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pudge (1)

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Journal of pudge (1)

Wednesday April 19, 2006
04:55 PM

Re: Mencken lives

[ #29379 ]

TorgoX links to an article that actually claims the "mainstream media" does not lean strongly left.

It does. There is no reasonable denying of it. As "evidence" it cites the notion that "It's obvious, from the speed with which White House scandals drop from the radar, and the lack of outrage over clearly illegal executive policies, that the 'MSM' has been much, much softer on this president than the last, considering their respective performances."

Putting your begging-the-question fallacy at the end of your sentence doesn't make what precedes and depends on it any less fallacious. I'd argue the White House scandals dropped off the radar because they were almost entirely phony, and that time proved them to be such.

The fact is that no matter how you measure the bias of the mainstream media as a whole, if you do any attempt at an objective study, it comes out on the left.

The real problem, however, is that the liberal bias is relatively isignificant. Contrary to popular belief, reporters and editors are professionals and their personal political bias usually doesn't play a significant role in what stories they cover, or how they cover them.

The "mainstream media" problems are far deeper than mere political bias. The main one is simply the bias toward what sells. Going into war, who wants to hear anything negative about the military? OK, some of you reading this might, and most of you probably just want the "truth" (whatever that is), but most people want to "support the troops."

And so, that's what most of the coverage was. And this has not a jot to do with political bias on the part of the media, and everything to do with the fact that news is a business.

There are other biases too, of course. Reporters are crusaders, and will hop on any juicy or controversial story. This is why the press hopped all over every story that hinted "scandal" for Clinton and Bush. But almost all those stories go away when the press and people get bored, because they lack substance.

Anyway, all that said, the search for "balance" does run afoul, and often. But he overstates the case and puts blame on one side of the political fence, where it clearly does not belong. Witness his blindness:

But the real distinction in my eyes between the bias complaints from the right and from the left is in their very nature. Liberal complaints mainly focus on lies, distortions, and sins of omission, while conservatives complain about "balance." The left wants a press that insists on facts, while the right wants an even presentation of partisan versions of reality.

It's quite cunning to claim about ignoring reality while you're ignoring reality. The "equal time" complaints on the right mostly died out in the 90s. Once the Internet and Fox News went mainstream, those complaints faded away. Now the right complains about 60 Minutes omitting the fact that some of their sources told them the documents were forged before the story aired, and about the media continually repeating the lie that Joe Wilson's trip to Niger had anything to do with Bush's "16 words," and omitting the fact that the Butler Report called thsoe "16 words" "well-founded," and so on.

But he really exposes his argument as the nonsense it is with this gem:

Presenting every issue as a he said/she said dispute, an unending, irresolvable argument, sounds fair, but what happens when one side really is wrong? Some questions are not eternal. Pretending that they are is a disservice to the public.

OK, I'll bite: such as?

He goes on to talk about the notion that "Abramoff and his associates" had given money to Democrats. While he is correct to say that Abramoff did not give money to Democrats, and that there's no reason to think tribes associated with Abramoff were giving money at his direction, or that the money otherwise had anything to do with Abramoff, the problem is that Harry Reid and the Democrats started that line of reasoning. There are many Republicans who got lots of money from tribes associated with Abramoff, and Reid and the Democrats presented that, late last year, as evidence the Republicans in question were corrupt. The BEAST and the Democrats didn't complain when the press bought that "scandal" and ran with it, but when it's found out that the exact same logic applies to Democrats too, now the press is being wrong and unfair.

This is not an example of balance or bias, it is an example of an ignorant sensationalistic press gullibly buying a story from the Democrats, and it coming back to bite them in the ass.

He continues:

Of course, the Democratic Party isn't a morally pure bastion of integrity. It's pretty much impossible to get elected to congress without engaging in some influence-peddling and favor-trading. But to say that they share equal guilt, or really any guilt, in the Abramoff scandal is to tell a lie -- a lie we are being told daily ...

True. But it is also a lie to say that the Republican Party has any guilt in the Abramoff scandal. What's true is that some Republican officials are likely guilty, but to extend that guilt to the Republican Party is to use the same logic that makes people think the Democratic Party is also guilty.

See how that works?

[NOTE: it is true that the Republican Party helped create the system that could be abused to create this scandal (although, so did the Democrats, laying the groundwork from the 60s through the 80s), and further could have prevented things like this from happening, and did not do so, but that's certainly a different type and measure of guilt than what the BEAST and the Democrats are talking about.]

So, is there any other example?

fter Bush's lackluster State of the Union Address Tuesday night, MSNBC's Chris Matthews hosted a panel that consisted of himself, Pat Buchanan, Tucker Carlson, and a sole Democrat, Hilary Rosen -- a former record industry lobbyist whose only apparent qualification for representing the Left is that she's a lesbian. The panel on CNN was similarly skewed three to one, with the more capable Dem hack Paul Begala weathering the ideological beatdown. Fox News is becoming redundant.

Wait a minute. I thought he was trying to show where balance was the problem; now he is saying lack of balance is the problem? My head's spinning.

And that he says Matthews is on the right is mind-boggling. Chris Matthews is a lifelong leftwing Democrat. He has worked in the White House and Congress for prominent Democrats, he is for big federal spending on social programs, for increased taxes on rich people, and he has been one of the harshest critics of the War in Iraq. A lot of people on the left think Matthews is on the right simply because Matthews is a likeable guy who likes everyone, which means Matthews doesn't hate Bush, and actually says nice things about Bush. Horrors.

So it wasn't even 3-to-1, it was 2-to-2. And one of the people actually on the right, Pat Buchanan, doesn't even really like Bush.

This guy's thinking could not be more muddled:

"Where does it end? Will news agencies ever have enough of this bullshit, or will they allow themselves to be pushed further and further right, until they're trying to achieve 'balance' between Neocons and Christian Dominionists? Will Joe Lieberman be marginalized as a 'far left liberal?" So, you want balance then?

"Or will journalists finally be forced to address the fact that some people are just wrong, and that their opinions shouldn't be heeded, and remember the fact that they're supposed to be informing, not indoctrinating, their audience?" Right, and the only example you gave of that was the result of the Democrats convincing the press of the lie that you later complained of when it came to apply to the people on your side. Cry me a river.

"Do we really want to be this stupid?" Oooo, that hurts. Really.

"The truth is not partisan. But sometimes it reflects poorly on one party more than the other. That's not bias; that's reality." And truth normally requires evidence, and none was provided. Funny, that.

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