When An Apology Isn’t Enough: Carol Costello’s Ugly Partisan Bias

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For over a month now, the left-leaning media on cable and the web have been snickering over unsubstantiated reports of “a drunken brawl” involving the Palin family. Especially since no charges were filed and no accounts were verified, the amount of attention the story received was itself proof of the media’s irrational anti-Palin, and by extension, anti-conservative Republican animus. If there was any doubt, CNN’s Carol Costello obliterated it in a performance that any respectable news network would regard as mandating dismissal.

Yesterday, introducing a recording in which Bristol Palin described the events at the infamous party, Costello smirked, “This is quite possibly the best minute and a half of audio we’ve ever come across. Well, come across in a long time anyway…Enjoy!”

Palin’s oldest daughter was heard describing what happened to her after she confronted the party’s host, whom she accused of pushing her little sister:

“So we were in a limo. I walk back up. “Did you push my sister?” And some guy gets up, pushes me down on the grass, drags me across the grass. “You slut, you f—ing c—, you f—ing this.” I get back up, he pushes me down on the grass again And he pulls me by my f—ing feet. And he’s the one that’s leaving and I have my 5-year-old, they took my $300 sunglasses, they took my f—ing shoes, and I’m f—ing just left here?”

Costello made it clear that the image of Palin being pushed down and insulted delighted her beyond all measure, and said “the long bleep was my favorite part.”  That’s the part where Bristol described herself being called a “fucking cunt.”  Nice. Costello ended the segment saying,

“We should point out that no charges were filed in this incident and in a Sept. 19th Facebook post, Sarah Palin defended her daughter, writing part — writing in part, quote, ‘I love my Bristol. I have to say, this is a proud mama. My kids’ defense of my family makes my heart soar.’ You can thank me later.”

How objective.

How fair.

How professional.

Notes Politico, “Costello’s reaction immediately received backlash from conservatives on social media.”

Really? Really?? Only conservatives object to vicious, sneering, biased reporting by a major network news anchor? So liberals desperately exploiting “war on women” nonsense in its efforts to divide the nation as sharply along gender fault-lines—as Democrats have labored to do the same regarding race —nonetheless think a man knocking down a smaller woman and abusing her is just hilarious, provided that the woman is related to a reviled conservative icon? Good to know.

Costello later apologized–it was a decent apology—but it doesn’t matter, or shouldn’t. It’s always been obvious that Costello is partisan to the core, but this incident proves that she is so deeply biased that her professional ethics and basic decency don’t function any more. Not only is she hateful, and unprofessional, but she is so narrow and arrogant in her perspective that she assumes the CNN audience is as hateful and hypocritical as she is.

MSNBC’s Martin Bashir was forced to leave that network after declaring that Bristol Palin’s mother should be forced to eat human feces. Carol Costello expressed delight at Palin’s daughter being physically abused. I see both as equally disqualifying. How can anyone interested in fair reporting trust a TV journalist after such a clear expression of bias and a lack of the ability to restrain it? The apology can’t undo the fact: Costello, like Bashir, is biased and unprofessional. Any news source that continues to employ her is as well.

Bristol Palin took to the web to give her account of the “brawl,” and concluded her post with this:

This “story” is still running over a month and a half later. Rumors still run wild, unsubstantiated claims are printed as true, and random people who weren’t even there are considered “eye witnesses.”…[But] the friends and family of the revered liberal elite are treated like delicate China.  Don’t handle too roughly.  They are precious.  They are off limits. Don’t push on them too hard. In the meantime, I was pushed and held down by some guy…  and the media salivates like a dog that’s just been given a bone.

Here’s the thing.  Violence against women is never okay…  Even if that violence occurs against conservative women.  Imagine for a second the outrage that would happen if Chelsea Clinton had gotten pushed by some guy.  Had she tried to defend herself, the liberal media would’ve held her up as some feminist hero. But it wasn’t Chelsea. It wasn’t Hillary. It wasn’t someone they liked or someone they agreed with.It was a conservative.And once again, the hypocrisy of the media is laid bare.

How can anyone dispute her analysis? I don’t find much to admire in Bristol Palin, and while I have defended her mother, I’m not an admirer of her, either. The hypocrisy is striking, though: Bristol is right. In addition, the degree to which the major news media has such outbreaks of unrestrained, shameless partisanship is cause for alarm. The problem is getting worse, and democracy cannot function without trustworthy, honest and competent journalism. If someone like Costello can keep her job on any network not openly ideological (like Fox and MSNBC), there is no basis for trust anywhere in American journalism.

***

I have been thinking about ways President Obama might salvage his legacy, things he can do that will benefit all Americans and mitigate the harm, distrust, cynicism and divisiveness his disastrous Presidency has inflicted on the nation he loves.

One way would be to make a direct appeal, on behalf of the nation, to the news media and the profession of journalism to rededicate itself to what are supposed to be its core principals. He can begin by thanking reporters and editors for their loyal support, their determination to support his agenda and undermine his political foes, and their practice of barely reporting negative events and conduct by his party, appointees and government that they would have  ruthlessly publicized had the equivalents occurred under the management of Republicans. He should then state, however, that their good intentions have had terrible consequences that threaten to harm the nation and American society long after his term is over. He should say that he will gladly accept sharper criticism and more exposure of the flaws of his administration if the American public can again begin to trust the independence of journalists, following the prescription of British war correspondent Robert Fisk, who wrote..

“I suppose, in the end, we journalists try – or should try – to be the first impartial witnesses of history. If we have any reason for our existence, the least must be our ability to report history as it happens so that no one can say: ‘We didn’t know – no one told us.'”

It is clear that we cannot trust Carol Costello to meet that standard. And sadly, she is not alone.

_____________________

Sources: Politico, Patheo

18 thoughts on “When An Apology Isn’t Enough: Carol Costello’s Ugly Partisan Bias

  1. “Only conservatives object to vicious, sneering, biased reporting by a major network news anchor? So liberals desperately exploiting “war on women” nonsense in its efforts to divide the nation as sharply along gender fault-lines—as Democrats have labored to do the same regarding race —nonetheless think a man knocking down a smaller woman and abusing her is just hilarious, provided that the woman is related to a reviled conservative icon?”

    No, of course not. This is unacceptable behavior. It’s unprofessional and biased. The mere use of such a recording with such foul language, on a supposedly professional journalism broadcast is cheap and unworthy by any standard.

    I do wish, however, that people like Bristol Palin (and other media targets of any political party, ethnicity, gender, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, etc.) would attempt to avoid having themselves recorded like this. Don’t contribute to making yourself a target and a victim. Still, CNN and Costello should not have used the recording. I am sick of the rampant bad taste.

    • Well, the problem is that she is not ready to be a public figure and never will be. She’s a rural, working class woman at heart, and shouldn’t be placed in the spotlight. It’s like Bill Carter. It’s cruel to put her under such scrutiny. She’ll look bad, she always will. It’s shooting fish in a barrel.

      I would like to see some outcry from the CNN fans about this, and Democrats, and even Palin foes. It is objectively unacceptable. Where is it?

    • I read the first few comments and I was like: “What’s Jack talking about? This isn’t so bad.” Then I kept on reading, and I realized that it was a trap, I think my brains were starting to liquefy and trickle out my ear when my cat jumped on my keyboard and jolted me back to reality. I’m going to check out the ER, back later!

  2. I have a slightly different view on this. As I get older I prefer honesty, even unpleasant honesty to dishonest pretense. Miss Costello’s behavior is noted but I don’t feel any particular outrage or surprise. I don’t expect civility, balance or fair treatment from the Left. In fact I’m not even convinced her behavior is necessarily unethical from her point of view. The left and the right do not seem to share an ethical standard, post-modernism and all that. Being a Palin or a conservative and holding their positions is MORE unethical to the Left than any treatment they might receive, whether that is slander or beatings.

      • Apart from Fox, the WSJ, and a few bloggers, the two are pretty much interchangeable now. The percentages of reporters etc., who identify as Democrats vis-à-vis Republicans is lopsided possibly 3-1. I think it’s been that way for a while, but the bleeding of personal views into professional activity has become increasingly pronounced since, oh, the Reagan era at least.

        E.R. Murrow and Woodward and Bernstein may have targeted politicians they didn’t happen to agree with, but any attacks they made were based on actual malfeasance and abuse of office, not cheap jokes based on conduct unrelated to political office while not in political office.

        This isn’t the first time cheap jokes (as opposed to journalistic hit pieces) have been made either, need I mention the media’s mauling of Jenna Bush for underage drinking with headlines like “Jenna and Tonic” which they kept running for weeks after the incident was dealt with?

        The fact of the matter is that journalism is a profession with no standards anymore. It’s all about chasing ratings and the occasional prize that’s, of course, given by very liberal fellow journalists. The liberal journalists are going to do what they need to do to shore up their base, the same as any entertainer. The networks are trying to attract and keep the young, hip, liberal viewers who already detest Sarah Palin and everything she stands for, and there’s no better way to get a bump in the ratings than to put something like this, which holds her and her family up to ridicule, on the air and watch it go viral on social media. The dirty little secret is that most folks who watch network news do it as much for confirmation bias as for facts, if you are looking for facts that’s what the PBS News Hour is for. The news media and the left are not only interchangeable in a lot of ways, they feed off each other.

  3. As with the case of Bashir and MSNBC, multiple CNN staff allowed this disgraceful performance by Costello to take place. A responsible network would sack the producers too. The more I think about this—I must thank DC conservative radio host Chris Plante for the hypo–imagine what would happen if a Costello equivalent announced her glee at a tape of Chelsea Clinton describing an assault of her person. Why was Costello on teh air today? (I would have asked this question before the incident, of course, as she is routinely a disgrace.)

  4. I was truthfully appalled when Carole Costello told national TV to enjoy listening to a tape describing a physical attack on Bristol Palin’s 20 year old sister. Bristol should be praised for trying to protect her little sister, not mocked and demoralized in the way Ms. Costello did over national TV. Since when are we amused by such a sick tape revealing the demeaning and violent treatment of a young women? Have you no respect Ms. Costello for human decency? I am disappointed to learn the real character of Carol Costello. Sorry, I won;t be watching you anymore on CNN !

  5. Carol is an ugly mean woman…I can’t stand listening to her and watching her face contort when she doesn’t like what people have to say…she laughs at everything no matter how serious the conversation is and she constantly stumbles on her thoughts and words. She then simply says “well you know what I mean..so biased and unprofessional…she needs to go!

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