Posts Tagged ‘Media bias’
August 30th, 2018 at 11:10 am
Ramirez Cartoon: Google Bias
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Below is one of the latest cartoons from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez.

View more of Michael Ramirez’s cartoons on CFIF’s website here.

September 28th, 2012 at 3:58 pm
Ramirez Cartoon: Impartial Referees?
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Below is one of the latest cartoons from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez.

View more of Michael Ramirez’s cartoons on CFIF’s website here.

August 27th, 2012 at 3:18 pm
How NOT to Disprove Your Elitism
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A remarkable exchange took place at the New York Times over the weekend. First, there was Arthur Brisbane, writing his farewell column as the Times‘ public editor (a position that is supposed to function as the in-house voice of journalistic conscience), which contained this telling passage:

I … noted two years ago that I had taken up the public editor duties believing “there is no conspiracy” and that The Times’s output was too vast and complex to be dictated by any Wizard of Oz-like individual or cabal. I still believe that, but also see that the hive on Eighth Avenue is powerfully shaped by a culture of like minds — a phenomenon, I believe, that is more easily recognized from without than from within.

When The Times covers a national presidential campaign, I have found that the lead editors and reporters are disciplined about enforcing fairness and balance, and usually succeed in doing so. Across the paper’s many departments, though, so many share a kind of political and cultural progressivism — for lack of a better term — that this worldview virtually bleeds through the fabric of The Times.

As a result, developments like the Occupy movement and gay marriage seem almost to erupt in The Times, overloved and undermanaged, more like causes than news subjects.

This truth, plain to even the most pedestrian observer of the Times, was too much for Executive Editor Jill Abramson to stomach, which led her to go crying to Politico‘s Dylan Beyers:

“In our newsroom we are always conscious that the way we view an issue in New York is not necessarily the way it is viewed in the rest of the country or world. I disagree with Mr. Brisbane’s sweeping conclusions,” Abramson told POLITICO Saturday night.

“I agree with another past public editor, Dan Okrent, and my predecessor as executive editor, Bill Keller, that in covering some social and cultural issues, the Times sometimes reflects its urban and cosmopolitan base,” she continued.

There you have it. Journalism defined: “speaking truth to those who agree with you.”

The New York Times is a publication that believes that what constitutes balanced coverage hinges on what ZIP code you’re in. They’re entitled to that belief. But they’re not entitled to a readership outside of the five boroughs — a fact that is only going to become more apparent to them with time.

August 9th, 2012 at 1:51 pm
Barack Obama, Journalism Critic
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A piece by Amy Chozick in the New York Times this week has to be read to be believed (ok, you’ll read it and you still won’t believe it). Proving that there is absolutely nothing for the media to do in August, Chozick was commissioned to write a piece on President Obama’s relationship with the press, including the Commander-in-Chief’s critical exegesis of the fourth estate. The results are predictably hilarious:

The news media have played a crucial role in Mr. Obama’s career, helping to make him a national star not long after he had been an anonymous state legislator. As president, however, he has come to believe the news media have had a role in frustrating his ambitions to change the terms of the country’s political discussion. He particularly believes that Democrats do not receive enough credit for their willingness to accept cuts in Medicare and Social Security, while Republicans oppose almost any tax increase to reduce the deficit.

Privately and publicly, Mr. Obama has articulated what he sees as two overarching problems: coverage that focuses on political winners and losers rather than substance; and a “false balance,” in which two opposing sides are given equal weight regardless of the facts.

Mr. Obama’s assessments overlap with common critiques from academics and journalism pundits, but when coming from a sitting president the appraisal is hardly objective, the experts say.

Basically, you can close your eyes, point to any sentence at random, and prepare to guffaw.

There’s a lot of awfully stupid analysis here (both the Times and Obama’s). Maybe one of the reasons, for instance, that Democrats’ supposed willingness to rein in entitlements goes unpraised is because there have been some tells that it’s less than sincere — like the occasional fit of the vapors that finds liberals essentially accusing Paul Ryan of going from hospital to hospital unplugging life support machines.

There’s also the Times’ eager embrace of the unquestioned wisdom of (unnamed) “academics and journalism pundits” (FYI, that last one’s not a real job), a not-too-subtle hint that Obama’s frustration, poor soul, is shared by Really Smart People everywhere.

The aspect that I find most telling, however, is the president’s frustration with “false balance,” which it’s hard to interpret any other way than an irritation that the press doesn’t accept his side of the argument as gospel. This is of a piece with what he told the American Society of News Editors at a speech back in April:

“As all of you are doing your reporting, I think it’s important to remember that the positions that I am taking now on the budget and a host of other issues — if we had been having this discussion 20 years ago or even 15 years ago — would’ve been considered squarely centrist positions,” he said in response to a question about Republicans’ criticisms of his spending priorities. “What’s changed is the center of the Republican party and that’s certainly true with the budget.”

“This bears on your reporting,” he said Tuesday. “I think that there is oftentimes the impulse to suggest that if the two parties are disagreeing, then they’re equally at fault and the truth lies somewhere in the middle. And an equivalence is presented, which I think reinforces peoples’ cynicism about Washington in general. This is not one of those situations where there’s an equivalency.”

For what it’s worth, I actually agree with Obama on “the truth lies in the middle” trope. There are occasions when that’s true, but most times that you hear someone express that sentiment it’s a sign that they’ve put their brain on cruise control and resigned themselves to communicating exclusively through cliches. What’s the midpoint between the death penalty being legal or illegal? What’s the midpoint between going to war with Iran or not going to war with Iran? No one actually lives by “moderation in all things” (“So it’s okay if I just participate in occasional arson?”), but everyone talks that way. That mindset creates especially acute problems in public policy, where splitting the baby almost always yields bad results.

There are two problems, though, with Obama’s analysis. The first is that the only corrective for “false equivalence” is a more ideological press, which presents issues from unapologetic (and admitted) liberal and conservative viewpoints. That’s where we are today and, while there’s plenty of chaff as a result, I’m inclined to think it’s far preferable to an overwhelmingly liberal media trying to create the illusion of objectivity. But that’s not what Obama wants. He’s clearly longing for the days when ‘media’ was a de facto singular noun and those who disagreed with him would have been pilloried as unreasonable without much push back.

The second problem is that Obama himself ascended to office on the basis of little more than ‘false equivalance’. If you’d like to give your brain the equivalent of diabetic shock, go back and read his treacly 2006 best-seller, “The Audacity of Hope,” where nearly every issue discussed is framed with a “on-the-one-hand, on-the-other-hand” device (he’s sandbagging you, of course — every question is resolved, ostensibly by inches, in favor of liberalism.)

So do I think Barack Obama knows bad writing? Yes. Because he’s practiced it.

July 26th, 2012 at 5:18 pm
Gail Collins: Moron
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I have a working theory to explain the existence of pundits like the New York Times’ Gail Collins, self-parodists who find themselves incapable of escaping the intellectual shallows of liberalism: they must all be secretly financed by a group of wealthy conservatives who regard providing endless fodder for bloggers on the right to be a form of public service.

In Collins’ newest dispatch from the outskirts of sentience, she travels to Williston, North Dakota, a sort of 21st century boomtown where unemployment hovers around one percent thanks to the huge oil reserves now accessible from the Bakken formation.

The reality of the economic dynamism in Williston is so painfully clear that Collins is forced to present it in a fairly positive light, though that doesn’t keep her from some of the reflexive sneering of a Manhattan imperialist (she sniffs that there’s a Wal-Mart instead of an adequate mall and that “The most ambitious restaurants would be classified under the heading of ‘casual dining.’).

Because Williston’s success is fueled by conventional (read: useable) energy, however, the gravitational pull of Collins’ liberalism kicks in when, in the second half of the article, she sets out to expose the unseemly side of Williston’s growth. The results are pathetic.

First, Collins takes a swing at fracking so half-hearted that she doesn’t even seem to have bothered indulging her reflexive impulse to crib some talking points from a Huffington Post op-ed by Alec Baldwin (lest you think I’m joking, it’s here).  Her devastating critique includes the fact that the process “uses a lot of water” and makes the town dustier. Well.

Where she really goes off the rails, however, is in her attempt to portray the local economy as a thing of horror:

… Right now … there’s no place to live. Honestly, no place. To house its teachers, the school district has already purchased two apartment buildings, which have long since been filled even though the residents are all required to share their homes with another teacher. Superintendent Viola LaFontaine has taken to the radio airwaves, urging citizens to come up with places for the new faculty to stay.

“We’ve been getting good applicants,” LaFontaine said. “But they’ll make $31,500. When they find out an apartment is $2-3,000 a month, they say they can’t pay that.”

Yes! Housing costs in Williston, N.D., are approaching those in New York City. Many of the oil workers stash their families back wherever they came from, and live in “man camps,” some of which resemble giant stretches of storage units.

If the place you love can’t quite climb out of the recession, think of this as consolation. At least you’re not living in a man camp and waiting half an hour in line for a Big Mac.

Ms. Collins, meet supply and demand. Supply and demand, meet Ms. Collins.

What our fearless columnist is describing is the typical trajectory of boomtowns. The sudden surge of demand sends prices skyrocketing. But if her view extended beyond the tip of her nose, Collins might realize that this is the predicate for a second round of employment growth and a general lowering of prices. When demand is so high that a remote region of North Dakota can charge rents rivaling those of the beating heart of New York City, it’s an open invitation for developers to make their way to Williston, relieve the housing shortfall, and get rich in the process. Ditto the overcrowded restaurants. That means new jobs created. And the increased supply means lowered prices.

One final note: it’s telling that teachers are Collins’ go-to example. Reading her column, one could reasonably wonder how Williston’s housing stock could be both (a) so expensive that it’s prohibitive for many potential tenants and (b) filled to the gills. The answer: private-sector workers are making more than enough to meet the demands of the city’s rent. Only in the public sector, where wages are set by government diktat instead of the market, are crucial employees priced out of a place to live. That’s a real shame for the teachers of North Dakota. If the school system was privatized, they’d all be getting rich now too.

July 23rd, 2012 at 9:39 am
Ramirez Cartoon: Colorado Shooting, Media Bias
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Below is one of the latest cartoons from two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Michael Ramirez.

View more of Michael Ramirez’s cartoons on CFIF’s website here.

May 2nd, 2012 at 12:07 pm
The Reality of “Fair Pay” for Women
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Last weekend, liberal MSNBC talk show host Rachel Maddow and Republican political consultant Alex Castellanos got into a dustup on MSNBC’s “Meet the Press” over pay disparities between men and women in the workplace.

Maddow, working from the first principle of modern American liberalism, assumed that the absence of pure equality is de facto proof of systemic oppression. Here’s part of the exchange (note the utter failure of NBC host David Gregory to moderate impartially):

Since Castellanos didn’t get much a chance to get a word in, allow me to augment his remarks with the observations of Thomas Sowell, writing in his book, “Economic Facts and Fallacies”:

The empirical fact that most male-female economic differences are accounted for by factors other than employer discrimination does not mean that there have been no instances of discrimination, including egregious instances. But anecdotes about those egregious instances cannot explain the general pattern of male-female economic differences and their changes over time. Those changes are continuing. While in the period from 2000 to 2005 most women were still holding jobs making less than the weekly median wages, women were also 1.7 million out of 1.9 million new workers earning above the median wages.

Given the numerous factors that impact the incomes and employment of women differently from the way they impact the incomes and employment of men, it can hardly be surprising that there have been substantial income differences between the sexes. Nor can all these differences be assumed to be negative on net balance for women — that is, taking other factors into account besides income. For example, the wives of affluent and wealthy men tend to work less and therefore to earn less. But the wife of a rich man is not poor, no matter how low her income might be.

Had Ms. Maddow hoped to have a real conversation about the causation of pay disparities, there was a rich body of research available to her. She didn’t of course. That wouldn’t make for nearly as good television.

January 16th, 2012 at 6:36 pm
This is the Face of Media Bias
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This is no joke. It looks like Newsweek has allowed its collective editorial id to design the cover of the magazine’s newest issue.

Remember, there was a time when this was one of America’s newsmagazines of record. Not coincidentally, that was a time before Andrew Sullivan’s feature-length slanders were considered cover material. It’s becoming clearer every day why Newsweek only managed to fetch $1 when it went up for sale in 2010. Also becoming clearer? It was overpriced.

October 4th, 2011 at 8:09 pm
Washington Post Resorts to Gutter Journalism for Perry “Racism” Story
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On Saturday, the Washington Post ginned up some controversy by running an unnecessarily long-winded investigative piece alleging that the Texas hunting camp owned by Governor (and now presidential candidate) Rick Perry, along with his father, possesses a racially-offensive name (involving the most common — and jarring — epithet for African-Americans).

The piece made for good election cycle copy, but bad journalism. In essence, the name far predated the Perrys’ acquisition of the property and never seems to have been used by them — in fact, they actually painted over a rock that included it (and eventually just turned it over). In addition, the Post never made clear what it means to say that the offensive name is what the property “is called,” apart from the fact that the name had been used by previous owners and the rock still remains on the land.

If the WaPo had any journalistic sense, it would have left the story there. Instead, they’ve now published a follow-up piece by Amy Gardner claiming to examine Perry’s “complicated record” on racial issues. Like recent stories wondering what Chris Christie’s weight says about his potential mettle as president, this was an example of journalism that was long on space to fill and short on meaningful analysis.

In truth, Perry’s record couldn’t be less complicated. He appointed the man who became the first black chairman of Texas A&M’s board of regents, had an African-American chief of staff, and hired two black general counsels. According to the story, however, his views on race are questionable because he (A) supports the Tea Party (B) believes in the Tenth Amendment (C)  ran a campaign ad in 1990 featuring his opponent with Jesse Jackson and (D) once had misgivings about a piece of hate crimes legislation (which he eventually signed).

While there’s no evidence to suggest Perry is actually a racist (and, in fact, plenty of evidence showing exactly the opposite), don’t expect that to prevent the formation of a meme on the left. We fully expect to see the Perry-as-racist shtick on parade in Bill Maher’s next monologue. Perhaps some of the Washington Post‘s writers would feel more comfortable on Maher’s staff — at least there the belief that facts are immaterial is explicit.

July 19th, 2011 at 9:51 pm
Media Attacks on Bachmann Migraines a Sign of Growning Desperation
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Two developments have intersected in recent weeks to put Minnesota Congresswoman and 2012 presidential candidate Michele Bachmann squarely in the media’s crosshairs.

The first is the fact that Sarah Palin shows no signs of getting into the presidential race anytime soon, depriving the MSM of its pinata of choice. The second is that Bachmann’s clear conservative principles and energetic personality are translating into real results. Just today, a new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll shows Bachmann rocketing into second place (behind Mitt Romney) for the Republican presidential nomination.

Bachmann, like Palin before her, lives a life remarkably free of Beltway trappings and seems to have committed a cardinal sin amongst the punditocracy: she actually believes in her conservative principles. That may be the reason that a story as desperate as this is dominating today’s political news:

Presidential contender Rep. Michele Bachmann confirmed Tuesday she suffers from migraine headaches, but stressed they would not get in the way of her seeking the position or serving as commander in chief.

“Like nearly 30 million other Americans, I experience migraines that are easily controlled with medication,” Bachmann, R-Minn., said in a statement. “Let me be abundantly clear — my ability to function effectively has never been impeded by migraines and will not affect my ability to serve as commander in chief.”

… Bachmann’s son, Lucas Bachmann, told The New York Times that the migraines were not incapacitating. “She is probably not going to run a mile, but in terms of being able to engage, she can comprehend and assess information — without a doubt,” said Lucas Bachmann, who is a medical resident in Connecticut specializing in psychiatry.

Good lord. A presidential candidate is revealed to have one of the most common chronic medical ailments in America and all of a sudden the media is worried that Kim Jong-Il will get the jump on her because she’ll be in a dark room with a damp washcloth on her face? John F. Kennedy spent most of his administration loopy on painkillers, steroids, and (on at least one occasion) anti-psychotics, and still manages to get royal treatment from the press to this day. There was one crucial difference, however: Kennedy and the press read from the same sheet of music.

For the anti-establishment Bachmann, this train of abuses will likely continue. At this rate, expect to see a hard-hitting expose on whether her proclivity for hangnails may prevent her from properly using the veto pen by later in the week.

March 8th, 2011 at 10:06 pm
NPR Executives Slam Tea Party, Say they Don’t Need Government Money in Secret Video
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In the newest bit of explosive guerilla video from conservative gadfly James O’Keefe, National Public Radio senior executive Ron Schiller tells a pair of undercover filmmakers that NPR would be better off without federal funding. When you hear his denunciations of the Tea Party, “middle America”, and “zionists” in the media, you’ll be only too happy to grant his wish. Watch the truly stunning video below:

February 10th, 2011 at 7:49 pm
AOL-HuffPo Merger Shows Hypocrisy Behind ‘Citizen Journalism’

Leave it to liberals like Arianna Huffington to treat the little people she champions exactly like a corporate stooge.  Debra Saunders highlights the hypocrisy fueling this week’s announced merger of AOL News with The Huffington Post:

Remember HuffPo’s big scoop during the 2008 presidential election? Writer Mayhill Fowler recorded then-presidential candidate Barack Obama as he told swells at a San Francisco fundraiser that blue-collar voters “get bitter” and “cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them.”

Last year, Fowler quit writing for HuffPo because the website refused to pay her. “Citizen journalist,” Mayhill Fowler discovered, has a very specific meaning: Free.

The savings Arianna realizes from not paying many of her contributors undoubtedly helps make her website more profitable.  It also lets her hide her lust for money behind the guise of anti-corporate rhetoric.  Saunders continues:

Fowler keeps waiting for the moment when high-profile Democrats realize “that they cannot say one thing and do another: to talk sympathy for working people and yet blog at a site that treats its writers badly.” Fowler should not hold her breath.

Huffington is an entrepreneurial genius at self-promotion. She fiercely surfed the left’s discontent with mainstream – read: corporate – journalism by promising to keep mainstream – read: paid – news media “honest.”

So, on the one hand Huffington lets ‘citizen journalists’ like Fowler do the heavy lifting of reporting breaking news while leveraging the resulting readership into a $315 million payday.  Not a bad day’s work for the divorced wife of a multi-millionaire.  Maybe now folks like Fowler will remember that liberals like Arianna are just as eager to make a buck as anyone else – they just aren’t as up front about it as the rest.

H/T: San Francisco Chronicle

February 1st, 2011 at 7:35 pm
MSNBC Incapable of Detecting Satire
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In a recent Freedom Minute, we told you how MSNBC’s journalistic irresponsibility included an incident where Rachel Maddow falsely accused a Republican Congressman of having advance knowledge of the Oklahoma City bombing and failing to act. Apparently, Maddow’s show hasn’t added any fact-checkers since that earlier faux pas.

On last night’s broadcast, Maddow lit into a litany of conservative critics of President Obama’s Egypt policy. One of her targets, however, deserves special attention. According to the Atlantic Wire:

The Internet’s finest satirists hooked a big fish in the media world last night. In an embarrassing segment on her MSNBC show, Rachel Maddow slammed conservatives for attacking President Obama’s Egypt policies. Her targets included Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, former ambassador to the UN John Bolton and Stephenson Billings at Only problem is Stephenson Billings is not a real person. He’s a fictional byproduct of a website that also warns readers that the Xbox Kinect is a terrorist training tool and the Japanese have created scary robot babies which “threaten humanity.”

The article that caught Maddow’s eye called for an “American-led invasion” into Egypt and begged former Alaska governor Sarah Palin to lead the war cry.

“The escalating crisis in Egypt could become a defining moment for Sarah Palin,” Billings wrote. “Governor Palin needs to speak out publicly and forcibly for an American-led invasion to protect our interests in North Africa.”

It’s embarassing to see any supposedly mainstream news show get duped like this. But when a show as self-consciously snarky as Maddow’s can’t detect satire, it’s also a nice bit of poetic justice.