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A little Hubris, a dash of rationalization
Posted by: McQ on Saturday, November 08, 2008

All make for a fairly poor attempt at excusing the media's bias in the past election. From Will Bunch:
It was living proof of my personal belief that the greatest role for journalists is not to make sure that every story has 50 percent of one side and 50 percent of the other side – but that the vital function for reporters is to preserve democracy and the freedom of the press, because without those freedoms a valid media would cease to exist. Yes, they’re voicing outrage today inside the sacred sanctuary of the Temple of Objective Journalism , where the celebrants nervously fingered their rosaries rather than confront the Constitutional bonfire that was building outside.

But for eight years now, there’s been an out-of-control fire raging outside of that temple – a fire that was built upon the USA Patriot Act and Guantanamo and rendition and torture and signing statements and 16 words in a State of the Union Address. Ultimately, saving the last fabric of democracy is more important than worrying about what contrived commandments of journalism were stepped on while the blaze was finally extinguished.

I myself would call it truth-telling, and honest journalism, but now we have some who want to call it “media bias.” That’s fine with me, but understand this.

“Media bias” may have just saved America .
Fine. Just don't bother us with claims of "objective journalism" any more. In fact, don't even bother to use the word "journalist". You've just disavowed its objectivity, Mr. Bunch. Propagandist seems to work much better as a more accurate title.
 
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"Truth telling and honest journalism"?

He’s talking about, y’know, a kind of "truth" which differs from "facts". I guess the rest of us call that "lying".

But, yeah: In his mind, the facts aren’t "the truth". "The truth" is his feelings about the facts. And if the raw facts don’t persuade the rest of us to share his feelings, then he’s got to invent a lie that will persuade us.

It’s funny how when people like that try to defend themselves against their critics, they do it by turning honest for once and vindicating pretty much everything their critics ever said.
 
Written By: Midget Launcher
URL: http://stfuretard.blogspot.com
but that the vital function for reporters is to preserve democracy and the freedom of the press, because without those freedoms a valid media would cease to exist
EPIC FAIL
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
The Color of News
How Different Media Have Covered the General Election

Newspapers* Total
Coverage of Obama:
Positive: 41.1%
Negative: 27.5%

Coverage of McCain:
Positive: 6.1%
Negative: 69.4%

Network Total (for ABC, NBC, CBS):
Coverage of Obama:
Positive: 36.8%
Negative: 24.8%

Coverage of McCain:
Positive: 13.1%
Negative: 55.5%

CNN Total:
Obama:
Positive: 36.1%
Negative: 38.7%

McCain:
Positive: 12.6%
Negative: 61.3%

MSNBC Total:
Obama:
Positive: 43.2%
Negative: 13.5%

McCain:
Positive: 9.9%
Negative: 72.8%

Fox Total:
Obama:
Positive: 25.2%
Negative: 40.0%

McCain:
Positive: 22.2%
Negative: 39.8%

From the Project for Excellence in Journalism
http://www.journalism.org/node/13436

Hmm... Fox had the most balanced coverage between the two candidates.

*Newspapers coded:
The New York Times
The Washington Post
Los Angeles Times
USA Today
The Wall Street Journal
Philadelphia Inquirer
Chicago Tribune
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
San Francisco Chronicle
New Hampshire Union-Leader
MetroWest Daily News
The Gazette (Colorado Springs)
Modesto Bee
 
Written By: Anonymous
URL: http://
There seems an almost universal recognition on the part of news orgs that they were tilted toward Obama, in the last week or two. I’ll add to the lists here, the article from Deborah Howell at the WaPo:

The Post provided a lot of good campaign coverage, but readers have been consistently critical of the lack of probing issues coverage and what they saw as a tilt toward Democrat Barack Obama. My surveys, which ended on Election Day, show that they are right on both counts.
It seems clear that now the risks involved with recognition of that bias are gone... IE; He’s won now, so we can admit we were biased toward him... these admissions are coming out of the woodwork.

Is this a CYA move, or is it in fact buyer’s remorse, already?

 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
"Ultimately, saving the last fabric of democracy..."
What preposterous, arrogant, horsesh*t.

 
Written By: Grimshaw
URL: http://
This country has NEVER, EVER had an objective media. There have only been attempts at objectivity within a pro-American bias. I don’t think it should be any other way, and even if I did, that was never going to play.

Before you can even consider this topic, you have to wrap your heads around this reality. Once you can acknowledge that bias is built in to the media, and there was never real bias, then media bias between factions in America can be seen as an extension of this pro-American bias.

The media in general, who favored George Bush in 2000, favored Obama in 2004, by a huge margin. There was no way this was not going to impact reporting, anymore than thinking that being an American would not impact reporting.

Our internal objectivity between factions comes not from objectivity, but from balanced bias. When there is no balanced bias, you get internal factional bias. But realistically, would we be playing the dirge for objective jounrnalism if the media bias happend to be balanced between factions rather than tilted toward Obama, since the reality of that balance would have been a lack of objectivity that simply evened the field.

Journalists are biased, complain when their bias goes against you, suggest that they are just reporting the truth when it goes in your favor, but don’t fool yourselves.

 
Written By: CaptinSarcastic
URL: http://
This country has NEVER, EVER had an objective media.
And as long as they continue to claim they are or make excuses as to why they’re allowed to let that "slip" every now and then, I’ll continue to hammer them on it every chance I get until one day they just own up to being what they really are - partisan hacks.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.QandO.net
And as long as they continue to claim they are or make excuses as to why they’re allowed to let that "slip" every now and then, I’ll continue to hammer them on it every chance I get until one day they just own up to being what they really are - partisan hacks.
I don’t see how you can journalists partisan hacks in general, since they do shift their baises as a group. I’ll agree that every political journalist is biased, and that in one form or another, their biases show, but since they can be biased towards a Republican in one cycle and a Democrat in another, I don’t agree with the partisan aspect.

Further, sometimes bias is in the stories they chose to write, and they do a fairly objective on the story itself.

Some journalists are hacks
Some jounralists are partisan
All journalists are biased

Some journalists are biased partisan hacks.

Swing away Don Quixote

 
Written By: CaptinSarcastic
URL: http://
I don’t see how you can journalists partisan hacks in general, since they do shift their baises as a group. I’ll agree that every political journalist is biased, and that in one form or another, their biases show, but since they can be biased towards a Republican in one cycle and a Democrat in another, I don’t agree with the partisan aspect.
OK, I’ll bite; At what point in the last 100 years were they ever biased toward the Republican?

 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
The Last Lap
How the press covered the final stages of the campaign
October 31, 2000
Gore Bush

Positive 13% 24%
Neutral 31 27
Negative 56 49
Total 100 100
http://www.journalism.org/node/309

The Debate Effect
How the Press Covered the Pivotal Period
October 27, 2004
Bush Kerry
Positive 14% 34%
Neutral 27 41
Negative 59 25
http://www.journalism.org/node/196
 
Written By: Anonymous
URL: http://
but since they can be biased towards a Republican in one cycle
OK, I’ll bite; At what point in the last 100 years were they ever biased toward the Republican?
Yeah, what parallel dimension did that happen in? snort....

It certainly hasn’t been this one.


 
Written By: capt joe
URL: http://
Yeah, what parallel dimension did that happen in? snort....

It certainly hasn’t been this one.
True, but what difference does that make? Ladies and gentlemen, witness yet again the magnificent edifice of moral equivalence. The left has gotten so used to using it, they will pull it out at the drop of a hat.

It excuses all leftist sins, you see. Such convenience is invaluable when your side has performed as the left has in the last ten to twenty years.
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://qando.net
Objective reporting doesn’t mean equal positive & negative stories for all candidates, duh. Only you moral relativists would think that.

Clearly Obama was the objectively superior candidate.
 
Written By: TomD
URL: http://
The Society of Professional Journalists has published a Code of Ethics. It’s four points are

• Seek truth & report it
• Minimize harm
• Act independently
• Be accountable

What we have seen during the past eight years did not conform the their code. To see how wildly they have deviated, go to the link and read the detailed descriptions.
 
Written By: arch
URL: http://
CaptinSarcastic - Journalists are biased, complain when their bias goes against you, suggest that they are just reporting the truth when it goes in your favor, but don’t fool yourselves.

Er... WE don’t fool ourselves. We KNOW that there is bias in the media. What we object to and scoff at is claims by THE MEDIA that they are fair, balanced, objective, non-partisan, unbiased, etc, etc.

Look at the f***ing numbers posted, will you? They show a massive skew against McCain and for The Annointed One, yet, if you asked a reported during the campaign, "Are you biased against McCain?" or "Are you trying your damndest to get Obama elected?" he would automatically and self-righteously say, "No!"

In his column, Bunch is not only admitting (after it doesn’t matter anymore) that the real answer is "yes", but even claiming that the bias is some sort of moral, patriotic virtue. Doesn’t this cast a bit of light on Chrissy Matthews’ claim that his job is "helping" the country? Doesn’t it add weight to conservative (and libertarian, for that matter) arguments that the press is biased against us? And doesn’t it really call into question the idea of a selective (i.e. against talk radio) revival of the Fairness Doctrine? The lib (spit) complaint against talk radio is that it only provides one side (as if there are only two opinions about much of anything in America).

As you say, "complain when their bias goes against you, suggest that they are just reporting the truth when it goes in your favor". Right now, the libs are in a position of having the MSM go HEAVILY in their favor. Not only are they not complaining, they are doing what they can to institutionalize this bias.

Removing bias is not easy to do, and I suggest that it cannot be done by fiat, either corporate or governmental. Removing bias must start in the mind of the individual reporter: "Am I giving all the sides of the story? Have I talked to people who represent all points of view, and am I reporting their sides in an honest way? Have I investigated the issue as well as I can, or am I merely reporting what I already believed with a few new ’facts’ as window dressing?"
 
Written By: docjim505
URL: http://
OK, I’ll bite; At what point in the last 100 years were they ever biased toward the Republican?
Thanks for the open mind... seriously.

Then there’s this...
Yeah, what parallel dimension did that happen in? snort....

It certainly hasn’t been this one.
I love the snort, it presents such a fitting visual.

And then there’s this..
True, but what difference does that make? Ladies and gentlemen, witness yet again the magnificent edifice of moral equivalence. The left has gotten so used to using it, they will pull it out at the drop of a hat.

It excuses all leftist sins, you see. Such convenience is invaluable when your side has performed as the left has in the last ten to twenty years.


First, not true, and second, stating facts is not moral equivelance. The media shows bias, it always has, it always will. You decry the death of objective journalism, which would indicate that you think it lived at some point. I am telling you that objective journalism is as dead or alive as it has always been. The biggest difference between the past and now, is that media outlets don’t have hard biases as news outlets did in the past. In the election of 1800, The Gazette of the United States was the media arm of the Federalists and The National Gazette was the media arm of the Republicans. Today, media generally don’t start with an allegiance to a party or candidate, but biases can sure develop.

This whole rant is really an exercise of the notion that "the perfect is enemy of the good", and all because, in this case, the "good" didn’t favor your guy. As if the perfect would? Do you think a perfect media, with complete robotic objectivity would have been any more positive about John McCain than the imperfect human biased media? Speculate as you will, but I think even Robot Olbermann would have hammered the awful and messageless McCain campaign.

Or are you suggesting a "fairness doctrine" approach, where the precise number of positive, neutral, and negative articles must appear for both candidates???

If you want unbiased news, watch CSPAN. It’s impossible to report what someone said without bias, unless all you do is print the text of what they said, and that just doesn’t generate advertising dollars, otherwise CSPAN would be the most popular network on cable, and Bill O’Reilly wouldn’t be the most popular "news commentary" show on cable.
Media Biased Towards Bush, Survey Shows

by Jeff Elliott

The American press has treated George W. Bush far better than Al Gore, casting the Texas Governor as a moderate and "compassionate conservative" while portraying the Vice-President as a liar tainted by scandal, according to a new study.
The study by the Pew Research Center and Project for Excellence in Journalism found that a whopping 76 percent of news stories about Gore had a negative tone, with only 14 percent of the reports having a positive theme about his competence.

Bush has had almost three times more positive coverage, with 40 percent of the news of the candidate portraying him as a non-traditional Republican. The vast majority of stories and commentaries with this theme appeared during the short February - April primary season, when Bush was being challenged by Senator John McCain.

The unusual research project evaluated over 2,400 media items from February to June, monitoring seven high circulation newspapers and several TV/Radio programs with large audiences.

Good news for Bush, bad for Gore

The study was bad news for Gore in several ways. Many of the negative stories discussed Gore’s "Pinocchio problem" and how that would affect the campaign. Even worse for the Gore camp was news that nearly half of his total coverage was devoted to his role in questionable fundraising, and how that might harm his chances.
Also shown is that Gore’s campaign has failed to get its message out to the media. Only two percent of the Gore coverage offered his side of the story about the exaggerations. Gore’s workers even failed to set the record straight — although some of the accusasions against him weren’t true.

Gore fundraising was the number-one character issue about either candidate that was discussed on both radio and television. Some programs hammered away at the topic, tying it to questions of Gore’s honesty. Hardball with Chris Matthews on CNBC was quoted in the study: "Do you think the American people are so jaded by what they’ve seen over the years that they don’t care if a guy goes to Buddhist monasteries and has nuns rip off $5,000 checks and hand ’em to him and claim afterwards he was drinking iced tea and must have been in the bathroom and he didn’t know what — I mean, these are — these aren’t funny."

While Gore’s role in fundraising was singlemost popular topic, least discussed character issue was Bush’s coasting through life on family connections. Only 15 percent of stories about Bush raised the question (Yes, he has: 10 percent; no, he hasn’t, 5 percent). The study suggested that one reason for this light coverage was because reporters had done "surprisingly little digging into his record and background."

Questions about Bush’s intellegence were also treated gently. Fewer than one-third of coverage about his qualifications even mentioned it, and half of those were in the context of his leadership ability.


This is the same organization that is quoted above to show bias toward Obama.

The gap between positive and negative stories in the 2000 election closed somewhat in the final days, as the "Gore is a liar" meme and others were exhausted by this time, but even in the final lap of the 2000 race George W. Bush recieved TWICE as much positive press coverage as Al Gore.
Removing bias is not easy to do
It is impossible to do, the media doesn’t do unadulterated, unabridged facts, that takes to much ink/airtime and is far too dull for the viewing/reading public, and only unadulterated, unabridged facts could be unbiased. Just cutting a paragraph from a speech would show some kind of bias, because that paragraph had to be chosen, and the person making the choice would exert some kind of bias in making that decision.
• Seek truth & report it
• Minimize harm
• Act independently
• Be accountable
Take a look at 2000, the only difference was who’s ox was Gored.

Because, as I said, the media is biased, just not partisan.

 
Written By: CaptinSarcastic
URL: http://
As a one-time conservative turned libertarian, I know just how unbiased the MSM is toward us in the pro-freedom camp. (The Captain isn’t the only sarcastic one here.) I always find a good litmus test of media bias to be Second Amendment issues. You can present such stories in three ways:

(1) The pro-freedom side: Gestapo-like ATF agents running roughshod over the rights of private citizens, and further threats to libertry from gun-grabbing politicians.

(2) The "liberal" side: courageous activists taking on The Gun Lobby; lots of stories of gun-related murders coupled with zero stories on gun-related acts of self-defense.

(3) Objectively: libertarians and gun-enthusiasts are worried about gun-control legislation infringing on their liberties, while others are concerned lax gun laws lead to more violence.

Most often the MSM gives me (2). Occasionally I might see (3). Never have I seen (1).
 
Written By: Bilwick
URL: http://
Most often the MSM gives me (2). Occasionally I might see (3). Never have I seen (1).
Interesting, I think the opposite is true, and the good news, for me anyway, is that we gun owners are winning this debate. Democrats ran away from any advocacy of gun control, with candidates from the top down expressing agreement that gun rights should be protected.

I would suggest that media articles addressing gun control are generally objective, expressing the concerns of gun owners in contrast to the views of people that believe that gun proliferation leads to deaths. When we have an incident, like a school shooting, then the media will tilt towards gun control, and if we have an incident where a gun saved people’s lives, like in the church shooting in Colorado Springs two years ago, coverage will tilt toward gun rights.

If you would argue that coverage of the NRA is biased negatively, I would agree completely.
 
Written By: CaptinSarcastic
URL: http://

 
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