. With this in mind, Gore told Wolf Blitzer in a 1999 interview,
"During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet."
What do you suppose he meant? That, late at night in his office in the Russell Building, after the other senators had gone home, he had written the PASCAL code that allowed
packet switching? Probably not. No. What he seemed to be doing is what members of Congress DO: He was taking credit for a program he championed and funded. In this case one that
revolutionized the information infrastructure of the entire world.
Boy, what an asshole!
The phrase "invented the Internet" first appeared in a Republican Party press release and would be repeated by the "liberal" press thousands of times during the campaign. What
should have been an enormous credit to the man's vision became a symbol of his insidious, compulsive dishonesty. Ironically, Gore was sometimes criticized via the Internet itself!
Then there was the "Love Story" story. In 1997, Gore was on Air Force II, chatting late into the night with a couple of reporters, including Karen Tumulty of Time magazine. The conversation turned, as conversations will, to movies and reminiscing about old friends. Gore mentioned that Erich Segal, the author of "Love Story", had told the Nashville Tennessean that the characters of Oliver Barrett and Jenny Cavalleri had been based on him and Tipper. As Tumulty later recalled, "He said, `all I know is that's what he [Segal] told reporters in Tennessee.'" She casually referred to this in
her seven-page profile as follows: "Gore said [Segal] used Al and Tipper as models for the uptight preppy and his free-spirited girlfriend in Love Story."
Was Gore lying? Imagine how embarrassing it would be if he were! Just thinking about it makes me embarrassed-not just for him, but for every vice president other than Spiro
Agnew, and to a lesser extent Dan Quayle. Thank goodness, then, that in 1980 the Nashville Tennessean had indeed quoted Segal as saying that Tipper and Al had been the models for
the star-crossed lovers.
UNFORTUNATELY, they got it terribly, terribly wrong. It turns out the Tennessean had misquoted Erich Segal. And when The New York Times contacted him, Segal confirmed
that Oliver Barrett was based PARTLY on Gore and partly on Gore's roommate Tommy Lee Jones-
Yeah! They were roommates! Neat, huh?
...anyhow, Segal denied that Tipper was the model for poor
Jenny Cavalleri. As anyone who has seen the movie knows, that character was based on Ali MacGraw.
The media went to town. An offhand remark, accurately quoting a seventeen-year-old story from his local paper, would be used against Gore more than a billion times over the next three years. As seen in one episode of Sean Hannity's show on September 19th, 2000.
HANNITY: This is a big picture we've got to look at. AI Gore once told the American people,
told the crowd, Love Story was based on his life and Tipper's life. The author of Love
Story says that's not true.
TALK SHOW HOST NANCY SKINNER: No. That's not true, Sean—
HANNITY: Absolutely, he's on record.... Did he create the Internet, Nancy?
SKINNER: No, we're starting with Love Story. . . . Okay, Erich Segal said that indeed AI was the
model for the male model
HANNITY: That's not true.
SKINNER: But that he never said Tipper was, and that all that AI Gore had ever said
HANNITY: Not true
SKINNER: -IS that he had read in the Tennessean, a newspaper, that, where Erich Segal had
said that he and Tipper were the model. You know what? The Tennessean newspaper
did write that. Erich Segal has confirmed that it was AI Gore, but not necessarily Tipper.
So there was a minor difference that got blown into
HANNITY: I don't have a lot of time to refute every fact here.
Refute every fact?
...Sean, you are a DISGRACE to EVERY single honest Irishman out there, you morally corrupted MAGGOT.
It gets WORSE, folks! In January of 2000, Gore spoke to a high school in Concord, New Hampshire, about how one individual can help change a community. He told a story about how the actions of one teenage girl from Toone, Tennessee, changed national policy. The girl had contacted Gore's congressional office about toxic waste in her hometown. Because of her initiative, Gore said, he "called for a congressional investigation and a hearing.... I looked around the country for other sites like that. I found a little place in upstate New York called Love Canal.
Had the first hearing on that issue, and Toone, Tennessee-that was the one you didn't hear of. But that was the one that started it all."
Gore pointed out that as a result, "we passed a major national law to clean up hazardous dump sites.... And it all happened because one high school student got involved."'
In other words, Gore told his audience of high school students that they should put aside their cynicism and get involved in the political process. Gore had a sterling reputation as an environmental crusader, but here he was handing credit over to an unheralded teenage girl from a little town called Toone. His speech was a beacon of hope for decency and humility in American politics.
Gives you hope for the future of America, doesn't it?
Now, wait for it...wait for it...
Here comes the "liberal" media to screw it up! First, both The New York Times and the Washington Post misquoted Gore, changing "That was the one that started it all" (referring to Toone, Tennessee) and making it into: "I was the one that started it all." The Republican National Committee helpfully fixed up the grammar, sending a fax to reporters stating that Gore had said, "I was the one who started it all." Chris Matthews joined in the gang bang, accusing Gore of claiming to have "discovered" or even "invented" Love Canal. Even though The New York Times and the Washington Post is sued corrections, the story was off and running. Rupert Murdoch, in the form of the New York Post, called it "a bald-faced lie." The National Journal said Gore was "mangling the truth for political gain." On NBC, ABC, pretty much everywhere, Gore the Lying, Exaggerating Jerkwad had done it again.
And Bush? What about the mainstream media's coverage of him? Well, Bush was lying throughout the 2000 campaign. And unlike Gore's "lies" about Love Canal, Love Story, and the Internet, Bush's lies weren't even true. Remember how Gore took credit for the Internet, which he funded? Bush took credit for a Texas Patients' Bill of Rights,
which he vetoed.
Gore actually did conduct the first hearings on Love Canal. And in order to conduct these hearings, he not only showed up at them, but showed up at them every day. Plus, Gore
wasn't using the hearings as a way to dodge the draft.
Compare this to Bush's stint in the Air National Guard. Or rther, his lack thereof. In his autobiography, A Charge to Keep, Bush claims to have flown with his unit until 1973. But in a blow to Lady Truth, it seems that after getting Dad's help to pass
over the poor slobs waiting in line for a safe spot protecting Texas from the Viet Cong, Bush managed to skip out on much of his duty. Assigned in May 1972 to the Tactical Reconnaissance
Squadron in Montgomery, Bush had a perfect attendance record. Perfectly bad. Base commander Brigadier General William Turnipseed says of Bush that he is "dead-certain
he didn't show up".
Then there was the drunk driving thing. Bush got arrested for a DUI during 1976. Now take a look at the bold-faced lie Bush told reporter Wayne Slater of the Dallas Morning News months before the drunk driving arrest had been disclosed.
SLATER: Governor, were you ever arrested after 1968?
This led to MORE lying. Here's a good one from
Bush spokeswoman Karen Hughes, fielding reporters' questions minutes after the announcement of Bush's unfortunate past as a drunk driver.
QUESTION: Do you know why he was stopped, Karen? Was he driving erratically or anything?
KAREN HUGHES: I believe they—I don't know exactly, no. I don't know. There was no— there was no incident…there's—I don't know exactly. There was some discussion that he appeared to have been driving too slow—too slowly.
She lied four times. "I don't know exactly". "I don't know". "There was no incident". "Driving too slow". That's a lotta lying in all of ten seconds.
The real answer? Bush was arrested because he drove into a hedge. That's what the arresting officer, Calvin Bridges, a former Kennebunkport policeman, told Portland, Maine's Fox-51
reporter Erin Fehlau the day the story broke. According to Fehlau, Bridges said that "he spotted Bush driving erratically ... [and] says Bush ran off the road into some hedges."
And then there's the cocaine.
At first during the campaign Bush refused on principle to answer questions about cocaine. Then, because he was applying for a federal job (president) he had to fill out a form
that asked if had used illegal drugs in the past seven years. Bush voluntarily told the press he was able to answer no.
A clever reporter asked whether he could have given the same answer when his father was president and federal forms asked about drug use for the prior fifteen years.
"Uh, let's see here ... Yes, I could have," Bush said after a pause. Then, when asked again if he had ever used cocaine, Bush refused to give an answer. His dad was inaugurated
in 1989. Therefore, we can make an educated guess that George W. Bush snorted cocaine between 1958 and 1974, assuming he didn't do coke before he was twelve.
Now, writing in the Charleston Gazette, Dan Radmacher cited a study by Howard Kurtz that found almost twice as many pro-Bush stories as pro-Gore stories on the front page of The
New York Times during the campaign. An incredulous Ann Coulter could find only one explanation for a liberal newspaper implying a conservative bias in the Times: "The sheer joy
liberals take in telling lies ... They take insolent pleasure in saying absurd things."
This from the woman who has also said such thoughtful things like
• "Liberals hate America."
• "Liberals hate all religions except Islam."
• "Democrats actually hate working-class people."
• "Liberals hate society."
• "Even Islamic terrorists don't hate America like liberals do."
• "Democrats ... will destroy anyone who stands in their way. All that matters to them is
• "Liberals can't just come out and say they want to take more of our money, kill babies,
and discriminate on the basis of race."
• "Liberals seek to destroy sexual differentiation in order to destroy morality."
• "That's the whole point of being a liberal: to feel superior to people with less money."
• "Liberals are crazy."
This is why Ann Coulter has no soul.
But if you want something more recent, let us take the 2004 election. When Bush won relection, he claimed a mandate. Even though his edge over John Kerry was 2.5 percent, smaller than Woodrow Wilson's pathetic 1916 victory of 3.2 percent. An incumbent president had won in a squeaker and was calling it a mandate.
But it wasn't just him. Time Magazine.
"This time, of course, his claim of a popular mandate is incontrovertible."
New York Times?
"Mr. Bush no longer has to pretend he possesses an electoral mandate. Because for the first time in his presidency he can argue that he has the real thing."
The Los Angeles Times?
"Bush can claim a solid mandate of 51% of the vote, which made him the first presidential candidate to wina clear majority since 1988."
CNN. Wolf Blitzer. "He's going to say he's got a mandate from the American people, and by all accounts he does."
NPR?...Renee Montagne? Please tell me you're not shilling-
"The president's people are calling this a mandate. By any definition I think you could call this a mandate."
Want something more RECENT? How about...the 2008 election?
At the February debate, Tim Russert of NBC News was criticized for what some perceived as disproportionately tough questioning of Democratic presidential contender Hillary Clinton. Among the questions, Russert had asked Clinton, but not Obama, to provide the name of the new Russian President (Dmitry Medvedev). This was later parodied on Saturday Night Live. In October 2007, liberal commentators accused Russert of harassing Clinton over the issue of supporting drivers' licenses for illegal immigrants.
On April 16, ABC News hosted a debate in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Moderators Charles Gibson and George Stephanopoulos were criticized by viewers, bloggers and media critics for the poor quality of their questions. Many viewers said they considered some of the questions irrelevant when measured against the importance of the faltering economy or the Iraq war. Included in that category were continued questions about Obama's former pastor, Senator Hillary Clinton's assertion that she had to duck sniper fire in Bosnia more than a decade ago, and Senator Obama's not wearing an American flag pin. The moderators focused on campaign gaffes and some believed they focused too much on Obama.Stephanopoulos defended their performance, saying "Senator Obama was the front-runner" and the questions were "not inappropriate or irrelevant at all."
The Project for Excellence in Journalism and Harvard University's Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy conducted a study of 5,374 media narratives and assertions about the presidential candidates from January 1 through March 9, 2008. The study found that Obama received 69% favorable coverage and Clinton received 67%, compared to only 43% favorable media coverage of McCain. Another study by the Center for Media and Public Affairs at George Mason University found the media coverage of Obama to be 72% negative from June 8 to July 21 compared to 57% negative for McCain. An October 29 study found 29% of stories about Obama to be negative, compared to 57% of stories about McCain being negative.
An October 22, 2008 Pew Research Center poll estimated 70% of registered voters believed journalists wanted Barack Obama to win the election, as opposed to 9% for John McCain. Another Pew survey, conducted after the election, found that 67% of voters thought that the press fairly covered Obama, versus 30% who viewed the coverage as unfair. Regarding McCain, 53% of voters viewed his press coverage as fair versus 44% who characterized it as unfair. Among affiliated Democrats, 83% believed the press fairly covered Obama; just 22% of Republicans thought the press was fair to McCain.
In short, the evidence was conflicting. But you might remember how often the media played up the "Birth certificate" issue and the "Reverend Wright" issue and the "Obama as socialist" issue that kept dominating the news cycles even AFTER he'd won the election. So again, this goes right back to the "sensationalist" angle.
I wish that the mainstream media wasn't so obsessed with the profit motive. But I can't say that it's got a strong liberal bias. That just isn't true, as you yourself have clearly seen. But you know enough about the right wing media, I think. And now you know what to expect from them and from the mainstream media.
Why do I report on this? Why talk about it? Because I believe that a well-informed electorate is the best chance this country has at getting better. I want people to know the issues and the people that are even now talking about them in the debates.
It might seem like I'm being unfair to the right wing media by saying things like calling them stupid, or morally corrupt, or soulless. I get angry. I apologize for that. I only want to call them out on their lying, and be REALLY up front that I'm not going to buy into that kind of chicanery. Because if somebody keeps calling them out on it, the lying loses its effectiveness and they have to resort to Plan B: name-calling. Like they did with Clinton, when they called him a "rapist" a "Scumbag" a "murderer" and "Serial rapist". Which will expose a fundamental truth about their mindset:
They have not matured beyond the 8th grade level. After all, if they can't even get a story about their own ties right...how can we expect to trust them on an issue like immigration, gun control or abortion?
Know who to look for. Get multiple sources and compare. And try...TRY to save the vitriolic comments for when you get really, REALLY mad at them. Because we need to squirrel those kinds of furious "You freakin' lying sack of crap" commentaries for when they really, REALLY get dishonest.
But please? This season? Let's not have any of this.
I reserve that kind of treatment for people like Bush who lied to get us into war. Not guys like Romney who lie about how much he pays in taxes. No reason we can't be civilized.
For the record, though...I would have done the same thing in that reporter's shoes. But that's just me. And hey. I'm a liberal. And as Rush Limbaugh always says, we're "diabolical".