Thursday, October 4, 2012

Walter Russell Meade on the public disgust with media bias

Walter Russell Meade pens a great essay:

Americans Turn on MSM: What Does It Mean?

The legacy press clearly prefers the liberal establishment to either the hard left or to social conservatives and libertarians. However, the right is correct that once the press ventures out of its center-left, establishment comfort zone it is more sympathetic to the hard left than to the populist right. The non-stop MSM hit pieces on the Tea Party, searching almost desperately for nuts and Nazis at Tea Party events in order to discredit the movement and the drum roll of predictions that the movement was about to disappear, were impossible to miss. The contrast with the much more welcoming treatment given OWS would, I think, convince an observer from Mars that much of the press hunted for evidence to hang the Tea Party and looked past compelling evidence that OWS was deeply flawed, largely without serious political support or impact and increasingly influenced by some very shady movements and folks.
The result is a press that lists to port. Billionaires who give money to Democrats are assumed to be acting out of concern for the public interest and “the issues”; those who support Republicans are seen as seeking special favors. (I’ve met billionaires on both sides and as far as I can see the motives of conservative and liberal contributors are not that different: a mix of genuine ideological faith with a healthy understanding of the value of having close ties with powerful people.)
If the president were a conservative Republican rather than a liberal Democrat, I have little doubt that much of the legacy press would be focused more on what is wrong with America. There would be more negative reporting about the economy, more criticism of policy failures and many more withering comparisons between promise and performance. The contrast between a rising stock market and poor jobs performance that the press now doesn’t think of blaming on President Obama would be reported as demonstrating a systemic bias in favor of the rich and the powerful if George W. Bush were in the White House. The catastrophic decline in African-American net worth during the last four years would, if we had a Republican president, be presented in the press as illustrating the racial indifference or even the racism of the administration. As it is, it is just an unfortunate reality, not worth much publicity and telling us nothing about the intentions or competence of the people in charge.
The current state of the Middle East would be reported as illustrating the complete collapse of American foreign policy—if Bush were in the White House. The criticism of drone strikes and Guantanamo that is now mostly confined to the far left would be mainstream conventional wisdom, and the current unrest in the Middle East would be depicted as a response to American militarism. The in and out surge in Afghanistan would be mercilessly exposed as a strategic flop, reflecting the naive incompetence of an inexperienced president out of his depth. The SEALS rather than the White House would be getting the credit for the death of Osama bin Laden, and there would be more questions about whether killing him and then bragging endlessly and tastelessly about it was a contributing factor to the current unrest. Political cartoons of Cheney spiking the football would be everywhere. It’s also likely we would have heard much more about how killing Osama was strategically unimportant as he had become an increasingly symbolic figure and there would have been a lot of detailed and focused analysis of how the foolish concentration on bin Laden led the clueless Bush administration to neglect the rise of new and potentially much more dangerous Islamist groups in places like Mali. The Libyan war would be widely denounced as an unconstitutional act of neocon militarism, with much more attention paid to the civilian casualties during the war, the chaos that followed, and the destabilizing effects on the neighborhood. The White House fumbling around the Benghazi murders would be treated like a major scandal and dominate the news for at least a couple of weeks.
If Bush were in the White House, the Middle East would be a horrible disaster, and it would all be America’s fault.
Please read the whole thing.

Meade ultimately makes excuses for the overt bias-- it's journalistic angst over the decline of "blue model society and culture" or some such claptrap. We should accept no excuses. The media bias is disgusting and inexcusable-- Meade's point about the differences in the way the media reports on the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street, and his points about how the media would report the shattered jobless economy, or the killing of Bin Laden, or the disintegration of American foreign policy in the Middle East if Bush were president, instead of Obama, are obviously true.

The bias is too shameless to be innocent. National networks have even intentionally inflamed racial violence by outright fraud in order to keep the lefty message alive.

A sizable portion of the mainstream media are simply gangsters with word-processors, advancing their agenda without a shred of journalistic ethics, and much of the rest of the legacy media is following along to get along and get ahead.

The American public knows this, and the Dead Tree Media is dying, thankfully. Let us hope that we can undo the damage it has inflicted on our country.  

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