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The trouble with your press

 
 
Foxfyre
 
  1  
Reply Wed 22 Dec, 2004 05:44 pm
Good observation fishin. I actually like the Boston Globe--they have a lot of well-focused stuff when you're looking for a specific topic--but they do have the inherent problems as you outlined them.
0 Replies
 
Joe Republican
 
  1  
Reply Wed 22 Dec, 2004 06:34 pm
Foxfyre wrote:


Fox, your post speaks volumes when you follow the links. Mediamatters is one of the "think tanks", AKA propaganda machines of the RNC, mentioned in the Brock excerpt posted by BBB. If you take the time to read both articles, you can see where the problem arises, and which one to believe.

First, the FAIR article is a scientific research paper which uses a logical methodology to debunk the "liberal media" myth.

The media matters page is the opposite. It uses quotes and references from other "studies". These studies are done by the same group of people who are promoting a conservative view.

In the first creditable example used by media matters, the study by Stanley Rothman and Amy E. Black, leads to the usual ending. Amy Black is a christian from Texas and a Bush supporter. You wouldn't suppose a paper written by her would be skewed, would you? Here is her bio

Quote:
Black's other recent work examines the politics of faith-based initiatives. She recently completed Of Little Faith: The Politics of George W. Bush's Faith Based Proposals (with co-authors Doug Koopman and David Ryden), a study that draws upon interviews with key lawmakers and policy advocates who worked on faith-based issues. Following the policy from the 2000 campaign through the end of the 107th Congress, Of Little Faith provides important insights into the George W. Bush presidency and the state of the contemporary American debate about religion and politics. In future projects, she will continue to explore connections between religion and politics first examined in the book. Among other things, her future research agenda includes plans to consider the implications of religious-based hiring exemptions and an article on the use of religious rhetoric in presidential addresses.

Dr. Black joined the Wheaton faculty after serving four years on the faculty of Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, PA. She is active in a local church where she serves as a Stephen Minister, helps lead a young adults fellowship group, and participates in a women's Bible study. A native Texan, she enjoys domestic and international travel and is an avid football fan.


source

You see, it always comes back to the same group.

The article trying to perputate the "liberal media" myth does no research on their own, uses outdated surveys (some from over 20 years ago) and uses biased pieces as "evidence". The unfortunate fact is that a LARGE majority of Americans wouldn't bother to check out the quoted pieces. They don't try understand the truth behind the propaganda. They just take what they see for face value and believe it.
0 Replies
 
Foxfyre
 
  1  
Reply Wed 22 Dec, 2004 06:55 pm
Well Joe, I'm too tired and in too good a mood to quarrel with you about it. The most fair minded person who even gave a cursory stroll through the FAIR site would have to acknowledge this is an anti-conservative, anti-Bush, anti-anything-not-liberal group. How fair was their study? I don't know and I don't care. Does Mediamatters use only data from conservative think tanks? No they don't. And does that matter in the least re what I intended in my post? No it doesn't other than to those of you who do not wish to have a cordial discussion about a matter but want to accuse a conservative of some nefarious plot.
0 Replies
 
Joe Republican
 
  1  
Reply Wed 22 Dec, 2004 07:39 pm
Foxfyre wrote:
Well Joe, I'm too tired and in too good a mood to quarrel with you about it. The most fair minded person who even gave a cursory stroll through the FAIR site would have to acknowledge this is an anti-conservative, anti-Bush, anti-anything-not-liberal group. How fair was their study? I don't know and I don't care. Does Mediamatters use only data from conservative think tanks? No they don't. And does that matter in the least re what I intended in my post? No it doesn't other than those of you who do not wish to have a cordial discussion about a matter but want to accuse a conservative of some nefarious plot.



Fox, I've got no problem if you don't want to quarrel, I just want to add a few more points.

I never said FAIR was not a liberal site, it is. Just because it is a liberal site doesn't mean the data is false. I know just as well, if the data pointed towards a liberal bias, then they wouldn't have posted it. You still have to look at the study, see how it was conducted, what questions were asked, what the the methodology was, etc. before you make an honest judgement on the piece.

In the FAIR article, they posted their exact questions, the answers to said questions, the media outlets they polled, the sample from each media outlet and many more demographics. It is a rational, logical report which uses a scientific methodology to draw a conclusion. There appears to be no weight to either side, and the conclusion is a centrist to right leaning media, which is where our media truly is.

If they wanted to skew the results, they could have taken a large % of respondents from conservative outlets, yet there is no Fox News on their list. Most of the media outlets surveyd are what others claim are the "liberal media".


Contrast this with the mediamatters report. It is full of opinion, uses no specific study on its own, and is basically an op-ed piece.

The two links are a perfect example of what Brock is saying about Right Wing media. Read BBBs post by Brock, maybe then you'll understand why there is no "liberal media".
0 Replies
 
Foxfyre
 
  1  
Reply Wed 22 Dec, 2004 07:46 pm
If the data had pointed to a liberal bias, it wouldn't have been at all useful in the point I was making. Smile
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Fri 25 Aug, 2006 08:53 pm
OK, this seems as good a place as any to put this, though it is about British as much as American media (and its not all too different in Holland), and primarily about broadcast media.

Quote:
Big media, small world

openDemocracy
Ehsan Masood
22 - 8 - 2006


[My] summary:

Quote:
An increasing, and increasingly visceral distaste affects large English-language broadcast media such as BBC and CNN. Reasons include their tendency to reduce complex events into simplistic debates, and their failure to neutrally portray the lives of the poor and the faithful.

Executives are doing much to redress such concerns, but every time a big story breaks, journalists revert to what they are practised at. This is to avoid complexity, and to write about people outside of the west as if they were somehow alien.

Current affairs shows tend to inflate disagreements between people, or between groups in society. For example, when the controversy over the Danish cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed erupted, Newsnight staged a studio debate about Muslims and terrorism - and planned to include the leader of the extremist group al-Muhajiroun and Nick Griffin of the British National Party.

If more people from Jewish and Muslim communities are refusing to interact with the establishment media, those are slowly starved of essential sources of information and commentary. They will have to increasingly rely on speculation from reporters and briefings from government departments or intelligence agencies in western countries. News will increasingly be news when a government minister says it is and we will all be the poorer for it.
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Tue 7 Nov, 2006 01:33 pm
This rant/thread is very much related to the topic of this thread: Election night 'whenever - this complaint needs a thread
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Tue 7 Nov, 2006 01:38 pm
Oh, and may I add that this 2004 post by Georgeob1 earlier in this threadbears rereading? He had it spot on.
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Sat 6 Jan, 2007 09:50 pm
There was an article in the New York Times about Hillary Clinton's ever more unambiguous exploration of a presidential bid. I was going to post it on the Obama '08 thread, but as I was commenting it, it turned more into a rant - I mean, eh, critical reflection - about press practices, so instead I will post it here:

---------------------------------------------

Quote:
In Meetings With Allies, Clinton Hones '08 Strategy

By PATRICK HEALY and ADAM NAGOURNEY
Published: January 3, 2007


Here, the New York Times covers Hillary with one of those peculiarly typical fawning campaign portraits. Its a perfect example of that, to me, puzzling staple genre in the coverage of the run-up to US elections - there will be similar portraits about most of the other primary candidates as well. The NYT is not the only one to do it, though it seems particularly adept at it.

But why do newspapers publish these fawning set pieces? In which standard elements of political campaigning are portrayed as testimonies to wisdom and political acumen, and a choice of standard sources are called on to provide the usual praising quotes that local politicians owe the national figureheads of their party? And we, the readers, basically learn nothing new?

Take this bit:

Quote:
Dining in Washington recently with three allies from New Hampshire, [..] Mrs. Clinton was by turns probing and absorbing and, a participant said, clearly informed. How did the Democrats manage to unseat the state's two Republican members of Congress? What were the key issues? And who were the new players to have emerged there in the 10 years since she last visited [..]?

What? Clinton was "probing and absorbing", because she asked pretty much the most basic, step 1, questions about, you know "what were the key issues" and "who were the new players"?

She asked, "How did the Democrats manage to unseat the state's two Republican members of Congress" - really? You mean, the kind of question that most every national medium has already devoted some article or other on in the past two months of election analysis?

Look here for more:

Quote:
According to participants, Mrs. Clinton has pressed to find out everything from whether former Vice President Al Gore will run again (he is inclined not to, people tell her) to how much support remains for Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, the party's 2004 candidate, among Democratic leaders (anemic, she has heard). [..]

No detail has been too minor for Mrs. Clinton. She has asked Democrats from New Hampshire and Iowa about the concerns in certain regions and counties of their states, dwelling on energy issues, health care, education and the war in Iraq.

This is a joke, right? "No detail has been too minor," like, say, what the voters of the most important primary states think of "health care, education and the war in Iraq"?

Either the bar (t)here is scarily low, or the author is just outrageously (uncritically) padding his article. I'm afraid it's actually both.

Here, there's loads of this:

Quote:
"She's always been a student of government and of how you get there," said Patricia McMahon, one of the dinner guests [..]

This meeting was one of a series of nearly nonstop political consultations that Mrs. Clinton has engaged in [..]

According to participants, it is clear that Mrs. Clinton is far along in plotting a campaign, and she is honing strategy [..]

[S]everal Democrats were willing to share what they described as long discussions about politics and policy with a former first lady who wants to be president. [..]

Jeanne Shaheen [..] said that Mrs. Clinton [..] had asked "all the right kinds of questions. She clearly is thinking about what to do and not taking anything for granted" [..]

Etc etc - all to convey what? That, for example, Hillary "asked precisely where she should go in places like Iowa and New Hampshire". No ****!

But - wait for it - "Some New Hampshire Democrats expressed concern that Mrs. Clinton's first dinner with political players from their state, on Dec. 9, was limited to three Democrats who were active in her husband's campaigns in the 1990s and not a broader group that reflected the vanguard of state party politics today."

Hillary had dinner with three NH Democrats - and all folks who were already in the Clintons' network. Probing and absorbing indeed!

This type of journalism is ridiculous. For example, there's room to quote Shaheen praising Hillary as having "a special relationship with the people in New Hampshire", but no thought of cross-referencing the observation that she hasnt actually been in the state for 10 years.

I'm not carping about Hillary, mind - I'm sure Obama has received, or will receive, the same treatment some time. Its about the "journalism" practiced by the mainstream media, liberal and conservative alike.

My guess is that this practice is all about dealing and wheeling, about a service for a service. As in, we'll publish the regular cheesecake set piece of fawning campaign portraiture now, and you'll throw us a few choice scoop items later on in the race.

This wheeling and dealing you can rightly blame the media for. But in turn, their behaviour is also the result of the politicians having made themselves so succesfully inaccessible. Inaccessible and unaccountable enough that they can pick and choose which media to throw a bone (and anonymous quote) to here or there, playing them off against each other in the process, and de facto blackmailing the media into portioning out the expected dose of uncritical page-fillers about their campaign, campaign manager, fundraising or whatever.

In Holland, the politicians will face the media, PM Balkenende will walk from his office to Parliament with the cameras crowding around at every newsy turn of events, demanding answers, and though he can exercise his talent for non-answers, there's no way for him to select which paper or TV station to "reward" with an answer for past positive reporting. The scarce use of anonymous government or party sources also blocks a venue of such divide and conquer tactics, wherein media are wheeled and dealed with, thrown an anonymous quote in exchange for an uncritical paragraph.

Bah.
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Wed 17 Jan, 2007 07:31 pm
Example of good practice: A newspaper instantly factchecking the politician's claim it reports, rather than relying on a 'he said she said' model of reporting:

Quote:
"We recognize that many members of Congress are skeptical," Bush said in his radio address Saturday, adding, "Members of Congress have a right to express their views, and express them forcefully. But those who refuse to give this plan a chance to work have an obligation to offer an alternative that has a better chance for success. To oppose everything while proposing nothing is irresponsible."

Many Democrats, in fact, have proposed alternatives centered around pulling out troops, an idea Bush flatly rejects.

Opposition to plan surprises Bush team - But they believe Congress won't have time to stop them (San Francisco Chronicle / Washington Post)
0 Replies
 
Foxfyre
 
  1  
Reply Fri 9 Feb, 2007 05:30 pm
This analysis piece seems appropriate for this thread. IMO, Klein's observations of how the phrasing of the questions asked by the media shape public opinion more than the answers provided by the hapless subjects is spot on. That's assuming the question isn't a 'when-did-you-stop-beating-your-wife' thing that can't be answered at all.

February 09, 2007
The News Media's Credibility Problem
By Herbert Klein

Most polls rate the press and the Congress at a low ebb in public respect. That represents a strange phenomenon where reporters, particularly broadcasters, are treated as celebrities, as are members of Congress, and yet they are the subject of strong, often bitter, criticism.

During my career, I have been both a reporter and a White House communicator, first asking questions and then answering them. And I have learned that the question-and-answer process forms many public opinions.

Those who answer evasively, ducking reasonable questions, appear weak; those who ask questions are criticized when the public feels they are unfair.

In this ongoing battle between the public and the press, the media seem to be losing ground. A major reason for public criticism of the media stems from how questions are asked. Too often the reporter inserts his own opinion in the questions and expects the interviewee to accept this innuendo.

A recent interview of Vice President Dick Cheney by CNN's Wolf Blitzer has stirred new controversy and illustrates the issue. At one point Cheney told Blitzer: "I simply don't accept the premise of your question. I just think it's hogwash." In his question, Blitzer included the phrase "the Senate and the House now seriously question your credibility because of blunders and failures."

In his retaliation for the hogwash comment by Cheney, Blitzer countered: "What, that there were no blunders? The president himself says there were blunders."

The transcript shows no comment by the vice president saying there were no blunders. He did accuse Blitzer and the media of "writing us off."
At another point, Blitzer voiced the opinion that the prime minister of Iraq seems "more interested right now in establishing good relations with Iran and Syria than he is with more moderate Arab governments in Jordan, Egypt or Saudi Arabia." Cheney answered, "He's got to develop relationships with all of them, and he is."

The point (or premise) of Blitzer's question seemed more apparent when he asked, "How worried are you of this nightmare scenario that the U.S. is building up this Shiite-dominated Iraqi government with an enormous amount of military equipment, sophisticated training, and then in the end, they're going to turn against the United States?" Cheney dismissed Blitzer's concept as a "what if," but the question, and Blitzer's opinion, planted with listeners another seed of American distrust of their Iraqi allies.

Unfair news leads frequently come out of questions with innuendos like Blitzer's. Reporters' innuendos are frequently combined with the answer of an interviewee and incorporated into their story giving the false impression that the combined thoughts are the view of the interviewee.
The controversial Blitzer interview with Cheney was picked up later in a column by Eugene Robinson of The Washington Post. It was almost as if Robinson felt he had to support a media buddy or that he was just looking to write something discrediting Cheney.

Robinson wrote: "Amazingly, the vice president is sounding as if he lives in a land of his own imagining, a place beyond the truth. In Cheney's world, the Iraq war is an enormous success. The idea that anyone would think otherwise is hogwash."

For anyone who reads the Blitzer transcript carefully, it is the Robinson comment that is hogwash, although Blitzer's questions and Cheney's answers illustrate a major, but expected, difference in their evaluation of successes and failures in Iraq. The Robinson column illustrates what happens when the writer's opinion is based on bias, not fact; and that imbalance builds a negative perspective of the media.

In his column, Robinson carries on his exaggeration into real la-la land:
"Let's hope that Cheney isn't really out to lunch, that he's just playing politics. A conservative friend reminded me the other day that all the White House has left in terms of public support is the hard-line Republican right. Let's hope Cheney is just tossing out red meat to keep these stalwarts on the team.

"But yes, he is coming across as a little crazy."

The Blitzer interview and then the Robinson personal attack illustrate why the public loses faith in the media. In retrospect, these professionals made bloggers look totally credible.

Personal attack and name-calling, such as demonstrated by Robinson, only lowers public respect for the media. Does any reader believe the vice president is "crazy" or "out to lunch"? A columnist has a right to disagree with a public official, but personal accusations like "crazy" breed contempt for the writer unless he is accurate.

The news world is undergoing an evolution with viewers, listeners and readers changing their news sources frequently. This is a communications era where formats of communication change often. In the broadcast field, formats are shifting.

Fifty years ago, when television was in its infancy, local stations struggled to add more national and international news to their formats. Today the emphasis is local. CNN, which developed a reputation of balanced coverage when it was run by Tom Johnson, now has become more liberal with Lou Dobbs almost sounding like a one-man band against world trade. Fox, headed by Roger Ailes, thrives on conservatism and controversy. Newspapers are struggling to make the best use of their ability to gather complete news, and their emphasis has become more local. Not long ago, national news was more predominant.

All these format changes will have little effect if the news media continue to lose credibility. It takes courage to dig into a tough story, but the results usually are higher readership, if the story proves to be factual. The public's judgment of balance comes not only from the subject matter but the content of media questions and how they are asked.

Much stress is being placed today on the lack of civility, the lack of compromise in today's government, and that is a critical problem. An effective democracy also needs a credible media, and that requires reporters and editors whose dedication is to getting the news right.

Credibility never has been more important.

Herbert G. Klein is a national fellow at AEI.
http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2007/02/the_news_medias_credibility_pr.html
0 Replies
 
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Fri 9 Feb, 2007 06:00 pm
What a bunch of bullsh*t. When we want lessons in media credibility, let's go ask the American Enterprise Institute?

No thanks.

The real problem with the media in America is that there aren't enough interviews like the ones Blitzer gave; there aren't enough probing questions and investigations into whether people are actually telling the truth; there aren't people who are willing to ask tough questions to someone's face.

Our media are nothing more than lapdogs these days, slobbering up ratings and ad revnue.

Your writer has the problem exactly backwards. Which is unsurprising.

Cycloptichorn
0 Replies
 
fbaezer
 
  1  
Reply Fri 9 Feb, 2007 06:09 pm
I'll write about my press, taking into account that some of the problems are local, others are imported and most are common worldwide.

Unlike most of A2Kers, I write from inside. I have, adding it up, worked in the media for almost two decades, and near the media for more than 30 years, and that's more than my total adult life.

Many years ago, the problem was the government. When I was a kid, all the newspapers had the same news. Tough censorship. We made underground newspapers, sold them on the streets and ran when we saw a cop.

This was lessened in the seventies, and some ideological differences started to appear in the press, but there were several taboo issues. The Armed Forces, the President, the Virgin of Guadalupe being the most famous. The ruling party (PRI) had different groups, and they usually hurt each other using the press: political columnists attacking, with good information, the rivals of the group that was paying them. When Mexico's most important newspaper, Excelsior, became critical of the government, it organized a coup against the director and several key journalists, in 1976. Paradoxically, it was the real start of Mexican free press.

The expelled journalists founded a very critical magazine, Proceso, and a splint group, a daily: unomásuno. In the 80s, the government manouvered to make unomásuno a bland paper... the critical journalists founded La Jornada. Since then, the critical press developed swiftly, to the point that, in the nineties, the government newspaper was directed by some founders of La Jornada.

As democracy grew, electronic media became more critical too. TV was the last to let the leash go.

In the early XXI Century, the table had been turned. A mega-free press, driven mostly by ratings (hence, looking more to the spectacular than to the informative or analytical), which tends to be dominated more and more by tycoons whose main business is not always the media. And, instead of a TV that served "as soldiers to the President" (according to the words of the late owner of the main network) to a TV that has all politicians taken by the balls, and responding to their interest.

Simultaneously, the strength of drug dealers has grown lately, and they have become a dire menace to the press, specially in the provinces. Several investigative journalists who reach too far in the drug world have been killed (sometimes because they themselves become involved, but in most cases because they were able to find links between dealers and police or political officers).
0 Replies
 
Foxfyre
 
  1  
Reply Fri 9 Feb, 2007 06:55 pm
Interesting Fbaezer. As I am quite a bit older than you, my own 20-year+ foray into the media world was much different. I was privileged to enjoy a time when the integrity of the press was valued more than anything it presented as news. Straight news stories were rarely bylined and even when they were, any detectable personal bias in any piece not labeled 'opinion' resulted in severe preprimand if not dismissal of the reporter. I was also cursed with witnessing the transition from reporting the news to interpreting the news and the prevalence of 'gotcha' sensationalism that began in the mid to late Seventies and has escalated from that time to the present. And as the zoned out, tuned out, dropped out generation of the 60's came into its own, the media is now dominated by people who disdain the old traditional values and definitely tilt far left.

I honestly don't know how much fear drives our press here these days, but I do know that all larger newspapers and news magazines do have very strong security, some with armed guards at the gates.

And the old timers like me truly yearn for the old values and traditions that made for a press with real integrity.

Oh, and by the way, to dispel any question of his credentials to evaluatie the media, here is Herbert Klein's bio:
http://www.aei.org/scholars/filter.all,scholarID.85/scholar2.asp
0 Replies
 
old europe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 9 Feb, 2007 07:27 pm
Foxfyre wrote:
Oh, and by the way, to dispel any question of his credentials to evaluatie the media, here is Herbert Klein's bio:
http://www.aei.org/scholars/filter.all,scholarID.85/scholar2.asp


I think the charge was not that Klein might be unqualified to evaluate the media. I think the concern was more that his evaluation might be biased.

I'd say that people with outstanding qualifications can still be biased. Wouldn't you agree?
0 Replies
 
Foxfyre
 
  1  
Reply Fri 9 Feb, 2007 08:23 pm
old europe wrote:
Foxfyre wrote:
Oh, and by the way, to dispel any question of his credentials to evaluatie the media, here is Herbert Klein's bio:
http://www.aei.org/scholars/filter.all,scholarID.85/scholar2.asp


I think the charge was not that Klein might be unqualified to evaluate the media. I think the concern was more that his evaluation might be biased.

I'd say that people with outstanding qualifications can still be biased. Wouldn't you agree?


Yes I would. And I expect an opinion piece to be biased toward a particular point of view. I expect anybody who has formed an opinion about anything to be biased on the side of what he or she believes to be true and/or the best choice. The best also take as much care as they can to ensure that what they believe and/or repeat is actually true.

The bias is not the problem. The problem is intentional omission, distortion, or misrepresenation so that the reader (or listener) receives a false impression of what the known facts are. I generally look askance at all organizations and/or individuals who I know to have been guilty of such tactics as well as those who do such sloppy journalism that they probably unintentionally misrepresent the facts.

I seriously doubt anybody can turn up anything Mr. Klein has written or said that has been presented in a dishonest way or that could even remotely be accused of being sloppy journalism.

Or the AEI for that matter. I don't think Mr. Klein would otherwise have accepted a fellowship with them (quite recently by the way).
0 Replies
 
Foxfyre
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Mar, 2007 01:54 pm
Much More Than A Coincidence: Hate The War, Love The CoverageSOURCE
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Mar, 2007 02:09 pm
With a new thread, cjhsa referred to a report in today's washington Post about the latest Zogby poll.



97% of Republicans say the press is liberal - I mean, when you consider the Chicago Sun-Times and the WSJ is liberal papes, such figure is even more than understandable.
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Mar, 2007 02:16 pm
Cycloptichorn wrote:
What a bunch of bullsh*t. When we want lessons in media credibility, let's go ask the American Enterprise Institute?

No thanks.


American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research


Quote:
Second on the list of grant recipients of the conservative foundations, AEI garnered close to $7 million over the 1992-1994 period to help finance its work in domestic and foreign policy affairs. Senior AEI staff include Robert Bork, Lynne Cheney, Charles Murray, Michael Novak, and approximately 30 other conservative public intellectuals and activists, many of whom are closely intertwined with the institutional apparatus of the right. William Baroody, Jr., AEI's president between 1978 and 1986, was explicit about AEI's intention to mobilize public and elite opinion and to shape major national policy issues, acknowledging that policy relevance depends to a great extent on effective techniques to relate ideology to constituency.

Judging from AEI's own statements, the institution has moved to assume a more aggressive and conservative public policy role, perhaps owing to conservative efforts to "defund" the think tank during the mid-1980s when some judged its research orientation to be too centrist.


Quote:
AEI provides a home and literary launching pad for arch-conservative scholars like Charles Murray ("The Bell Curve") and Dinesh D'Souza ("The End of Racism"), as well as former conservative office-holders like U.N. ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick and Dan Quayle's chief of staff William Kristol. Long-time AEI associates also include Robert Bork and now Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.


I'm glad FF referenced these folks.

The grant sources/amounts were interesting.
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Fri 16 Mar, 2007 04:09 pm
Using the example of two new NYT and WaPo stories on John McCain, Jonathan Chait puts the finger on one of the main persistent illnesses of America's news media of today:

Quote:
MCCAIN'S BLURRY PERSONA:

I guess I just don't understand news journalism. Today's New York Times has a story about John McCain's failing attempt to recapture the spirit of his 2000 run. Yesterday's Washington Post had a similar story. Both are good reads with plenty of interesting insights.

But neither of them come anywhere close to addressing the fundamental question. The stories tell you that McCain is trying to get in the good graces of the GOP base, but that some still distrust him, and many of his independent fans from eight years ago have abandoned him. They also feature McCain and his aides insisting that they haven't changed a thing about his political philosophy.

What they don't do is make any attempt to address the validity of these claims. I'm not claiming to be any sort of journalistic role model, but my TRB column does at least quickly run through many of the ways McCain veered sharply left during and after the 2000 race, and some of the ways he veered back to the right starting in 2004. These are the basic facts you need to understand why conservatives still distrust him and why his claims of utter consistency aren't true.

Instead it's all left vague. We are informed that there is "a sense among some Republicans that [McCain's] campaign had faltered in the early going and that his political identity had been blurred rather than enhanced by his efforts to position himself as first in line for the nomination." Why has McCain's public identity been blurred? Should it have been blurred? Neither story makes much of an effort to answer this question, and I wonder if either the Times or the Post is ever going to try.


The commenters add good takes as well:

Quote:
posted by ejbenjamin on 2007-03-16 14:32:15

You're exactly right. I'm reminded of the way post-debate analysis in 2004 consisted of analyzing the performances instead of the content of the debate itself.

The press is just terrified of discussing each candidates' platform, which is why it always seems there's nothing to vote on but "character."


Quote:
posted by jhildner on 2007-03-16 15:33:42

I don't understand news journalism either. To them, "objectivity" means that they cannot be seen to take sides, even a little bit, even when the question is one of fact. A story will announce, "Some say X; others Y," without truly presenting the full argument for X and Y, or God forbid, reveal any independent investigation into X and Y. This is much worse than a simple omission of information -- it conveys the usually false impression that X and Y are in fact equally valid. Balance is mistaken for objectivity. But balance is *usually* wrong (X and Y are seldom *equally* valid), and so "balanced" news stories *usually* convey falsehoods -- the opposite of the mission. Objectivity merely requires putting aside your preferences and prejudices and presenting the facts -- all the relevant facts you can find -- as if you were an expert on X and Y but indifferent as to whether X or Y won. This can be difficult, but it is (or should be) the nature of the job.

All of which reminds one of Paul Krugman's quip: "if President Bush said that the Earth was flat, the headlines of news articles would read, 'Opinions Differ on Shape of the Earth.'"

And none of this, note, has to do with any media "bias". It's simply lack of professionalism, or lack of courage to be professional. And it has a detrimental effect on democracy.
0 Replies
 
 

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