Skip to comments.How the Media works( good read)
Posted on 02/10/2004 9:14:33 AM PST by Pikamax
The first version published of yesterday's Note included what was intended as a SATIRICAL report of a fictional ABC News/Washington Post poll. No such poll was conducted. The questions and results listed were not from a real poll.
But on this day when John Kerry has a chance for wins in Tennessee and/or Virginia that just might get the Southern monkey off of his back -- and take an opponent out of the race -- and after two full news cycles in which Kerry's transient upper hand over President Bush doesn't seem to have been removed by the "Meet" appearance -- on this day, let us tell you again what we tried to say yesterday.
Like every other institution, the Washington and political press corps operate with a good number of biases and predilections.
They include, but are not limited to, a near-universal shared sense that liberal political positions on social issues like gun control, homosexuality, abortion, and religion are the default, while more conservative positions are "conservative positions."
They include a belief that government is a mechanism to solve the nation's problems; that more taxes on corporations and the wealthy are good ways to cut the deficit and raise money for social spending and don't have a negative affect on economic growth; and that emotional examples of suffering (provided by unions or consumer groups) are good ways to illustrate economic statistic stories.
More systematically, the press believes that fluid narratives in coverage are better than static storylines; that new things are more interesting than old things; that close races are preferable to loose ones; and that incumbents are destined for dethroning, somehow.
The press, by and large, does not accept President Bush's justifications for the Iraq war -- in any of its WMD, imminent threat, or evil-doer formulations. It does not understand how educated, sensible people could possibly be wary of multilateral institutions or friendly, sophisticated European allies.
It does not accept the proposition that the Bush tax cuts helped the economy by stimulating summer spending.
It remains fixated on the unemployment rate.
It believes President Bush is "walking a fine line" with regards to the gay marriage issue, choosing between "tolerance" and his "right-wing base."
It still has a hard time understanding how, despite the drumbeat of conservative grass-top complaints about overspending and deficits, President Bush's base remains extremely and loyally devoted to him -- and it looks for every opportunity to find cracks in that base.
Of course, the swirling Joe Wilson and National Guard stories play right to the press's scandal bias -- not to mention the bias towards process stories (grand juries produce ENDLESS process!).
The worldview of the dominant media can be seen in every frame of video and every print word choice that is currently being produced about the presidential race.
That means the President's communications advisers have a choice:
Try to change the storyline and the press' attitude, or try to win this election without changing them.
(Excerpt) Read more at abcnews.go.com ...
The Boston Globe's Robinson reports on two new documents obtained by the Globe that show that "President Bush received credit for attending Air National Guard drills in the fall of 1972 and spring of 1973 -- a period when his commanders have said he did not appear for duty at bases in Montgomery, Ala., and Houston."
The documents, which the White House will make public today, are the "first evidence" that President Bush served during the first 11 months of that period, Robinson Notes. LINK
The Washington Post's Romano reports that the Defense Department has requested that President Bush's payroll records from his service in the National Guard be sent to Washington so that they might be released to news organizations and public interest groups that have formally asked for them. LINK
Salon's Boehlert looks at the military records that the President has not released -- "Bush's medical military records, for instance, have never been released to the general public. Nor have any disciplinary reviews, pay stubs, tax records, or personal letters, which would help determine his exact whereabouts in 1972-73." LINK
Richard Cohen thinks that President Bush hasn't told the truth about his Guard service. LINK
The New York Times' David Johnston adds Scott McLellan and Adam Levine to the list of those who have appeared before the grand jury investigating the disclosure of the identity of a CIA. officer, writing that these appearances "reflected what lawyers in the case said was the quickening pace of a criminal inquiry in which a special prosecutor is examining conversations between journalists and the White House." LINK
Johnston's process fixation warms the heart of the Gang of 500.
And the Washington Post's Allen and Schmidt add Mary Matalin to the same list. LINK
The New York Times' Philip Shenon reports that 9/11 commission members warned the White House it could face a "politically damaging subpoena" if it fails turn to turn over pre-9/11 classified Oval Office intelligence. LINK
President Bush was in Missouri yesterday for a conversation about the economy, to boost support for his tax cuts and defend his economic policies against the Democrats attacks. The event was billed as an official event, not a campaign appearance, but it marked the third state that the President has visited within days of a Democratic primary (after New Hampshire and South Carolina). LINK
The Democrats are starting to complain about President Bush's "official" trips to primary states, what the DNC called "taxpayer-financed campaigning," reports Ed Chen. But Karl Rove never complained about the Gore trips, and we say: fair is fair. LINK
Bush-Cheney '04 campaign manager Ken Mehlman hosted an online chat "A Tough Road Ahead," on the campaign's Web site last evening. The questions gave Mehlman the opportunity to lay out some of the key issues for the campaign, including Iraq, national security, tax cuts, No Child Left Behind, and immigration.
Responding to a question that asks if it is a mistake for the Democratic candidates to base the election on "what they perceive as disdain or hatred for our President," Mehlman said that the Democrats and Republicans should be able to disagree without making personal attacks.
"For instance, we honor Senator Kerry's patriotic service during the Vietnam war. Yet we question the judgments of his votes to consistently cut defense and intelligence funding, his vote against the first Gulf War, and his recently stated belief that the war on terror is primarily about law enforcement and intelligence," Mehlman said. "Unfortunately, instead of debating those issues, some on the other side have attacked the President personally, comparing his service in the National Guard to those Americans who dodged the draft. This is wrong. We need to debate issues without personal attacks."
Full transcript of the chat: LINK
The Los Angeles Times' Anderson quotes Mehlman as he reports on the White House strategy against presumed nominee John Kerry.
Do Note the hesitation some in the White House feel now that candidates, even the President, have to stand by their ads -- even the negative ones . . . LINK
Some might see a little breathing room for the President in the latest USA Today/CNN/Gallup poll -- his job approval rating improved from an all-time low of 49 percent a week ago to 52 percent now. But there's that whole MOE thing.
And if the election were held today, President Bush led Sen. Kerry 49 percent to 48 percent, a statistical tie. LINK
Outsourcing factory jobs and white-collar work overseas will be good in the long-term for the American economy even if it causes "short-term pain and dislocation," the chairman of Bush's Council of Economic Advisors said yesterday with the release of the President's annual report to Congress on the economy. LINK
The New York Times' Pear and Stevenson report that President Bush has declared the economy is gaining strength, providing a "benchmark that the president and his critics can use to measure the performance of the election-year economy." LINK
USA Today's Benedetto and Despeignes report on the President's prediction that the U.S. economy will create 2.6 million jobs this year, calling it "politically risky."
"If most of the jobs materialize before the November election, Bush would be able to point to the marked improvement in making his case for re-election. But if they don't, that will provide ammunition to Democrats who say the president's economic stewardship is a failure." LINK
The New York Times' Wald reports that according to one of the members of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, "President Bush was probably wrong when he asserted in his 2002 State of the Union address that American forces routing guerrillas of Al Qaeda in Afghanistan had found designs for nuclear power plants." LINK
In his White House Notebook, the Washington Post's Milbank looks at whether Vice President Cheney is a "liability" for the President, sparking speculation among "the chattering class" about whether he will remain on the ticket in the fall. Madness. LINK
The New York Times' editorial board again reminds the Gray Lady's readers just how unimpressed it was with the President's Sunday ayem appearance: "None of what we heard made much sense." (Note the return of the phrase "'fuzzy math!'") LINK
The New York Times' David Brooks ponders what Bush might have said on "Meet the Press" if he had a silver tongue. LINK
Washington Post's E.J. Dionne thinks that "while Bush is determined not to repeat the mistakes his father made 12 years ago, he is in the process of repeating, almost precisely, the first Bush administration's fatal mistake." LINK
Recently there has been more criticism of President Bush from conservative columnists, radio hosts and television commentators, New York Times' Rutenberg reports. LINK
Case in point: Bill O'Reilly on "Good Morning America" this morning, talking about the Administration and Iraq: "I am much more skeptical of the Bush Administration now than I was at that time." Then he took a swipe at George Tenet.
The New York Times' Marquis discusses Bush's "wartime president" statement and the President's efforts to avoid looking like LBJ standing over Vietnam maps. LINK
The Wall Street Journal's Greg Ip writes of the White House's "optimistic forecast" that the U.S. economy will create 2.6 million jobs this year, a figure which "would erase the entire loss of jobs since President Bush took office."
The Washington Post's Weisman writes that "Wading into an election-year debate, President Bush's top economist yesterday said the outsourcing of U.S. service jobs to workers overseas is good for the nation's economy." LINK
Paul Krugman thinks President Bush's "recent cheerfulness" reacting to jobs reports "seems almost surreal." LINK
Clinton's assistant secretary of commerce thinks that this time, deficits do matter. LINK
I was thinking the same thing. It sure cant be ABC.
I've noted this on my blog - in light of Tom Brokejaw's continued denial of a liberal bias among the Washington Press Corps, "Well, Tom's hole card has been peeped."
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