A Journalist on Media Bias

Michael S. Malone has made his life in Journalism, not “media”, real, old fashioned, hard-bitten Journalism. Four generations of his family have done the same. Now he is ashamed.

What I do on these pages I try to do with the journalistic ethics witnessed to me by three generations of the Emmerich family. I know that members of the family still engaged in newspaper journalism could look in at any time. As much as I would like to make wild statements devoid of support, I shudder to think of facing J. Oliver Emmerich on the other side of eternity (or, for that matter his grandson, Wyatt, on this side) having done such things. However, I am not a professional journalist. When I criticise the industry, even if I do so as honorably and professionally as is possible, I do so as an outsider the professionals can dismiss as a bigoted hack if they wish.

This is not true of Mike Malone. That makes his editorial on ABC's website particularly important. His complaints are not born of partizanship alone, even if partizanship plays a part. They are born also of a desire that journalism be made of something trustworthy, something virtuous, something the people can look to as having come out of a desire to root out and to reveal, rather than a desire to advocate and champion. In his opinion, as a professional, journalism has lost that guiding light. With it goes one of the signal institutions of a free people.

Especially chilling is the very end of Malone's piece, because it makes deeply disturbing sense.

Posted by Lee Emmerich Jamison at October 27, 2008 10:45 PM
Comments
Comment #268520

This “punishment” of an Orlando TV station is really interesting in view of events of the last couple of days- and the Musings of Malone on the motivations of news editors…

Now add to that ABC not being included in Obama’s big media air-time buy, when ABC has been the most balanced of the big-three networks…

Just interesting…

Posted by: Lee Jamison at October 27, 2008 11:31 PM
Comment #268521

Lee,

Sorry, but I don’t agree with you or Michael here.
Yes, newspapers are dying. Journalism isn’t.

Journalism has had it’s heydays, sure, but lest we forget the empires built yesterday weren’t built on sound journalism, they were built on entertainment (TV/radio), and Yellow Journalism.

He brings up the issue of the fairness doctrine which I do hope Obama looks at seriously, but that is no guarantee to save newspapers.

While I think papers like the NYT, Wash Post,WSJ and most major city papers still run important shops, they are hardly sacrosanct.

I don’t get financial news from any of these. I do get international and political/national news from them and other sources. There will always be a market for this news. Reliability is determined through multiple sources. Yellow journalism is more exposed today, and less likely to dominate. Will the masses still subscribe to bias? Of course. Murdoch is making a fortune based on that.

Posted by: googlumpugus at October 27, 2008 11:34 PM
Comment #268522

Lee,
Mike Malone is a right wing hack engaging in an extended bout of concern trolling. He doesn’t care about journalism. He cares about seeing his bias presented as unquestioned truth. Period. That’s one of the most thoughtless, one-sided articles I’ve ever seen. For example:

“Personal opinions and comments… were now standard operating procedure at the New York Times, the Washington Post, and soon after in almost every small town paper in the U.S.”

Unbelievable. He keeps mum about the Washington Times and Fox News. This “journalist” says nothing whatsoever about corporate ownership of the media, the profit motive, and the contamination and even replacement of ‘objective’ news with entertainment. He is says little about the decline of investigative journalism.

But wait! There’s more! Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse- he tells you about his breaking point- the moment when he realized journalism had really gone to hell in a handbasket.

Now, many people would snap their fingers and say ‘Aha! He’s going to talk about Iraq! Surely there was no lower point for journalism than that!’ Instead… Well, let’s hear what the esteemed Mr. Malone has to say:

“But what really shattered my faith— was the war in Lebanon three summers ago. The hotel I was staying at… only carried CNN, a network I’d already learned to approach with skepticism. But this was CNN International, which is even worse.”

Damn those foreigners! But Mr. Malone continues:

“I sat there, first with my jaw hanging down, then actually shouting at the TV, as one field reporter after another reported the carnage of the Israeli attacks on Beirut, with almost no corresponding coverage of the Hezbollah missiles raining down on northern Israel.”

That is one of the most ridiculous statements I’ve ever heard. Anyone who thinks the actions of Hezbollah were in any way the equivalent of what Israel did in Lebanon is off their rocker. Israel took a flimsy provocation and invaded Lebanon. The Israelis killed over 1500 people, and committed war crimes- yes, war crimes- such as when they dropped cluster bombs throughout inhabited areas in southern Lebanon.

That was a war crime, folks.

The world condemned Israel. Even Israelis condemned the Olmert government.

And this guy Malone dares to write about bias? That was his Road to Damascus moment? Holy cow.

Posted by: phx8 at October 27, 2008 11:42 PM
Comment #268527

phx8,

That was his Road to Damascus moment? Holy cow.


LOL made me laugh….well, out loud.

Posted by: googlumpugus at October 28, 2008 12:09 AM
Comment #268528

I just hope the master brings back the greek columns for his enlightening 1/2 hour of perfection. Obama is a joke. And I’m convinced I’m the only person in America who realizes that fact.

I was working out of town last week living in a hotel. I rarely watch national tv news networks but 5 of the 20 or so options were news channels. Absolutely amazing. For 3 or 4 days Palin’s wardrobe cost was damn near the only thing these fools talked about. I’m not exaggerating, I’d flip through and every single one would be talking about the total cost, how you can dress for cheaper or anything else under the sun you could imagine. Such biting news.

Sure, lets talk about v.p. outfits while over there we have a guy running for president who has only been vetted by the left. Obama’s ties to unsavory people is soooo not a big deal let’s talk fashion this election.

I just wonder how many outfits Palin could have bought for the price of Obama’s column stage in Denver. These are the important questions…if you live in Russia.

But this post is correct in the fact main stream media is racist. They are trying to squelch a decent voice in America.

Posted by: andy at October 28, 2008 12:25 AM
Comment #268529

The problem with biased writers like Malone and all those on the left and right, is that they are generally not even aware of their own bias in their writing, and thus defend against the critique of bias their writing engenders, rather than own up and become aware of it, and thus learn to avoid it.

Everyone has biases. The biggest bias in the media however, lies not with the producers of media content, but, with their audiences that support it. The way to address bias in the media is to first address bias in the populace. And that, of course, is an effort no one with a bias wants to undertake, and one of the weaknesses of the 1st Amendment when applied to attempts at secular, politically unbiased educational standards.

Then of course, there was the SCOTUS ruling that politicians are free under the 1st Amendment to lie in their campaigns, and in their offices, provided they are not sworn or under writ to testify. America loves and protects its biases on all sides of any issue. It is as American as TV, driving with a cell phone in hand, Ted Stevens, Abramoff, Rep. Wm. Jefferson, and divorce. Just don’t get more American than these.

Posted by: David R. Remer at October 28, 2008 12:44 AM
Comment #268530

Didn’t Israel drop pamphlets telling the civilians to leave and didn’t Hezbollah use civilians as shields for their rocket launchers?

As usual, when a reporter actually tells the truth and it happens to disagree with the left, he becomes the object of attack and discredit. Dan Rather, Kristin Powers said similar things this week.

The “Fairness Doctrine” is a means for the democrats to stifle free speech and shut down any opposition. Why can’t national liberal talk show hosts survive without federal funds? Only on PBS, taxpayer funded.

Then there’s Air America Radio,

“Air America Radio (commonly abbreviated to AAR) is an American radio network specializing in politically liberal talk programming. The network started programming on March 31, 2004 and features discussion and information programs with hosts reflecting progressive points of view. The network specializes in presentations and monologues by on-air personalities, guest interviews, calls by listeners, and news reports. Air America’s most popular hosts, Thom Hartmann and Lionel, are estimated to each have over 1.5 million unique listeners a week.[1] On October 13, 2006 Air America Radio filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The company was bought by Green Family Media, made up of New York real estate investor Stephen L. Green and his brother Mark J. Green, who closed on the purchase of the network on March 6, 2007 for US$ 4.25 million.”, thanks to Wickipedia

And we must not forget:

“Would the Last Honest Reporter Please Turn On the Lights?”
By Orson Scott Card
Editor’s note: Orson Scott Card is a Democrat and a newspaper columnist, and in this opinion piece he takes on both while lamenting the current state of journalism.

Of course he was discredited as a Republican, Bush lover.

I think the point all these people are making is that there is no longer honor among reporters. They have sold themselves for the opportunity to push a loberal democratic agenda.

Posted by: Oldguy at October 28, 2008 12:46 AM
Comment #268533
I think the point all these people are making is that there is no longer honor among reporters. They have sold themselves for the opportunity to push a loberal democratic agenda.

Now that….would have been funny even if you would have said liberal.

Posted by: janedoe at October 28, 2008 2:08 AM
Comment #268535

The Fairness Doctrine applied to broadcast television and radio when it was operative, with the theory being that the airwaves belonged to neither Republican nor Democrat, but everybody, and people should have their opportunity (not even necessarily equal time), if they want it to respond. That was a right for Republicans as well as Democrats.

What the Republicans are afraid of is losing their monopoly in many AM radio stations, of the line-up. They’re afraid of what happens if Hannity and Rush and Laura, and others don’t have all the time to themselves, don’t have their viewpoints alone being broadcast. This isn’t some noble fight for the first amendment, this is a self-interested struggle to keep a resource that belongs to the public all to themselves and their party.

The Reason for this dominance is the politics of the station owners, not the market. Because Republican voices monopolize the airwaves, few Democrats, of course, really watch, and then only those who can stomach the bloviators. It distorts the market, but under the FCC rules promoted by Bush and the Republicans, that distortion of the radio market has been going on for the last three decades.

This is the irony of Republican charges of bias: they have spent years making sure that there is a Republican on every journalistic news corner, that there are Republican columnists on every op-ed page, that their thinktanks can flood the media, and more and more news readers favor their agenda.

And if that wasn’t enough, the let the media consolidate further and further, allowing more newspapers, more broadcast stations and broader selections of industries to be owned by a few companies.

And yes, you folks have FOXNews Aaaaall to yourselves. Along with a whole half of the blogosphere, a whole host of internet websites delivering their slant on the news.

Poor Republicans. You had a whole media apparatus pushing your point of view, your bias, and now things are turning against you. How can this be?

I’ll tell you how: the facts are building against you. You folks are straining the ability of all that positively biased media to apologize, explain, and gain sympathy for your policies. At some point, even they have to admit, if they wish to maintain credibility with the wider audience, that things went wrong.

And there will be a large number of Republicans who don’t admit things went wrong. Who won’t, can’t admit that. And they will be the death of your party as it currently is. Your party really did screw up, and make it worse by not admitting it, by blaming a biased media for your bad press, rather than screw ups and failures of policy.

Your message was essentially undermined by your own party’s actions and its failures. Your problem is that many people don’t buy the Republican line anymore.

To whine about bias at this point is pathetic and counterproductive. There are real reasons the Republican’s Brand is worse than dog food: failed wars, failed economic policies, failed labor policies. It is a failed economic policy, not the combined might of the supposedly liberal media, that is dragging McCain down to defeat. Otherwise, this would be a much tighter race.

The old joke is, nowadays, that reality has liberal bias. Years of pampering themselves with illusions and delusions of a wonderful status quo has ruined the Republican party for a generation or more.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 28, 2008 7:54 AM
Comment #268537

When both sides complain about media bias, does that mean there is, in reality, media neutrality?

Frankly, I think everyone here is worried about the wrong thing…media stupidity is the real culprit. Budgetary cut-backs for investigative journalism in favor of celebrity bling has just about put a kibosh on real news. Newspaper journalism, where most funds were generated for serious correspondents are going broke, and electronic media is much more interested in being entertaining than in reporting news.

Journalists are held to a very low degree of accuracy, and many editors can’t even parse a sentence.

We are fast becoming a society of uninformed or poorly informed citizens, and are being dumbed down at every step.

Posted by: Marysdude at October 28, 2008 8:42 AM
Comment #268539

Stephen,

The Fairness Doctrine issue is, to me and to many others, truly terrifying. In my early article on the courts and the Fairness doctrine last year one of the issues that became abundantly clear from my research was how administrations, starting with the Roosevelt administration, even before the advent of the rule, had used their regulatory power to squelch opposing viewpoints.

In light of the fact that liberals have turned more and more to the courts to bypass legislatures in imposing policy by fiat, the crucial role played by access of all viewpoints to the airways can’t be overstated. Robert Bork was a qualified jurist. Period. A media operating under the obscuring cloud of “fairness” did not present arguments in his favor.

Particularly in view of Barak Obama’s stated aversion (Sept. 6, 2001) to the work of the Founding Fathers in the Constitution as a repository of “negative liberties” (about minute 1:07 of the recording), the notion that he would have free rein to limit the access of voices of opposition is at best frightening.

Obama as much as says he has a limited faith in the written word of law. Even assuming he is a good man, once he sets a precedent, can we expect generations of politicians who likewise feel such an aversion to the constraints of law to deal well with us when we have only the access to media they think is “fair”?

Posted by: Lee Jamison at October 28, 2008 9:35 AM
Comment #268541

I agree with Lee that investigative journalism has fallen on hard times as of late. The MSM takes talking points from both sides and runs with them instead of digging up information on their own. They also treat our politicians with kid gloves because if they dig in and ask tough questions or, heaven forbid, a FOLLOW UP QUESTION, they won’t get the call the next time the person decides to talk to the press. There is bias but this constant clambering about it being a left wing bias is simply not true. There is liberal bias and conservative bias but more than anything it is sensational bias. Our news media is driven by ratings and entertainment value to the exclusion of important stories that are more important the the latest drunken celebrity, $150,000 wardrobes, or sex scandals.

I would rather hear about Sarah Palin’s associations with convicted felon, Ted Stevens (even Bill Ayers is not a convicted felon) than an expensive dress. I would rather have it be front page news that Obama’s spending plan will add 3 trillion dollars to our debt by 2112 and McCain’s plan will add 5 trillion. Instead they run stories about the attacks back and forth of socialism and tax cuts for billionaires. Maybe if the MSM got together and decided that no one gets airtime for this crap and if they want to be on TV they will come on and answer tough questions and FOLLOW UP QUESTIONS.

There is a lot of fault to go around but it is us - the audience that tunes in, opens the paper, or surfs the internet that chooses to listen and support crap instead of journalism. I am as much to blame as anyone.

I miss Tim Russert.

Posted by: tcsned at October 28, 2008 10:06 AM
Comment #268542

Lee Jamison-
The concept of a negative liberty is not that the liberties are bad. He’s talking about the way they are worded. Look at the First and Second Amendment. Look at a lot of constitutional language. Often it talks about what government can’t do, what it can’t impede. That’s a negative liberty.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 28, 2008 10:16 AM
Comment #268543
I agree with Lee that investigative journalism has fallen on hard times as of late.

Isn’t that the whole point of the conservative’s media attack philosophy? To drive investigative reporting out of business? Of course! then no-one will look into the background of any crackpot dishonest candidates (e.g. Sarah Palin) they may trot out.

I think conservatives have succeeded in ensuring there would never be another Nixon situation. Today, a yound Woodward and Bernstein would be villified.

Posted by: Schwamp at October 28, 2008 10:22 AM
Comment #268545

In order to support the “Fairness Doctrine” one has to deny two things on which this country was founded:

1. Freedom of speech: the doctrine denies a certain group of people the right of free speech.

2. Free enterprise: AM or FM radio talk shows only work if they can pay for themselves. Why is it that Rush, Hannity, and Laura are successful? It is because they advertise and companies want them to advertise because they have millions of listeners. Liberal talk show hosts cannot do this because they have no audiences. Liberals only reach a local group and are not successful on a national level, because people can only handle so much stupid talk and negatives about America. Liberals have to use PBS or other tax supported means to stay on the air. Again, this is a means to shut down free speech. Who is the left, to decide what Americans should or should not be listening to?

What do we do next, shut down cable shows, like Fox News, because they don’t fall in line with the left?

Perhaps, if BHO is elected, the congress won’t have to act on this doctrine. When BHO appoints the most liberal judges he can find to the SC, he can just have the judges rewrite the constitution.

Posted by: Oldguy at October 28, 2008 10:57 AM
Comment #268546

Modern day journalism centers on sensationalism because it is what sells. They do not favor democrats anymore than republicans. The republican party simply has more scandal, controversy and failed policy to offer than the other side. The republicans rather than owning up to their failures prefer to shirk that accountability by steering the blame to a biased media or the other side. It is that lack of accountability, not lack of positive press, that is their biggest hindrance. Ted Stevens, a now convicted felon is testament to that fact. He refuses to admit guilt and vows to stay on the ticket. If he had any decency he would resign his position immediately. Republicans screwed the pooch in a colossal manner and don’t have the balls to own up to it. Instead the poor defenseless republicans would rather put their problems on the shoulders of anyone but themselves. What a bunch of tactless losers.

Posted by: RickIL at October 28, 2008 11:08 AM
Comment #268548

Oldguy-
Yes, your rivals have to be evil people to believe differently from you.

All kidding aside, let me lay this out to you. First, broadcasters do not gain their bandwidth by dint of hard work and competition. They are given a monopoly on certain frequencies by the intervention of the Federal government.

Otherwise, all that frequency would be available to every individual as a vehicle for their own thoughts and beliefs. Now before you go saying “why not do that?”, consider that there is a physical limitation that keeps that from being viable. If everybody just broadcasted on any frequency they pleased, there would be interference everywhere. The licensed bands of frequency are necessary for them to be useful.

It still, though, remains a public resource. Unregulated use of that monopoly would have broadcasters capable of broadcasting any profanity, obscenity, graphic material, or partisan political material they wished, unchallenged. Because of that, the First Amendment rights of the person take a backseat to the public interest.

There’s virtually no place where the listening public is purely conservative. People should be able to get more out of the broadcaster than just what suits the station owner’s interests. You talk about him exercising his first amendment rights, but with whose property?

The public forums in any other area are open to multiple sides. Though artificial, the requirements in the fairness doctrine help to restore that airing of multiple sides, where private interests might encourage the station owner to only push their own agenda.

The Republicans need to learn to live with competition. Without that set of skills, they are like one of those bubble kids, only viable in a pristine environment which restricts their range of interaction with the public. Do the Republicans want to become that much of a niche market in America. Learn to compete in a marketplace not stacked in your favor, and you’ll probably become a stronger party for it, more pragmatic, more practical, less resented for being ideologues.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 28, 2008 12:01 PM
Comment #268566

First, broadcasters do not gain their bandwidth by dint of hard work and competition. They are given a monopoly on certain frequencies by the intervention of the Federal government.

But, but, but, that’s socialism!!! You mean all these talk radio stations that spout rightwing dogma day in and day out are socialist constructs? No, say it isn’t so. The cognitive dissonance is hurting my head. I’m just going to pretend you didn’t say that and go back to spouting my talking points, okay?

Posted by: mental wimp at October 28, 2008 2:08 PM
Comment #268590

SD

“They are given a monopoly on certain frequencies by the intervention of the Federal government.”

So we are dealing with a “conspiracy” by the Federal government. Are lefties able to buy into these good frequencies or is it only for conservatives?

“Though artificial, the requirements in the fairness doctrine help to restore that airing of multiple sides, where private interests might encourage the station owner to only push their own agenda.”

So, you believe the Federal government has the right to tell an owner what he can or cannot do with his company. Isn’t that what communism/socialism does and private enterprise is discouraged by the left?

Let me present a hypothetical situation: you own a restaurant that has good food and you serve a number of customers who love your food. But the Federal government says to you, it’s not fair that you have the only restaurant in town, and we are going to use taxpayer’s dollars to force you into a partnership with another cook. Now, he’s not a very good cook and most people won’t like his food, but every time you sell one of your meals, you must allow him to sell one of his. How long do you think you would stay in business? Perhaps that is the goal, to drive conservatives, who are successful, out of business.

“The Republicans need to learn to live with competition. Without that set of skills, they are like one of those bubble kids, only viable in a pristine environment which restricts their range of interaction with the public. Do the Republicans want to become that much of a niche market in America. Learn to compete in a marketplace not stacked in your favor, and you’ll probably become a stronger party for it, more pragmatic, more practical, less resented for being ideologues.”

Besides being condescending, this statement absolutely makes no sense. I believe any business must learn to compete in the marketplace and in order to compete they must learn to live with competition. Am I understanding you correctly, are you saying a business that is successful lives in a “pristine environment which restricts their range of interaction with the public?” What are you talking about? If I own a business, I am going to provide a service that the costumers want or I will go out of business. In the case of radio talk show hosts, they provide what their listeners want to hear. This is why conservative radio is much more successful than liberal. If liberal radio were interesting, they would be more popular. Radio is not free. Advertising provides the funds to pay for it and if radio is successful, it is because the listeners are responding to the advertising.

What the “fairness doctrine” does is try to impose a failed liberal system into a successful conservative system. So as usual, the left wants success on the backs of those who succeed.

This is nothing more than “wah, wah”, it’s not fair, they have listeners on their radio show and we don’t.

Posted by: Oldguy at October 28, 2008 5:08 PM
Comment #268591

Oldguy -

The reason the right-wing pundits are so successful is because the opinions they give are so outrageous and controversial.

There’s an old media maxim - “Bad publicity is better than no publicity”.

Ann Coulter said that women shouldn’t be allowed to vote.

Michael Savage said that autistic kids are simply not well-parented (to put it nicely). I’ve got a low-functioning autistic Foster child…and Savage is full of crap.

O’Reilly said that if the polar caps melted, that the sea level wouldn’t raise.

Limbaugh said Michael J. Fox was ‘exaggerating’ the effects of his Parkinson’s disease.

Oldguy - I could go on all day and you know it. There’s plenty of stupidity to go around among the right-wing pundits…but their ignorant audience eats it up like candy. Maybe that’s why the local right-wing station KVI plays UFO sighting and alien encounter stuff after the right-wing pundits go off the air. After all, they attract the same audience….

Posted by: Glenn Contrarian at October 28, 2008 5:09 PM
Comment #268594

GC

“The reason the right-wing pundits are so successful is because the opinions they give are so outrageous and controversial.”

The reason they are successful is because they provide a service their costomers want. It doesn’t matter what the content is, that is a moot point.

So you say, since you disagree with what they say, they should be shut down. Is that a violation of freedom of speech?

I consider the opinions of the left on watchblog as outrageous and controversial, but I consider it your right of free speech to say the things you want to say.

Posted by: Oldguy at October 28, 2008 5:20 PM
Comment #268618

I’m going to borrow a little bit from myself here-

“The Doctrine itself, furthermore, had something of a checkered past. In a paper entitled “The Fairness Doctrine: A solution in search of a problem” Adrian Cronauer addresses uses of the powers of the Fairness Doctrine to actively squelch public comment-“

“Bill Ruder, an Assistant Secretary of Commerce under President Kennedy, told how Kennedy’s administration used the Fairness Doctrine to challenge and harass right-wing broadcasters, in the hope the challenges would be so costly that these broadcasters would find it too expensive to continue their broadcasts” (see footnote 14 of that paper)
“Cronauer also notes similar behavior by Spiro Agnew as well as threats as early as 1933 (before the advent of the formal “Fairness Doctrine” in 1947) by a member of the Federal Radio Commission against radio stations criticizing Roosevelt administration policies.”

“Much has been made in public debate of the Supreme Court having upheld the Fairness doctrine. (Red Lion Brdcst. Co. v. FCC, 395 U.S. 367, 389-90 [1969]) Interestingly, the rationale behind that decision seems to have turned on the scarcity of the government –owned resource- the radio spectrum- employed in the communication of ideas, whereas later decisions of the court dealing with technological expansions encroaching on the use of the same limited resource exempted other technologies from the same restrictions. This seeming inconsistency prompted the D.C. Circuit court to chide the senior court, as noted in footnote 94 of Cronauer’s paper- “

“The D.C. Circuit also invited the Supreme Court to revisit Red Lion, observing how such analysis ‘inevitably leads to strained reasoning’ and concluding ‘the line drawn between the print media and the broadcast media, resting as it does on the physical scarcity of the latter, is a distinction without a difference.’”

“Numerous attempts have been made to revive the doctrine, starting with the Senate’s refusal for three years to approve Reagan and Bush administration nominees to the F.C.C. (Cronauer), but in light of the Doctrine’s increasingly questionable legal footing these efforts have failed.”

“Another item of interest is how the doctrine began to unravel. In the FCC v. LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS OF CALIFORNIA, 468 U.S. 364 (1984) case noted above the original plaintiff was Pacifica Foundation, the nationwide, largely liberal leaning, educational radio network. Fairness Doctrine regulations prevented educational stations operating within frequencies set aside for educational purposes from expressing editorial opinions. One may note with some humor that the 1984 opinion struck down that provision of the doctrine. “

Note the stuff about spectrum as a limited resource. This argument was falling apart precisely because technology was able to place more individual channels in a very limited bandwidth. In fact, today, little prevents a multiplication of available channels.

A reworking of the so-called “Fairness Doctrine” would cast a net so broad that it could even be construed to intrude on private conversations on cellular telephones which also, themselves, use a publicly owned airway resource.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at October 28, 2008 7:47 PM
Comment #268619

Marysdude finally wrote something with which I can agree…namely; “We are fast becoming a society of uninformed or poorly informed citizens, and are being dumbed down at every step.”

The NY Times is a good example of media gone wrong. And, they are paying dearly for their lack of reporting real news in an unbiased way. How low will their stock and earnings fall before they are prostate before the Washington pols begging for a bailout? And, NBC will be right behind them looking for a “redistribution of Network wealth.”

Oldguy wrote; “What do we do next, shut down cable shows, like Fox News, because they don’t fall in line with the left?”

Of course that’s next and then will come restriction in religious speak. With religious institutions enjoying a tax exempt status, it will be easy for the Godless socialists to demand “correct speak” from the pulpit or loose the tax exempt status. Christian pastor no longer will be able to cite biblical passages that condemn gay sex, abortion, same sex marriage, etc.

Posted by: Jim M at October 28, 2008 7:52 PM
Comment #268620

Oldguy said:

The reason they are successful is because they provide a service their costomers want. It doesn’t matter what the content is, that is a moot point.

That is exactly what is wrong with the MSM and talk radio. While I don’t think that any reasonable thinking person believes what these bozos are delivering is news. Al Franken was right that Rush Limbaugh is a big, fat idiot and a liar and so are the rest of these guys. They don’t seem to think that fact and reality are things to base their commentary on. They say the most outlandish, outrageous, and ridiculous things and their audience laps it up like a starving cat with a bowl of fresh milk.

They are not the real problem, only their kool-aid drinkers listen to them seriously. What they have done is shown the MSM how to attract a large audience. They have turned the news into a circus of lies, yelling, and talking over each other. Digging up stories through investigation is too much work and yield rewards only every so often when screaming an outlandish lie about someone you don’t agree with is much easier. Once they get someone to say something then the “journalists” report that someone said this outlandish thing.

Oldguy - I also disagree with the last sentence of this quote. Content should matter, the truth should matter, being honorable should matter. I think this trend has hurt the GOP. Their quality of candidates has gone way down since these guys hit the airwaves.

Posted by: tcsned at October 28, 2008 7:54 PM
Comment #268624

tcxned; Content, truth, and being honorable are all in the eye of the beholder. If conservative radio was not appealing to millions of people it would not exist. If liberal radio was appealing it would exist…but doesn’t, in any comparable nationwide audience.

And, if conservative radio is so powerful and dangerous to liberals…how is it that most liberals are predicting huge congressional gains and the presidency in spite of its healthy existance?

Posted by: Jim M at October 28, 2008 8:13 PM
Comment #268629

Did I say conservative radio was dangerous to liberals? No. I think they are more dangerous to the GOP - they have shouted over all of the intelligent commentators on the conservative side. They have dumbed down the GOP and delivered us Curious George and now his heir apparent Sarah “Sooooper Genius” Palin. In the sense that the GOP will have candidates that win elections and take part in decisions that affect all of us then, yes, I am concerned that bad candidates are getting into office. I would prefer that the GOP run better candidates because I think it is good for the country but they are currently giving over the reigns to the Democrats for at least 2 years. It is starting to cost some of the more reasonable members of the GOP their jobs such as Gordon Smith, John Sununu (the younger), and Elizabeth Dole. I think that is bad for the country. I think that turning the MSM into the same kind of circus they run on their radio shows is bad for the country (this isn’t their fault it is the fault of the MSM for following their lead).

You keep using the words “fear” and “dangerous” in your posts. While I can’t speak for anyone but myself, I am not afraid of that gasbag Rush Limbaugh, I am not afraid of Bill O’Lielly. I am not afraid of George Bush or Dick Cheney. They have not made me afraid of terrorists. They have not made me afraid of Muslims. They have not made me afraid of Mexicans. They have not made me afraid of minorities in this country. I choose to live my life without fear of their boogeymen.

The one thing that has saddened me about the tone that the political debate has taken in the last 16 years is that I genuinely like talking politics with conservatives and have many conservative friends. I play in a bluegrass band with 3 Democrats and 3 Republicans we can still have a good time joking and talking politics but that has become increasingly rare.

Truth is in the eye of the beholder? Really? It sounds like you are a constructivist. How liberal of you.

Posted by: tcsned at October 28, 2008 8:52 PM
Comment #268655

Voting Deadlines

Most of the states require an absentee ballot request to be made by October 24th. You can click on this link and request your absentee ballot.

www.StateDemocracy.org

Check your States Deadline Date at http://bostonnewsdesk.blogspot.com/2008/10/apply-for-absentee-ballot.html


Posted by: shally at October 29, 2008 2:43 AM
Comment #268701

http://elections.foxnews.com/2008/10/29/mccain-slams-la-times-double-standard-withholding-obama-khalidi-tape/

hows this for media bias. if this was on mc cain they’de of released it in an instant.

Posted by: dbs at October 29, 2008 2:33 PM
Comment #268708

Do you honestly think that if Fox had a tape of McCain shoving that mother of a POW in a wheelchair that they would release it? Or if they had a tape of Sarah Palin and Ted Stevens talking about the contractors that built their houses that they would release it? The only way Faux News releases a tape like that is if they can photoshop Obama and Bin Laden into the video. The article also said that the tape was donated to the LA Times under the condition that it not be released. Maybe if Faux news actually did real news and not the tripe they run the guy in question wouldn’t have said, “I am not speaking to the press at this time, and do not speak to Fox in any case, as I just wrote one of your colleagues.”

Obama said about Khalidi:

“[Khalidi] is not one of my advisors; he’s not one of my foreign policy people. His kids went to the Lab school where my kids go as well. He is a respected scholar, although he vehemently disagrees with a lot of Israel’s policy…To pluck out one person who I know and who I’ve had a conversation with who has very different views than 900 of my friends and then to suggest that somehow that shows that maybe I’m not sufficiently pro-Israel, I think, is a very problematic stand to take…So we gotta be careful about guilt by association.”

If this was such a big story why hasn’t mccain/PALIN been running non-stop ads on the issue?

Posted by: tcsned at October 29, 2008 3:29 PM
Comment #268714

I would like to know what BHO’s reaction was when anti-Israeli statements were made. Did he laugh with the rest, or did he agree with what was said?

Again, the MSM is protecting their boy.

Posted by: Oldguy at October 29, 2008 4:00 PM
Comment #268715

tcsned


“Do you honestly think that if Fox had a tape of McCain shoving that mother of a POW in a wheelchair that they would release it? Or if they had a tape of Sarah Palin and Ted Stevens talking about the contractors that built their houses that they would release it? The only way Faux News releases a tape like that is if they can photoshop Obama and Bin Laden into the video.”

whatcha afraid of ? the la times should release the tape, end of story. this rant of yours about fox news is a joke. BTW if fox did have what you described, the left would be screaming at the top of thier lungs how it should be released. i’ll betcha that tape makes ol barry look pretty bad. quite the sordid character isn’t he ?

Posted by: dbs at October 29, 2008 4:02 PM
Comment #268751

One thing I don’t understand about these charges against the mainstream media for not investigating Obama better — if there were something legitimate to report, wouldn’t Fox News have done it by now? Wouldn’t conservative papers like the WSJ or the Manchester Union Leader have blown the doors off Obama’s secret life? Did this media critic ever consider that maybe Obama is just who he says he is, that the story HAS been researched and there’s nothing to report? Why hasn’t he done it himself? He is supposedly a JOURNALIST after all.

And while I give him credit for admitting that Palin hasn’t been treated all that unfairly by the Mainstream Media (some of the rag magazines have been out of bounds and the Lefty bloggers were predictably savage), his sympathy for Joe the Plumber is misplaced. Forgetting that “Joe” was clearly trying to embarrass Obama and create the high-profile perception that Obama would mean higher taxes for the working man, McCain was the one who invoked his name and cast him upon the American Voting Public. That’s what unleashed the media on “poor Joe.” If you think that kind of thing doesn’t go both ways, then you don’t remember Cindy Sheehan. She also chose to put herself into the spotlight, and that’s when we found out more than I think we wanted to (or had a right to) know about her private life.

Finally, I wonder if Malone saw this coming when he lamented the MSM’s treatment of Joe the Plumber:

Move over, Sanjaya, and tell William Hung the news: Joe the Plumber is being pursued for a major record deal and could come out with a country album as early as Inauguration Day.

“Joe” — aka Samuel Wurzelbacher, a Holland, Ohio, pipe-and-toilet man — just signed with a Nashville public relations and management firm to handle interview requests and media appearances, as well as create new career opportunities, including a shift out of the plumbing trade into stage and studio performances.

On Tuesday, Wurzelbacher joined country music artist and producer Aaron Tippin to form a new partnership that includes booking-management firm Bobby Roberts and publicity-management concern The Press Office to field the multiple media offers he’s received over the past few weeks.

Among the requests: a possible record deal with a major label, personal appearances and corporate sponsorships. A longtime country music fan, Wurzelbacher can sing and “knocks around on guitar” but is not an accomplished musician or songwriter, according to The Press Office’s Jim Della Croce.


Posted by: Sam McD at October 29, 2008 9:41 PM
Comment #268771

They want the Fairness Doctrine because they know am radio is the only form of media they don’t thoroughly control. Control the media and you’ll probably control the minds.

Posted by: andy at October 30, 2008 2:36 AM
Comment #268775

dbs - no I think these charges are as ridiculous as Ayers, Wright, socialist, communist, and the rest. I heard that mccain gave Khalidi $500,000 - that’s a lot more significant than talking to someone. Sarah Palin can’t even pronounce the guys name. Nice try.

I love how everyone on the right was defending Joe the Plumber when he inserted himself in a presidential campaign and the media dug into his past and how it was such an invasion of his privacy. Now JtP is trying to get a book deal and a record contract and is demonstrating to the world how little he knows about politics - he’s a perfect match for Palin - maybe they’ll run together in 2012. Good thing he isn’t an attention whore.

Posted by: tcsned at October 30, 2008 7:56 AM
Comment #268805

tc

i’ll say it one more time. why not release the tape, and we can all decide for ourselves. whatcha afraid of ? it’s looking like obama is just another crooked chicago democrat. he may win the election, but that won’t change, and in four years they’ll have the entire country even more screwed up that california. OH BOY !

Posted by: dbs at October 30, 2008 11:14 AM
Comment #268810

tc

“I love how everyone on the right was defending Joe the Plumber when he inserted himself in a presidential campaign and the media dug into his past and how it was such an invasion of his privacy.”

the mesiah approached joe, and didn’t like what he got. joe made the mesiah look bad. turns out the private information on joe may have been illegaly leaked to the media by a state employee. whoops, but i’m sure it was just an accident, NOT.

Posted by: dbs at October 30, 2008 11:35 AM
Comment #268831

dbs - I don’t have a problem with the release of the video because it will show nothing. However, I don’t have control over it. I don’t know what you folks are looking for but Obama isn’t a terrorist, terrorist sympathizer, Muslim, anti-American, whatever - there is no there there. How about mccain admitting that he gave Khalidi a half million dollars? What are you afraid of? That the guy is just a college professor who happens to be Palestinian and not the bogeyman you think he is?

as to the JtP incident - Obama didn’t approach this bozo. Joe the Bozo approached him to try to make the news. He did make the news and the news looked into him and found out that he was about as knowledgeable on the issues as Sarah Palin. He isn’t really a plumber and he wasn’t trying to buy a 250k/year business as he represented himself as. He is also not an independent voter as he represented himself as - he is a right wing ditto head who never had any intention of voting for anyone but mccain. Now he has a publicist and is trying to get a book deal and a record contract. Joe the Bozo is a joke who has a better chance of being the next William Hung than the next Garth Brooks.

Posted by: tcsned at October 30, 2008 1:12 PM
Comment #268844

tc

“He isn’t really a plumber and he wasn’t trying to buy a 250k/year business as he represented himself as.”

what does he do for a living tc ? how does the fact that he was not in a position to buy a plumbing business make the question irrelevent ? all he did was ask a question, and obama f@#$ked up the answer, and made himself look bad. so the press obviously in the tank for obama proceeds to give this guy what amounts to a body cavity check in order to discredit him. how about a state employee leaking confidential information to the press ? thats OK right because he dared to cross the mesiah.

“How about mccain admitting that he gave Khalidi a half million dollars? What are you afraid of?”

HUH ? he should explain it, but appearently the obama camp doesn’t think it’s worth persuing or they would have. where did you get the idea i was afraid of something ? you have yet to say the times should release the tape. why not ? could it be it may damage the mesiahs reputation ? if there’s nothing there, then who will it harm ?

Posted by: dbs at October 30, 2008 1:59 PM
Comment #268854

dbs - you obviously think it’s ok to eviscerate Obama and anyone associated with his campaign but OHHH NOOOO! how dare anyone look into some right wing ditto head who conned his way into asking Obama a question. BTW - he did not flub the answer - he told him straight. What do you think taxes are? They are wealth redistribution plain and simple. We have been redistributing wealth in this country since 1787. This whole socialist argument is something the desperate mccain campaign trumped up because they have nothing else to say. In fact, my state is not a state it is a Commonwealth - common + wealth - does that make us socialists? The argument is about the same. They take our money and use to run our country that’s what taxed are. They are losing and losing in states a Republican hasn’t lost since I was a baby including my Commonwealth of Virginia and getting increasingly desperate.

The Obama campaign isn’t running with the Khalidi story because they are winning and don’t need to besides Obama will exit this campaign win or lose with something mccain will not - his honor. he hasn’t stooped to name calling, he hasn’t called mccain the conservative equivalent of a socialist or communist - a fascist or a Nazi. He hasn’t made personal attacks on mccain or PALIN. He hasn’t talked about mccain cheating on his first wife or the string of rumors about PALIN. He has talked about policy he has been negative and has stretched the truth some but it has all been about policy. mccain/PALIN talk about everything but policy.

where did you get the idea i was afraid of something ? you have yet to say the times should release the tape. why not ? could it be it may damage the mesiahs reputation ? if there’s nothing there, then who will it harm ?

I asked if you were afraid because you asked me if I was afraid. Sorry it was a little snarky of me. Also, did you read the first line of my post? I said I have no problem with releasing the video, if I had it I would post it on youtube.

Posted by: tcsned at October 30, 2008 2:43 PM
Comment #268875

tc

“how dare anyone look into some right wing ditto head who conned his way into asking Obama a question.”

he’s not running for president. if he runs for congress he’s fair game, otherwise he’s still just someone who asked a question. so he got past obamas handlers and asked the wrong question, lets just string him up.

“I said I have no problem with releasing the video”

fair enough, but do you believe the la times should release it ? so far they won’t even release a transcript of it. kinda fishy.

BTW where have i tried to defend mc cain ? the left seems to be fanatical about obama, and go crazy anytime someone questions him. i have never taken this attitude towards mc cain, and won’t try to make excuses for his shortcommings. personaly i’ll vote for him because i think he is the lessor of two evils, thats it.


“What do you think taxes are? They are wealth redistribution plain and simple. We have been redistributing wealth in this country since 1787.”

they aren’t if they are used soley to fund the running of gov’t. when gov’t gives that tax money to someone who didn’t earn it in the form of a welfare check, or food stamps that is redistribution of wealth. as far as i know that started in 1964, not 1787.

Posted by: dbs at October 30, 2008 4:11 PM
Comment #268913

I think they should - unless they were telling the truth about the person giving to them not authorizing its release then they have to honor the wishes of the giver. I know it’s increasingly rare these days but they might actually be telling the truth then again, maybe not. To be honest, none of us have any idea what this video shows. I would highly doubt if they were holding a PLO rally. In fact, I have had a hard time finding any information on this guy that didn’t come from a conservatively slanted source other than the classes he teaches at Columbia and his publications. Though I’m sure I am now on a George Bush watch list for googling him. He seems like a respected scholar who is Palestinian and has been vocal about the Israel/Palestinian conflict it doesn’t take a genius to guess which side he is on. I don’t defend his views nor do I defend Israel’s nor the US’s or any state or organization that uses deadly force against anyone because it doesn’t solve anything, creates only more suffering, and creates more enemies.

I understand your point about the welfare state. In a sense it is a redistribution of wealth. But these programs have been in place for 40 years and for some programs for 70 years. Obama isn’t doing anything radical or new with these programs. I could argue that not only are these programs in our national security interests but in the interests of those who pay higher taxes to fund these programs but that is for another post. If you can show me where Obama is recommending a radical change in a program that Richard Nixon distributed your wealth into as well as Ford, Reagan, Bush I, & Bush II. What is he doing that is radically different than what these more conservative presidents did? He did talk to some guy posing as a lot of things including an undecided voter - who stood mccain up at a rally today.

Posted by: tcsned at October 30, 2008 8:05 PM
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