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Thin Ice
Posted by: McQ on Tuesday, January 03, 2006

I'm struck by the vacuousness of this statement by Atrios:
The Left wants to the press to do a better job, the Right wants to undercut their credibility.
Right, which explains why those on the left were so prevelant in asking CBS to do a "better job" in the "Memogate" affair.

Two questions: if the left feels the press isn't doing a good job, doesn't that reflect directly on their credibility (how credible is an institution doing a bad job)? And if the right is attacking the MSM's credibility, isn't that much the same as saying the right doesn't believe the press is doing a good job?
 
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The Left wants to the press to do a better job, the Right wants to undercut their credibility

It goes back to the standard definitions of press bias.

The right sees bias when the press doesn’t present an accurate, balanced account

The left sees bias when the press doesn’t call Bush a child raping Nazi warmonger
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Frankly, this is the mirror image problem that partisans can never perceive. The Left is doing precisely what they hate on the Right — and the Right is getting upset when the Left does precisely what the Right has done for years.

Tangentially, I find it difficult to take Duncan "Atrios" Black seriously when he says they’re just trying to get the Press to do a better job and then spends a substantial portion of his time engaging in name-calling — and none of his time criticizing the press from the right.

If this was a genuinely non-partisan complaint, the complaints wouldn’t be so consistently partisan. Atrios/Media Matters/Willis/etc’s complaints about the media are no less partisan than those from the Right.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
Yes shark, and isn’t it funny how "an accurate, balanced account" always happens to coincide with "how I, the media critic, see things"? Odd, that...

Because most of the public is in the center, so too is most of the media. Those further to the right will (correctly) percieve the media as exhibiting a left-leaning bias, and those further to the left will (also correctly) percieve it as exhibiting a right-leaning bias — where "left" and "right" are understood to mean "to the left of me" and "to the right of me."
 
Written By: Matt McIntosh
URL: http://conjecturesandrefutations.net
I’d have to disagree Matt.

I have (what I would categorize as) extremely left-wing tendencies in the areas of abortion, gay marriage, legalization of drugs, prostitution.

And I can absolutely recognize that the press is terribly biased - far left of "center" - on at least the first two of the above issues.

But I don’t think the problem with the media is bias per se. I don’t think the media is intentionally biased. I think the problem is general incompetence and laziness, which tends to amplify any existing biases.
 
Written By: W
URL: http://www.qando.net
Right, which explains why those on the left were so prevelant in asking CBS to do a "better job" in the "Memogate" affair.
This assertion/snark makes no sense. Let’s say that CBS had done what Atrios is asking them to do: get the facts right. And let’s assume further that CBS had done that, and had ascertained before taking the story public that the memos were probably fakes. That means the story never makes it into the press. That means that the whole TANG story doesn’t get obscured by the memos and wingers aren’t able to use the memo story to assist Bush.

In other words, how does CBS getting the memo story right hurt the left? It doesn’t. It would have only helped the left.

More basically, Atrios gets it right. Look at the current NSA story, for example. We on the left want the facts to come out. The right is criticizing the NYT for reporting the facts. Likewise on the Abramoff scandal. The left wants the press to aggresively investigate the story and get all the facts out. The right doesn’t, so they attack the credibility of the press.

There are other examples of course. But to suggest that Atrios somehow gets it wrong is itself wrong.
 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
Let’s say that CBS had done what Atrios is asking them to do: get the facts right. And let’s assume further that CBS had done that, and had ascertained before taking the story public that the memos were probably fakes. That means the story never makes it into the press. That means that the whole TANG story doesn’t get obscured by the memos and wingers aren’t able to use the memo story to assist Bush.

In other words, how does CBS getting the memo story right hurt the left?


Nice to see you acknowledge the memos were fake. That’s a lot more than the left side of the blogosphere was willing to do when the story broke.

There was no concern or demand whatsoever that the MSM doing a "better job" at the time. Instead it was all about the "wingers" trying to lynch poor Dan Rather and their insistance that the story, despite any real evidence, was correct and true.

That is why I see Black’s statement as vacuous at best and patently disingenuous at worst..

More basically, Atrios gets it right. Look at the current NSA story, for example. We on the left want the facts to come out.

As do I. I have no problem whatsoever with that if the "facts" don’t give away secrets our enemies shouldn’t be privy too. That’s my major concern. But, as we’ve stated concerning the Plame affair and in the case of the NSA kerfuffle, if laws have been broken, people should be punished.

The right is criticizing the NYT for reporting the facts.

Oh nonsense. The criticism I’ve seen is questioning whether NYT was complicit in giving away national secrets for the sake of a story. I too have a problem with that. And yes, it makes this a difficult issue. But your claim is simply specious.

The left wants the press to aggresively investigate the story and get all the facts out.

Well of course, because it hopes the facts will damage the administration. But it isn’t at all keen to see facts that might help the administration, like say in Iraq, make it into the media, is it?

There are other examples of course.

There certainly are. The economy, the aftermath of Katrina in which the MSM and the left were found to have furthered myths and stereotypes, etc. etc. etc.

But to suggest that Atrios somehow gets it wrong is itself wrong.

Really? Well if this is the best you have, I’d beg to differ.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
Because most of the public is in the center, so too is most of the media.
Consider the MSM’s support of Kerry in 04... Support hat was not echoed by the general public.

If what you say is true, why this disparity?

 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
Because most of the public is in the center, so too is most of the media

Based on what? If the set: media was created simply by taking a random sampling of the public, you could probably reasonably make that inference. But that is nowhere close to how the set is comprised.

This assertion/snark makes no sense. Let’s say that CBS had done what Atrios is asking them to do: get the facts right. And let’s assume further that CBS had done that, and had ascertained before taking the story public that the memos were probably fakes. That means the story never makes it into the press. That means that the whole TANG story doesn’t get obscured by the memos and wingers aren’t able to use the memo story to assist Bush

If read another way, Atrios could be seen to be calling for the MSM to tone it down and become less of a pitbull for the DNC, because for the 1st time the negatives outweigh the positives (ie: in their overzealousness to get Bush the MSM has made some idiotic misplays which only helped him, this new NSA "scandal" included.....I’m sure Bush thanks the NYT for the spike in his poll numbers)

"Do your job right" = "next time make better forgeries"
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Let’s say that CBS had done what Atrios is asking them to do: get the facts right.
A quick gander at Memogate-era Atrios posts don’t exactly show Duncan "asking for the truth." Namely:

* CBS stands by their story. Who am I to argue?

* Fake but accurate!

* Chimpy McHalliburton is actually Keyser Soze!
 
Written By: SaveFarris
URL: http://
Both the left and right want the media to do "a better job." Generally they define "a better job" as moving the MSM message towards their respective political position. Matt got this part right.

However his assumption that criticism from both the far left and the far right indicated the MSM is centered is incorrect. There is a wide swath of political real estate between Atrios and, say, me. While the media may be between us, there is still plenty of room for them to be taking sides.

Repeated studies using different methodologies have shown the MSM to be slanted left of center quite significantly. Apart from Fox News and a few online sources (who are often center-right), the MSM is center-left just like most Democrat voters. That is to be expected, recent surveys have shown that up to 90% of the media votes Democrat. This is not true centrism.
 
Written By: Jeff the Baptist
URL: http://jeffthebaptist.blogspot.com
“Repeated studies using different methodologies have shown the MSM to be slanted left of center quite significantly. Apart from Fox News and a few online sources (who are often center-right), the MSM is center-left just like most Democrat voters. That is to be expected, recent surveys have shown that up to 90% of the media votes Democrat.”
Not that any of the “don’t confuse me with the facts” commenters from the left care. Jeff is correct and the left bias of the MSM is well documented for those who care to investigate (outside the liberal cocoon).
I really don’t have a problem with that. Once one knows of the bias and the worst practitioners, one can adjust one’s sources accordingly and the system works about as well as it can with the overwhelming liberal presence in the media.
The comments of idiots who use their own political position as “center” and make a personal subjective judgement of the political bias of the press based on that benchmark are worthless. That kind of thinking belongs with “what’s your sign?” and “what do you think of hip-hop music?”
My complaint is that the liberal cocoon dwellers continue to insist (see comments above) that the well-documented bias not only does not exist, but in the case of the ultra loons (and we know who that is) they claim a bias to the right!
Atrios is like most liberals and wants the press to do a better job of telling the liberal story by using spin, ignoring “inappropriate stories [see “SwiftVets”] devoting excess coverage to non-newsworthy stories that support their talking points, leaving out meaningful facts from news stories that do not support their “story”, and editorializing on the news pages; while those on the right correctly question those practices.
Whatever one’s opinion of the facts on this issue, they are readily discernible when reliable sources are investigated. That fact seems to be unpleasant to those on the left and they pretty universally ignore it in favor of the spin of their chosen pundit – in this case Atrios.
 
Written By: notherbob2
URL: http://
shark and W,

Don’t misunderstand, I don’t doubt that a majority of journalists are left-leaning in their political views, but I don’t attach much importance to this. Remember that the media are ultimately still businesses, and they have to please their audience if they want to stay in business. As someone who is far to the economic right, I believe that consumer preferences drive all else in the market; it would seem prima facie inconsistent with this principle to contend that the product of any major media outlet is grossly out of sync with the views of majority of its audience. Looking at the largest outlets, it seems pretty clear to me that the overall tone of the MSM is a centrist one, even if most journalists are left-leaning. They have their biases and incompetences, but these are primarily institutional rather than political.
 
Written By: Matt McIntosh
URL: http://conjecturesandrefutations.net
Remember that the media are ultimately still businesses, and they have to please their audience if they want to stay in business.
And as we can see, they’re not doing a very good job of that either.
 
Written By: SaveFarris
URL: http://

 
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