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Political Talk Show Host and Internet Radio Personality. My show, In My Humble Opinion, aired on RainbowRadio from 2015-2017.
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Monday, September 14, 2009
There is no systematic liberal media bias!
In reality this is a myth repeated ad nauseam by the like of Rush Limbaugh and the hosts on Fox News (Bill O'Rielly, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck & others) in an effort to shield themselves from criticism should the mainstream media ever bother to point out how often these guys mislead, mis-quote, quote out of context (when it actually matters!), make up statistics, misinterpret polls, make up polls (!), host fringe elements as if they were maninstream, and more often than I can count, DEMONSTRABLY LIE. Of course, the mainstream media, being entirely corporate owned is not often wont to do this anyway, but given the commercial success of RUppert Murdoch's empire of right-wing propaganda, and the success that Fox and AM Talk Radio have had in gettig so many viewers and listeners to think they are more conservative than they actually are (I'll get to the 'America is a Right-Wing Country' myth in a future post) the last thing any media outlet wants is to be branded as "Liberally Biased." (Which Fox and Talk Radio will do anyway, so I don't know what they're so worried about!)
But the charge is baseless to the point of absurdity. All one has to do is to take an objective look at how the press (the MAIN STREAM press now, not just Fox) treats comparable topics. If anything, almost ALL media outlets outside of MSNBC lean HEAVILY conservative; And let's not forget: MSNBC gives former Republican Senator and staunch conservative Joe Scarborough his own shown. Find me the liberal counter-balance to Lou Dobbs on CNN, or ANY liberal with his own show on Fox! The one admittedly liberal-leaning outlet has more balance in their hosts than the relatively centrist CNN, or the "Fair and Balanced" Fox News. (Now if you'll excuse me, after have said "Fair and Balanced Fox News" I now need to go vomit...)
...OK, I'm back.
So here is my case that the mainstream media is CONSERVATIVELY biased, using several different stories and people as evidence.
Exhibit One: Al Gore (D-2000) versus Norm Coleman (R-2008)
When Al Gore retracted his concession in the 2000 presidential election, pending [the deciding state] Florida's official recount, as MANDATED BY STATE LAW, he was rounded branded as a sore loser, a whiner, someone who should just throw it in, someone who's "antics" were hurting the party. Virtually no media outlets at the time bothered to point out that the ruling in Bush v. Gore circumvented state law - I thought the Republicans were all about NOT interfering with states rights?! Or that most of the "brooks brothers" protesters were in fact Republican Staffers! (Many of them now organize these idiotc "grass roots" (vomit) tea parties!) Nor was it highlited very frequently that Gore in fact WON the popular vote and that the decision in Bush v Gore COULD ONLY have the effect of SUPPRESSING votes in Florida. So much for their priciple of making every vote count! Nope. Gore was a loser, and should go away. (This after the media privelidged lie after lie after lie about the former Vice President on the campaign trail. The media made him constantly defend himself for saying thing he never said and making exagerations he never made!)
Contrast that with the treatment Norm Coleman (R-MN) recieved in his hotly contested Senate reellection bid against Democratic challenger Al Franken in 2008. First the facts: Once the recount was done, overseen by a bipartisan commitee and approved by a bipartisan panel, Coleman lost by 312 votes. And while he made appeal after appeal after appeal, all of which were found to be baseless, and none of which were ever taken seriously by any court, did the press call him a sore loser? No sir. Were 'his antics hurting his party'? Are you kidding? He was hailed as being a savy politican! Apparently holding up the certification of an election to make it easier for Republkicans to filibuster pending legislation is savy. (Who knew? He sure seemed like a whiny little bitch to me!) No one in the press called Norm Coleman what he was: A partisan hack, an obstructionist and, most of all, a SORE LOSER WHO SHOULD JUST CONCEDE ALREADY!
Exhibit Two: Al Gore (D-former VP) versus Dick Cheney (R-former VP)
Last one on Gore, I promise! Do you rememebr how many television appearances Al Gore made in the months and year after Bush was elected? That would be almost none. Part of it was out of the traditional respect granted an incoming administration (where the hell did THAT go this time around, huh?) and part of it was NOBODY IN THE MEDIA CARED ABOUT HIM! No one wanted to talk to the former VP of the party that lost not only the presidential election, but most of their contested seats in congress! And remember, the Democrats lost, by a mere FIVE electoral votes, because of five right-wingers on the supreme court, not because of Clinton or of Gore himself. Gore won the popular vote after all, and if anything Clinton would have HELPED. Sadly they were stupid enough to believe that the media was still on their side, even as they portrayed Clinton like some kind of pariah, and Clinton kept a low profile.
Wow, how things have changed. In 2008, the Republican lost the presidential election by ONE-HUNDERED-SEVETY-THREE votes, and lost enough seats that the Democrats, after taking back contorl of congress two years earlier, now held supermajorities in both houses. And how many times have you seen Dick Cheney, former VP of the party that not only lost but got TROUNCED, on TV since President Obama was inaugurated? He's ALL OVER THE PLACE!!! The press can't get enough of him! And he's one of the big reasons McCain LOST! Well... his corruption and Bush's incompetence. Between the two of them, the "Republican" brand was an like an anchor around McCain's neck!
But should Cheney just disappear? Or refrain from criticising the new administrations for some traditional period of time? NO WAY!!! We NEED TO KNOW what this man has to say!!!
Exhibit Three: John Kerry (D-2004) versus John McCain (R-2008)
Much like Gore, Kerry was essentially told ot bug-off after he lost... by a mere 35 electoral votes, the smallest margin of victory in any re-election camapain in history. He was greeted with nothing but the media equivalent of awkward silences. John McCain loses by 173 votes, and he just keeps on truckin'! The media act like he never even ran! Like Sarah Palin was at the top of the ticket or something. Was he treated as shabbily as Kerry was after losing by almost FIVE TIMES the margin? No way! Even supposed liberals like MSNBC's Chris Mathews were as eager to hump McCain's leg as ever.
Exhibit Four: Democrats v. Alito vs. Republican v. Sotomayor
During now Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito's, Senate Democrats questioned him about his membership in the Concerned Alumni of Princeton, a group with definitively racist (and sexist) goals for the University. QUESTIONED him. ASKED HIM ABOUT IT. This was apparently enough to send his wife to tears and the media into a tizzy. HOW DARE the Democrats pursue this line of questioning... HOW DARE they imply that he might be racist (or sexist)? Where is their respect?
Fast forward to 2009, and the confirmation of now Justice Sonya Sotomayor. Because of a single remark, made years ago and both taken wildly out of context and blown wildly out of proportion, Republican Senators and their lackies in the press felt it was somehow now acceptable to come right out and CALL Justice Sotomayor a racist! Just like that! "She's a racist."
OK, so let me get this strait... Democrats can't ask a question about a nominee's membership in an openly racist organization, becasue it insinuates that the nomimee is racist.... but Republicans can come right out an CALL a nominee a racist and that's OK with the press. Wow.
Exhibit Four-A: Sotomayor vs. Altio on Ricci
And look at the Ricci case. Much was made of the fact that Justice Sotomayor found for the defendant. Somehow this showed her racial bias, even though some Latino firefighters would not recieve promotions they would have been otherwise entitled to as a result. But very little was said of Samuel Alito or Anotnin Scalia, both Italian Americans, finding for Ricci, an Italian American himself! Now, I'm not saying that they voted based on that fact alone, but both recalled their Italian heritiage, and the empathy they had for what the Italian immigrants faced when coming to this country, during their confirmation hearings. But you saw what happened when Justice Sotomayor spoke proudly of her latina heritage, or President Obama menitioned 'empathy' as one of the many qualities he was looking for in a judge. BTW? Clarence Thomas was also heralded for his empathy, during his confirmation hearings!
Exhibit Five: Nancy Pelosi (D-Speaker) vs. Newt Gingrich (R-former Speaker)
If I were to say "partisan," "divisive," "unpopular," "controverial," "extremist," or "out of touch" which of these people do you think I'm talking about? Well, if you're near the center politically, and think for yourself rather than listen to the media, you might say that it could describe either one. But Former Speaker Gingrich is granted repeated interviews, and treated like a serious analyst or comentator instead of (say it with me) an unpopular, divisive, controversial, partisan, extreme right-wing hack. Meanwhile these descriptors fly all the time with regards to Speaker Pelosi... and you can add "shrill" to the list as well! Now I'm not arguing that Nancy pelosi isn't any of those things: that can be debated. BUT: there is no doubt that Gingrich is at least as far to the Right as Pelosi is to the left, at least as 'controversial' (just not with conservatives), at least as 'divisive' (just not with conservatives) and according to polls taken at the height of Speaker Gingrich's popularity (about a week after he won) statistiaclly LESS popular with the Nation than Speaker Pelosi has EVER polled, based on approval rating.
But Pelosi is treated by the press like she has leprosy, while Gingrich is treated like he's the next Winston Churchill.
Exhibit Six: Reconciliation vs. The Nuclear Option
First of all, let's be clear on the facts. The "Nuclear Option" was a phrase coined by Republicans, but co-opted by Democrats when they found it polled badly, to describe the proposed RULES CHANGES by the majority Republicans at the time to prevent Senate Democrats from filibutsering President Bush's judicial nominees. While nominees are not commonly filibusted, the rules DO allow for it, and it is not without precident. (What's more, it's little different from all the Holds the Republican have put on President Obama's nominees for posts throughout the federal government. You want to know why so many leadership position are unfilled? Because it takes 60 votes to clear a Hold, just like a filibuster, and until Norm Coleman stopped being such a little cry baby, the Democrats didn't HAVE sixty votes. They still don't in fact, at least until a special election is held for the seat of the recently deceased Senator Kennedy. So you can blame the Rebulicans, and their baseless Holds, for so many ships being without a helmsman, even though the media won't.)
"Reconciliation," on the other hand, is a LONG ESTABLISHED procedure used to pass budgetary mesaures with a simple majority vote, rather than first requiring a vote of 60 for cloture. It's basically a procedural end-run around the filibuster, that can be used for budgetary items only. Now the Democrats have threatened to use it to pass their budget. The Republicans are crying foul, since their are things in the budget like items for health care. Since those would need to be paid for, I'm not exactly sure why they don't belong in the budget, but whatever. The fact is that Republicans used reconciliation to pass quite a bit of legislation that was tucked into their budgets over the first six years of the Bush administration. (The Bush tax cuts, for example.)
But the press is not only acting like the Democrats are playing unfair, and giving credability to the hypocritical claims of the Republicans, not to mention failing to point out the hypocrisy, but they have, on several occasions, actually called this the Democrat's "nuclear option!"
WTF?! Somehow the Democrats using a long established procedure repeatedly practice by both parties is the same as the Republicans changing the rules so that they can do whatever they want.
Final Exhibit: Anti-Iraq War Protesters vs. Tea-Baggers, Birthers and 9/12'ers
I'll make this short. In 2003, Iraq war protests that drew over 100,000 people were eighth page news, even in the "liberal" New York Times. They were described as "annoying" at best, and "traitorous" at worst. But Saturday's 9/12 rally that drew only a fraction of that amount was FRONT PAGE news! Tea-Parties? Birthers? The 9/12 protets? These people are serious news! You see... When CONSERVTIVES are angry, it's news. When LIBERALS are angry, it's annoying.
Some of the more conservative readers may be looking at this and saying, "Well what's wrong with how the press treated these cases? I think they got it spot on!" Well, any of these things can certainly be debated, and you're certainly entitled to your opinion... But you can't logically hold that opinon, have the media agree with you, and then turn around and accuse the media of liberal bias now, can you?
There IS NO systematic liberal bias in the mainstream media. It is a complete myth. We have a CORPORATE media, owned by Boards that all lean consevative and vote Republican and the resulting conservative bias should be completely transparent to any objective observer.
One last bit. If anyone wants to call me out on any of the items I've mentioned here - to cite sources, give examples, etc... Let me know. Rest assured I can absolutely do that. It's just that I think fast, but type slow and this is a Blog, not a grad-school thesis, so I didn't feel like getting bogged down finding links and citing sources as I flew to get my ideas on the page. I may go back later and add some links, but at this point I think I'd rather move on to other topics. If anyone feels like calling shenanigans on me though, I'll make sure to answer your suspisions! I'm good that way!