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Media Bias? Who Cares!

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In a highly publicized $100 million lawsuit against her former employers at NewsCorp, Judith Regan has made various seemingly paranoid claims about a conspiracy against her at the publishing giant. The accusations seem to center on her claim that NewsCorp has a political alliance with Rudy Giuliani and has attempted to discredit her so that she can't harm Giuliani through the use of information obtained through her former relationship with Giuliani associate and former NYPD Chief Bernard Kerik.

Regan's accusations have raised some ire in both the new and the old media, both directed at her and surrounding the issue of media bias, trotting out the good old accusations that Fox News is partisan and that they are actively promoting Giuliani for the presidency to the exclusion of other candidates. At Salon.com they've even gone so far as to analyze how much airtime Giuliani has been given compared to other candidates and concluded that he's their chosen golden boy.

Not surprisingly, when an accusation like this comes up, we can turn to the blogosphere for some pretty sophisticated analysis, including Juxtable.com which has compiled a variety of raw candidate exposure stats online and in the media, and Outside the Beltway which has done a detailed breakdown by network and candidate of whom the various networks seems to be giving the most face time to. By this analysis Giuliani does seem to be the FoxNews favorite, but he's only slightly ahead of Fred Thompson. But other networks have their favorites too. MSNBC loves Biden and Dodd. CNN likes Richardson and Hunter. NBC likes McCain and Edwards. CBS likes Obama. ABC likes Edwards. With all the networks taken together McCain and Biden are actually way out ahead on overall exposure. Interestingly, front runner Hillary Clinton gets relatively little exposure in cable news and the broadcast media.

To be entirely fair, it seems an awful lot like the candidates who get a lot of media time are the ones who make themselves most available, handle themselves well in interviews and know it. And it's debatable how valuable all this exposure is, since the two frontrunners are ranked 9th and 12th in overall media exposure, while the rapidly vanishing Joe Biden is ranked second and McCain's top ranking doesn't seem to be catapulting him ahead of Giuliani or even into second place. So the whole issue of Fox News being extra nice to Giuliani may be fairly meaningless if other candidates are getting more overall exposure and all that extra exposure doesn't really help the candidate all that much.

Then there is the question of whether media partisanship is even an issue which we should find controversial. This bizarre idea that news sources are supposed to be impartial is of very recent origin and has always been honored more in the breach than in observance. From the very beginning of American history our news outlets have been overwhelmingly partisan. They have had alliances with specific parties and candidates, and they've even been owned by political organizations. In fact, through most of our history, if you had a cause to promote the way you did it was to start a newspaper and then use it to viciously attack your enemies.

In the federalist era the Federalist Party got their political message out through their pet paper The Gazette of the United States where Alexander Hamilton would fill the pages with scurrilous attacks on political opponents under various pseudonyms. In response Thomas Jefferson and his Republicans hired Phillip Freneau to publish The National Gazette while he was on the government payroll to smear Hamilton and the Federalists. These papers accepted advertising and published news, but their primary purpose for existing was as vehicles of political propaganda.

In the 1830s and 1840s abolitionists like Benjamin Lundy and William Lloyd Garrison started newspapers to promote their cause. Garrison published The Liberator for more than 30 years. The tradition of radical causes publishing newspapers continued throughout the 19th and into the 20th century. One of the most famous examples being the German-American Anarchist/Socialist newspaper Arbiter Zeitung which was published in Chicago prior to World War II. Its major competitor, the New York communist paper The Daily Worker, continued to be published until 1958 and even carries on today as the Peoples Weekly World.

As newspapers became better established this pattern of partisanship did not change. When every city had more than one newspaper invariably one would side with one political party and one with the other. Newspaper chains even had political associations. William Randolph Hearst was notorious for promoting particular candidates and policies through his newspapers nationwide. His support could make a political career and he boasted that he could swing the votes of Congress behind any issue. Even today that tradition continues in newspapers despite a veneer of objectivity. Every New Yorker knows that the New York Times is the liberal paper and the Daily News is the conservative paper. Every Washingtonian knows that the Washington Post is liberal and the Washington Times is conservative.

When newspapers were our only real mass media no one thought twice about their blatant partisanship. Their editorial pages endorsed candidates and their news reporting was politically slanted, and no one expected it to be any other way. For some reason, as new media like radio and television began to emerge, journalists became obsessed with the unrealistic fiction of media objectivity. Their role as the 'fourth estate' seems to have gone to their heads, and they bought into the egotistical idea that they were protecting some great public trust with a monopoly on truth and honesty.

This idea of expecting neutrality, balance and objectivity from our news sources is relatively recent in origin and seems inherently designed to encourage hypocrisy. Reporting the news factually does seem desirable and there is certainly a need for straightforward news content, but that's not really what news networks are selling. Most of their programming is not pure news, but is more on the order of editorial content and news-based entertainment. Talking head shows with celebrity hosts like Bill O'Reilly, Chris Matthews and Sean Hannity are not reporting the news and they shouldn't be expected to be neutral. These partisan shows are the ones which get the interviews and which provide a welcoming atmosphere for candidates and national political figures, because they see the hosts as sympathetic. These hosts have political preferences just like any other citizen or group, so why not encourage them to be above board and open about their allegiances and give up hypocritical claims of neutrality or being 'fair and balanced'?

The idea that every issue and every candidate and every perspective should be treated equally is ridiculous. Measuring out airtime to give each political pespective a fair airing is utterly impractical. It's also an idea which seems only to be taken seriously when there's political advantage to be gained from it or a specific target to be attacked, as is the case with the so-called 'fairness doctrine' which is transparently intended to silence talk radio because it's too right-wing while ignoring other areas of the media where left-leaning causes and candidates fare better. Listeners hardly come to Rush Limbaugh or Fox News with virginal ears.  They come there looking for a particular slant on news and it's bizarre and authoritarian to suggest they should be forced to listen to something other than what they sought out.  The 700 Club features a newscast. Would it be reasonable for the Church of Satan to sue Pat Robertson demanding equal time?

We've got right and left wing media outlets in every format, from print to radio to broadcast and cable television. All of them are run by people with political allegiances or driven by successful shows with particular political leanings. They are businesses which have business relationships with politicians and power groups. Maybe it's time to step back, be a bit realistic and stop expecting impossibly high standards of neutrality from the media. Know them for what they are and the faults and biases which they so obviously have, and watch or read the ones you like and take them no more seriously than they deserve. So long as the pure news portion of their programming gets the basic facts right, their editorial slant and their political allegiances ought not to be an issue for contention.

Media bias is a fact of life. Let Fox News be the Rudy Giuliani cheerleader squad while the New York Times tries to figure out whether to deify Hillary or Obama first. Is anyone really so naive to expect something different from these news outlets? People pick which one to watch or read based on the awareness that they come with a particular bias. Hell, that's a big part of what helps make them popular with their target audience.

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About Dave Nalle

  • Zedd

    Dave

    The only problem is that Fox came into being because they claimed that the rest of the media was skewed in one particular direction so THEY would be balanced. Their viewership consists of those who have come to believe that the rest of the media is bias. This accusation if it turns out to have merit says that Fox is hypocritical. THAT is the crux of the issue not that there is or isn’t media bias.

    The truth is Giuliani does not get more coverage than the other Republican candidates, he gets better coverage.

    What we have come to know is that all of the moaning that Republicans have been doing for the past 25 years or so has turned out to be baseless, immature or disingenuous prattle. Whenever given the chance the “Right” has failed and actually surpassed whatever accusation that they have made against everyone else (Left or center or just different from them).

    The problem is that because this party has risen by complaining and playing victim, whining and bemoaning the domination, immorality, fiscal irresponsibility, dangerous and unpatriotic nature of THE LEFT. Now that it has come to light that they top THE LEFT in all of those areas, what oh what will they do?

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Zedd, you’re letting your own rather irrational prejudices shine through. Your comment doesn’t read like a response to the article as much as a hate-filled screed against Republicans. I guess you’re missing the reassurance you once got from Air America?

    The only problem is that Fox came into being because they claimed that the rest of the media was skewed in one particular direction so THEY would be balanced.

    From their perspective the rest of the media was skewed the other way. And if you look at Fox, clearly their bias IS different from that of the other networks, so even if you don’t like them you have to admit they were right.

    Their viewership consists of those who have come to believe that the rest of the media is bias. This accusation if it turns out to have merit says that Fox is hypocritical. THAT is the crux of the issue not that there is or isn’t media bias.

    Fox is not any more hypocritical than any other network which claims neutrality and offers something else. The only difference is that you don’t like the particular bias Fox offers.

    The truth is Giuliani does not get more coverage than the other Republican candidates, he gets better coverage.

    McCain gets some very positive coverage. But the real point is that Hillary gets a lot of negative coverage even from left-leaning media, and it’s not particularly hurting her.

    What we have come to know is that all of the moaning that Republicans have been doing for the past 25 years or so has turned out to be baseless, immature or disingenuous prattle. Whenever given the chance the “Right” has failed and actually surpassed whatever accusation that they have made against everyone else (Left or center or just different from them).

    Actually, what we’ve learned is that they were absolutely dead-on about everything they complained about. But we also learned that they were incapable of solving the problems they identified so well.

    The problem is that because this party has risen by complaining and playing victim, whining and bemoaning the domination, immorality, fiscal irresponsibility, dangerous and unpatriotic nature of THE LEFT. Now that it has come to light that they top THE LEFT in all of those areas, what oh what will they do?

    Say ‘I told you so’ a lot for the next decade or so.

    Dave

  • troll

    …more likely 40 years or so through another great depression and a couple more world wars

  • Dan Miller

    The thrust of the article seems to be, or at least should be,

    “So long as the pure news portion of their programming gets the basic facts right, their editorial slant and their political allegiances ought not to be an issue for contention.”

    “Fair and balanced editorial comment” is rather an oxymoron, and anyone who expects that of The New York Times or the Washington Times or any other news medium is going to be disappointed.

    It is, however, reasonable to expect that documents not be redacted or otherwise modified to suit the ideological biases of the media, that “news” photos not be changed substantively through the wonders of Photoshop, and that left, right or other bias not be the overriding factor in deciding what news gets published.

    If political debates are to cease being the joke they presently are, perhaps moderators having different biases should be used, for the same debate. A debate co-moderated by, for example, Rush Limbaugh and Wolf Blitzer would, at least, be entertaining and might even ferret out the candidates’ current positions. Whether candidates would willingly subject themselves to this sort of thing is, of course, another question.

  • http://gravelkucinichpaulnader.blogspot.com/ gravel kucinich paul nader

    Gravel kucinich paul nader perot carter [conyers?rangel?] united for truth elicit fear smear blacklist.

    The people know too much,
    democracy rising democracy now.
    Rage against the machine.

    Honesty compassion intelligence guts.

    No more extortion blackmail bribery division.
    Divided we fall.

  • Zedd

    Dave,

    I’m not sure if you do this intentionally or not but you have a tendency to re-spin the obvious into whatever you want it to be. When something becomes completely obvious to EVERYONE, you tend to restate it so that what is obvious appears to have always been obvious to ALL even if you were the greatest supporter of the idiotic notion before its debunking.

    The so called liberal media has been saying what you just wrote an article about, and more (which doesn’t seem to have been revealed to you YET, you’ll get it a decade later). However when the accusations of FOX’s bias come out, you go into repair mode with this flimsy attempt.

    Lets all pray that the American public is not SO gullible.

    How much are you getting paid?

    Also, who were you responding to. I don’t hate Republicans. I hate STUPID. What FOX and Rush and all of that lot represent is STUPID. What is said is that the dumb, incurious, big mouths in our society are prevailing and actually having an impact in our culture. Do you realize that the demise in our culture overall has a great deal to do with the STUPID that is permitted in these venues? The elite use the masses to occupy them with WWR style “politics” so that they can pursue their own endeavor, however what happens is that in a generation, no one remembers that it was all a rouse. It becomes the culture. Puffy and JZ become the American icons and Bush becomes President.

  • REMF

    “A debate co-moderated by, for example, Rush Limbaugh and Wolf Blitzer would, at least, be entertaining…”

    Rush Limbaugh and James Carville would be more entertaining. You know, a draft dodger and Marine veteran…

  • Dan Miller

    Zedd,

    I think you may have pinpointed the problem: “stupid.”

    However, labeling an opposing point of view as “stupid” does little if anything to advance debate. I may consider your views “stupid,” and you may consider mine “stupid;” unfortunately, labels such as “stupid,” “racist,” “xenophobic,” “anti-american,” and the like are easy to throw and very difficult to catch. They defy analysis and are therefore essentially meaningless. It is not unlike cussing.

    The question to Mr. Nalle in your recent post, “How much are you getting paid?” is in the nature of an ad hominem digression. Presumably, the gentleman writes for a living and gets paid for it. Messrs. O’Reilly, Blitzer, et al as well as the president, all members of the Congress, all Government employees, and just about everyone else in the world works for pay. We haven’t yet achieved a world such as that rhapsodized by Kipling in “When the earth’s last picture is painted,” where

    “nobody will work for money and no one will work for fame, but each for the joy of working and each in his separate star, will paint the thing as he sees it, for the God of things as they are.”

    Nor is that likely in the immediate future. So what if Mr. Nalle gets paid for writing? Does a rhetorical question of that sort contribute to the discussion, or simply constitute another form of uninformative “cussing?” It may reinforce the beliefs of those who already agree with you, but that’s about it.

    The notion that opposing views are, almost by definition, “stupid” or deserving of similar pejorative adjectives is one of the main reasons for the polarization of our society, which renders us dysfunctional. You state,

    “I don’t hate Republicans. I hate STUPID. What FOX and Rush and all of that lot represent is STUPID.”

    Fox news is not “stupid,” and neither is the New York Times. They have their viewpoints, some of which withstand analysis better than others. It is not difficult to discover the biases in their editorials and in their news reports as well. It helps to have multiple sources of information, and to weigh them each against the others.

    If the U.S. is to recover from the unfortunate polarization which divides us, it will be necessary to abjure labels and to focus of the facts (as we discern them — and many of us will doubtless see them differently) and the issues.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Dan seems to have grasped the concept in #4, and as he points out, there’s a huge difference between bias or preferential treatment and outright fraud. Of course, news sources should be taken to task for presenting fraudulent information, but trying to silence them because you disagree with them or because they represent a particular political perspective is contrary to our basic belief in free speech and a free press.

    Of course the problem that raises is that some people are so incredibly partisan that it actually warps their perception of reality so that they can’t even agree on what is truth and what is a lie.

    Dave

  • Maurice®

    Wow Dan! You are a smart guy.

    Maybe I just think that because I happen to agree with you…..

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    I’m not sure if you do this intentionally or not but you have a tendency to re-spin the obvious into whatever you want it to be. When something becomes completely obvious to EVERYONE, you tend to restate it so that what is obvious appears to have always been obvious to ALL even if you were the greatest supporter of the idiotic notion before its debunking.

    And you seem to have a knack for taking something simple and restating it so that it’s as bewilderingly incomprehensible as possible.

    My article was inspired by the article I link to in Salon.com which seems to have rediscovered the fact that Fox News is pro Republican. If they can rediscover that fact and be horribly shocked by it, then I think I can react and point out that they’re being hypocritical and overreacting.

    However when the accusations of FOX’s bias come out, you go into repair mode with this flimsy attempt.

    You seem to have missed the point of the article alltogether. The point is no ‘repair mode’ to go into, because there is nothing to repair. Media neutrality is a bizarre fiction and I thought I’d put it in historical context.

    Lets all pray that the American public is not SO gullible.

    But you clearly assume that they ARE gullible, that they somehow get sucked in by Fox News and indoctrinated. That’s what your entire position is based on, and there’s zero evidence to support that assumption.

    How much are you getting paid?

    For writing this? Not bloody much, and what I do get is based on advertiser payments on my home blog, not on what I write or who I write it about.

    Would you ask a question like this of someone whose work appeared in the NY Times or the WaPo? I find it insulting that you assume that someone must be getting paid to hold an opinion contrary to yours, as if no one would write an article taking this position unless they are being paid. It goes hand in hand with the ridiculous arrogance you express in your next paragraph.

    Also, who were you responding to.

    Like I said, Salon.com.

    I don’t hate Republicans. I hate STUPID. What FOX and Rush and all of that lot represent is STUPID. What is said is that the dumb, incurious, big mouths in our society are prevailing and actually having an impact in our culture.

    You determine that these people are stupid solely because they disagree with you. You are apparently the definition of intelligent and anyone who disagrees with you must therefore be stupid. Do you realize how arrogant and nonsensical you sound?

    Intelligent people can, in fact, have different beliefs and even reach different conclusions based on the same set of facts. To not realize that truth makes you at the least bigoted and narrow minded.

    Do you realize that the demise in our culture overall has a great deal to do with the STUPID that is permitted in these venues? The elite use the masses to occupy them with WWR style “politics” so that they can pursue their own endeavor, however what happens is that in a generation, no one remembers that it was all a rouse. It becomes the culture. Puffy and JZ become the American icons and Bush becomes President.

    Some would argue that mindless, self-righteous elitism is at much at fault for the decline of society and that some of the things you decry are just parts of our culture which reasonable people can accept and take in stride rather than lashing out irrationally.

    Dave

  • Dan Miller

    Maurice,

    Thanks for your comments in #9.

    Please be generous when the hat is passed. Unfortunately, the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy doesn’t pay much.

    Dan

  • REMF

    “I don’t hate Republicans. I hate STUPID. What FOX and Rush and all of that lot represent is STUPID.”
    – Zedd
    “Fox news is not “stupid,” and neither is the New York Times.”
    – Dan Miller

    And neither is Limbaugh. I mean, how many guys dodged the draft during Vietnam (medical deferment for a pimple on their ass), and then were able to later on become multi-millionaires pretending to be a patriot…?

  • brian

    Is this the same Dave who complains of (non-existent)media suppression in Venezuela, yet is not worried about media bias ….It exists because people choose to ignore it.

  • Zedd

    Dave,

    I don’t see an ideology where Fox is concerned.

    You see you keep assuming that I am a Democrat. I am not.

    What Fox does is propel ignorance in this country by watering down the debate.

    Because many of you came off age when stupid meant Republican, you cant even see that what is presented as Republican is more so baseness, crass, simpleminded, short cut, sound bited nothingness to keep you thinking you are consumed with substance.

    What is even worse is that the same people have required the rest of the media to dummy down in order to accommodate them. What was done to PBS was criminal.

    However you wont understand what I mean when i say that it is stupid because you are fine with it.

  • Zedd

    Dan,

    I’m sorry to disappoint but I don’t have left leanings in particular.

    Also the notion of having apposing views presented by individuals from both perspectives has been examined, done and has been challenged by many scholars. It is not considered to be an affective way to inform the public.

    You see the point of news is not to fit into the camp of the viewers/readers. The purpose is to inform the public on what is new in our world. In the past the format was to introduce experts from whatever field, studies if you will that give information about our society by the specialists in those field. When many of those studies came out and were not liked (or simple and folksy enough) many ESPECIALLY those on the right claimed that there was a bent to the left. They wanted their guesses about our world to be substantiated. When they were not, they pouted and continue to do so. THAT is what I mean by STUPID.

    You thought I was being partisan but again that is how stupid our discourse has become. What I mean that contextually based dialog has been replaced with a relativism that is out of context. When decades of non biased studies substantiate a notion, you cant believe your way out of it. You can’t slant or bias your way out of it. However this thing that Fox or Rush does suggests that ones political views can erase or supersede intellectually acquired knowledge, that learning information that does not fit your views is irrelevant. New knowledge that is not part of what you think the world is like, should be ignored and worse, suppressed.

    That is what I mean by STUPID. I would hope that you agree.

  • Lumpy

    And if anyone knows STUPID it’s certainly Zedd.

    But then Zedd doesn’t even understand the basic fact that the purpose of news is to sell advertising.

  • STM

    Wrong Lumpy, that’s a recent idea.

    The purpose of newspapers is to present news (and to entertain). It’s the sales figures/ratings, usually decided by how widely read or viewed a publication/show might be, that dictate how much advertising there is going to be, and whether the medium is right for the advertiser.

    So in essence, the better the quality of news, the more advertising.

    So news is the driver of the business, rather than the advertising. It’s not a salient point.

    Journalists are not, and should never be, as one media proprietor (not Murdoch) recently described them, “cotent providers for advertising platforms”. That might be how business graduates look at the whole thing, but journalists see it differently.

    Which is why the most successful media companies are run by people who understand the business: journalists.

  • STM

    BTW, it’s worth noting among all those convinced that the media can’t be bipartisan, Sydney’s Murdoch-published The Sunday Telegraph, Australia’s largest selling newspaper, has just backed a change of government here – in next week’s federal election – that would see Bush’s mate John Howard ousted and replaced by the Labor government of Kevin Rudd. Previously, Murdoch has supported Howard.

    Since Rudd’s Labor Party is very left-leaning compared to the “Liberal” Party (a misnomer if ever there was) of John Howard, it would be a mistake to think that Murdoch seemingly sees it all as good business.

    One expectation in Australia is that if Rudd wins, lower- and middle-level wage-earners will have their wages increased as Howard’s employer-driven Orwellian-sounding WorkChoices (= no choice), introduced without telling anyone that it was going to be done, is dumped in the garbage bin of history, where it belongs.

    That Murdoch in this case is not backing the government that would be better for his profits in the long run (or has not exercised influene over an editor) is telling.

    Murdoch is a journalist. Yes, he’s rough around the edges and Fox News appears to the right of Genghis Khan, but not all of what he does is thus inclined. News is news, and no matter what spin is put on it, ultimately it’s up to us to decide whether we take any notice of it.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Murdoch is a chameleon. His recent action in Australia is a repeat of his volte face during the 1997 British general election campaign. His main national newspapers, the Times and the Sun, which had always been unshakeably Conservative. When it became blindingly obvious even to a deaf-blind lemming that John Major was going to be hung out to dry by the electorate, Murdoch promptly realigned his papers behind Tony Blair’s Labour Party. The rest is history.

    Bottom line, the guy sells newspapers. And he knows that means his newspapers need to be visibly supporting the party that is going to get the most votes.

    Howard may as well hand over the Lodge keys to Rudd right now.

  • STM

    Nah, sadly I reckon Howard will sneak back in by a whisker – his party, anyway. He’s facing an uphill battle in his own seat, and may lose it.

    Stranger things have happened. Truth is though Doc, Aussies hate change. If Rudd does win, it’ll be a whisker as well.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    I don’t see an ideology where Fox is concerned.

    Then you must not be watching.

    You see you keep assuming that I am a Democrat. I am not.

    Actually, all I’ve gathered from your comments are an irrational hatret of Republicans, which doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a Democrat.

    What Fox does is propel ignorance in this country by watering down the debate.

    I’d be curious what you mean by watering down the debate, or more specifically what you think the ‘debate’ actually is. From your comments my impression is that you think the debate is whether Bush should be shot or hanged. For some of the rest of us it’s a bit more complex.

    Because many of you came off age when stupid meant Republican, you cant even see that what is presented as Republican is more so baseness, crass, simpleminded, short cut, sound bited nothingness to keep you thinking you are consumed with substance.

    This is where you lose me utterly. It seems so divorced from reality that I can’t relate. You seem to think that Fox News essentially IS the GOP and that because it is ‘stupid’ in your estimation then the party or its leaders or its members are equally ‘stupid’. You paint with the kind of broad brush which a lot of people would call ‘stupid’ if that word weren’t already being used too much.

    What is even worse is that the same people have required the rest of the media to dummy down in order to accommodate them. What was done to PBS was criminal.

    Sorry, I seem to have missed the criminality of what was done to PBS. Did it get sold to Fox with no one telling me?

    However you wont understand what I mean when i say that it is stupid because you are fine with it.

    Watch MSNBC sometime and tell me that you honestly think Fox News is one iota stupider. The stupidity didn’t come from the Republicans and it didn’t come from Fox News, it came from pandering to the AUDIENCE. You’ve mistaken the cause for the result.

    Dave

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Come on now, Stan, I reckon you’re just being pessimistic to shield yourself against the possibility of bitter disappointment. Rudd’s pretty much got it in the bag, if this BBC report is anything to go by.

    What are the prospects for Labor forming a coalition government if they fall short of the 16-seat gain they need for an overall majority?

    And, for that matter, for WorkChoices to be dropped like a hot potato by a Howard-less Liberal Party if the scenario you refer to does indeed happen?

  • Zedd

    Dave,

    Are you saying that Fox upholds the essence of Republican values?

  • Zedd

    Dave,

    I just read the rest of your response.

    Gosh, its clear that you have no clue where my response is coming from. It’s clear that you haven’t exposed yourself to that which would cause you to see the fallacy in what Fox is. It’s clear that you don’t know what is missing in what they do and how it has affected our society. Your insistence in pushing the idea that I would hate complete strangers is just odd to me. I suppose if you have been inundated by ideas of red vs blue, them against us, with us or against us, you would come to that conclusion and I hate THAT. Sorry I have no reason to hate Republicans or love them for that matter. Republicans are not a single entity. I vote Republican many times, I suppose I’d hate to hate myself too.

    Like I said, I’ll catch you in a decade. Perhaps another moment of illumination will hit.

  • troll

    Stan – here’s to you and yours…I trust that your daughter is doing well

    Dave – perhaps your target shouldn’t be unrealistic attitudes towards bias but rather government ‘ownership’ and control of the ‘airwaves’

  • Clavos

    “Bottom line, the guy sells newspapers.”

    Quoted for Truth.

    I go with Doc on this one, Stan. Murdoch put Fox on its present course because that’s what SELLS here these days.

    And the proof is in the pudding: much to the lefties’ chagrin, Fox is top amongst cable outlets in most “news” categories.

    Murdoch read the audience well, and it’s paying off big time for him.

    I would say he’s first and foremost an astute and canny businessman who chose journalism as his field in which to excel. And excel he has.

    Mind you, if this sounds like censure, I mean no such thing. On the contrary, he gets props (IMO) for doing what he does so well.

  • Zedd

    Clav

    Are you saying that above all else, making money is most honorable to you?

  • Zedd

    STM

    News is news, and no matter what spin is put on it, ultimately it’s up to us to decide whether we take any notice of it.

    However, if the journalists are the people who are trained to get the news for us then where do we get the information to judge the correctness of their reports if all reports may or may not be worthwhile. Journalism is a vocation and not an art form. Like cashiers or doctors or garbageman, we expect that they will do their job well. If they don’t, we as a society suffer. We are dumber and less equipped to make good discussions or even evolve adequately as a society. George Bush is no anomaly, he is a reflection of what we have become.

  • Clavos

    I don’t see the phrase “above all else” anywhere in my post, Zedd.

    I said Murdoch does what he does better than almost all (maybe all) of his competitors, which is an accomplishment most people never attain.

    He’s a businessman who does well in his chosen business.

    That’s admirable, yes.

    Don’t read too much into it, Zedd.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    The problem is imprecisely described as news bias.

    Instead, it’s when opinion is treated as news and news treated as opinion that destructive distortions appear. [The NY Times and the Wall St Journal do a pretty clear-cut, admirable job of keeping pure opinion on the editorial pages, and trying for an objective, even-handed approach to reporting on other pages. Now that Murdoch owns the Journal, will this good practice continue?]

    The other problem is that of distortions being repeated and amplified until they become accepted as facts or ‘the truth.’

    Virtually every rightist on here [and elsewhere] claims an inherent leftward bias in the ‘MSM.’ Virtually everyone left of these loud voices think that’s nonsense, and in fact that it’s rightists who distort the news and the public’s perception of the news.

    They can’t both be right, but maybe they’re not both completely wrong. I’m glad there are watchdog sites [Media Matters and FAIR.org on the left, Accuracy in Media and Media Research Center on the right, and many, many others]. Rather than attacking these sites as partisan [yes, of course they are], we should use them to keep ourselves informed of the many, many times [especially in an election year] that each side will overstep the bounds of fairness.

    I’m glad there are starting to be some liberal loudmouths on TV and radio to counterbalance what used to be primarily a Republican medium [and Limbaugh and Hannity et al still dominate the shouting-match type programs]. Listening to either one for very long can give you a headache. But I make it a point to sample both sides…it helps me form my own opinions more clearly.

    It’s easy to yell and call people names. Considerably harder to actually think about what’s going on in the world and admit how complex many issues are, how little one actually knows.

  • http:// Baronius

    Dave, since imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, I thank you. This article is a nice fleshing-out of my comment #36 on the Obama/Fox News discussion, posted less than a week ago:

    Zedd – Pot, I’d like you to meet kettle. Kettle, this is pot.

    This article postulates that the right-wing press is going after liberals. You agree. But you totally dismiss the idea that the left-wing press goes after conservatives.

    The press goes after its enemies. Read up about Jefferson and Adams. Jefferson took his feud with Adams to the press, and destroyed the man politically. Alex tries to depict press prejudice as a new thing, but it’s historically more common than impartiality. There were pro- and anti- newspapers on the subjects of independence, abolition, prohibition, and universal suffrage. Even the idea that reporting should be unbiased is fairly new. So is the idea that a person can read the paper uncritically.

    You match my comment point by point, and use some of the same examples.

  • moonraven

    The problem comes down to LYING about bias.

    Fox News claims to be balanced.

    The majority of folks in the US are so ignorant that they believe anything they see or hear on t.v.

    You people need to be protected from yourselves.

  • Dan Miller

    Moonraven wrote in #33,

    “The majority of folks in the US are so ignorant that they believe anything they see or hear on t.v.

    You people need to be protected from yourselves.”

    This seems to be a paraphrase of “the true test of another person’s intelligence is whether he agrees with me.”

    We should all be thankful, as we approach Thanksgiving, that there are so many intelligent people available to keep the rest of us out of trouble. God fearing people should give thanks to Him (or Her or It) for this bounty.

    Seriously, though, many people tend to agree with what they see or (occasionally) read so long as it is consistent with their views. If not, it is “STUPID.”

    Good grief.

  • moonraven

    This seems to be a paraphrase of “the true test of another person’s intelligence is whether he agrees with me.”

    Hardly.

    It is a comment that you folks wouldn’t know a hawk from a handsaw if your life depended on it–because you have been brainwashed (what little brain you had is now DEAD).

    The true test of a person’s intelligence is whether he or she has the SKILL to detect PROPAGANDA and LIES.

    [Personal attack deleted by Comments Editor]

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Virtually every rightist on here [and elsewhere] claims an inherent leftward bias in the ‘MSM.’ Virtually everyone left of these loud voices think that’s nonsense, and in fact that it’s rightists who distort the news and the public’s perception of the news.

    Just for the record, I don’t hold that position and I know a number of other people of the ‘rational right’ who share my opinion that the main bias of the media is towards finding a market niche and making money, regardless of political affiliation.

    The evidence that most reporters and news producers are left-leaning is pretty overwhelming, but I don’t think that their personal political views outweigh the profit-motivation of network management.

    Dave

  • Zedd

    Dan,

    I find it problematic that you dismiss everyone that is making a critique of our culture in this instance as being from the other side.

    Perhaps this is your form of escape. Some drink, others bury their heads in the sand and others pretend to face issues head on by simply pooh poohing everything that they find unsettling. By responding to the rhetoric, they feel as if they have engaged, when they really haven’t.

    You accused me earlier of quelching the discourse. It would seem to me that it is you who is shutting the conversation down by going back to ‘them vs us’ every time a critique is offered.

    If you would like to get good dialogue and debate going, ask questions where you are uncertain. If you don’t know what someone means by “lying about bias” or “stupid” or “ignorant”, ask for more information. The manner in which you respond suggests that you think you know what is meant by those phrases, why they are being said and YOU get to decide their relevance… In my case you were way off about your assumptions but arrogantly admonished me…

    Slow your role there Socrates. There is a method to engaging in good dialogue and understanding.

  • Dan Miller

    In re #35

    Dear me. Such anger toward poor Mr. Nalle.

    Bertrand Russell wrote, many years ago, that people become most angry and upset when the views about which they have doubts are challenged. For example, if someone were to tell me that 2 + 2 = 7, I would feel sorry for the poor uneducated lunatic. I KNOW that 2 + 2 = 5 (or whatever) and would not become angry. But if someone were to assert a position contrary to one I strongly hold, but concerning which I harbor doubts, I would become upset.

    Think about it.

  • Martin Lav

    Dan, I think MoonRaven is in love with Dave Nalle, that’s why you see so much protestation from her about anything he says. She has even professed hatred towards that fine looking actor that Dave loves to compare himself to, Robert Vaughn.

    It’s a pity she didn’t go to Vegas to meet up with him at the bloggers convention…

  • moonraven

    I do not go Anywhere TO MEET UP WITH FATUOUS GRINGOS FROM THE 2ND GRADE OF PRIMARY SCHOOL who spend therir llives supporting the murder of Palestinians.

  • Martin Lav

    see told ya….

  • Dan Miller

    Zedd,

    I am at a bit of a loss to know which of my posts offended you. If you will let me know, I will try to respond.

    I don’t think that the U.S. culture is perfect — far from it. In fact, I think it has pretty much become a pig’s breakfast. With more than three hundred million people in the U.S., an informed democracy has substantially ceased to exist. With that many people, political discourse is reduced to ten second sound bites or, even worse, to bumper sticker slogans. We quite possibly have different views on this, and even if we agree, we quite possibly have different views as to the causes.

    My wife and I are “ex pats” and live on thirteen acres a rural area up in the mountains in the Republic of Panama (population roughly three million, for the whole country), with our nine horses, five dogs, three cats and a bunch of chickens and ducks. Things are not perfect here, but at least political correctness has not surfaced (fat people are not offended by being nicknamed “gordo”, for example) and people generally expect to work hard for their wages. Medical care, even for poor folks, is generally better than in the U.S. For “gringos,” who can afford about $100.00 per month per couple for medical insurance, it is exceptionally good — far better than in the U.S. Typically, physicians’ business cards reveal not only their office phone numbers, but their cell phone and home phone numbers. This may be related to the fact that malpractice litigation is, for practical purposes, unknown here. Panama is, unfortunately, becoming a haven for “medical tourism,” which may well raise costs for those of us who live here.

    Politics is by and large local, and elected officials can be seen out with picks and shovels fixing roads before and AFTER elections. They know what their constituents need, and try to get elected and re-elected by virtue of what they do to meet those needs. Is there corruption here? Of course there is. Is there more per capita than in the U.S? I don’t know, but I doubt it. Living here has been quite an eye-opener. In many respects, it resembles what I remember from the 1950’s when I was a kid in the U.S.

    I must admit that we do not have television, and hence are not privileged to keep up with the machinations of Fox et al. We do have internet, and I devote an hour or more per day reading the news via the internet. There is quite a lot of variety available, and I try to keep up with both the left and right perspectives of what is going on.

    Again, please let me know what offended you and I will try to respond.

    Dan

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    Great article, Dave. I see little a rational person could disagree with here. (Of course, I haven’t checked, but I’m guessing that a large portion of the 40+ comments above mine are FoxNews-bashing tirades from leftists who believe that Chris Matthews and the NYT are objective and non-partisan…)

  • Zedd

    Dan

    I wasn’t offended. I read you as being dismissive. I enjoy good dialog and you appear to have an interesting perspective, however you didn’t seem to want to entertain any criticism of what we have. Fox is not for Republicans it is all of ours. What they do affects all of us.

    I don’t find an INTENTIONAL bent to be a good thing. What they are saying is that they will not report news but will support already existing ideas. That is dangerous for our progress and evolution.

    What is interesting is that the entire LIBERAL MEDIA campaign was design to give the Republicans less “answer-ability” as they were unfolding their contract with America. That contract was unattainable and they didn’t want any questions so they circumvented the attacks by creating the phantom monster, The Liberal Media. It was a strategy and that is all it was. They started over highlighting minute occurrences and making them seem huge and a demonstration of just how liberal the media had become. It was all a rouse and many on the right fell for it. Gingrich and the Regan machine were brilliant. However, the result is a dummied down media. When the war was ensuing the media was afraid to respond adequately lest they be labeled bias or god forbid, unpatriotic (whatever that is) so they didn’t ask real questions. We ended up not getting any critical dialog taking place about this war and now hundreds of thousands of people are dead and we are in a more shaky place militarily, economically, and clout-wise than we’ve been in 50yrs.

    You are not on this side but if you saw who we are touting as heros you would weep. Look up Puffy…

  • Dan Miller

    Zedd,

    You wrote,

    “I wasn’t offended. I read you as being dismissive. I enjoy good dialog and you appear to have an interesting perspective, however you didn’t seem to want to entertain any criticism of what we have.”

    I certainly didn’t intend to be dismissive, and if you will read my most recent post again you will find that I am very critical of “what we have.” The phrase “pig’s breakfast” is hardly laudatory. The fact that I no longer live in the U.S. should suggest that I feel rather strongly about this. I am very concerned for the U.S., and as things now stand I have no desire to return. That is rather sad, but that’s the way it is.

    I haven’t the foggiest notion who “Puffy” might be. I have heard of the various “pop tarts” who seem to dominate the news, and find that distressing. Have they become our heroes? As to the “Liberal bias,” even the recent study released by Harvard suggests that it exists. Of course, as a Yale graduate (1963), I don’t put that much stock in Harvard studies, but what the heck, it seems rather on point.

    My guess is that we agree more than we disagree, even though we have different perspectives. Perhaps someday over a glass or two of good Panamanian rum we could have an informative discussion.

    Dan

  • moonraven

    Only an unredeemable gringo would think that rum increases the quality of a discussion!

    By Dave’s logic:

    Corruption is everywhere, so who cares? Let’s foment it!

    [Personal attack deleted by Comments Editor]

  • moonraven

    And then there’s: Violence is a fact of life. Who cares? Let’s foment it.

    There is a long list of other atrocious behaviors that Nalle would like to foment, but I will let him post it.

  • REMF

    “I’m guessing that a large portion of the 40+ comments above mine are FoxNews-bashing tirades from leftists who believe that Chris Matthews and the NYT are objective and non-partisan”
    – RJ

    And as a rightist who believes Rush Limbaugh has those traits Elliott, your point is…?

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    MR. you have a real talent for reducing complex ideas to trivial nonsense.

    Dave

  • moonraven

    Wrong as usual, Nalle.

    There is nothing complex–even remotely so–about your ideas.

    [Personal attack deleted by Comments Editor]

  • Martin Lav

    Speaking of fiber you should really add some to your diet as it may help ease the tension you feel

  • Dan Miller

    Isn’t it a shame how a few people can turn an otherwise interesting discussion into an elementary school food fight?

    Dan

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Dan, it seems to only take one person with too much time on her hands who has a self-admitted objective of destroying productive discussion on this site.

    Dave

  • moonraven

    Wrong again, Nalle: YOU refuse to allow any difference of opinion to pass uninsulted. I am only here to hold up a mirror to the obnoxious shit that goes down here–and which HAS gone down here since I first posted sometime in September of last year.

    [Personal attack deleted by Comments Editor]

  • moonraven

    By the way–nice move at distracting folks from your calling for increased media violence, increase violence, increased corruption, pollution and all those other nasties–since they are a fact of life anyway.

  • moonraven

    And my final comment on this thread todsay:

    YOU have too much time on your hands.

    I am multi-tasking, as am writing an article for presentation on US-sponsored terrorism in Latin America.

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    “I am multi-tasking, as am writing an article for presentation on US-sponsored terrorism in Latin America.”

    And we are certain that it will be a serious, objective analysis…

  • troll

    power to the people alienboy slasher dude – and to hell with you and you ineffectual meddling

  • http://www.my-virtual-income.com Christopher Rose

    I serve to live, troll.

  • troll

    xxoo

  • moonraven

    Well, this thread went right into the toilet when I left–complete with the closing big fart by troll.

    Don’t you people have jobs–or drugs to sell–or something?

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Zedd #44:

    I see where you’re coming from but I think the dumbing down has happened mainly in the broadcast media, not the written. This is especially noticeable to me, having grown up with the BBC. It’s akin to living in ancient Athens with Socrates as a teacher and suddenly having him replaced with a glazed-eyed, middle-aged gentleman reading My Pet Goat

    But newspapers in the US are still on the whole very good, and far less given to rhetorical spewing than some of their counterparts across the Atlantic. This even applies to local papers: these are often of far higher quality than British ones, which – in the three or four pages not devoted to ads or the latest doings of the Townswomen’s Guild – often seem to be fixated on the notion that the town they serve is the crucible of a crime war.

    And there’s always PBS. Even though you’ve said before that you think that has been dumbed down too, it still has a great deal of quality programming (at least it does where I live).

    Not to mention the internet, and places like this!

  • troll

    Mohawk huh – but for the Dutch white guys your people would have been disappeared centuries ago at the hands of neighboring tribes

    your people have a long history of aggression (especially towards fellow ‘native americans’) not unlike what you demonstrate here towards most everyone

  • moonraven

    Brit humor, apparently….

  • moonraven

    I believe another way of phrasing what you said is that the Mohawks are known for being fierce warriors.

    If you were literate, you would have been aware that Nancy posted that information on this site many moons ago.

    If you don’t want to be a target of aggression, clean up your act. Post some information about the topics instead of just stalking me like a lame dog after a bitch in heat.

  • troll

    I couldn’t care less about being the target of your aggression…it is your stupid crap clogging these threads that concerns me: my message to you – if you want a flame war fine – I’ll dedicate what little free time I have to the project

    if not clean up your act

  • moonraven

    I am not taking orders from you, troll.

    I will post whatever I damn please.

    Flame away, kamikaze kid. It’s your funeral.

    Since I am busy writing in another window, of course you will have to excuse me when I do not respond any further to your abuse.

  • troll

    ..I await your next filthy attack Mohawk

  • Zedd

    Doc,

    I agree with you.

    I had to stop the NY Times (it got too expensive) now that its free on-line I’ll resume….

    However from 911-the war, even they were being irrational. They were paralyzed because they didn’t want to seem unAmerican (who knows what that is) or left leaning.

    I was weaned on the BBC (on radio). When we came here the media was quite critical and very aggressive. This was right before Watergate. Even though they weren’t versed on international matters, they got us the news. They were forced to mellow down because of a huge campaign which to some of us (I was a child) was obvious.

    Americans have a tendency to get caught up. If you spin it enough it becomes reality. I think its because of the disjointed history and the fact that there is no one foundation. Many come and reinvent themselves here and have no accountability; nothing to hold you accountable for the truth of who you are. Rationale and reality can always be created. You can have slaves and claim to support liberty and everyone buys it. Who else could have invented Hollywood.

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