Here are seven facts about mains stream news media bias. People deny them, some even sincerely, but they have been well proven over many decades.
FACT: The U.S. mainstream news media is partisan and biased.
FACT: It is shockingly shameless about this.
FACT: The results of this bias include slanted news, withheld information, warped priorities, and discrediting new sources that cover stories thye intentionally ignore, all with the collective and intentional result of misleading the U.S. public.
FACT: This is arrogant, unfair, incompetent, unethical, and harmful to the proper functioning of democracy.
FACT: The news media employed this bias to make certain that Barack Obama was elected President in 2008, and has already made it obvious that it intends to be at least equally biased in its efforts to make certain that Donald Trump is not elected in 2016.
FACT: Among the techniques the news media employ is holding Republican candidates and elected officials to different standards than what it applies to Democratic candidates and officials.
FACT: Journalists, pundits, and Ethics Alarms readers who continue to deny that there is a mainstream media bias favoring Democrats and progressive policies are either lying, not paying attention, or in denial.
I must say, the last is very frustrating, and often infuriating. I have a good friend who really does believe that the mainstream news media is outrageously biased toward conservatives, because he is so far at the end of the ideological spectrum that everything is too far right for him. I have a business and a life-style that both compels me to follow many news sources on all sides of the political spectrum, and my profession and training requires me to work hard at achieving objective analysis. (I know I don’t always succeed.) I know my biases and preferences, and have to say that all seven of the facts I presented above are facts, not opinions, and because they describe a very dangerous situation, the fact that so many progressives refuse to acknowledge them makes me wonder if their ideology is inconsistent with basic integrity.
All American citizens should want and demand as objective, unbiased and fair a national news media as possible. We won’t get one until progressives admit that even though their President, elected officials, candidates and policies are the beneficiaries of unethical journalism, it is still wrong, still unhealthy, and still has to stop.
This is why I must salute Joe Concha, Mediaite’s thoughtful conservative reporter, for his excellent work in finding one of the most powerful smoking gun proofs of this bias I have ever seen.
Last week, Donald Trump horrified the pundit class when he announced that he was stripping The Washington Post of access to his campaign, announcing,
“Based on the incredibly inaccurate coverage and reporting of the record setting Trump campaign, we are hereby revoking the press credentials of the phony and dishonest Washington Post.”
Of course this was a petty, cowardly and anti-democratic move by Trump. I didn’t post on it because the ethics position here on Trump is clear and immutable, and because if I covered all of the unethical things this crude, reckless idiot says and does, I’d have no time for anything else. The man has little judgment, few values, no restraint, and an arrested (at about age 10) ability to distinguish right from wrong. We know this, or should. Nobody should be surprised, and this incident should not change anyone’s opinion of him.
The news media, however, reacted to it as if Trump had leaned in to kiss a baby and bitten its head off:
The Post’s Chris Cillizza: “Barring reporters from public events because you disagree with what they write is a dangerous precedent.”
Slate: on Trump’s decision: The revocation “marks an unprecedented escalation in his war” against media.
WaPo executive editor Marty Baron: Trump’s decision is “nothing less than a repudiation of the role of a free and independent press.”
CNN Contributor Bakari Sellers: It was “fascism at its worst.” Also on CNN, Sara Murray opined that Trump’s revocation of The Washington Post’s press credentials was “alarming.”
Give Concha credit. Although his own opinion of Trump’s actions were as low as those of his Trump-hating colleagues, the spark of a memory stirred. He went back into the archives. What’s this? In 2008, candidate Barack Obama kicked reporters from three papers that had endorsed Republican John McCain off his campaign plane!
The papers were Dallas Morning News, New York Post and Washington Times, which is the conservative newspaper in the Post’s backyard. Cillizza was covering politics then for the Post. Slate was in full campaign mode. CNN was CNN. Did any of these, or anyone else in the news media other than the publications being evicted, argue that Obama was a nascent fascist, dangerous, or that his actions repudiated freedom of the press?
No. Of course not! Nobody in the liberal mainstream media criticized this because they or their fellow travelers had their seats on the plane. Obama was a Democrat, progressive, and black, and they all wanted him to win. With this background, Slate’s declaration that Trump’s snit was “unprecedented” is especially dishonest (I know, I know: nobody had ever kicked the Post out of a campaign before. Ah, deceit!). However, the entire reaction of the journalists is an example of selective and wilful amnesia, or, as Concha says, “the worst kind of bias — the bias of omission.”
Concha makes another excellent observation. At least Trump was open and honest about the reason for the Post’s ejection. Obama, giving us what in retrospect was an example of what his administration would call “transparency,” claimed that booting the three anti-Obama papers was simply a matter of having a limited number of seats on the plane, and had Obama campaign senior adviser Anita Dunn treat the press and the public like morons by saying, “Unfortunately, demand for seats on the plane during this final weekend has far exceeded supply, and because of logistical issues we made the decision not to add a second plane.”
Among the publications that made the cut were those paragons of journalism, Glamour, Jet and Ebony.
Go head, you media bias deniers. Explain why Obama’s stifling critical reporting was benign and barely newsworthy, but Trump doing the same is “fascism.” Explain why mainstream media reporting on Trump’s move didn’t include reminding readers that Obama did essentially the same thing in 2008. Justify this double standard.
I can’t wait. Meanwhile, thanks, Joe, for finding the smoking gun.
31 thoughts on “Seven Facts About News Media Bias, And Yet Another Smoking Gun That Reaffirms Them”
There was a flap on FB yesterday about Trump not putting his hand over his heart during the singing of the national anthem at one of the debates early on. “If Barack Obama had done this, it would have made national news!” Well he did, and it did, on one of his campaign stops. People have really short memories!
The kicker was that Trump’s photo was photoshopped, video of the event clearly showed him with his hand on his heart during the whole anthem. This bit of manufactured outrage was brought to us by Occupy Democrats, who have completely lost all credibility after post after post of manufactured ‘evidence’ of Trump’s unfitness for office.
Members of the Armed Services and Veterans since 2008 at sporting events when the National Anthem is played are encouraged to render a hand salute. I don’t think this would apply to Obama or Trump since neither served in the Armed Forces. Still a president or anyone else should place their hand over their heart.
A lot of proggies have contempt for Occupy Democrats.
Good, they certainly deserve it. A lot of people are still sharing them, though. I see at least one daily. I used to read them at first, I thought they might have something to say, but as most of it’s distorted our fabricated I just scroll by.
For gods’ sake, people, it isn’t that hard to find actual legitimate evidence of Trump’s unfitness for office. Do the Occupiers have to be lazy as well as stupid?
I have come to the conclusion due to the behavior of the press in general that it is the first amendment and not the second that needs to be examined for amending. The press with its first amendment bullet proof protection wields far too much power and can inflict greater catastrophic damage to the nation than the indiscriminate killings of a deranged gun toting maniac ever could. The overall difference between the two irresponsible parties behavior, when it comes to real harm, is not even close. I fully accept your seven facts as truth. Furthermore, I agree with your assertion that the progressives inability to call a spade a spade does indeed make their ideology inconsistent with basic integrity.
The press is responsible for this difference, due to their lopsided coverage, because their lopsided coverage means the two sides have different incentives and deterrents.
The left might as well have ‘The Ends Justify the Means’ emblazoned on their letterhead or as their twitter hashtag, however that works. (I thought that was a crosshatch?) I attribute it to people growing up in the ‘sixties and becoming inculcated with the wonderfulness of all things lefty. “We’re right, they’re wrong. Anything goes.” And now these people run colleges and newspapers and networks and have one or two generations of true believers behind them infected with the same disease in the womb.
Tattooed on their foreheads!
Don’t kid yourself, too many on the right do the very.same.thing. This primary has shown us that. It has ripped the masks off.
P.S. I always called it a pound sign. 🙂
Ooh, I’m glad you wrote that. I never remember everything that I want to write.
“And now these people run colleges and newspapers and networks…”
That does NOT apply to the right, however, and that’s the issue the post involves. When the media or education is involved, “Conservatives do it too” is a non sequitur, and an ethical punt, like “so’s your old man” and “Oh yeah?”
Saved me having to write that. In addition, I may be a biased fool but I genuinely believe the right has a little bit of an ethics alarm ringing in there much of the time and demonstrates some restraint. For the left, it’s anything goes a la Saul Alinsky. The right is evil, the left knows better. And away we go.
Maybe you should read my comment again.
I very clearly said too many on the right do it too. Which means, not everyone on the right does it, but the number of those who do, is too large for me to comfortably and correctly say “It’s only the left.”
If we don’t do something to halt this progression by the right, people won’t be able to tell the difference between the two.
Not trying to be picky….but I’m going to be. 😉
My comment wasn’t a response to your post. My comment was only in reply to Other Bill’s comment “The left might as well have ‘The Ends Justify the Means’ emblazoned on their letterhead…”
The left does not own hypocrisy, bias, or justifying their actions by the end result. As I said, the primary has shown us this. All one has to do is look at the behavior of the people who make up Congress. Heck, look at any the behavior of any elected official, in any elected position- political party notwithstanding.
Too many people still haven’t grasped that it’s not a left/right thing. All that is, is just another facet in the elite’s war on the People. When the People are divided – fighting each other – the government/TPTB can get away with anything.
Pretty much like they have for the last 100+ years. Stop helping them.
And the quote I pulled was from his comment that you responded to: “And now these people run colleges and newspapers and networks…”
Of course all competing groups are prone to unethical conduct, if we don’t hold them to standards. If you want to talk about power-abusers, I’m all in. But “the elite” is just a lazy populist term for “the successful, smart, ambitious and energetic people we put in power and now want to blame for our own bad choices.” The anti-elite just made Donald Trump a threat to become President, or wasted a desperately needed challenge to a corrupt Democratic candidate on an old, deluded Marxist.
He said other things in that comment to which I also was not responding. I didn’t say anything about growing up in the sixties even though lots of conservatives also grew up in the sixties. I do believe I quoted exactly which part I was answering.
You are quite wrong regarding your definition of ‘elite’. Those people are most definitely not smart, successful people. Those people violate the Constitution and their oaths every single day. They obey political parties and the money people over their constituents. They have made careers out of hoodwinking the People. They are criminals. You know what makes them different than the average criminal off the street? Those smart, successful, ambitious, energetic people hold the title of lawmakers! They have made a career out of turning their crimes legal because they hold all the cards. And you seem very eager to, not only let them continue, but to help them. Why?
Oh, and regarding Trump. It’s the People who are supposed to choose the candidate. Only people have the right to vote – not political parties. They are private organizations which have absolutely no standing to do anything in our political system. The only reason they have this power is because they have a monopoly on all the candidates who run; then become our representatives and make laws that benefit political parties.
Political parties are not necessary for the function of our governments or our Country. They have too much power and they have stolen the loyalty and obedience of our representatives. They are also a way to keep the People – the only ones with the power, all the power – divided and not focused on what they, the government, and foreign influences are doing.
Who would you rather have as a presidential nominee? Someone who is not an NBC? Someone to whom the ends justified the means? Someone who lied about his Senate vote on an unconstitutional bill? Someone who places illegal immigrants over citizens and people who enter the Country legally?
Just who would you rather have???
P.S. I live in Ohio
In point of fact, you are wrong. The parties choose the candidates according to their allegedly superior knowledge and experience, and the degree to which the public is involved is up to them.
You described power abusers, which are not the elite—they are the corrupt leaders and decision-makers, the worst of the group, but not typical of it. Your rant is just standard fare populist fantasy, and proven by the fact that you don’t recognize that Trump’s ascension is exactly why the Founders distrusted direct democracy, and chose a representative one.
Claiming that political parties aren’t necessary is just in defiance of reality. The Founders hated them, but you can’t run a nation like a town meeting. Ideals unmoored to reality are more than useless, they are dangerous.
Oh boy, you really are caught, aren’t you. The parties don’t chose the candidate based on any such thing as you mentioned. Why the heck do you think a bunch of people who choose the candidate not based on the candidate’s obedience to the Constitution, but on obedience to the platform of a private organization is a good thing?????
The parties also choose the candidate on the basis of how obedient to the party he will be after elected. Your ‘superior knowledge and experience’ is a fairy tale. Wow!
Sorry, but all the government and political parties are the abusers. You just are blinded. I’m living in the real world. There is only one man in Congress I would trust – Sessions. Not because he supports Trump. I personally think that endorsements are meaningless – I could not care less who you or anyone else supports. Because of his voting record. I cannot say that about another single person in Congress….not.a.single.one. That is sadder than I know how to express.
Trump’s ascension is because of years and years of political party control and abuse and blatant refusal to obey the People….you know, the ones who actually are the only ones who have the power to vote. It is absolutely because the elite – the class of people who are elected to serve and obey, but instead have elevated themselves above the People – think they know better than we do.
Trump’s ascension has nothing to do with a direct democracy verses a representative republic. Not.a.darn.thing. Ya know, Washington agrees with me. He warned us about political parties.
You’re also wrong that political parties are necessary. They are not. A person doesn’t have to be a member of any political party to execute a an elected official’s responsibilities.
A town meeting???? Wow are you behind the times. Eliminate political parties and the candidates go directly to the People. Limit campaign contributions to only constituents and political parties become superfluous. You aren’t thinking big enough. Or maybe it’s small enough. Candidates should only be talking to their constituents anyway. No person outside their district, who can’t vote for them has any right or standing to commit election fraud and affect the outcome of an election. Despite SCOTUS opinion, money is not speech. A person in CA has no free speech right to choose the representatives of OH. That’s nothing more than election fraud.
All due respect, sir, you’re the one not operating in reality. Do you want to see this ‘grand experiment’ come to end? I certainly don’t. I won’t let outdated traditions (tradition not Constitutional laws) prevent us from correcting the mistakes of the last 100 years. And there are a looooot of mistakes.
P.S. Populist isn’t an insult; nationalist isn’t an insult. Putting America, every part of America, first is a good thing. Why would one want differently??
P.P.S. What is so gosh-darned necessary about political parties anyway, hmmmm??????
This is an ethics blog, and that was a political rant—and a crazy one at that. See the Comments guidelines; I don’t allow them except in rare circumstances. I don’t care to make this a forum on conspiracy theories, “elites,” and home-brewed ways to reinvent government: the US was the last radical experiment that worked, and that was a close call.
And you better cool the mockery: I’m a lawyer; I belong to two bars; I am published, I majored in American government at Harvard, I have studied the party system and the American Presidency since before that, and I have read extensively on our government, comparative government, theory and practice. That doesn’t make me a world authority or necessarily right, but it does mean that I don’t have to tolerate snotty “boy, are you an idiot” insults about my expertise, which is considerable. And I won’t.
Be respectful, stick to the topic, and watch your tone, or your comments will head straight to the spam bin.
That’s a warning, and the last one.
Somebone didn’t read the ‘About’ section, eh?
“A town meeting???? Wow are you behind the times. Eliminate political parties and the candidates go directly to the People.”
” candidates go directly to the People”. How do propose to organize a Presidential election nationwide without the party structure? Who’s in charge? How is it funded?
” A person in CA has no free speech right to choose the representatives of OH. That’s nothing more than election fraud.”
Are you saying it is happening now? Registered voters can only vote in the state they are registered in. I’m not sure what you’re talking about here.
One does not try to parse rants and find coherence.
Jack, I have you to thank for opening my eyes on this point. As a naive liberal progressive, I really believed for many years that people, even politicians, were good, whatever that means. Over decades, I came to realize how much deceit there was in politics, but surely NOT in the media! You have opened my eyes about this, and now I am getting better at evaluating what I hear and read. (I’m working on this same attitude re social media.)
I surely didn’t remember the incident with President Obama. So, as liberal progressive, I am disgusted that the parallel was not reported. On the other hand, maybe it just points out how ill-informed our news providers are.
Oh Patrice. They are extremely well informed. If you were to ask them, ‘are you stupid or are you lying?’ and they had to answer, trust me, they would never admit to being stupid. They’re always smarter than conservatives of Republicans. They’ve been to all the best schools.
Here’s a short video clip of it happening. Hillary was smart enough to do the right thing in this case. The video speaks for itself: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=hU9iCANi02o
NOTICE: Laura Bernard Mielcarek is banned. When I say no more rants,I mean it.
She also doesn’t comprehend that a post about ethics in politics is not a political post. Oh, there’s a lot she doesn’t comprehend, and this is not a forum for anarchists, ideologues, conspiracy theorists, (except BlameBlakeart, who earned his exemption and I miss him) crazies, class warriors and those who throw around labels and jargon and think that’s a substitute for an argument. No, she’s not banned for being a likely Trump supporter, but the mental and knowledge deficiencies that make her a likely Trump supporter do make her unwelcome.
I’ll tolerate maybe one post per poster with nonsense like “there’s nothing about political parties” in the Constitution, or “we don’t need parties or unions” or “A contribution is the same as a vote,” if they promise to behave and stick to the topic in the future, but Laura made it clear that she was just getting started, and would soon be saying that that we should abolish the income tax and allow child labor. I warned her, she doubled down, she’s gone.
Oh…if you dare me to ban you, I’ll ban you. Count on it.
Good. Her attitude and tone were hideous.
I think in order to see this point about media bias the consumers need to have a bit of a memory along with some basic understanding of what journalism should be.
Case in point, i was listening to NPR’s coverage over the past couple days. Ari Shapiro was interviewing the editor of a gay magazine in Orlando, and one of the off-hand points the editor made was how the best response to this type of hatred was the tried and true ‘humanize the victims’ approach. He basically laid out the strategy of appealing to people’s sympathy towards victims in general as way to build bridges between marginalized groups and the general public.
Queue up a weeks worth of victim profiles on NPR, all pathos all the time. All designed to report and frame the story as one of hatred towards gay’s. All devoid of any connection to any narrative that would go against the Democratic party line. This culminated in a ten minute piece where Ari Shapiro reported on his own life and experience in Orlando as a young reporter and his connection to the bar tenders at the club.
To use Jack’s phrase, my head exploded. As if ‘news’ organization clearly and intentionally carrying out a political and cultural agenda isn’t bad enough, they are doing it with my tax dollars!!!!! And the host of ‘All things considered’ doesn’t have the professional ethics to keep himself out of the story, but instead literally made himself the story. How on earth do liberals not see this as a bad development? Have they given up all pretenses of being concerned with reason and logic. Do they not recognize propaganda when they see it!!! Do they see it and accept/support it because the means justify the ends?
I ask this question all the time. Objecting to this kind of propaganda/indoctrination/slanted journalism should be bi-partisan and expected of every fair American. You don’t like the bias when it supports your opinion and object to it when it doesn’t—the practice is wrong, that’s all.