NJ: Progressive bloggers certainly have Obama’s back, huh?

posted at 8:41 am on May 9, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

In other breaking news, water is wet. James Oliphant’s blistering critique of progressive bloggers acting as the palace guard for Barack Obama and as Jay Carney’s irregular infantry provides a fun read, certainly. However, it aims a little too broadly and probably misses the mark as a result:

When Jay Carney was grilled at length by Jonathan Karl of ABC News over an email outlining administration talking points in the wake of the 2012 Benghazi attack, it was not, by the reckoning of many observers, the White House press secretary’s finest hour. Carney was alternately defensive and dismissive, arguably fueling a bonfire he was trying to tamp down.

But Carney needn’t have worried. He had plenty of backup.

He had The New Republic‘s Brian Beutler dismissing Benghazi as “nonsense.” He had Slate‘s David Weigel, along with The Washington Post’s Plum Line blog, debunking any claim that the new email was a “smoking gun.” Media Matters for America labeled Benghazi a “hoax.” Salon wrote that the GOP had a “demented Benghazi disease.” Daily Kos featured the headline: “Here’s Why the GOP Is Fired Up About Benghazi—and Here’s Why They’re Wrong.” The Huffington Post offered “Three Reasons Why Reviving Benghazi Is Stupid—for the GOP.”

It’s been a familiar pattern since President Obama took office in 2009: When critics attack, the White House can count on a posse of progressive writers to ride to its rescue. Pick an issue, from the Affordable Care Act to Ukraine to the economy to controversies involving the Internal Revenue Service and Benghazi, and you’ll find the same voices again and again, on the Web and on Twitter, giving the president cover while savaging the opposition. And typically doing it with sharper tongues and tighter arguments than the White House itself.

Well, that’s an indication of the quality of White House intellect and competence, not of that in the blogosphere. Oliphant is correct, of course, but it’s not exactly news that a president’s on-line supporters tend to support the president; it’s more of a tautology. At least when it comes to Daily Kos, “on-line supporters” is the apt description, and arguably the Huffington Post, although that has become a professional media outlet since its original founding as more of a commentary and traditional-blogging site.  And Media Matters isn’t even a blog; it’s a continuing diatribe against any and all conservatives, one only taken seriously by the White House.

Had Oliphant narrowed his critique to blogging at established media outlets like the Washington Post, Slate, and Salon, he’d be on firmer ground. Even at that, though, his argument would ignore the adoption of blogging culture into mainstream media, which results in this kind of cheerleading in places where we’d earlier have expected at least some sense of holding the power clique accountable — or at least a little more skepticism. If this is an unprecedented level of support for Obama, it has more to do with timing than anything else. Media outlets didn’t start seriously engaging in the blogosphere until a few years ago.

Of course, the question of who gets those plum blogging spots might be open to some scrutiny. The Post has a couple of right-leaning bloggers and more balance amongst its columnists, but Slate and Salon … not so much. That is a valid critique, and one that perhaps the Post and its fellow publications should consider, and almost certainly won’t.

Oliphant’s colleague Ron Fournier isn’t terribly impressed with the argument:

True, but that doesn’t take into account the access given to right-leaning writers at high-profile publications, which is where Oliphant’s argument ultimately leads. And why aren’t they given that access? The fact that Democrats outnumber Republicans in newsrooms by a 4:1 ratio might have something to do with it.

According to a new study from the Indiana University School of Journalism, the percentage of journalists identifying as Republicans dropped to the lowest level in the 42-year history of their studies on the demographics of the media industry, and far below the level in the overall American population. While 24% of American voters affiliate with the GOP, only 7% of journalists share that affiliation. Twelve years ago, 18% identified as Republicans.

Democrats do better in the study, although they have been on the decline as well. In 1992, almost 45% of journalists were Democrats, far exceeding the level seen in the general population. In the latest study, that has dropped to 28%, roughly in parity with the rest of America. For the first time, a majority chose “independent” as an affiliation, although “other” also hit a record of 14.6%. Unfortunately, the study doesn’t explain the “other” category, which might have provided a rather entertaining look at politics. After all, those reporters who don’t fall into the three normal categories of American political affiliation outnumber Republicans by more than two to one.

Why does this matter? In part, because media bias always matters. And the problem is getting worse rather than better.

The media bias issue became a public debate only when alternative media developed that allowed for people to discuss it openly. First came talk radio, where Rush Limbaugh and dozens of other conservatives allowed millions of news consumers to vent about the leftward tilt in the news media. For the most part, the news media dismissed this shared experience of perceived bias as nothing more than paranoia and hucksterism. Not until CBS News reporter Bernard Goldberg blew the whistle in a 1996 Wall Street Journal column, and later in his 2001 book Bias, did this concern about media bias gain credibility — and even then, very slowly.

Goldberg argued at the time that the critics on talk radio had the wrong idea about the origin of media bias. There were no grand conspiracies to slant the news, but instead a lack of political diversity among journalists and editors. Nearly everyone in the industry thinks alike about issues and came from similar environments, which had the effect of creating ideological and cultural echo chambers. The problem of this singular-culture environment was so pervasive, Goldberg argued, that it couldn’t be perceived from the inside — but was painfully obvious from the outside. And the only way to fix that was to improve the diversity of perspectives, especially in politics.

The year after Goldberg’s prescription for a media-bias cure (2002), the percentages of Democrats and Republicans in the newsrooms was 36% and 18% respectively, a 2:1 ratio. Now it’s 4:1, 28% to 7%.

So yes, both sides have their “apologists,” but it’s also undeniable that one side has a lot more access to the media and its consumers than does the other. And that makes media bias worse, not better, and gives comfort to the powerful when Democrats control the White House … and apparently the narrative as well.


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Ah…..

Another lier

Electrongod on May 9, 2014 at 8:46 AM

liar…

Electrongod on May 9, 2014 at 8:47 AM

The year after Goldberg’s prescription for a media-bias cure (2002), the percentages of Democrats and Republicans in the newsrooms was 36% and 18% respectively, a 2:1 ratio. Now it’s 4:1, 28% to 7%.

Kind of jives with that recent poll of how many journalists claim what political affiliation.

upinak on May 9, 2014 at 8:47 AM

ATTACK WATCH!!!!!!!!

crrr6 on May 9, 2014 at 9:00 AM

In the latest study, that has dropped to 28%, roughly in parity with the rest of America. For the first time, a majority chose “independent” as an affiliation, although “other” also hit a record of 14.6%.

I talked with an AP report prior to the 2000 election, who admitted he was voting for Ralph Nader, because Al Gore wasn’t liberal enough (since this did not happen in Florida, the reporter did not have to spend the rest of his life searching his soul over helping give the presidency to George W. Bush).

He voted for Nader because he was disappointed with the fact that the Clinton Administration hadn’t been liberal enough, and odds are good the same phenomenon is at work here — Journalists deserting the Democrats right now are doing it because Obama’s been too wimpy to be the great progressive leader they expected back in 2008.

So if you see more self-identifying as “Independent” or “Other”, it probably should be a more precise “Independent-Left”, since the Obama years likely have not made them suddenly lean libertarian (even though they’d be better off moving in that direction).

jon1979 on May 9, 2014 at 9:04 AM

Why does this matter? In part, because media bias always matters. And the problem is getting worse rather than better.

What? You mean that fat cow Candy Crowley putting down her bucket of extra crispy and lying her ass off about what a transcript from that speech on 9/12/12 said wasn’t a high point in journalism? That George Stephanopoulus planting an abortion question for OFA into the middle of a GOP primary debate about foreign policy wasn’t normal? That Dan Rather trying to peddle faked documents to derail GWB’s re-election isn’t par for the course when it comes to professional ethics?

Happy Nomad on May 9, 2014 at 9:06 AM

This is news? I’m going out.

crankyoldlady on May 9, 2014 at 9:08 AM

Ummm duh
Yeah

cmsinaz on May 9, 2014 at 9:08 AM

The conservatives *must* create their own, unabashedly biased mainstream TV channel, or they will be doomed to endure the bias to their endless political dismay. And no, Fox News is not conservative – it is pro-Republican at best.

Moreover, I believe that such project would eventually make money: first as a curiosity, and then as a rally point. It should start as a mixed educational-slash-news info service, and then expand gradually to cover other areas currently dominated by leftist “newsmakers”.

Rix on May 9, 2014 at 9:12 AM

Fox News is middle of the road with a lot of conservative opinion shows.

crankyoldlady on May 9, 2014 at 9:19 AM

Umm, this was suppose to be news? I think we all knew this…

NiteOwl on May 9, 2014 at 9:20 AM

There are not many real journalists left. The mainstream media is full of hacks who are propagandists for big government. Any real journalist these days winds up like Sharyl Atkisson – who is on the outside looking in. Pravda probably keeps the Russian people better informed than our media.

TarheelBen on May 9, 2014 at 9:20 AM

Whats missing from all this is Sheryl Atkinson’s ouster at CBS. Considering thais less than a month old it merits a mention. The news media will be judged as aiding and abetting one of the most corrupt presidencies in American history. Because they looked the other way Americans will die under Obamcare, America has been weakened militarily in a very dangerous time, and millions are out of work. Its as if the media had joined forces with Nixon during the Watergate scandal. They deserve scorn and ridicule.

neyney on May 9, 2014 at 9:21 AM

Well, that’s an indication of the quality of White House intellect and competence, not of that in the blogosphere.

I have to disagree with you a bit here Ed. To Godwinize the thread, it’s not that there was a cranky Austrian corporal, you can find the same thing today in NY. It’s that he had uncritical mouthpieces in the media. I can take criticism of Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Reagan. Heck, if you want to criticize Jesus and God Himself I won’t cut off your head — they are well immune to such attacks. It’s the small and petty who can’t stand any attacks, and today the Left-wing fascist media is supporting a fascist president. It matters.

rbj on May 9, 2014 at 9:24 AM

Media bias is not the problem. The problem is a national government in which the powers of law making, law enforcement, and law interpretation are lodged in a single location (checks and balances are a joke). National elections are rituals in which two factions attempt to gain control of these law making powers. Media bias is an attempt by one of the two factions to either persuade or dissuade the electorate by mischaracterizing “news” through either distortion or omission of important details. This system of governance was never designed for there to be, roughly, 126 million people to compete for 268 electoral votes. This makes it easy for a few people to use the media to sway the attitudes and opinions of the electorate in order in order to gain control of large portions of national government.

AlFromBayShore on May 9, 2014 at 9:26 AM

Do I hear 7%? Do I hear 6%? Do I hear 4%? Do I hear 2%? Do I hear….?

vnvet on May 9, 2014 at 9:27 AM

If you actually watch what is going on with the media… there may be a phenomenon. Suddenly Jake Tapper and Sharyl Attkisson have started asking the hard questions. Interesting, but not Earth shaking… yet.

When the Clown loses his “balls” in the juggeling act… where do they go?

NiteOwl on May 9, 2014 at 9:29 AM

50 interweb points to who ever thought Mo’s purse… 100 to anyone that thought VJ’s. :-)

NiteOwl on May 9, 2014 at 9:32 AM

NiteOwl on May 9, 2014 at 9:29 AM

But look what happened to Sharyl Atkisson. She was ostracized at CBS. They wouldn’t report on any of her stories. She was wasting her time there so she resigned.

TarheelBen on May 9, 2014 at 9:37 AM

Hey Jay Carney – Here’s one blogger who stays away from your back and likes to speak up face to face.

But Jay, having met you face to face, I must say that you’ve been doing a heck of a great job, as have the majority of “journalists” in the White House Press Corpse, who “cover your back” nearly every day.

PunditPete on May 9, 2014 at 9:40 AM

TarheelBen on May 9, 2014 at 9:37 AM

Agreed Tarheel, but now they know they are the victim class too… No one likes that. They are ok being useful fools, but when the “gun” is pointed at them they become uncomfortable.

NiteOwl on May 9, 2014 at 9:43 AM

This is news? I’m going out.

crankyoldlady on May 9, 2014 at 9:08 AM

Me? I’m going to puke.

Progressives suck.

Chuck Ef on May 9, 2014 at 9:43 AM

Who wrote the following:

My take is that it’s unconscionable to force people to buy a product from a private insurer that enjoys sanctioned monopoly status. It’d be like forcing everyone to attend baseball games, but instead of watching the Yankees, they were forced to watch the Kansas City Royals. Or Washington Nationals. It would effectively be a tax — and a huge one — paid directly to a private industry.

Without any mechanisms to control costs, this is yet another bailout for yet another reviled industry. Subsidies? Insurance companies are free to raise their rates to absorb that cash. More money for subsidies? More rate increases, as well as more national debt. Don’t expect Lieberman and his ilk to care. They’re in it for their industry pals.

Some right winger? Nope. It is none other than Markos Moulitsas.
source: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2009/12/15/814776/-Remove-mandate-or-kill-this-bill

It is outrageously hypocritical for him to defend Obamacare considering he once called it unconscionable. Yet that is the SOP for the left: power before principle.

If you want to read a great critique of the ‘progressive’ media then here is Glen Greenwald on the subject.
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/dec/03/progressive-media-obama-criticisms
It is just a brutal assessment.

tkc882 on May 9, 2014 at 9:44 AM

There were no grand conspiracies to slant the news, but instead a lack of political diversity among journalists and editors. Nearly everyone in the industry thinks alike about issues and came from similar environments, which had the effect of creating ideological and cultural echo chambers.

I have worked for several successful companies who take this issue to heart.

I was originally passed over after graduating college by a company because they had hired too many other engineers from my school within the previous 5 years. They put in place a several year hiatus from hiring my college’s graduates (predominantly engineers) in order to induce diversity of educational background within their workforce.

I was highly upset at the time, but now many years later I understand it. I always thought that upper-tier engineering programs were all pretty much the same. (although everyone thinks their engineering school was the hardest, best, most rigorous,etc). Definitely not the case. Campus culture, rigorousness of the program, extracurricular offerings, etc. all play into the overall skills of future employees. By diversifying, the company made an honest effort of not allowing biases to influence their final products which in some cases could lead to massive accidents/deaths.

In short, it kept flaws out of their product by bringing in people (with the same degrees) from different universities and were cognizant to watch the balance of their workforce.

I did eventually end up working for the company and it was truly one of the best experiences that I had because of the varying backgrounds of other engineers who worked there. Ideas, assumptions, biases, were all challenged on a daily basis and lead to some pretty cool technological advances in the products.

The one glaring negative of this approach is that it is difficult to influence a unified culture at the company. That many people with different backgrounds leads to almost daily conflict. Turnover rate is very high as most people would prefer to work in an environment with others who are culturally similar.

I myself moved to a company who has around 90% engineers from my alma mater. When I worked there, it often felt that we could accomplish far great things since we were all on the same page. All working toward a unified common goal and all sharing past experiences that were very similar. While personally, I enjoyed working there a great deal, it is difficult to argue that we were the best in that particular industry. It is only now that I realize that getting along with everyone at work and having that happy environment of culturally similar people significantly limits the final product that is put out. Biases, lack of alternative view points and perspective. It was impossible to see and acknowledge at the time because I was having fun and enjoyed going to work every day.

Anyways, I can definitely see why people want to work in environments with people who have similar backgrounds/educations/life experiences. It is much more enjoyable for those who manage and those who work there. The problem is, it leads to a lower quality product.

airupthere on May 9, 2014 at 9:54 AM

The conservatives *must* create their own, unabashedly biased mainstream TV channel, or they will be doomed to endure the bias to their endless political dismay. And no, Fox News is not conservative – it is pro-Republican at best.

Moreover, I believe that such project would eventually make money: first as a curiosity, and then as a rally point. It should start as a mixed educational-slash-news info service, and then expand gradually to cover other areas currently dominated by leftist “newsmakers”.

Rix on May 9, 2014 at 9:12 AM

I agree with you. Glenn Beck is the closest person to attempt what you mentioned. While I do not agree with Beck’s gloom-and-doom delivery, I do agree that most of what he says comes from actually finding facts.

He has built his network from the ground up, but the biggest hurdle he faces is getting his Blaze Network on Comcast. Comcast is in bed with this administration, and there is literally no way they will let Beck on.

Beyond The Blaze, I don’t see any conservative coming close to creating their on channel.

Mark Boabaca on May 9, 2014 at 10:00 AM

Anyways, I can definitely see why people want to work in environments with people who have similar backgrounds/educations/life experiences. It is much more enjoyable for those who manage and those who work there. The problem is, it leads to a lower quality product.

airupthere on May 9, 2014 at 9:54 AM

Good for you, sorta I guess. I worked for Verizon in a similar situation. However, because they put higher value on diversity than performance, I was held back three years before achieving my goal. I watched many walk on my work… like they did it!

Yes, turn over would be higher. After I achieved my goal and got mine I flipped them the golden bird.

Diversity is important, but it cannot replace skill and ability. Just sayin’

NiteOwl on May 9, 2014 at 10:09 AM

Good for you, sorta I guess. I worked for Verizon in a similar situation. However, because they put higher value on diversity than performance, I was held back three years before achieving my goal. I watched many walk on my work… like they did it!

Yes, turn over would be higher. After I achieved my goal and got mine I flipped them the golden bird.

Diversity is important, but it cannot replace skill and ability. Just sayin’

NiteOwl on May 9, 2014 at 10:09 AM

I’m in complete agreement. I was speaking strictly in the sense of bringing in new employees from outside the company. At that point, everyone in the selection pool is pretty close to even in terms of performance.

Promotions and upgrades are a different beast entirely. If a company is promoting from within, they absolutely must select the best person.

airupthere on May 9, 2014 at 10:36 AM

Little p*ss ants like this will be the last to be eaten…

/Watch out for that “eatin’ shovel” – it’s huge from what I hear.

Key West Reader on May 9, 2014 at 10:41 AM

Perfect timing? Check out the editorial from the NYT at the top of the headlines on the Hot Air homepage.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/09/opinion/center-ring-at-the-republican-circus.html

First paragraph:

The hottest competition in Washington this week is among House Republicans vying for a seat on the Benghazi kangaroo court, also known as the Select House Committee to Inflate a Tragedy Into a Scandal. Half the House has asked to “serve” on the committee, which is understandable since it’s the perfect opportunity to avoid any real work while waving frantically to right-wing voters stomping their feet in the grandstand.

It only gets worse from there.
This editorial is low, even for the NYT.

airupthere on May 9, 2014 at 11:18 AM

For the first time, a majority chose “independent” as an affiliation, although “other” also hit a record of 14.6%. Unfortunately, the study doesn’t explain the “other” category

…they didn’t have a “communist” affiliation!

KOOLAID2 on May 9, 2014 at 11:23 AM

In 1992, almost 45% of journalists were Democrats, far exceeding the level seen in the general population. In the latest study, that has dropped to 28%, roughly in parity with the rest of America. For the first time, a majority chose “independent” as an affiliation, although “other” also hit a record of 14.6%.

Ed

How gracious of you, Ed. Consider at least the possibility that in the face of a decades-long mockery of the clownishly liberal media, media types have become more circumspect about declaring their (transparent) Democrap affiliation.

Jaibones on May 9, 2014 at 11:36 AM

It only gets worse from there.
This editorial is low, even for the NYT.

airupthere on May 9, 2014 at 11:18 AM

Almost… almost makes me sick. Lucky for me I am BS immune!

NiteOwl on May 9, 2014 at 11:37 AM

Heal thyself, NJ. You too, Fournier. MSM has been carrying Dem water for an awfully long time.

paul1149 on May 9, 2014 at 11:40 AM

Beyond The Blaze, I don’t see any conservative coming close to creating their on channel.

Mark Boabaca on May 9, 2014 at 10:00 AM

That might be a better place for rich conservatives (if there are any) to put their money. Buy up MSNBC or CNN. They might be willing since they are both in trouble. The media is one of the front lines in this war. We must stop them however we can.

crankyoldlady on May 9, 2014 at 12:30 PM

The word “diversity’ is anathema to me, for reasons anyone should be able to see. In my professional working experience promoting the convergence of a multiplicity of thinking processes, ideas, experiences, etc. was always the goal – not to be confused with the paradoxical notion that people of different legally ‘protected groups’ automatically (and stereotypically) think differently than non-protected groups (eg., WASPs). It’s that word diversity that worries me, even when applied just to schools.
The key to achieving this heterogeneity is excellence in the selection/hiring process. Differences can be detected and encouraged.

Once on board, bringing all this together effectively isn’t that hard: it requires a clearly defined unity of purpose, effective boundary setting, and… Well, damn good management LEADERSHIP.

The country could use a few “leaders” these days, me thinks…

mpower on May 9, 2014 at 1:31 PM

But Carney needn’t have worried. He had plenty of backup.

He had The New Republic‘s Brian Beutler dismissing Benghazi as “nonsense.” He had Slate‘s David Weigel, along with The Washington Post’s Plum Line blog, debunking any claim that the new email was a “smoking gun.” Media Matters for America labeled Benghazi a “hoax.” Salon wrote that the GOP had a “demented Benghazi disease.” Daily Kos featured the headline: “Here’s Why the GOP Is Fired Up About Benghazi—and Here’s Why They’re Wrong.” The Huffington Post offered “Three Reasons Why Reviving Benghazi Is Stupid—for the GOP.”

Is there any doubt that there’s a new version of the Journolist out there? The reaction to the Benghazi scandal has been far too coordinated to pretend otherwise.

When we had a couple probes by Democrats about Iraq, everyone accepted a Congressional probe was a legitimate thing.

When it comes to Benghazi, the media has joined together in denouncing the select committee as nothing but partisan politics, and inherently illegitimate.

There Goes the Neighborhood on May 9, 2014 at 6:15 PM