Green Room

Liberal media bias: worse than ever?

posted at 9:16 am on September 28, 2012 by

When my son was deployed in Afghanistan earlier this year (he’s home now), I used to look for news of that country’s goings-on. It was hard to find. Eventually I lit on a site with the grim address icasualties.org that covered both Operation Enduring Freedom (for those who’ve forgotten, that’s the name of the operation in Afghanistan) and Operation Iraqi Freedom. A left-hand column contains a news-feed about what’s going on in that part of the world.

I’ve not done an empirical study of news articles past and present, but it seems to me that one didn’t have to search as hard for news of Afghanistan and Iraq when George W. Bush was president. Why did these operations cease being as newsworthy once he was followed by Barack Obama? It’s hard not to suspect that once casualties couldn’t be laid at Dubya’s feet, media didn’t find such news … as newsworthy. (Neither, it seems, does the anti-war crowd, which has faded into the background despite the fact that President Obama has continued many policies they opposed.)

The lack of regular Afghanistan coverage isn’t the only thing missing from most news coverage today, while other stories receive attention for days on end (and by “days,” I mean round-the-clock coverage followed by more of the same). Watching the news (MSNBC) recently, I was confronted with the most pressing problem our country faced at this moment, surely shaking the citizenry to its core: Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s alleged comments suggesting that 47 percent of folks don’t pay taxes and thus won’t vote for him. Even the president himself was so distracted by this earth-shattering statement that he couldn’t remember the exact number for the national debt when asked about it on an appearance on the David Letterman show.

Meanwhile…the Mideast was in flames, our Afghanistan policy was crumbling, Israel trembled at the possibility of a nuclear Iran, the U.S. Department of Justice was using a left-wing group to spin the news and the unemployment rate was abysmal along with most other financial indicators. Oh, and one more not-so-small thing: the president’s party, as demonstrated during its convention, seemed to be shifting ever leftward toward an anti-Israel, atheistic, aggressively pro-abortion platform.

Yet most in the media greeted those stories with a yawn. Does anyone doubt similar stories would be covered with gleeful alacrity if a Republican were in the White House?

Don’t get me wrong—I’m not looking at these stories as bits of “gotcha” politics. They’re news, by any definition of that word. They’re important. They tell us something about the current administration’s approach to policy. Americans should know about them in order to make informed decisions. Even Obama supporters might want to know them to try to push the administration in different directions.

In their defense, the news media’s unrelenting interest in political  horse race stories is somewhat understandable during a presidential campaign. But why then did so many of them all but ignore a major political debate within the Democratic party? The very fact that the Democratic platform removed references to God and Jerusalem and making abortion “rare” should have received some discussion prior to its leap to center stage during the Democratic convention. Instead, it was brushed under the rug, especially after a hastily arranged vote to reinsert at least God and Jerusalem references into the document. That vote, too, should have been bigger news when it was clear that the convention chairman overrode the will of the attendees.

Nope, just more of the same “not really a story worth covering” from mainstream journos. Any story that might reflect negatively on the president and his party seems to be falling into the “not really news” category these days, bringing to mind a piece sharply satirizing the media’s slavering attitude toward Barack Obama from several years ago on the satiric site, The Onion: Media Having Trouble Finding Right Angle on Obama Double Homicide.

Conservatives are used to media bias, used to hearing excuses made for “out of context” gaffes by Democrats and the collective gasps of horror at similar stumbles by Republicans. We’re used to the stories of Democratic errors being turned into Mean-Republicans-Point-Out-Democratic Mistakes headlines. But ignoring real news literally blowing up in reporters’ faces seems to me a new low and probably accounts for why fewer and fewer people subscribe to mainstream newspapers or rely on broadcast news.

It’s pretty simple, really: when you cease delivering the product promised—real news—customers go elsewhere.

Libby Sternberg is a novelist.

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Comments

It’s always been there, we’ve just began to notice how much worse its become. I guess that’s one success the empty chair can point to.

Kissmygrits on September 28, 2012 at 10:01 AM

Ot : just finished reading aefle and gisela…. a great read..

Thank. You :)

cmsinaz on September 28, 2012 at 10:26 AM

remarkable accurate and succinct summation of the current state of traditional media “news”.

TASS71 on September 28, 2012 at 10:29 AM

It’s time to flush the mainstream media down the toilet with the rest of the crap. Only wish I knew how.

kemojr on September 28, 2012 at 10:46 AM

Ot : just finished reading aefle and gisela…. a great read..

Thank. You

cmsinaz

Thanks so much! I had great fun writing it and hope it brought you some smiles.

Libby

Libby Sternberg on September 28, 2012 at 11:22 AM

Obama is the Milli-Vanilli of the rock world, he is the replacement ref of the leadership world…everything he does is merely propped up the presstitutes….momma’s don’t let your babies grow up to be journalists!

hillsoftx on September 28, 2012 at 12:00 PM

liberals are effing hypocrites. they protested every day and the news broadcasts had stories every day when Bush was in office. fast forward to Obama and you wouldn’t even know we have soldiers fighting and a recession destroying the economy.

burserker on September 28, 2012 at 1:08 PM

I thought I was used to the bias – but I’ve never seen anything like the past four years, since Obama arrived on the scene. The media have shifted from bias – to actually becoming an extension of his administration and campaign.

I’ve had to visit sites like Newsbusters sparingly – because I don’t want my blood pressure to go up.

TarheelBen on September 28, 2012 at 2:16 PM

It isn’t so much bias any longer, it is out and out cheerleading

I hope in the debates Mitt gets in an ” ad libbed” line like, “the media should be pulling for me so they will get to actually do their jobs.”

traye on September 28, 2012 at 2:22 PM

I thought I was used to the bias – but I’ve never seen anything like the past four years, since Obama arrived on the scene. The media have shifted from bias – to actually becoming an extension of his administration and campaign.

Same here. What I wonder is who is behind this shift. “The media” covers a lot of ground. Is it higher ups at the networks that prevent legitimate stories from being reported, that suppress Obama/Dem scandals, that appear to take direction directly from the WH? Who, exactly?

Here’s the thing. We know from studies that a lot of rank and file reporters are Dems and/or lefties. But I do not think it’s literally 100%, nor do I think 100% are complete failures at their chosen profession or have no professional ethics whatsoever.

I don’t understand why we don’t see some rebellion, perhaps anonymous reporting, by those who have integrity, or that disagree with the decisions made above their rank. I can believe that many, maybe even a large majority, of MSM journalists are on board with the current state of their profession, but not all of them.

There have to be some true blue Americans, or even naive idealists who are alarmed at the MSM descent into propaganda. Surely some recognize the impact to their credibility and what happens as the public lose faith in the MSM. It’s a professional death wish, and it just doesn’t add up.

It’s very easy to dismiss “the media” as all being in the tank, idiots, unethical, etc, but as much as I despise what is happening I do not think ALL of them are like this. I interviewed for a support position at a newspaper a few years ago; these are not stupid people, on the contrary they are very smart, and very concerned even back then about their decreasing readership.

Mayday on September 28, 2012 at 3:35 PM

Surely some recognize the impact to their credibility and what happens as the public lose faith in the MSM. It’s a professional death wish, and it just doesn’t add up.

Mayday on September 28, 2012 at 3:35 PM

There’s a reason the Framers included Freedom of the Press in the Bill of Rights: to act as a check on those in power and to hold them accountable. When the press abdicates this basic responsibility, it endangers our republic and our freedoms.

I wouldn’t put it past this administration to use intimidation and threaten any reporter or news operation with loss of access that doesn’t march in lockstep. We do occasionally see a reporter who breaks away from the herd: Jan Crawford of CBS did a lot of reporting on Fast and Furious, and Jake Tapper has been covering the latest events in Benghazi pretty thoroughly. But whether their reporting actually breaks through to the main network broadcast is another story.

TarheelBen on September 28, 2012 at 4:53 PM

They’re not even trying to disguise their bias anymore. It’s pretty despicable. I read The Onion piece which I hadn’t previously heard about and I’m kinda confused that the biased libturd media didn’t cause an uproar three years ago, aghast that anyone, anyone, would dare even insinuate that the messiah could commit murder even in fiction. Or did they and I’m so good at ignoring them that I missed it? Then again, I think the Mooch did.

stukinIL4now on September 28, 2012 at 5:01 PM

Libby Sternberg on September 28, 2012 at 11:22 AM

it sure did :)

cmsinaz on September 28, 2012 at 9:22 PM

Yeah it’s far worse. And considering they’re standing on the shoulder of Peter Jennings, who declared the ’94 midterms a “temper tantrum” and Dan Rather who stood by forged documents of GWB’s service, managing to be the most blatantly partisan press in media history is really something of an accomplishment.

The reason it’s worse is clear. Look at where we’ve come since 2004. After GWB was reelected, we had a media that successfully weakened an administration because a hurricane existed. But that coincided with the usual second term difficulties and 6 year midterms so they didn’t have to do much – just play off of public opinion which was shifting toward the Democrats.

Then in 2008 they got their boy king. That election was easy for the media. All they had to do was dust off the Dan Quayle playbook to paint Palin as stupid. They were blatant, but Barry was always going to win. He came in with a 70% approval rating. Saying things such as “thrill up the leg” or “nice crease in the pants” was pretty stupid, but only three in ten were paying enough attention to call them out on that, so no worries for them. Until of course, their golden boy turned out to be a shiny painted turd…

Now it’s 2012. They’re still the same propagandists, but they aren’t playing to a crowd that’s on their side, or mixed, or neutral. Americans are frustrated, irritated, disgusted, and oppressed, and its the left that is responsible. People aren’t buying the crap the media has been so easily peddling for a while now. The 2008 rhetoric can’t hold on it’s own… it was always that thin. Even the Rather/Jennings model isn’t enough to prop up the illusion. They don’t have the stature or subtlety of Cronkite (who was a big lib, but at least pretended impartiality. That only leaves one model for them to emulate….

Goebbels, whose “dead azz” is currently missing from having been laughed off so often.

Gingotts on September 28, 2012 at 9:38 PM

Libby thanks for that Afghan link. My youngest likely to re-deploy in March, I’m sure I’ll be checking it frequently.

Difficultas_Est_Imperium on September 28, 2012 at 10:50 PM

I can’t wait for Charlie Gibson to read the names of the fallen heroes in Afganistan. I can’t wait for Cindy Sheehan to camp outside Obama’s Whitehouse to protest the war. I can’t wait for Nancy Pelosi to call for an investigation of the president for raising gas prices. I can’t wait for Code Pink to respectfully disrupt Senate meetings. I can’t wait for CNN to drop 15 jounolists into Maxine Water’s back yard to investgate her theft of taxpayers’ money. Ahh, the good old days when honest protesters had a cause. I guess no one is dieing in Afganistan, gas prices have remained stable for 4 years, the US senate has passed a budget every year, and no politician has stolen from the public purse. Sorry, I missed all that great news!

conservative educator on September 29, 2012 at 7:34 AM