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Facts. Statistics. Logic. Proof. What have they to do with what's spewing from Europe? Since the Europeans have proved themselves unable to compete militarily and economically, they are trying to diminish the U.S. Think playground taunts, not explicated arguments.

I can't wait to read the next "Spiegel" story on "freedom" of the press in Russia.

Time out a second. I'm not one to buy into partisan boilerplate usually, but in this case, sadly, "propaganda" is EXACTLY the word that the Government Accountabilitiy Office and the FCC, agencies no sane person would label "liberal," have used to describe this Administration's approach to media. Just look at two examples undisputed by either liberals or conservatives: their creation of Social Security "newscasts" without disclosing their government origins, and putting hitherto-repectable journalists on their (read: the taxpayer's) payroll in exchange for good press. I'll allow that maybe the word "propaganda" got to be a narrower term when I wasn't looking, but I doubt it.

As far as the statistics that Ray cites:

1.) Both the Pew Research and MediaResearch surveys share the same underlying flaw: they only deal with "professional" or "objective" journalism, not "opinion" or "entertainment" journalism. Even so far as that goes, they both show that the sector is dominated by MODERATES, not liberals.

Now, why do we care so much about bias in the first place? Because we believe, correctly, that the media has some tangible influence over the public's views, of course. But several research projects, the most recent one out of UNC, I believe, show that it is not, in fact, the New York Timeses or the Wall Street Journals of the world that most influence public opinion. Indeed, it's the Rush Limbaughs, Sean Hannities, and Cross Fires, i.e. "opinion journalism," that are signficantly more effective at molding the views of the Republic. And, the ridiculosity of "Air America" aside, you could never tell me with a straight face that liberals dominate THIS sector.

2.) I always question the methodology of people who think they can categorize coverage into "postive" and "negative." Ignoring this gripe, though, the Columbia survey suffers from selection bias, focusing on the period late in the campaign (the debates and their aftermath) when both Republicans and Democrats agree that Kerry was the strongest. Indeed, that WAS the big story, remember? Kerry didn't choke like we all expected! In fact, I would say that the positive coverage given to Kerry here was a product of the low expectations for him that arose from the preceeding months. Now, do you really believe that if Columbia had created a more holistic survey beginning at an earlier point in time... say, I don't know, over the summer when there was a little bruh-haha over the Swiftboat Veterans, that coverage of Kerry would have come out nearly as positive, or Bush's as negative?

Plus, in the President's defense, it's unfair to compare media coverage of a sitting President running for reelection against someone who, until the campaign, was at best a minor national figure. After all, no matter how much campaigning the President does, he is still, you know, the PRESIDENT, and for better or for worse the media is just naturally more critical of people in power, conservative OR liberal. Just ask Bill Clinton.

Before I'm flamed, let me just conclude by saying that obviously, we're talking about the American media here. The European, especially the German, media have completely different dynamics. I live in Germany now, so if y'all end up discussing that, I can throw in my two cents. But that's a whole other post :)

Everybody in the PR business produces cut&paste-capable output nowadays. Whether it's plain old press releases being written in reported speech or multimedia clips coming in a newschannel format is only a gradual difference. The problem is not that people who want to advertize themselves do advertize themselves, the problem is that nanny journalists believe their job was to nurse your sense for truth.

And Gleichschaltung (literally, synchronization) is a concept from the early days of radio broadcast, when the Nazis synchronized local stations to the microphone of Hitler and sentenced listeners of enemy stations to death for treason. Though I haven't found that term in the Der Spiegel article, the propaganda mantra is all over there, obviously because it tickles Germany's own Feindsender trauma.

I am truly grateful that my neighbor does not drop Der Spiegel in my mailbox any more with post-it notes full of shrieking comments and many exclamation points.

"Americans are manipulated by the media, but Germans are completely free of this manipulation" is the underlying assumption.

Oh. Please.

Another neighbor explained why they trust no-one. They made a big mistake trusting someone once. They don't trust themselves not to do it again.

It's called "projection."

said by Sehoy,
who happens to like Germans and Germany very much, but is getting very tired of the anti-American rhetoric.

If you have any doubt about the liberal media bias endemic in the US media just read BIAS by Bernard Goldberg - a 30 year veteran of CBS news who became so sickened by the obvious liberal bias of his network that he left in disgust

I hear all about Fox news all the time over here in the US from liberals who consider it propaganda - and these same folks simply cannot comprehend that the big three networks, the major newspapers and CNN have for decades been exactly as "biased" against conservatives

Its hilarious to hear people say the NY Times has no liberal leaning the first time - after the 50th or so you begin to appreciate the true power of pervasive propaganda

I'm with Ernie here. That the news media (aiming for objectivity) has aliberal bias is true but this bias, more pronounced in the past, has become a crutch for the right and they often use a sort of babe-in-the-woods defense when "attacked" but the truth is they have a much more sophisticated (and in a away more honest) media machine via, as Ernie says, a echo chamber for opinions. Without which things like the Swift Boat Vetrans wouldn't have gained traction. This isn't necessarily a bad thing but it's not enough to simply cite that news journalists are by and large liberal.

In anycase, the point that David is making is true, we have disent in the media, there is no propoganda machine and the more sinister bias (i.e. the opinions couched as facts) come in on the liberal side.

Just to add a few facts to the discussion on GWB and the media. Below are some comments from “The State of The News Media 2005” from Journalism.org. For those of you who are familiar with this organization then I suggest you look at both the Partners and FAQ section of their home page. Their partners are the PEW Trust, Knight Foundation, and the Columbia School of Journalism. None of these I think anyone can call conservative organizations…………


...... "Those findings are based on 16 newspapers, four nightly newscasts, three network morning news shows, nine different cable programs, and nine Web sites examined for four weeks through the course of the year."

"When it came to the campaign, on the other hand, the criticism that George Bush got worse coverage than John Kerry is supported by the data.2 Looking across all media, campaign coverage that focused on Bush was three times as negative as coverage of Kerry (36% versus 12%) It was also less likely to be positive (20% positive Bush stories, 30% for Kerry).

That also meant Bush coverage was less likely to be neutral (44% of Bush stories, 58% for Kerry)."

Link:

http://www.stateofthemedia.org/2005/narrative_overview_contentanalysis.asp?cat=2&media=1


So I am not really sure what Erine is telling us with his comments?

One final point, GHWB was a setting president who was defeated as was Carter.

@ Ernie:

You write:

"Both the Pew Research and MediaResearch surveys share the same underlying flaw: they only deal with "professional" or "objective" journalism, not "opinion" or "entertainment" journalism. Even so far as that goes, they both show that the sector is dominated by MODERATES, not liberals."

That is rich Ernie: When the media is run with a bias towards the left, it is "professional" or "objective" journalism. When it is run with a bias towards the right, it is "opinion" or "entertainment" journalism. Doesn't that tell us something right off the bat about your slant?

PLUS, not all of the surveys do indicate that the media is "dominated" by "MODERATES." I agree that moderates typically make up the plurality in the findings, but this is not always the case. Additionally, most journalists would like to see themselves as moderate because it is supposed to be the job of the journalist to be objective.

What is particularly striking is how proportionate the number of "moderates" in the media is to the general populace and how disproportionate the number of liberals versus conservatives is to the general populace. In every single survey, the number of journalists who describe themselves as "Democrats" or "liberal" is significantly higher than the percentage in the general population. The number of journalists who describe themselves as "Republican" or "conservative" is significantly lower. The point is that the US media does not reflect the audience that it serves. The US media is significantly more "Democrat" and "liberal" than its public.

And please, present your evidence that the US media really is biased towards the right. Citing a study that claims that conservative media have more "influence" is hardly more empirical than the positive vs. negative analysis that you criticize.

By the way, just to remind you, most of the "conservative" media (talk-radio, Fox News, blogs) did not even exist twenty years ago. For decades and decades, the mainstream media went almost unopposed in America.

I would agree that the Pew study was taken at a time when Kerry was strong, but that doesn't explain numerous negative stories such as the "fake but accurate" CBS forged documents debacle, the 380 tons of explosives surprise, the 2000 DUI in Maine last minute surprise and so on. It also does not explain away the other surveys that have consistently shown a bias towards the left in the media over many decades. It is simply impossible to argue that conservatives somehow outnumber liberals in the media. The facts have consistently shown that they are outnumbered many times over and represent a very small minority. The surveys also show that those self-described "moderates" in the media who are leaning in one direction, tend to lean towards the left.

"I'm not one to buy into partisan boilerplate usually, but in this case, sadly, "propaganda" is EXACTLY the word that the Government Accountabilitiy Office and the FCC, agencies no sane person would label "liberal," have used to describe this Administration's approach to media. Just look at two examples undisputed by either liberals or conservatives: their creation of Social Security "newscasts" without disclosing their government origins, and putting hitherto-repectable journalists on their (read: the taxpayer's) payroll in exchange for good press. I'll allow that maybe the word "propaganda" got to be a narrower term when I wasn't looking, but I doubt it.

Government bureaucracies in Washington, D.C. that no sane person would label "liberal"? Yeah, the last time I checked, Washington, D.C. and the people who work in government agencies were not exactly the most conservative bunch in America Ernie. Besides that, if you are going to call the Bush administration's approach to the media "propaganda," then I suppose that the Clinton administration is guilty of the same thing. The only difference was, he had far more of the media on his side ideologically than Bush does. And I guess Franklin Roosevelt must be a true villain then, instead of trying to pay some little-known journalist like Armstrong Williams to support him, he wanted to stack the Supreme Court in his favor! How's that for propaganda?

---Ray D.

I should have added....

These were news stories or stories labelled as news. They were not opinion articles....

The results were truly in favor of JFK and not GWB.

Of course, as MSM in the US continues to lose both its audiance as well as its creditability, the American people were not fooled inspite of these efforts.

As time goes by:

When I left Germany for the USA in 1952, it was in the hands of Adenauer and the CDU which were truly conservative. The vast majority of Germans were longing for a unification within the borders of 1937 (including the East German provinces.) The common quote was, "Germany divided into three parts? - Never!"

Recognition of the Oder-Neisse-Line as Germany's final border by the DDR (called "Sowjet Zone") was an inhumane outrage proclaimed by the public and all politicians alike.

America was mostly liberal and began only slowly a fight against Communism after the erection of the Berlin wall and the attack by North Korea. The connection between America and Germany seemed to blossom slowly into a long lasting friendship. In the "Deutschlandvertrag" the western Allies promised to aid Germany in the unification within its legal borders of 1937 whereupon Germany promised to become a member of NATO.

In the U.S. of 1952, I found that all TV networks and major newspapers trotted the liberal line with the exception of one or two conservative opinion mags. It was only chique to be a liberal. A majority of Democrats sat firmly ensconced in all major government, state and federal offices. One might call it the aftershock of fighting a major war against extreme rightwing powers.

When I visted Germany last in 1993, its world had changed to stand on its head. It was almost as if one saw the U.S. of the 1940ies/50ties all over again.) German government and press had turned into a left wing liberalism which was slowly turning into Socalism against America ever since the Vietam war. Even the CDU had not been able to exist without following SPD leads into a domestic policy of outrageously inane tax consumption.

In foreign policy, the annexation of East German provinces had been approved by the Bundestag and the unification of the rest of Germany had become nothing but a burden to many Germans. Churches were emptying rapidly and the concept of religion was in rapid decline. The growth of goverment was considered a healthy thing and more and more people became dependent upon it. Germans had become too "refined" or lazy to do dirty work and imported the poor from other nations by the planeload without any exact plan as to their assimilation into German culture and politics. Anybody who wished for a free meal and free housing without work was welcomed into Germany.

America by 1993, had developed into exactly the opposite direction after the shock of social revolution and chaos of the sixties and seventies. The Ronald Reagan revolution put a halt to all of this essential anti American nonesense. The concept of "capitalism" and "individual investments" became the byword for even common folk of the eighties. The economy bounced. The armed forces were refurbished and modernized. Those who advocated red revolution anywhere lost the empathy of the U. S. The USSR was called exactly what it always had been: "an evil Empire" and the Cold War was won.

The U.S developed a very strong Republican comservative party based upon and updated by a conservatism which proclaimed its patriotism without apologies to anybody. TV networks were no longer the monopoly of 3 major liberal opinion networks but found a strong competitor in the more balanced FOX Network and a great number of conservative radio stations.

The U.S, press was also enriched by many conservative opinion magazines. The liberal, allmighty New York Times found itself being criticized more often than not (oh horror of horrors.) The Internet was in its infancy but was beginning with its blogs to seriously challenge liberal truths as they had been trumpeted in unison by a politically monolithic American press over many prior decades.

Is it any wonder that Germans feel estranged today from such a progressive and yet conservative America? Is it any wonder that they were shocked when we elected President Bush?

I, for one, don't think so. The fact is, that for the last four decades, German media have not told the truth about America. Their media has consistently and purposefully quoted only left/liberal sources from America to encourage Leftist in Germany to follow suit.

Germans don't even now realize how much Germany and the U.S have changed since the 1960ies into almost precisely opposite directions economicaly, religously, militarily, politically (foreign and domestic) and plilosophically speaking.

Frank - I can't believe you are so naive

Consider the Swift Boat Vets shall we - was this not a major story deserving of serious coverage by the NY Times and big 3 networks?

Dozens of members of Kerrys unit in Vietnam campaigning against his candidacy - suggesting he inflated his war record - living eye witnesses!

Yet the MSM chose to ignore this for as long as they could until the blogosphere and talk radio forced them to deal with it

Imagine now if dozens of members of Bush's national guard unit got together - many of them decorated veterans - and organized to defeat Bush - would this have been covered by the MSM?

Here's a hint - just the hope of such a scoop landed Dan Rather on his ass after airing some fabricated documents allegedly from a dead ex commading officer in an effort to damage Bush in the weeks leading up to the election


The Swift Boat Vets are a great example - an example of how such stories are buried by the liberal media when they damage their candidate

This is in fact proof of the liberal media bias

Its not a "crutch" Frank - its a long overdue look at the reality of the MSM

We can only hope it happens in Germany someday

Hey Niko,

... you mean like printing briefings from the Democrats camp as 'news' in the New York Times?
Gee, last I checked, the New York Times wasn't a government agency, nor was the Democratic Party. You can jump up and down and call your fictional scenario "propaganda" all you want, but it still doesn't meet the strict definition of the term, whether or not it's a "good" or "professional" thing (and I agree with you that regurgitating talking points is NOT beneficial to the Republic).

The distinction here, which I know you can see whether or not you admit it, is that the White House is a government agency and is pawning off these video "news" reports as objective reporting rather than what they are: in-house talking points. THAT, my friend, is by any definition "propaganda."

Please give names. Which journalists? How many? Hard facts, please
Dude, PAH-lease. Armstrong Williams and Maggie Gallagher weren't exactly buried on page C14 of some obscure trade journal. If you're truly ignorant of American media affairs, go brush up on current events before you post here. Otherwise, stop being an overeager high-school debate prick and be at least civil enough acknowledge a valid point from your opposition, even if you disagree.

The problem here is that you seem to think that somehow talk radio defines talking points. They do not. Talk radio feeds off what the Gray Lady published the other day. The Lady still sets the agenda. Rush ain't got no reporters.
I disagree 100%. The Times, AP, etc. may hash out the actual copy, but it's the opinion journalists and the blogosphere (most prominently Drudge, but including Medienkritik, incidently) that mine it, analyze it, and bring it to the forefront of national attention. I think this a product of both a hyper-partisan period in American history (of which both sides are guilty) and an age over-saturated with news and information. We need, well, "catalysts" for lack a better term to find the hidden journalistic gems for us, and to make them exciting and sexy, and that's where I think blogs and talk shows come in.

Frankly, it's a great gig. Like you said, Niko, people like Rush and Hannity don't do their own reporting. They just put up a simple angry-white-male facade all day, and when they don't like a story, they chalk it up to "liberal media bias." HA! I want THAT job.

That's irrelevant.
Nice try, but if you shifted the Columbia survey back even just a month, to the tail end of the Swift-Boat-Gate-nonsense, I'd bet a bag of beans the result would have been completely different. The study doesn't speak to media bias, it speaks to the dynamics of this particular Presidential campaign.

Kerry belongs to the US Senate, and that he spent - how many, 20 years there?
Quick! Name the senior Senator from North Dakota (no fair if you're from there). Now name the President of the United States. Now tell me with a straight face that a Senator is a more prominent national figure than the President. I rest my case.

And thank you Frank for crystallizing my point better than I could :) I'm not going to sit here and make the ridiculous claim that there's no bias in journalism, or even no liberal bias in journalism. I just think some conservatives need to grow and stop acting like oppressed minorities here. It's not like the right-wing doesn't have, as Frank so aptly puts it, their own echo-chambers. In fact, most evidence shows that the conservative media machine is more pervassive and persuassive. So, shouldn't it be the liberals who are complaining?

@ Ernie:

"The distinction here, which I know you can see whether or not you admit it, is that the White House is a government agency and is pawning off these video "news" reports as objective reporting rather than what they are: in-house talking points. THAT, my friend, is by any definition "propaganda."

So Ernie, tell us, who is holding a gun to journalists' collective heads and forcing them to use these PR videos from the government without citing the source?

"Nice try, but if you shifted the Columbia survey back even just a month, to the tail end of the Swift-Boat-Gate-nonsense, I'd bet a bag of beans the result would have been completely different. The study doesn't speak to media bias, it speaks to the dynamics of this particular Presidential campaign."

This link appears to confirm that there was bias against Bush throughout the campaign, not just during the debate period.

And again, the facts clearly demonstrate that liberal Democrats in the media far outweigh conservative Republicans and that this relationship is even more lopsided when we compare the numbers to the overall US public. This has been shown in survey after survey, decade after decade Ernie. Bernie Goldberg was right to call for a media that looks "more like America." The one we have right now certainly doesn't.

"In fact, most evidence shows that the conservative media machine is more pervassive and persuassive."

Again, please show us the body of evidence on this Ernie.

---Ray D.

Hey Ray...

Government bureaucracies in Washington, D.C. that no sane person would label "liberal"?
Oh I see, they're "bureaucracies," so they must be run by "liberals." Ray, I can't speak to the FCC, but the GAO not only works for GWB, it has consistently come out to the right of him on issues like the deficit. So the burden is on you to prove to us that the GAO has some sort of unprincipled anti-Bush agenda. Don't waste your time, though, because I can assure you it does not.

When the media is run with a bias towards the left, it is "professional" or "objective" journalism.
Ray, I'm not always clear, I admit that. But I have a hard time believing my flawed prose could nonetheless be interpreted that way. Let's do this the easy way: professional objectivity-seeking right-leaning outlets: the Wall Street Journal and the straight-up newscasting portions of FNC. Opinionated bastions of left-wing hackery: Air America, some local left-wing talk shows I knew in Califoria that never took off, and, say, The Nation. Better yet, Mother Jones.

By the way, just to remind you, most of the "conservative" media did not even exist twenty years ago.
Well on the one hand, this is empircally false. I'll name three that not only existed but were thriving twenty years ago: the Wall Street Journal, the National Review, and the Washington Times.

On the other hand, based the very surveys you linked to, the question is loaded in the first place, because overrepresentation of a single "party" or "ideology" in the media and academia was not a problem twenty years ago. It's a relatively recent phenomenon.

I don't know why this is, but I think it's laughably simplistic to say that conservatives were "forced" out by a liberal monolith. Riiigggghhhttt. Personally, my theory is that the Reagan era took some of the luster away from the profession for conservatives in the 80s, and when they chose to re-enter journalism in the 90s, they came not to the Times or the Post, but to the megaphone opinion outlets that were nascent and quickly gaining popularity. After all, in the end, opinion journalism is not about "right" or "conservative" views, it's about the views that get the most ratings and entice the most devotion.

Sorry Ray, looks like we're playing leapfrog here...

So Ernie, tell us, who is holding a gun to journalists' collective heads and forcing them to use these PR videos from the government without citing the source?
Ray, that's my point! Either they're not citing the source because it's not clear from the video, in which case the journalists are just irresponsible and the White House is still culpable, or they're showing these videos with full knowledge that they're hack pieces from the Oval Office, in which case... CONSERVATIVE BIAS BINGO!

Either way, the point is that these are pieces produced by the government making arguments about public policy, but setup up to look like independent newscasts with the silly title effects, anchors, etc. without ever revealing the source of the production. And, lest you forgot already, these met the narrow definition of "propaganda" by two government agencies and the Courts and were ruled illegal.

@ Ernie:

You write:

"Oh I see, they're "bureaucracies," so they must be run by "liberals."

Common Ernie...so now you have to start putting words in my mouth to stay in the argument? Here, again, is what I actually said:

"Yeah, the last time I checked, Washington, D.C. and the people who work in government agencies were not exactly the most conservative bunch in America Ernie."

You further write:

"Well on the one hand, this is empircally false. I'll name three that not only existed but were thriving twenty years ago: the Wall Street Journal, the National Review, and the Washington Times."

Ernie, is there anything unclear about the word "MOST"? Here, again, is what I said:

"By the way, just to remind you, most of the "conservative" media (talk-radio, Fox News, blogs) did not even exist twenty years ago."

(emphasis added for Ernie)

So what I said is absolutely "empirically" true. MOST of the conservative media did, in fact, not exist twenty years ago including Fox News, talk-radio and blogs. And it is telling that you can only come up with three "conservative" newspapers Ernie.

"On the other hand, based the very surveys you linked to, the question is loaded in the first place, because overrepresentation of a single "party" or "ideology" in the media and academia was not a problem twenty years ago. It's a relatively recent phenomenon."

Riiiiight...not a problem twenty years ago...How do explain the voting patterns in the mainstream media going back to 1964 that show an overwhelming bias towards the Democrats?

---Ray D.

Does the saying "the exception that proves the rule" exist in German?

Thats what I think of when every discussion of liberal media bias gets the same response

"what about Fox?"

@ Ernie:

You write:

"Ray, that's my point! Either they're not citing the source because it's not clear from the video, in which case the journalists are just irresponsible and the White House is still culpable, or they're showing these videos with full knowledge that they're hack pieces from the Oval Office, in which case... CONSERVATIVE BIAS BINGO!"

That is simply absurd, because the fact is that most journalists do not use these films. That is part of the problem with the SPIEGEL piece. They give people the impression that most US journalists and journalistic outlets are affected by this in a wholesale manner. They aren't. In fact, to their credit, most journalists DO have the integrity to properly cite sources, whether they come from Democrats or Republicans.

"Either way, the point is that these are pieces produced by the government making arguments about public policy, but setup up to look like independent newscasts with the silly title effects, anchors, etc. without ever revealing the source of the production."

OK, common, most journalists were not born yesterday. They know where these films come from. I wouldn't have a problem with requiring the government to label them, but that wouldn't change much (just as the recent changes in campaign finance have not changed much.) Both parties would simply go out and get independent groups to do this PR work for them, just as with campaign ads.

The fact is that the Democrats do the same, exact thing. They also happen to have more like-minded colleauges in the media though. So again, I don't blame Bush and co. for doing more of this PR work than Clinton. Has the administration gone over the line at certain points with paying journalists? Absolutely. Have they corrected their mistakes? Yes.

Erine,

This and that...

Which courts?


Having worked with and for GAO, it is a liberal organization. It actually works for Congress. Much of the senior leadership are hold overs from the days the Demo's controlled Congress.

And YES, they do slant their findings in the manner in which they are presented, not the actually findings themselves.


As for their defining what is and is not propaganda and what is not, you will find the standard used by the GAO to be malleable as time moves forward.

It could be expanded to included anything producted by any agency of the USGOVT. Yes, to even include reports by the GAO.

Ray,

The fact is that the Democrats do the same, exact thing.
See normally, this is a reasonable thing for any smart political oberserver to assume. If one party does, the other must be at least partly as guilty, right?

But this is one case where the DNC has, by all empirical accounts, simply not resorted to the same tactics, at least not yet.

Clinton spun. Clinton distorted. Please, not exactly going out on a limb there. But when a reporter got a sheet of Clinton talking points, they were on, like, White House stationary. It was then up to the journalist as a middleman to integrate the White House line into the story on the issue. If they had a modicrum of objectivity, they would include the opposition/Republican line as well.

What Bush has done with these videos is eliminate the middleman. The pieces are shot, produced, and edited as news pieces with no indication of their origins. Then, rather than give them to suspecting news journalists, they're either given to party linemen working for local media, or, in the case of the Social Security videos, shown directly to the public themselves. And they did these with taxpayer money. It's like the BBC to the nth degree of obscenity.

Has the administration gone over the line at certain points with paying journalists? Absolutely. Have they corrected their mistakes? Yes.
Well, at least the debate is not over the facts anymore. You give the Administration an easier pass than I do. If I were convinced they regarded the incident as an honest mistake rather than "Oops, we were caught," it'd be a less bitter pill to swallow. And somehow, I doubt that you'd be as forgiving to Clinton had he been caught doing the same thing. Call it a hunch. That's what really irks me. Eight years of oft-justified, if annoyingly self-righteous, criticism from the Right about Clinton's media policy, followed by eight years of apologism from the same people for an Administration that is at least several notches worse. I'll allow for the sake of argument here that Clinton "started it," opened the door to the distortion between spin and truth, etc. Just bring me the anti-Clinton screed and I'll sign it. But Bush... Bush has surpassed Master Clinton. Today's sensationalistic journalism is debasing civil political discourse in our society. And, if the Right and the Left don't stop it, it will threaten democracy itself.

Joe,

My time at the GAO could not have been more different. Hold overs from Clinton? Well, yes, that's the thing about civil servants... when you work for 15, 20, 30 years, you see a lot of Administrations come and go. Me, I worked for a guy who came in under Reagan, and was pretty close to Reagan in his politics too. Nowhere, and I mean nowhere was there a shred of evidence of liberal bias, and I worked in the San Francisco office for Christ's sake! I'm not saying you don't find your share of ideologues in any government agency, the GAO included, but it was such a dry and analytical place that there wasn't much room for an inordinate amound of politics. If anything, the overarching ideology was libertarian, which I guess the RNC once happily and proudly claimed as its own, but in the era of trade quotas, budget deficits, and farm subsidies, I guess libertarians are on their own.

Pogue
Thing is, although I don't want to get into swift boat discussion some of their comments were correct, some were self contradictory, for the most part I agree with you. That's why I said,

"more sinister bias (i.e. the opinions couched as facts) come in on the liberal side."

I agree the MSM has a liberal bias. But it's almost always overstated. I agree that rathergate was both good and wouldn't have happened without the conservative press/blogosphere but again, you'r chompping at the bit too much. Do you really want to imply that Rather intentionally came forward with forged documents?

That's precisely what I mean when I say the right uses it as a crutch. From Bolton's nomination to the DeLay accusations to Trent Lott the right's response is call it MSM bias and move on.

Take Rathergate. What mainstream liberal bias did here was fail to discredit the documents as quickly as the conservative blogoshpere. What MSM bias did not do is intentionally skew the facts. A document like that on any sitting president rinnung for reelectionis a pure gold for the press regardless of the sitting president's party.

Anyway, I am dissappointed in Ray. He crosses partisan lines unecessarily here. Nobody on this discussion really thinks that, "the very opposite" of "brainwash[ing] the American people with pro-government 'propaganda'" is happening?

My beef is Ray clearly implies that the media is brainwashing the american people with anti-government 'propganda' ?

This whole talk about "conservative media being in the driver's seat in the U.S. is about the dumbest hogwash that Der Spiegel has came up with yet.

I don't know how many hundreds of studies have been made on the subject over the past 40 years. From "word count" to "subject count" to "perception count" on each article and broadcast. All major U.S. media, with one or two exceptions, has been found biased in favor of liberalism. Why not? After all, 80% of major media journalists in the U.S. are atheist and Democrats. No suprises there!

Accuracy in Media (AIM) and Accuracy in Academia (AIA) exist for no other reason in the U.S but to be a watchdog over our left wing biased media. If Germans think our media is too conservativ and "Bush-friendly", they must also believe in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny.

Peter P. Haase
Boca Raton, Florida
USA

A simple method to negate opposite opinions.

Some of the writers in the blog are obviously opposed to conservative political thought and opinion That's ok with me. But if they start to challenge each poll, survey, study, whathaveyou that undergirds such conservative ideas, by simply stating that they are "unfairly partial" without proof, they are becoming a useless, insulting pest and they should be ignored forthwith.

Peter P. Haase
Boca Raton, Florida

Frank - I don't think that Rather knew the doc's were forged - anymore than I think he forged em :)

That being said - it is clear that his producer went after this non-story with a passion for YEARS - and surely a little journalistic method - or plain common sense - should be expected from a producer for CBS news.

A child would know that such a find was just about too good to be true - and since it has been proven that the document experts did not after all support their authenticity ( as was claimed in the broadcast ) we are giving CBS news quite a lot of leeway here if we don't seriously question the motive behind the rush to air this juicy story

As for a "sitting Predident" and elections - there were lots of stories about Clinton - up to and including serious allegations that he raped Juanita Broadrick while gov of Ak - and the MSM ignored this story then and still do today

I'm not talking about right-wing fantasies that Clinton had Vince Foster killed btw - I'm talking about serious issues - rape is a crime after all Mike Tyson went to jail on less evidence

Folks still point to Clinton and all the coverage of his scandals as evidence that the press goes after both parties when in office

Well - there is some truth to that of course

On the other hand considering how dirty Clintons past was what is amazing is how relatively little press coverage his activities attracted

Even more can be said about Kennedy as the "darling" of the left.

His numerous affairs with women of questionable repute in the White House have become legend during recent years. That in itself is not pretty but not alarming to the state of government affairs. What is alarming, however, is that the media knew of it full well and that it conspired to hide these facts from the American public. If a Republican president would have done the same, all hell would have broken lose in the media.

Peter P. Haase
Boca Raton, Florida
USA

"Folks still point to Clinton and all the coverage of his scandals as evidence that the press goes after both parties when in office"

Those truths were only represented by one conservative Drudge Report. If it weren't for the often maligned, lonely Drudge, the press corps would have still swept the "Lavinsky affair" under the rug. Of course, once the jig was up, they all claimed to be of the hanging party.

Peter P. Haase
Boca Raton, Florida
USA

Ernie--

You say you worked for the GAO and yet you're unaware that it's the investigative arm of Congress? Saying that the GAO works for GWB is pure fiction.

In fairness to the press Peter - in the time of Kennedy there was a lot more deference paid to the POTUS

It was in the Watergate era that we got our first real taste of blood in the water on a sitting President of the US

But we agree its pure denial to think that the press doesn't go a lot easier on their ideological brethren than they do on an evil Republican

Indeed, Pogue.

The Clinton scandal that I was most outraged by was the 1500 Republican FBI files that were in the Clinton White House. Having had a considerable military security clearance, I have one of those, and it is NOT supposed to be available for politicians to browse at a whim. Case in point: The Nixon White House had ONE FBI file that should not have been in its posession, and that was the specific item Nixon would have been impeached for (abuse of the Justice Department) had he not resigned. Clinton had 1500 of them.

The news media's reaction? When Clinton just laughed it off and said, "That was just a bureaucratic SNAFU," they collectively gave a shrug and figuratively said, "Oh... OK. That explains everything."

Nixon was hounded by the alleged "news" media for month after month about the ONE FBI file. Clinton, with 1500, was shrugged off.

If that isn't media bias, I don't know what else might be :(.

I wonder how high of a profile Canada's Adscam has gotten in the German press. You know, the little scandal that is forcing them to actually have an election.

Ernie is just doing the typical leftist thing, keep repeating the same statments in a different form until everyone gives up after becoming tired of the BS. They then declare a victory. Saddest thing of all is, they believe it.

I in my past life worked in the media, both print and broadcast. Any claim that US Media is not dominated and controled by liberal interests is laughable. Most of us here didn't just fall off the turnip truck and know that is a falsehood.

Sock Puppet,

Any claim that US Media is not dominated and controled by liberal interests is laughable.
Again, convenient. Don't like the news? Blame it on the liberals. Pah-lease. And they call liberals relativists and flip-floppers.

JTHC,

Saying that the GAO works for GWB is pure fiction
Sorry JTHC, I'm so embarassed. I stretched my point too far there. During my time at the GAO, I worked mainly on advising executive agencies, which, of course, work directly for the President... but as far as the GAO itself, you're right of course: we ourselves worked for Congress. All I can say is, "D'OH!"

"Again, convenient. Don't like the news? Blame it on the liberals. Pah-lease. And they call liberals relativists and flip-floppers."

Ernie, it's not about liking the news. It is about DEMONSTRATIVELY revealing that the MSM is biased. They distort facts and spin their reports to OVERWHELMINGLY favor the left and discredit the right. If the news is in CONTEXT and based on FACT, then I don't have to like it, to accept it as the truth. However, I see and hear this bias on a daily basis. I don’t believe the problem is being overstated.

As for conservative talk radio, I think its success is directly attributable to widespread MSM bias. Rush Limbaugh has made a career out of being an alternative (in my opinion, much needed) voice. If the bias did not exist at the level that it does, then I believe Limbaugh, Hannity, and co. would likely be working elsewhere.


"My beef is Ray clearly implies that the media is brainwashing the american people with anti-government 'propganda' ?"

Frank, I think Ray is clearly showing that the German media is attempting to brainwash, with great success, the German public into believing that the American MSM is predominately pro-Bush and pro-conservative – when, in reality, it is definitely not.

Erne wrote - "Any claim that US Media is not dominated and controled by liberal interests is laughable.
Again, convenient. Don't like the news? Blame it on the liberals. Pah-lease. And they call liberals relativists and flip-floppers."

All I can advise is that you read BIAS by Bernie Goldberg

If you do that and then still think there is no liberal media bias I will think more of your opinion

As it stands I have read BIAS and he pretty much proves the case in this book

If you can show where he is wrong - we will all be mightily impressed

Without that all you are doing is denying a fact that most of us here know and have actually researched - and you have to know how that sort of thing comes across

James,

If the bias did not exist at the level that it does, then I believe Limbaugh, Hannity, and co. would likely be working elsewhere.

I don't think you could have written a statement I disagree more with, James. If bias didn't exist in the media, then Limbaugh et al. would simply invent it.

My question to those who disagree with me: What do you propose as an alternative? Because we're past the point of constructive criticism of the media here. If the New York Times turned around tomorrow and became perfectly objective in 100% of their stories, or even leaned slightly to the right, conservatives would still use it as a strawman to claim a raw deal. So clearly, reforming the professional media won't satisfy conservatives anymore, and having a media where the Limbaughes, Hannities, and Crossfires dominate public opinion is just as biased against liberals and cheapens public discourse. But it's got to be one of these options.

Pogue,

I did read BIAS. Some of Goldberg's accounts are alarming. But a lot of it reads like the same old oppressed-minority/sour grapes crap coming from some conservatives. It was interesting, because at the time I was reading it, my friend's company got slapped with a civil rights lawsuit. Seems he had employed a lazy worker who happened to be black, so naturally he fired him after several warnings to kick up his performance. Well, lo and behold, the ex-employee turns right around sues my friend's company, claiming he was fired because he was black. And the tone of the complaint he filed (they later settled out of court) was spot-on the tone of BIAS.

Ernie,

You have now hurt my feelings.

You made no comment in reference to my posting about the reporting of the run up to the election in November.

My facts are solid.

It would seem you are just passing off your personal opinion as fact.

That might work in the crowd you run with. But you can see there are people here who will challenge you.

You are beginning to act and sound like a troll.


"I don't think you could have written a statement I disagree more with, James. If bias didn't exist in the media, then Limbaugh et al. would simply invent it."

Well, based on your comments that I've read so far, I feel somewhat comforted that you disagree with me. ;-) "If bias didn't exist etc..." Please, give me something that Limbaugh has said or done in the past that indicates he would "simply invent" bias.

"If the New York Times turned around tomorrow and became perfectly objective in 100% of their stories, or even leaned slightly to the right, conservatives would still use it as a strawman to claim a raw deal."

Oh, really? You just simply know that as the "truth". Huh?

"So clearly, reforming the professional media won't satisfy conservatives anymore,..."

Clearly? Well, Limbaugh does always say that he will not retire until everybody agrees with him.

Look, I would be satisfied with news that is reported AS news, fact AS fact, and opinion AS opinion; not opinion as fact (which seems to be a favorite pastime of yours).

Now, back to the topic... I don't see how GWB can get his agenda across to the American people through the MSM biased filter without the agenda being distorted into something that it isn't. It is then logical that the administration would run a PR campaign to explain the agenda. Under the circumstances, I think the administration is justified in its actions.

"If the New York Times turned around tomorrow and became perfectly objective in 100% of their stories, or even leaned slightly to the right, conservatives would still use it as a strawman to claim a raw deal."

Speaking of strawmen - sheesh

Are we saying the WSJ is a bastion of liberal bias?

Why not - why don't we use that as the strawman?

Honestly Ernie - this is the biggest bs I have read in a long time

You refute the reality of liberal media bias by what - just making up some alternate reality - where the NYT is like the WSJ - and suggest we would find another target.

Ernie

I call bull shit. You keep rephrasing the same tired and counterfactual themes.
This is, as I stated before, a tried and true liberal tactic. One has to wonder if you don't have some deeper agenda? I see this activity at least once a week on a message board or weblog. It was very prominent right after Kerry so deservedly lost the US presidental election. One would almost think this is a loosly organized effort, it's so frequent.

Your proof texting of others comments is also a method leftists uses to obscure the information others are trying to communicate. This is also a leftist tactic. I see it in the media all the time as well. Instead of arguing the issue, the attempt is to argure the messenger. It's lame but most of the people never even see it for what it is.

No matter how lucid you might be the truth remains the same. You are acting as an apologist for the leftist controled main stream media. That they might not be to the left of you is a personal problem. The US main stream media is dominated by and run by leftists.

"One would almost think this is a loosly organized effort, it's so frequent."

Yes, Sock Puppet, I've seen these tactics on every board I've visited over the last couple of years. There is no end to the argument because the discussion keeps going in circles.

--The conservative presents the facts.

--The libby ignores the facts, and then, presents speculation, opinion, and conspiracy theory as fact.

--The conservative debunks all this libby mess, with facts.

--The libby again ignores all this, and the cycle repeats itself.

BTW, I'm not so sure the effort is so 'loosely' organized.

It will be a long time before I am talked into believeing that the NYT is not a liberal paper - or that anyone has "invented" liberal media bias

Tell me Ernie - you read Bias - do you remember the story that caused Goldberg to start to question this issue and how he was alerted to it?

Its the start of the book - it sets up the whole thing and is mentioned many times

I scanned the comments quickly but I didn't see that anyone has pointed this out: yes, they are self described moderates, but what about voting patterns? Over 90% of journalists have voted for the Democratic presidential candidate in the last two elections; the number has been above 80% for twenty years. And what about contributions to campaigns and parties? Again, employees of the major networks and media outlets give much more to democratic candidates. Please note that this is also true of Fox News!

I'll give this link as an example, the result of a 1 minute search

http://www.opensecrets.org/industries/indus.asp?ind=C2300

Actions speak louder than words, and follow the money!

Forgot to mention: the Columbia study also found the Kerry got many more favorable stories/comments in the news than ANY previous candidate. How could this be explained except that the MSM were actively campaigning for him?

I think the voting patterns are the most irrefutable evidence

Of course most people consider themselves "moderates"

Answer the question yourself -

"are you conservative, liberal or moderate"

Shit - even Howard Dean and Rush Limbaugh will call themselves "moderate"

btw - no answer to my specific question about Bias - must be off looking for a copy in the local library eh

"Shit - even Howard Dean and Rush Limbaugh will call themselves "moderate""

Oouuch! Sorry Pogue, Dean may call himself a "moderate" if he thought it might get him some votes; but, Rush often ridicules "moderates" and says that they're afraid to take a position. I would be severely shocked if Rush would come out and call himself a "moderate" without the comment being part of some sort of joke.

Maybe not Rush - but I'm sure you agree with the point - ie: many folks who an objective view would be definitely one side or the other will still self describe themselves as "moderates"

Oh, I do agree. In fact, they're handful of Republican Senators in Congress that are liberals in sheeps clothing, and side with the Dems way too often, in my eyes.

James W posts:

"As for conservative talk radio, I think its success is directly attributable to widespread MSM bias. Rush Limbaugh has made a career out of being an alternative (in my opinion, much needed) voice. If the bias did not exist at the level that it does, then I believe Limbaugh, Hannity, and co. would likely be working elsewhere."
~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Exactly! If there was a voice in the MSM articulating any real level of alternative/ conservative thought Limbaugh, Hannity, et al, would be as successful as Franken and Garofalo are with their AirAmerica "alternative!"
Let me beat the obvious dead horse here. AirAmerica is failing because the MSM already articulates 75-85% of their supposed "edgy liberal" spiel. Beyond that, dookie humor and personal hate from pedantic hollywood leftists schooled in the reality of michaelmoore docudramas, just isn't all that funny ~ well, except to the already Party faithful. (who already get 75-85% from the MSM!!!)

But it is funny how folks like Ernie, while trying to convince us of their objectivity, derisively dismiss a Limbaugh and/or Hannity out of hand as "info-tainment" when it suits them . . . and suddenly want to add their numbers back into the MSM stats when they want to prove the "ubiquitousness" of the VRWmediaC?

My two cents on what is going on is this: the Partyline crumbles without total control over the message. Conservative thought has, in the last 10 -15 years made some inroads into the various medias. Percentages in the teens is my understanding.
They are having trouble maintaining their preferred PartyLine. They are very afraid.

The Rather document fiasco was proof enough (again!) for the non-party faithful of the MSmedia bias, especially when it is contrasted against their blackout on SBVeterens story.
The begged question for me is how many other historic stories over the years have been altered, suppressed, or simply lied about . . . because there was no alternative media to question the MSM preferred storyline?

Tyranno

PS: Whatever media problems we think we have in America ... Europe is much worse! They do maintain their Government Partyline. Witness the 80% poll numbers on so many topics.
My German friends says, "there is no problem here! We have rules that make the Government and commercial media be unbias!" (This is usually where I pull out of the conversion with a big smile on my face!!!)

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