Democrats & Liberals Archives

The Liberal Press and more Myths

Following the brouhaha surrounding the release of Scott McClellan’s tell-almost-all about being an insider in the Bush Administration, McClellan blames a complacent media for helping promote the lies. Well, some in the press took issue to that sentiment. (link)

Jessica Yellin, now a correspondent for CNN, announced Thursday that during the build-up to the Iraq war and for years following the start of the war, she said that there was significant pressure not to report stories critical of the Bush administration.

McClellan, in his book, was critical of the press for not asking more questions during the buildup to the Iraq war, calling the press 'complacent enablers'. Yellin, on Anderson Cooper's show, noted that it wasn't the fault of the press, it was the pressure from the executives above.

Yellin worked for ABC as a White House correspondent from 2003-2007 and during that time she felt enormous pressure from corporate executives to make sure the war was presented 'in a way consistent with the patriotic fever in the nation and the President's high approval ratings.' She noted that the higher the approval ratings the more the pressure show positive stories about the President and the war. She said that her bosses would turn down critical stories about the administration and try and put on more positive pieces.

Later, following some blogger interest, she clarified her statements saying that she was referring to senior producers who "wanted their coverage to reflect the mood of the country."

Thomas Jefferson once said "Our liberty cannot be guarded but by the freedom of the press, nor that be limited without danger of losing it."

I wonder what Jefferson would say if he were around today.

Posted by john trevisani at May 31, 2008 6:56 AM
Comments
Comment #254021

If Jefferson were around today, he would castigate McClellan for not resigning if he indeed felt the way he says he did.

Journalists are generally liberal, but they are also a type of pack animal. They follow each other’s leads and most are not particularly independent.

I saw Anderson Cooper on Jeopardy. He talks a good game, but he is not really very smart. Unfortunately, that is the kind of journalist the 24-hour news system produces these days.

They are not asking questions about Obama today for the same reason. They go with the flow. Usually the flow is biased left; sometimes it is not. Remember - pack animals chasing the scent and you will understand the cable news network.

Posted by: Jack at May 31, 2008 9:04 AM
Comment #254022

John,

I remember a time when TV news, hell, all news wasn’t about money. I remember when we had journalists reading news stories that they had edited themselves. I also remember a time when opinion was presented as opinion not news.

Ben Franklin is said to be the first regular publisher of a gossip column. Little did he know that it would become the staple of what can only laughingly called today’s news.
Forget what Jefferson might think, Franklin would be appalled.
News shouldn’t have to called “fair and balanced”.
News is news. By it’s very nature it is neither fair nor is it balanced. It’s just news.

That there is corporate pressure stirring the pot shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. As I said before, news is about money, it’s about who can get it out there first, correct or not, we’ll publish the retraction on page 20. It’s about the ratings this minute. Sadly “Max Headroom” got it right.

I doubt that I will read McClellan’s book because like anyone else that has been paying attention I already knows what’s in it.
I am also quite sure that there are heads rolling at the publishing houses that didn’t get this tome for their own because this book will probably sell like hotcakes.

Posted by: Rocky at May 31, 2008 9:43 AM
Comment #254023

Part of the responsibility for what has happened in the last 7.5 years belongs to both the Democrats and Republicans for trashing the media and creating a distrust of it. There were critics in the media of the invasion of Iraq, but, the public and even other media folks saw only bias in their commentaries, investigative reporting and editorials. A real shame.

Part of the responsibility lies with the educational system in America which fails to develop and promote critical analysis in the viewing/reading of media.

And of course, part of the responsibility lies with the public itself, more than 100 million of whom have no use for the media, that institution so necessary to maintaining vigilance and control of politicians in a democratically elected government.

We know what the problem is. Where are the leaders who will bring the nation together to solve it?

Posted by: David R. Remer at May 31, 2008 9:54 AM
Comment #254033

David & Rocky

I think it is just the 24-hour news cycle. I blame CNN. CNN just sucks. They have degraded the whole news game as everybody had to imitate them or be thought too slow.

I am writing this from Amman, Jordan and watching Al Jazeera in English. It has its biases, but all-in-all it is better than the CNN-International, which is the alternative.

It was bad long before the last 7 years. Let me give you a true story I bet you never heard.

During the attempted Communist coup against Yeltsin, I was in Norway. I was watching CNN and Norwegian TV (NRK) alternatively. CNN was filming the “attack” on the Russian parliament from the top of their building about 2 miles from the action. They were very serious watching the tanks. There was black smoke rising from the barricades and CNN reported it. They were telling the truth, but they didn’t understand what they were seeing. The Norwegian reporter was at the barricades talking to both sides. What had happened was the tank drivers had gotten out and were sharing vodka with the protestors. Meanwhile, somebody has started to fry some sausages and black smoke was rising because of that. CNN for months used the footage of the black smoke, saying something like, “when there was trouble in Moscow, CNN was there.” Yes they were.

I figure if CNN can be so silly once, they are probably silly more often. But they don’t care. If they get it FIRST they are happy. Details like accuracy have fallen victim to speed.

Posted by: Jack at May 31, 2008 11:27 AM
Comment #254035

Jack,

It isn’t just about CNN.

Pick any of the alphabet soup networks (and don’t forget FOX), dare to tell me this is news.

The National Enquirer always has been, and always will be, a fish wrapper, yet this is the style of journalism (and I use that word very loosely) that is being emulated, because it makes money.
Trailer park journalism is chic.

Somebody once said “if it was easy we’d all be doing it”.
Well look around.
This country’s collages and universities pump out journalism majors like they pump out lawyers, and to the same effect.
All I have to do is turn on the “news”, and I can feel my IQ level drop immediately to the point I can no longer recognize how stupid I have become. Even after I turn off the TV, it takes some time before I regain my intellectual capacity.

And rather than helping, the Internet seems to make it even worse. Finding an unbiased news source, even on the web, is a nightmare.

I don’t need somebody’s spin on what the news is, I just want the news.
Don’t explain it to me, just tell me the news and let me figure it out for myself.

Posted by: Rocky at May 31, 2008 11:52 AM
Comment #254036

Jack-
When you pick people who value loyalty over forthrightness, why are you surprised when nobody bucks the groupthink to speak their mind?

Here we have the seeds of the fall of the Republican Party. It’s become mostly about pushing an agenda, mostly about using policy as a political bludgeon against opponents, than actually fitting policy to the real world. You’ll tell yourselves you’ll be more practical about things later, and never get around to it, or sometimes even care about it.

In the end, the fall of the Republican party came because they no longer felt effectively governing was as important as maintaining and growing their power to govern.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at May 31, 2008 11:54 AM
Comment #254043

Jack:

I blame CNN. CNN just sucks. They have degraded the whole news game as everybody had to imitate them or be thought too slow.

Sure, blame CNN.
Ignore that Yellin worked for ABC as a white house correspondent.
Blame CNN.
Ignore FNC for taking RNC talking points and making them the daily theme for all of their recurring shows. FOX Friends will start the theme by chatting it up with java with witty things like: ‘Some say that George Bush is the best President ever…’. Cue the scrolling blab bar at the bottom of the screen with the results of Fox’s own online poll results and finish it off with Orielly and Hannity doing hour-long shows on Bush’s popularity.

Yeah… CNN is to blame.

Posted by: john trevisani at May 31, 2008 1:32 PM
Comment #254044

It has come to the attention of some of us that the definition of liberal propaganda is factual journalism and unvarnished history.

Posted by: Stephen Hines at May 31, 2008 1:44 PM
Comment #254059

If Llachlan Murdoch hadn’t resigned at NewsCorp in favor of Roger Ailes, some things might be different. As it is, it looks like the News organizations are all following the same corporate path.

Rocky, try the Al Jazeera feed, they’re actually pretty good now compared to what we usually get. Read Arianna’s Right is Wrong instead of McClellan’s self-aggrandizing crap.

Jefferson would say “More Wine?”

“promote critical analysis”, is someone quoting me? Actually, it should be critical thinking.

Is the “the fall of the Republican party” the Kos talking point of the day, S.D.?

Posted by: ohrealy at May 31, 2008 5:39 PM
Comment #254064


In my opinion McClellan’s book is that it was a confession. He is guilty as hell and he knows it. He had a choice, loyalty to the American people or loyalty to Bush. He chose bush and now regrets it. His punishment? He will be forced to accept millions of dollars from the liberals.

In the run up to the Iraq war, Fox News took up the lies of Cheney and charged down hill towards the enemy (the American people) with the rest of the media hanging onto their coattails. The Bush Administration, aided by the media, lied to us and worst of all, they used our patriotism against us for their own desires and illgotten gains. Now they are laughing at us.

Today , Obama is the chosen one. Even Fox has helped him by attacking Clinton on a consistant basis. CNN has been the least helpful to Obama.

The question to ask about the press is not are they liberal or conservative biased. The question is, are they corporate biased? They are and this fall they will choose sides between the conservative corporate candidate and the liberal corporate candidate.

Posted by: jlw at May 31, 2008 7:01 PM
Comment #254071

Hubert,
You should actually be ecstatic that Hillary Clinton was allowed to get away with cheating today.

She had signed a pledge that said:

THEREFORE, I Hillary Rodham Clinton, Democratic Candidate for President, pledge I shall not campaign or participate in any state which schedules a presidential election primary or caucus before Feb. 5, 2008, except for the states of Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire and South Carolina, as “campaigning” is defined by rules and regulations of the DNC.

On her website (it’s still posted there in the press release section) they even put up a post that said:

We believe Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina play a unique and special role in the nominating process.

And we believe the DNC’s rules and its calendar provide the necessary structure to respect and honor that role.

Thus, we will be signing the pledge to adhere to the DNC approved nominating calendar.

Then after breaking her pledge by leaving her name on the ballot in Michigan, she said:

“It’s clear: This election they’re having is not going to count for anything. I personally did not think it made any difference whether or not my name was on the ballot,”

But I guess it did make a difference — well, after she knew she was losing the primary she demanded that Michigan’s rigged-especially-for-Hillary beauty contest primary should count. And now she has gotten away with winning more delegates in a state where Barack Obama’s name didn’t even appear on the ballot. Where an enormous number of people didn’t get out to vote for Obama because they thought it wasn’t going to count.

But still she and her supporters keep whining and complaining because she didn’t get to win ALL of the delegates in that state and now they are only going to count as half votes. Even though back at the end of April, Bill said: “probably the only option is to seat them under our rules, as half delegates.”

But no, it’s still not enough, because they decided to move the Hillary goalpost on what the new rules should be — only the ones that favor her as the winner and the Democratic nominee for president. It’s all so Shameless. So lacking in dignity. So pointless.

In fact, all of the shameless and pointless things she and Bill have said and done during this primary clearly spell out why the Clintons should no longer be allowed anywhere near the reigns of power.

And she’s vowing to fight on and take this right to the convention. Because if she can’t win, obviously she wants the entire party to lose.

Pathetic.

Posted by: Veritas Vincit at May 31, 2008 9:34 PM
Comment #254079

Folks, the media has chased the Greenback instead of the truth for decades. It became obvious what was happening when the corporate lackies tried to bury the Jeff Weygan story about the Tobacco industry.

Which of course means much, not all, of the news media caters to an audience that makes their news programming profitable. So where does the blame lie? Does the root of the problem lie with the media seeking profits for their efforts, or the consumers who prefer infotainment to accuracy and investigative uncovering of truth?

The truth today is made inordinately difficult and expensive to uncover due to the sophistication of modern power brokers to hide the truth under layers and layers of insulating ruses, secrecy, and plausible deniability? Can you say Dick Cheney?

In a Commencement speech today, Justice Alito gave a very respectable speech. He explained that the difference between The Constitution and laws emanating from it and those who love and respect that Constitution in their lives and work, are a world apart from the many Sophists practicing law who operate under the paid assumption that any law can be made to mean what it was never intended to mean with the right acumen with language.

I was surprised by his view that the Constitution was made short by design, covering the essentials not too easily or lightly altered, but left the rest to the will of the people to define and alter and modify through their representatives as their times and circumstances shall warrant and justify. This is a remarkable view shared by most liberals, considering it comes from a Justice appointed by GW Bush.

It seems, with few exceptions like Clarence Thomas, the Supreme Court has a way of pulling appointees away from partisan interpretations back to the truth and essence of intent underlying the Declaration of Independence and US Constitution.

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 1, 2008 12:52 AM
Comment #254083

David:

In a Commencement speech today, Justice Alito gave a very respectable speech. He explained that the difference between The Constitution and laws emanating from it and those who love and respect that Constitution in their lives and work, are a world apart from the many Sophists practicing law who operate under the paid assumption that any law can be made to mean what it was never intended to mean with the right acumen with language.

Alito is a Neocon however, and through experience many of us have come to understand that Neocons will very often say things when they actually mean, and do, or intend to do, the exact opposite.

I’m just saying…

Re: Who did a good job in the media in the run up and during the ongoing Iraq war and occupation?

Personally, my pick among American news outfits would definitely have to be Knight Ridder, which later became McClatchy. They’ve done and are still doing a very good job of digging for the truth, asking the tough questions, and reporting in a reality based fashion overall.
Additionally I read a lot of news (and investigative journalism) coming from the UK, and sometimes go and look at Al Jazeera — they often do a superior job when compared to the vast majority of American news outfits.

Also, I’m not one to heap disrespect on the blogs, because many of them are certainly capable of breaking news and/or getting at the truth.
Juan Cole for example, is an excellent source for fact based news about Iraq and Afghanistan. Also, Josh Marshall’s Talking Points Memo digs for the truth, and has been known to break news that the media is totally missing. The bloggers at TPM were the ones responsible for digging up an enormous amount of info on the Attorneygate scandal — a story which had been totally ignored by the “media” at large.
There are many other blogs that are doing a good job too — often they sort of specialize on one topic or another — and do a great job, though they might not do nearly as well covering other issues. So frequently it’s just a case of needing to learn what particular bloggers should be paired with which particular topic they’re actually best at covering.

Posted by: Veritas Vincit at June 1, 2008 2:16 AM
Comment #254102

Veritas, I am always wary when people judge other people by the labels affixed to them. Alito may or may not be a neo-con, his actions as Justice will determine that if a concrete definition of the term Neo-Conservative can ever be nailed down.

Many a justice has seen their own spots change under the robes of the Supreme Court, having been confronted by the higher calling and responsibility to the U.S. Constitution which makes partisan political views diminish over time.

I think Alito has yet to prove what label, if any, will best fit him as a Supreme Court Justice. In my attempts to be objective, I find it important to reserve prejudging as much as possible and let actions speak volumes of truth about persons in new roles of leadership.

Just as Alito may become a person greater than the sum of his past, Obama may too as President. McCain is certainly trying persuade people that will be his case if elected. I find listening to their words and vision and making note and then comparing their actions to those words the best way to avoid prejudgment.

I gave GW Bush almost one whole year before recognizing his actions were not matching his campaign rhetoric. But his campaign rhetoric was hopeful and generally positive and thus deserved a wait and see before judging. A year later it was obvious the rhetoric was not matching the actions. This despite my acknowledgment of his duplicitous nature as Governor of Texas, my home state. I didn’t vote for him in 2000 based on his gubernatorial record. I ardently fought his reelection bid as best I could in 2004 based on his presidential record of actions.

This seems to me to be the only way to objectively approach such matters. On the basis of actions going forward instead of labels looking backwards, whenever possible. Labels have a way of blinding one to the reality of a person, and preventing one from really getting to know that person as best as one can.

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 1, 2008 11:44 AM
Comment #254104

Veritas, I agree with generally on those cited media sources. Though I don’t follow Al-Jezeera much, I do still drop in on the BBC and Guardian for an outside perspective fairly regularly, and The Canadian Press.

It is not difficult for literate motivated folks to get excellent news coverage and a lot of in-depth investigatory news in this information age. Those who complain it doesn’t exist, are playing politics with the issue or, just ignorant of the many resources and unmotivated in the use of Google/Yahoo, etc.

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 1, 2008 11:59 AM
Comment #254126

DRRemer, try the Al Jazeera channel on youtube. They’re very good on many things. Here is their most current video, only two minutes on Hezbollah and an Israeli prisoner release, and pretty fair: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GnMKdxz8jVs

Posted by: ohrealy at June 1, 2008 4:05 PM
Comment #254149

David:

Veritas, I am always wary when people judge other people by the labels affixed to them. Alito may or may not be a neo-con, his actions as Justice will determine that if a concrete definition of the term Neo-Conservative can ever be nailed down.


I tend to judge people based on their actions, not simply on what they may have to say. As I previously mentioneed, when it comes to those who fall into the Neoconservative column I’ve learned that very often their rhetoric and their actions aren’t in sync at all.
As for Justice Alito, I know he happened to be among the judges who gave dissenting opinions in
Hamdan vs. Rumsfeld.
There were only three who did so. Besides Alito, the others who dissented in that case were Justices Scalia and Thomas.
That dissent said a lot to me about all three of those justices.

Btw, it seems to me that the definition of Neo-Conservatism has been pretty well defined, although you may disagree.

Posted by: Veritas Vincit at June 2, 2008 2:25 AM
Comment #254157

Veritas, I only disagree that one can label a Justice on the basis of one decision. Alito wrote the majority opinion for CBOCS West Inc. v. Humphries, in which employee’s rights to sue private employers for discrimination as a consequence to reporting bias, was upheld. Laudable in my book.

As I said, the USSC has a way of altering most justices in very positive ways, allowing them to become more than they were. I will still reserve judgment on Alito, but, so far he appears to one of those capable of growing in the position.

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 2, 2008 3:35 AM
Comment #254158

ohrealy, Thanks for the link.

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 2, 2008 3:44 AM
Comment #254316

This is what news coverage should look like:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JTZRB6YTKRs

Why does Al Jazeera do a better job of covering us than we do?

Posted by: ohrealy at June 3, 2008 3:52 PM
Comment #255605

Obamas Personal History Raises Questions
Given what you know about Barack Obama why is anyone comfortable with having him driving us into our future? I was once hopeful but am not any longer. Consider the facts.
He has admitted to teen drug use but won’t specify if he ever sold drugs or stole for them.
His wife has not been proud of her country until very recently.
He bought land & a home from his friend Tom Rezko who’s under investigation for demanding kickbacks from companies wanting to do government business in IL.
He thinks small town Americans are bitter frustrated people who cling to guns, religion, antipathy to people unlike them and are anti immigrant and anti free trade.
He has lived abroad during his formative years.
His mentor and friend is on record as being anti Jewish, anti woman, anti Caucasian and apparently anti American.
He counts 2 former Weather Underground members as friends who planted bombs and robbed banks.
Barack Obama is unsafe at any deed.

Posted by: eddie johnson at June 15, 2008 12:33 AM
Comment #256287

This “war” on terror is a huge propaganda scheme made up by the Bush administration.
At least Scott McClellan is brave enough to realize that the truth is more important than money and politics. A lot of people have been covering for Bush - let’s see some other brave souls be patriotic and honorable and tell the truth.
FDR said “We have nothing to fear but fear itself”, and those words ring so true today. We have the power people, politicians work for us! They make us feel powerless by spreading fear. War on Terror? I DON’T BUY IT! Terror is a feeling you get when you are scared. We can’t be at war with a feeling, a non-entity. No, we are not at war with being scared! It is so ridiculous -if you believe it you should be ashamed of yourself! Not only does this “war” have an identity crisis - we are intervening in Arab politics which is dangerous. Invading Arab Nations is bad for National Security. Shame on the George Bush and Dick Cheney and their administration for lying to the American people and sending teenagers to Iraq and Afghanistan to be brought home in body bags. Spending billions a day on a made up war, while Americans can’t feed their families or afford gas or housing. We owe each other more than that. I am not talking about money, I am talking about honor, and the liberties our fore-fathers fought so hard for. What about Freedom? We are giving it away in one administration - and people are dying SO BUSH AND HIS CRONIES CAN LIVE THE GOOD LIFE. Most people are against the “war” yet it continues which implies that Bush is not representing the people- he is making a huge amount of money for himself and all his cronies in OIL.
There is a conspiracy in the government to systematically take away our civil liberties, right to privacy and FREEDOM, while claiming that we are fighting for freedom overseas. Yes the media are pack animals but so are we. Power to the PEOPLE- we don’t have to blindly follow the leader.

Posted by: Shasta Shay at June 21, 2008 1:37 PM
Comment #256290

He would say: Demand answers people! Get pissed! What is happening to our beautiful Nation? I dare more people to expose the truth.
The twin towers collapsed in a perfectly controlled demolition - a plane caused a perfect demolition? NO! A plane disappeared into a hole in the ground? NO!
We are being told lies. Hitler blew up one of his own buildings and then invaded other countries in the name of National Security. History is repeating itself…
People will believe anything when they are scared. We want the truth. We can move mountains when we unify. Demand accountability! The truth will set us free.

Posted by: Brian at June 21, 2008 2:02 PM
Post a comment