Sunday, November 21, 2010
Getting past the obvious.
A retired writer for the Virginian Pilot wrote another one of those columns about bias in the media. You know the kind I mean: the one that says that newspaper reporters stifle their biases when they write. Somewhere in every one of these articles there is a reference to a colleague who did not live up to the standard by wearing a campaign button or making a campaign contribution, and how that was a violation of the code.
Can we please stop missing the point? Wearing a Kennedy button does not make a reporter a Democrat. Making a campaign contribution to a Democrat or a Republican does not make the reporter a partisan. He or she is a partisan way before the button is displayed or the contribution is made. These are simply the outward manifestation of internalized beliefs.
No one had any question about the political orientation of Keith Olbermann before he was suspended for giving campaign contributions to three Democrats running for congress. I read nothing on the Internet or the MSM that expressed surprise at his political bent; just that he was suspended for giving cash in addition to in-kind contributions to these candidates on his TV show. Seeing an Obama sticker on a reporter’s bumper is not an “aha” moment, it simply another confirmation of something that’s already apparent.
The retired reporter acknowledged that the use of loaded words in a story can show bias and he gave an example. And he’s right; it’s a common way for a reporter or editor’s bias to frame the issue. But the most common way the MSM shows its bias never appears in print or shows up on the air. It’s the story that is not covered, the issues that are not discussed that, more than any other technique allows the media to shape public perception.
To use the most glaring example, what did we know of Barack Obama when we voted for him? What do we even know today; not about his governing style but about him? Who shaped his beliefs in his youth and early adulthood? What were his accomplishments? How did he attend Reverend Wright’s church for 20 years without once hearing the racism, anti-Semitism or hatred of America? Why was Michelle not proud of her country before Barack was nominated? Was Bill Ayers really just a guy that lived in his neighborhood? What did he do to get the support of the Chicago political machine? Barack Obama was a rock star candidate; and he was treated as a rock star with the MSM acting as the distribution medium for his press handouts.
None of the reporters during the last election wore an Obama pin on their lapel. I heard of none that gave to his campaign. It was not necessary for the American people to know that they were on his side; wanted him elected and were not interested in pursuing stories that questioned his qualifications, his background or his political orientation.
I think that it may even be healthy for people in the MSM to wear pins and stickers, to openly make contributions. Maybe then we can get past the obvious and discuss the less obvious.
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