Tag Archives: media bias

What Media Bias? Part 196

A story in the New Republic about western reporters self-censoring themselves in China:

The visa question has insidious ways of sowing the seeds of self-censorship,” Dorinda Elliott, the global affairs editor at Condé Nast Traveler, wrote on ChinaFile last month. “I am ashamed to admit that I personally have worried about the risk of reporting on sensitive topics, such as human rights lawyers: what if they don’t let me back in?” Elliott is a longtime China hand who worked as Newsweek’s Beijing bureau chief in the late 1980s. “My decision to not write that story—at least not yet—proves that I am complicit in China’s control games,” she continued. “After all, there are plenty of other interesting subjects to pursue, right?”

The most shocking thing about Elliott’s statement is its honesty. Western journalists are not supposed to make any concessions to China, and even when they do, they rarely admit it. Many people were thus horrified by recent reports that Matt Winkler, editor-in-chief of Bloomberg News, spiked an investigative piece about one of China’s richest men out of fear of offending the government. (Winkler denied killing the piece and said it is still under consideration.)

People are understandably angry about the Bloomberg reports, but they shouldn’t be surprised. This is all part of a larger story. China may force some two dozen correspondents from The New York Times and Bloomberg News to leave the country by the end of the year, apparently in response to their investigative reports on the familial wealth of the Chinese leadership. “Chinese officials have all but said that American reporters know what they need to do to get their visas renewed: tailor their coverage,” The New York Times wrote. On Thursday, Vice President Joseph Biden, who was visiting Beijing, said he had “profound disagreements” with China’s “treatment of U.S. journalists.” As China more harshly intimidates foreign reporters, incidents of Western self-censorship will only increase. Bloomberg is not the first case, and it will not be the last…

Not the first case, indeed.  In fact, self-censoring is something that journalists are actually rather prone to do.  There are two reasons a reporter/editor will self-censor:

1.   They back a particular policy/party/politician and don’t wish to cause any trouble.

2.  They fear that reporting the truth will result in a denial of access to a particular party or politician.

For China, it is the latter that is operational – reporters and editors are worried that if they report the unvarnished truth about China (which is pretty bad, all the way down) then the Chinese government will deny them access to China and so they won’t be able to further report on China from first-hand knowledge.  It amazes me that this is even an issue – if I were a reporter or editor, I would report the truth as best as I could and if I got kicked out, I’d file one, last first-hand report about China indicating I was kicked out for telling the truth and then, whenever I reported about China from second-hand sources, I’d point out that the only way anyone can be reporting from China is if they are willing accomplices of the Chinese government in suppressing the truth.  This doesn’t mean no useful information will come out of China, but it would show that everything from China should be taken with a grain of salt and that my competitors who remain in China are just hacks shilling for a corrupt and inhuman oligarchy.  I’d take that as a badge of honor.  I guess having badges of honor, though, doesn’t commend itself to reporters and editors these days.

I bring this up because it shows that in the slew of “news” we get each and every day, this has to be taken in to consideration: are the reporters and editors playing a double game?  We see it all the time, after all, with American MSM reporting on Obama – they both support Obama and are fearful of losing access to Obama, and so they tailor their reporting (with a very, very few shining exceptions) to please Obama.  Generally, to get to the truth about Obama, we have to take Obama statements and news reports and then dig around to see how they square with the truth (and almost invariably, they don’t).

The fundamental weakness of the MSM lies in the fact that they are not devoted to the truth – the objective truth.  They don’t, in fact, believe that such a thing exists.  Given this, it is natural that they will craft their reporting in the manner which best advances the MSM, itself.  The MSM wants a Chinese bureau and if the price of getting and keeping it is to downplay negative reports and some times put out a puff piece on China, then they’ll do it.  The MSM wants Obama to be a success and if the price of Obama’s success is to conspire with Obama to suppress the truth and slander the opposition, then that is hardly anything which can be thought of as a “price” to be paid for Obama’s success.

The bottom line is to presume that anything which comes over the transom is not 100% correct.  Don’t assume its all a lie – somewhere deep down inside the truth does exist; but don’t take it at face value.  Question everything which is stated as fact – find a second or third source, if at all possible (but, be wary!, there are kook sites out there which will use an MSM lie merely to advance the credibility of a kook site lie…”see, the MSM is lying about “Aspect A” of the situation, therefore my absurd claim about situation is correct!”).  Understand that the MSM is not on your side – they are first and foremost on their own side (so they’ll lie to please China so they can keep their bureau open in China), secondly on the side of liberalism in general (so they’ll lie to protect Obama and the Democrat party).

It is my hope that eventually a group of wealthy genuine conservatives will found a new, media empire – with standard-fare television, television news, internet and print news; all with an absolute commitment to truth above all, regardless of whom is offended.  That will be the day when we really slay the beast of falsehood which has stalked and disturbed our land for a century.

What Media Bias? Part 194

Geesh:

ABC is defending its decision to edit out an apparently erroneous claim by Michelle Obama in its broadcast of the first lady’s interview on Good Morning America today, saying it made the changes “solely” for the sake of time.

As The Washington Examiner reported this morning, the first lady claimed during an interview with Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts that 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton, who was killed in Chicago shortly after performing during the President’s Inauguration, was shot because “some kids had some automatic weapons they didn’t need.”

In fact, Chicago Police reported Pendleton was shot by a man who “opened fire with a handgun before fleeing in a waiting car,” according to the Associated Press…

Yeah, for the sake of time.  Now, any time President Bush inadvertently mangled English, the MSM always had plenty of time to show it – over and over and over again.  Now here’s the First Lady making a flat out false statement and all of a sudden, “oh, we’re so pressed for time, can’t even show it once!”.

You believe that, then I’ve got a bridge for sale in Brooklyn…

What Media Bias? Part 193

Walter Russel Mead lays it out:

…The news from Afghanistan is grim. With the latest round of deaths, we pass a milestone: 2,000 US combatants have died in what is now the longest war in American history. The milestone has been reached just as the surge in troops has come to an end without achieving the goals of pacifying the country or even launching peace talks with the Taliban. Our Afghan “allies” remain as corrupt and ineffectual as ever, with the added wrinkle that the most dangerous place in Afghanistan for US troops these days seems to be the neighborhood of US-armed and trained Afghan forces, who are shooting and blowing up their nominal allies faster than the Taliban can do it.

This is all bad news and very disturbing, but there is a crumb of comfort to be had. Because these failures happened on President Obama’s watch, the mainstream press isn’t particularly interested in relentless, non-stop scrutiny of the unpleasant news. If George W. Bush were president now, and had ordered the surge and was responsible for the strategic decisions taken and not taken in Afghanistan over the last four years, the mainstream press would be rubbing our noses in his miserable failures and inexcusable blunders 24/7…

And every last one of you reading this – especially your liberals – knows this is true.  You can say all you want that the war started on Bush’s watch; you can say this, that and the other thing to excuse Obama – but you all know darn well that if a Republican were President right now, the stories about the collapse in Afghanistan would lead the news day after day after day.  Just think for a moment what it would be like if McCain had won in 2008 and Obama was just now taking his second shot at the Presidency.  The MSM would never let this pass, not for a second…and we’d have days of news reports marking the 2,000th American death in Afghanistan.

I really do think I have to retire the title of this post – as you can see, its been going on for a long time.  But a more correct title these days would be “What Venal and Corrupt Press?”.  Because this has gone beyond bias.  This is far more than just a willingness to soften the blows for liberals and turn up the heat on conservatives – this is a disgusting failure to do the very basics of journalism:  at least attempt to bring the truth to the people.

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Obama’s Failure, Media Attacks Romney

Here are some of the things we have learned in the past day.

Obama has apparently skipped intelligence briefings for the past week. A rather bizarre thing for the days leading up to the anniversary of September 11th.

Despite threats, the U.S. consulate in Libya was not guarded by U.S. Military.

The attacks appeared to be well coordinated and planned for the 9/11 anniversary.

Yet, somehow, the media has tried to turn this situation into a negative for Romney. Their efforts to do so turned to be as well coordinated as the attacks in Egypt and Cairo appeared to be.

Amazing isn’t it? Since Obama’s convention we’ve had an abysmal jobs report come out, a teachers’ strike in Obama’s hometown of Chicago and now this. Obama has had a rather terrible week, resulting from his bad policies, lack of leadership, inexperience and incompetence, and the media does everything it can to not hold him accountable.v

What Media Bias? Part 192

Though this might be “What Attacks on Mormonism?, Part 1″, depending on how you look at it – from Warner Todd Huston over at Breitbart:

As the race for the White House heats up, Reuters suddenly realized that the massive Mormon Church has a lot of money in its bank accounts. The news service went on to needle the Church, saying if it were a business “wealthy adherents like Mitt Romney would count as its dominant revenue stream.”

Reuters took the if-it-were-a-business theme even farther in its opening paragraphs.

“It would also likely attract corporate gadflies protesting a lack of transparency. They would call for less spending on real estate and more on charitable causes to improve membership growth — the Mormons’ return on investment.”

Of course, a religion is not a “business” proposition. A religion does not operate like a company does, it has far different goals. But assessing a religion wasn’t Reuters’ goal here. Making Mormons out to be “rich” elitists that act suspiciously and are pushing a snobbish presidential candidate on the nation was Reuters’ goal…

This from the same MSM which essentially went all “Reverend Wright, who?” in 2008.  I don’t recall any stories about how Wright’s organization was financed – and that leaves aside anything more than a glance at the fact that Obama attended a racist, anti-American church for 20 years.

One might want to think that there would be only one trip in to the gutter for our Democrats and their lapdog MSM in 2012 – forget it; they’ll troll in every gutter there is.  They will attack Romney because he’s rich.  They’ll attack him because he’s white.  They’ll attack him because he’s Mormon.  They’ll attack him as a war monger and they’ll attack him because he had college and missionary deferments during the Vietnam War.  They will lie.  They will launch whispering campaigns claiming all sorts of horrors about Romney’s past.  They will attack his wife.  They will attack his children.  They will attack his friends.  They will try to intimidate people in the right blogosphere who are favorable to Romney.  This will be the dirtiest political campaign in human history and the MSM will be right there in the trenches with the DNC, doing what they can to help Obama.

So, just get ready for it – it will get nauseating but the payoff will be the crestfallen looks on MSM faces on November 6th.

 

 

Newt Did NOT Agree With Mitt on Health Care

As far as misleading headlines go in this primary campaign season, this one from ABC News certainly ranks up there as one the most egregious:

Gingrich ’06 Memo: “Agree Entirely With Gov. Romney” on Health Care

Newsbusters’ Noel Sheppard links to the actual memo, which reveals, quite clearly, that Newt did not “agree entirely” with Mitt on health care, and certainly did not “love” the Massachusetts health care plan, as was suggested in the story.

It’s unfortunate that the Drudge Report linked to the ABC News story, as if the headline and the claim were legitimate. The only question I have is this, who in the GOP field is ABC News trying to help? Ron Paul?