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I use the word "tainted" with some trepidation, but a democratic election is only as good as the information the electorate is able to obtain, the information on which they base their vote. I think it's a fair description. If you disagree, explain how failing to give the electorate full information on all candidates improves the electoral process.

I thought this article was excellent as well. Probably one of the other links you could have added. Forbes' Peter Robinson: "A Message From the 'Mainstream Media'."

Dave,

I appreciate the info regarding the media campaign and their apparent bias for Obama. But I wonder where that leaves us? I don't care for the McCain campaign either. If I cast a vote for some other candidate, I vote my conscience perhaps, but it seems like a wasted vote. I am under no illusions about how much a single vote matters -- almost not at all -- but I would like to do the right thing, notwithstanding.

What are we to do? The church admonishes us to seek out honest men to represent us in political interests, but they don't seem to make it past the primaries, and are long forgotten at this point.

I have some faith that the Lord is over all. Whatever the outcome.

"Hounding of Sarah Palin"? She's the new kid on the block, and is understandably the focus of interest for journalists and public alike. You wouldn't call it "hounding" if she had handled herself better.

"Hanson is an accomplished historian as well as a journalist, so he's not as beholden to the profession (sic) as most journalists are."

Might that be because he is a right-wing hack?

Obama outed himself in his books. What more dirt is there? Plus he's run an amazingly efficient no-drama campaign. McCain, on the other hand, has tons of skeletons in his closet, chose Sarah Palin as his running mate and cannot open his mouth without saying something amusing/worrying/newsworthy. Sorry all you right-wingers, what shall the press say about Obama?

Chris H,

Why not relax a bit and expand on your thoughts, rather than simply insult your host's judgment and intelligence?

Dave,

I noticed this AM that the three reporters who were asked to leave their positions on the Obama campaign plane were all from newspapers that endorsed McCain. Do you think this has a chilling effect on the press?

Mogs

Chris, the fact that he's an accomplished historian seems inconsistent with your view that he's a hack. You can disagree without calling him a hack.

As always, thanks for the wonderful insight, Chris.

Tim, thanks for the link to the Robinson article. I just made the connection to the Robinson and Long site that collects daily links to articles and posts by conservative columnists and bloggers (or, as Chris H. would call them, right-wing hacks).

Maybe the reason why there is a bias against John McCain is because John McCain has run a reprehensible, disreputable, dishonorable campaign full of lies and distortion, and the media members, human as they are, can't fathom trying to peddle it on without question.

Don't fall into the trap of the sin of symmetry. Obama's negativity toward McCain does not compare to McCain's negativity toward Obama. Not in a million years. You cannot honestly go around saying "Yes, McCain said this and this about Obama, but look, Obama said this and this about McCain, so it makes it even" when McCain's attack is far more vile than Obama's. A 2 does not equal a 4.

As for the loss of professionalism in journalism, I agree that they've had a major lapse in their professionalism. I blame cable news. I blame the salaciousness of OJ Simpson. The draw of dramatic news with little real analysis. I blame the desire to draw more viewers. War, for example, draws viewers like nothing else. The media failed to press the Bush administration, for example, on Iraq, even when there were serious doubts about the sell. They wanted a war too.

Just out of curiosity, Dave, what constitutes "journalism" and the "media"? Does it include FOX News? What about talk radio? Does it include the Wall Street Journal? The National Review? The multiple articles you have linked to over the last few weeks?

What Dan said. I want to add that the McCain campaign has just been completely inept. You have to distinguish media coverage of a bad campaign from biased media coverage about a campaign.

I am not sure if you and I share the same definition of accomplished.

I only called Hanson as right-wing hack. Do not put words in my mouth. He is what he his and his analysis on the media has nothing to do with his speciality: Ancient Greek warfare. He uses his academic credentials to give greedance to his positions, eventhough his credentials are not related.

I am a left wing hack, look at my posts on FPR. But I stick to those thing that I have training: political philosophy and American poltical behaviour.

I will let you conservative get back to poutting. Happy Halloween.

Dan, I just think you are out of the loop on this topic. Go read the widely cited results reported in "Winning the Media Campaign" at the Pew Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism. When it comes to facts, your head is stuck in some liberal fairyland.

Just because there is media bias doesn't mean Obama isn't a fine candidate or that he can't have serious or even better proposals. The bias is more of a media issue than a campaign issue. I'm guessing any candidate of any party would be happy to recieve media coverage that tilts in her favor -- it's not like I'm pointing a finger at Obama here.

"When it comes to facts, your head is stuck in some liberal fairyland."

Oh, and I get in trouble for using the term hack.

Christopher, sure those are media sites. I'm not saying every single journalist or media site is leaning left or that those who do necessarily slant their reporting in line with their biases.

But have you read the results of Slate's internal poll? Staffers and editors are voting 55-1 for Obama, with one or two opting to abstain or vote for third-party candidates. (Slate deserves some praise for posting it, by the way.)

Given that Obama has a large majority of journalists who feed news and information to voters on his side, and that since Obama flip-flopped on public financing he is now enjoying a substantial advantage in money and media ads, is this a fair election? Shouldn't this concern people, regardless of how they are planning to vote?

Chris, I apologize for using the word "facts" in my comment to Dan. I'm sure you and he may find it as dismissive and misguided as the word "hack" when directed at a conservative. ;-)

Dave,

Honestly, I think it is you who is out of the loop. From the article YOU cite:

Much of the increased attention for McCain derived from actions by the senator himself, actions that, in the end, generated mostly negative assessments. In many ways, the arc of the media narrative during this phase of the 2008 general election might be best described as a drama in which John McCain has acted and Barack Obama has reacted.

That's exactly what I said. And...

For McCain, coverage began positively, but turned sharply negative with McCain’s reaction to the crisis in the financial markets. As he took increasingly bolder steps to try and reverse the direction of the polls, the coverage only worsened. Attempts to turn the dialogue away from the economy through attacks on Obama’s character did hurt Obama’s media coverage, but McCain’s was even more negative.

Basically, it is McCain's own fault for the media turning against him.

Dave,

I'm not insulted. It is a truth that facts have an inherently liberal bias. So naturally facts spend a lot of time in liberal fantasylands. :)

Dave,

Given that Obama has a large majority of journalists who feed news and information to voters on his side, and that since Obama flip-flopped on public financing he is now enjoying a substantial advantage in money and media ads, is this a fair election?

When has an election actually been fair? 1988? Was that a fair election? Has any election actually been fair? Nah. Never will be. I don't know why you expect them to be fair. If it were fair, then we wouldn't be talking about Ayers and Khalidi days before an election.

Shouldn't this concern people, regardless of how they are planning to vote?

Nope.

Dan, "fairness" is an inherently difficult concept to define, but plainly the public financing approach was designed to level the playing field in terms of funding. Is this not obvious? What do you think the whole point of campaign finance reform is?

Blaming the media is tantamount to blaming the refs for a loss. It is the strategy of losers. Even if there are some occasional bad calls by refs (and those are always disputed anyway) you still have to outplay your opponent. In this election the GOP has not done that so far.

With the GOP in such disarray right now I can only assume that there will be a lot of blaming the refs in the next decade or so. The GOP needs to become more appealing to the center again. The whining about the media makes the wingnuts on the right feel better about getting killed but does little or nothing to attract folks in the middle.

Geoff,

You don't think referees can affect the outcome of a game? Tim Donaghy? Don Denkinger? Ed Hochuli?

And you don't think the media has any effect on an election?

Seriously?

Dave, so because the staff of Slate, an admittedly neoliberal magazine, supports Obama overwhelmingly that means its the end of journalism as we know it? They also voted overwhelmingly Democrat in 2000 and 2004, but I didn't hear doomsday prophecies of the end of journalism then. I'm not sure what Slate's support of Obama reveals about media bias anyway. Certainly the National Review staff, or the FOX news staff, is supporting McCain overwhelmingly.

I finally took the time to read the entire Victor Davis Hansen article you linked to above. It appears to be more of a last-minute effort to really nail Obama on those issues rather than a sincere lament of the decline of respectable journalism. He uses "the end of journalism" BS as an easy lead-in to his own equally biased rant against Obama. Do you find it at all ironic (or hypocritical) that in his (and your own) complaints about media bias that his (and your) reporting has been anything but fair and balanced, and demonstrates his (and your) own biases as well?

Of course refs can affect a game Tim. Likewise, media can affect opinions. But the fact is that refs are more often used as an excuse to ignore the gaping weaknesses of one's own team.

That is what I see happening here. The GOP has become so dominated by the hardcore Christian right that it has lost the center. The media is not the cause of the GOP losing its way.

Dave,

I personally hope "public financing" has met its death. Frankly, I don't see any politician opting to go into public financing after the results of this election.

Elections will always be unfair. It is so because there are no punishments for accusations thrown around---such as the Ayers thing, for example, or the Swift Boats thing. There is no punishment involved because through an election you hope to change the course of the country. You define what is acceptable or not and you hope the public goes with you. Over the past 30 years or so, Republicans opted to go with subtle character attacks tinged with racism, hoping to shape public opinion to where that was acceptable. Hence the Willie Horton scenario as well as the Jeremiah Wright scenario. The only punishment that comes from such tactics is whether enough of the electorate decide to not accept such vile filth. In 1988 that was not the case. Enough of the electorate thought it was okay to slime Dukakis with such filth. But in 2008 it seems enough of the electorate says otherwise. It isn't fair, but alas, that's how it is.

"Republicans opted to go with subtle character attacks tinged with racism, hoping to shape public opinion to where that was acceptable. Hence the Willie Horton scenario as well as the Jeremiah Wright scenario."

I'm sorry, we're you talking about Hillary here?

And the reason Dukakis lost wasn't because of Horton. And Kerry didn't lose because of the Swift Boat ads.

Tim J.: And McCain is not going to lose because of biased media coverage. He is going to lose because he ran an empty, incompetenet and dishonorable campaign.

I agree with the incompetent part, yes.

Dishonorable? A bit much...

Reporting that Senator Obama attends a church twice monthly for twenty years where the pastor regularly pronounces such profundities as "God damn America" is "vile filth"?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8M-kD0QdRJk

Wow. I am disheartened--or rather sickened, I should say--by the complete lack of ability (or, perhaps refusal?) on the part of such intelligent bloggers to see the horrific media bias on the is campaign.

I hope McCain wins, if for no other reason than to shut the mouths of the self appointed journalistic judges, juries, and executioners.

Of course, I hope he wins for other reasons, but here you have it.

Mormon Repblicans attacking a black candidate over the pastor of a church he attended... that's rich.

I just hope the journalists can turn the partisanship down some after the election. Having the president, Congress, and the media all teamed together is a chilling prospect, so here's hoping reporters' contrariness will kick in after their side has won.

Geoff J,

If conservatives were criticizing Jeremiah Wright's views of the Trinity, you might have a point. Criticizing his political rhetoric is something else. Jeremish Wright isn't so much a pastor as a political organizer. And Obama is in his party, and proud of it.

Dan, at least we agree that public financing is now dead. We shall see what comes in its wake. I'm guessing there will be an Obama channel before year's end to run a permanent 24/7 media campaign. In fact, there's already an ONN hard at work. Here are a couple of their features:

"Obama Runs Constructive Criticism Ad Against McCain"

"Obama Undertakes Presidential Internship To Ease Concerns About His Lack Of Experience"

I guess I can finally flash something of my meager credentials on the LDS blogosphere. I am currently a journalism student, about 2 semesters away from graduating. I've completed an internship with a local paper and served as news editor for Weber State's student sheet for a few semesters as well. Just wanted to throw in a little and talk about a few things. First, a partisan could argue that it makes no sense to fault Highlight magazine's clear bias towards Gallant over Goofus. McCain has been remarkably inept with journalists especially considering his history with various media personnel. Sarah Palin's stonewalling of the press was a tremendous affront to journalists, though it is clear why it occurred simply by watching her first few interviews (and her promotion by Hannity). Before that, however, another turning point from a journalists point of view happened on the Straight Talk Express when McCain was asked about viagra and birth control, or something to that effect. Look into the rumbles in the journalism community around that episode. Overall, McCain's campaign has been scattered, and compared to Obama's, rather arcane. Why? Keep in mind David Plouffe is practically a media genius. His handling of the campaign has been rather powerful, especially with using media.

Journalism is struggling right now, philosophically in terms of post-modernism and relativism, and in terms of simple economics. With the rise of new media, the traditional outlets have been trying to figure out how to incorporate all the new stuff. There is so much more noise right now than there has been in the past. So there is a huge revolution going on, people losing jobs, techniques being tweaked, and pretty much everyone is still out for the almighty dollar. Obama gets good ratings. Ratings get certain advertisers. Advertises pay the bills. You do the math.

Finally, look into the "magic bullet theory" and see if it can be shown that the media reflects onto the people or whether the people reflect onto the media, and vice versa.


Good luck with all that, BHodges. Lots of change going on in the industry. And plenty of room at the top.

BHodges,

You almost make it sound as if McCain (and Palin) hasn't done as well because he doesn't play according to the media's rules--or, at least, what they think the rules should be. Where does "truth" come in to play in all of this? The media needs to get over itself.

It's funny, now that I think of it--

Reagan was lambasted by the left for being a great media-man. And now Obama is praised for doing the same--or at least doing it better than his opponent.

Jack: There's one of your bigger problems right there. "The media needs to get over itself" is a rather meaningless term. "The media" is such a generic term at this point so as to have virtually no meaning.

Perhaps you mean news reporters, specifically, and their "rules." I'm not sure what you mean by playing by their "rules."

*meaningless phrase, I should say, not "term".

btw, Dave, as you note, I found this to be a pretty excellent analysis:

http://www.journalism.org/node/13307

Today I went looking for evidence to support what I consider to be a foregone conclusion.

And I found some!

Here's an example of two of the biggest networks refusing to air an ad by the United Church of Christ saying that they accepted homosexuals.
http://money.cnn.com/2004/12/01/news/fortune500/jesus_ad_ban/

CBS here refuses to show an ad decrying the increasing federal deficit by moveon.org
http://www.mediachannel.org/views/dissector/affalert131.shtml

There's more.

OK, conservatives, step up, examples, please, of censorship. Oh, and the handful of owners of the media companies (Rupert Fox anyone) are just about universally conservative, and who writes the checks is what really matters.

11:00 AM: Reporting that Senator Obama attends a church twice monthly for twenty years where the pastor regularly pronounces...

I guess, as a Mormon, I don't see all that much of a difference between what Pastor Wright said (when taken in context) with 1 Nephi 17:35.

I read the Hansen article; in rebuttal, all I'll say is that Obama-Wright gets 10,800,000 hits in Google, while Obama-Ayres (a man who works on Chicago boards with quite a few republicans, as well) gets 466,00 hits. I'd say they have been fully covered. I also recall an article which analyzed the amount of coverage each candidate got for some period; Obama got more coverage, but almost all of it was negative Wright coverage.

And a quick question of Mark D.:

Please honestly answer. How many full sermons by Jeremiah Wright have you personally read?

The republicans this time around are just much more entertaining. For Youtube clips. Did you catch the one of McCain checking out Palin's uh..... bottom? Or the one where Palin was unable to name a single newspaper or magazine when asked? Great Youtube stuff. The Obama campaign has been brilliant at not having any Youtube moments. McCain opens his mouth, says something odd, bamm. On youtube. Remember the Paris Hilton ad? How amusing! McCain walked into that. Nothing to do with the mainstream media at all.

Perhaps the real problem here is that quite a bit of the real press is out of the media's hands and into the hands of whoever wants to look up entertaining stuff on Youtube. Barack. Boring. Biden. Double boring. Triple boring. Palin? Tee hee.

Malone, what a whiner. His main point seems to be that the journalists haven't been able to find any dirt on Obama. Perhaps there just isn't any. Boo hoo. He also is upset that Biden's gaffe's haven't been more widely covered. But missing the date that the TV was invented by a few years or misstating Roosevelt for Hoover for the crash of 1929 really isn't that big of a deal. Do you really doubt that the guy doesn't really know his stuff? And, like I said earlier, no one is going to dial up youtube to see Biden say Roosevelt rather than Hoover. Such a knee slapper.

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