Thursday :: Apr 14, 2005

How the Liberal Media Myth is Created - Part 15


by eriposte

This is the concluding part of my series on how the "liberal media" myth is created.

Previous installments covered myth-creation using "tone" of media coverage (Part 1), "catch-phrases" like 'right-wing extremist' v. 'left-wing extremist' (Part 2), "newspaper headlines" (Part 3), "topics" covered (Part 4), "think-tank" citations (Part 5), journalist ideology or voting preferences (Part 6), public opinion polls on media bias (Part 7), obvious, unintentional errors in news reports (Part 8), [the critic's] ignorance (Part 9), opinions to distort straight news (Part 10), superficial fact checking (Part 11), no fact checking (Part 12), rank hypocrisy (Part 13), and outright fabrications, lies or misleading statements (Part 14). This part covers attempts to invent media bias using miscellaneous spin.

Let's start with Stanley Kurtz at NRO (via CJR Daily):

With the election this close, if the president loses, media bias will surely have been a key factor. The problem isn’t just bias on the election coverage, but on anything that can influence the election–downplaying Howard’s win in Australia, for example. [my emphasis]

Um. How about the media's downplaying of massive anti-war protests, the fact that majorities of the people in the world were opposed to an Iraq invasion not supported by the U.N. (including Australians), and that Howard has been quite the flip-flopper with his fellow Australians, who weren't particularly approving of his support for Bush even as recently as February 2005:

Howard, who announced on Tuesday 450 more soldiers would go to Iraq to guard Japanese engineers and train the Iraqi army, said he could not rule out further deployments.

"I am not running away from the fact that I had previously said I did not contemplate a major (troop) increase. I admit quite openly that we have changed our position," Howard told Australian Broadcasting Corp radio.

...Opinion polls showed Australians opposed sending the extra troops to Iraq.

A telephone survey of 17,000 people by Channel Ten television found 71 percent opposed the deployment compared with 29 percent in favor.

For sheer entertainment, though, one can always rely on Brent Bozell's Media Research Center. So, the rest of this post takes a look at a handful of their recent "Cyber Alerts" (which according to MRC has been "Tracking Liberal Media Bias Since 1996").

Here's one :

NBC's The West Wing isn't the only 9pm EDT/PDT Wednesday night drama, tied to the U.S. presidency, which delivers a liberal skew. After six weeks of repeats, and with The West Wing on hiatus, The WB network's Jack and Bobby will return with a "fresh" episode on Wednesday night, April 13.
...
Some samples of the liberal politics in the program from the episodes which ran in February:

I see, a fictional TV series that shows "liberal bias"! Uh-huh.

Another one:

Left of the Dial, which looks to be a 90-minute documentary that will deliver a glowing tribute to the left wing Air America radio talk show service, will debut Thursday night on HBO. The HBO Web site touted how "a group of investors set out to launch a liberal radio network that would challenge the dominance of America's airwaves by conservative talk radio." A synopsis of the documentary recounted how "in the days before launch, the energy picks up amidst a whirlwind of photo shoots, CNN sound bites, the creation of marketing/PR materials, and delivery of the hot-off-the-presses New York Times Magazine featuring Al Franken on the cover -- a publicity coup and implicit endorsement." In a highly questionable claim, HBO trumpeted how after just a few months, "the New York ratings are unexpectedly high -- Franken beats Rush Limbaugh, and [Randy] Rhodes outpaces right-wing rival Sean Hannity." And HBO celebrated how "with 40 affiliates and counting, the voices of the left are now being heard, loud and clear, from coast to coast."

I see, a documentary on a paid cable channel demonstrates "liberal bias". Uh-huh.

And another:

Members of the Washington press corps are intensely opposed to the decision by Congress to intervene in the Schiavo case, Robert Novak chronicled in his latest column. Novak recounted how he "was engaged during a Saturday night dinner party in debate at a level of intensity I had not seen since the bitter '60s and '70s. My dining companions, mostly mainstream Washington journalists a generation younger than I, were passionately opposed to the congressional intervention." When Novak expressed support for the action by the Congress, "they responded that Republicans in Congress were only interested in politics. I had not engaged in such a heated debate with colleagues since the Vietnam War."

Well, according to this Time poll, 75% of Americans felt Congressional intervention in the Schiavo case was wrong. So, would 75% of America be considered "liberal"? Somehow, I think not.

Yet another one :

ABC's Charles Gibson admitted, during ABC's live coverage Monday of the moving of the late Pope's body to St. Peter's Basilica, that "I know of a woman who bitterly disagrees with him on so many issues, an American woman," but "when she saw him in St. Peter's Square burst into tears because she was so moved." Reflecting an emerging media theme that Catholics personally liked the Late John Paul II despite his positions, Gibson asserted that "even for so many American Catholics who disagree with his positions on so many issues," the Pope had "a magnetism and a charisma that has transcended, really, positions that he has taken on issues."

Um. This one is the most interesting one because - I couldn't figure out why Gibson's statement reflected "liberal bias". You know, if Gibson had introduced the "woman" in question to Brent Bozell, Brent would also "know of a woman who bitterly disagrees with [the Pope] on so many issues". As for the so-called "emerging media theme" that "Catholics personally liked the Late John Paul II despite his positions", um, that is what normal people refer to as *fact*. Conservatives certainly didn't embrace the pope's positions on the death penalty or the Iraq war - so would that make conservatives liberal? My head hurts.

Well, I guess I better give it a rest now since we can fill books with the MRC's garbage.

eriposte :: 7:41 AM :: Comments (7) :: Spotlight :: Digg It!