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Old Media Curses the Wind
Townhall.com ^ | April 13, 2014 | Paul Jacob

Posted on 04/13/2014 7:14:19 AM PDT by Kaslin

In strategy meetings through the years, I’ve often heard conservative and Republican operatives complain, “If the mainstream media would only cover the issue fairly . . .”

My advice? Don’t hold your breath.

In lively discussions with friends from across the political spectrum, including a journalist or two, I’ve debated the proposition of whether a “liberal media bias” even exists. Without resolution.

Consensus aside, though, I’ve determined it über-exists — resting my judgment on two things: (1) surveys of the Washington press corps over the past decades, showing its members to be consistently and overwhelmingly liberal, and in turn voting Democratic, and (2) my personal experience with reporters and editors over the last 35 years.

And now, add to my personal list of anecdotal evidence two self-disclosures from important journalists in recent months.

Last October, in the wake of the disastrous rollout of Obamacare via the healthcare.gov website, National Journal’s Ron Fournier told MSNBC’s Chuck Todd, “[The Obama Administration] really had to get this right, not just for the healthcare reform, but for the whole ideathat a lot of us believe in — that a strong, effective government can help people through this huge economic and social transition we’re going through.”

Fournier admitted that this federal government failure undermined the “central argument that we’re having in this country” — namely, whether bigger and bigger government makes life better and better.

Fournier is not just any journalist: he serves as senior political columnist and editorial director of the prestigious National Journal. Before that, he worked for the Associated Press for 20 years, moving up to Washington bureau chief.

As top banana at the DC bureau, Fournier instituted a controversial policy that he called “accountability journalism.” The idea? Tell the readers who is right or wrong. Fournier called it being “provocative without being partisan. . . truth-tellers without being editorial writers.”

“It seems to me there’s a conscious effort to inject bias in the story,” Wall Street Journal columnist James Taranto offered in describing the new policy, “though obviously Fournier would see it differently.”

The point here isn’t that Ron Fournier is a “bad” man. I’ve spoken with him and found him pleasant enough. The fact that he and I don’t agree on public policy is hardly earth-shattering, insidious or actionable. He has a right to write as he pleases and the publications he works for to print whatever they wish.

And Fournier does call out Democrats. I don’t mind his style at all.

But please don’t tell me that Fournier’s political views are completely divorced, walled-off from his reporting and writing about these political issues on which we disagree.

The second journalist is Robert G. Kaiser. Kaiser worked for The Washington Post for 50 years, as an intern, reporter, foreign correspondent, editor and finally as managing editor, shaping the paper’s coverage. Last month, he wrote a parting-shot column entitled, “How Republicans lost their minds, Democrats lost their souls and Washington lost its appeal.”

Having left The Post and moved to New York City, Kaiser was full of self-righteous attacks on the failures of Washington, even while deriding those who attacked the failures of Washington.

He wrote of Republicans as “global-warming deniers” (never mind global temperatures), and lambasted the 162 Republicans in Congress who voted against raising the debt ceiling last October, saying the “votes reflected the deep hostility felt by the newest version of Republican lawmakers toward the government of their country.”

No mention of the “deep hostility” President Obama must likewise feel, since he, too, voted and spoke against upping the debt limit when in the U.S. Senate.

Kaiser rails against the incivility of conservative Republicans for calling Obama a socialist — or in the case of Rep. Randy Weber of Texas, a “socialistic dictator” — only to turn around and smear the free-market-oriented Club for Growth and Heritage Action as “vigilantes” for campaigning “to eliminate every Republican in Congress who toys with moderation or considers collaborating with Democrats.”

He seems oblivious to the implication — that only some folks may campaign for what they believe and for whom they wish to see in public office. His folks.

“I won’t rail against the wind,” Kaiser writes. “I understand that, beginning with the passage of Proposition 13 in California in 1978, a tax revolt spread across the land. Americans who once trusted their government now distrusted it, profoundly.”

Yet, even Kaiser confesses that this distrust “was not irrational. The appalling war in Vietnam, the venality of Watergate, the now-forgotten but then-terrifying Great Inflation of the late 1970s — these huge events altered the relationship between citizens and their government.”

Kaiser’s real complaint is that the march of big government isn’t faster and unrestrained. To him, the problem with Democrats is that they aren’t liberal enough and the problem with Republicans is that they’re not Democrats.

Our concern, on the other hand, is that folks with a strong political bent in favor of ever larger and more intrusive and controlling government — Fournier and Kaiser, just to name two — are almost exclusively shaping what stories are covered by the mainstream media and how they’re covered.

That may not change. But the hopeful news is that the stream where Americans get their news is indeed changing.

I bet Thomas Jefferson, who hated the press of his day (and had every reason to), would welcome today’s revolution in the press away from the dominant media bias. There may be some irony that the founder of the Democratic wing in American politics would have preferred “newspapers without government” over “government without newspapers,” while today’s major Democratic newspaper journalists would find the preference so incomprehensible.

And speaking of Jefferson . . .

Two American freedom fighters share April 13 as their birth date: Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence, and Jane Jacob, my mother. Happy Birthday to you both, Tom and Mom!


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial
KEYWORDS: journalism; leftwingmedia

1 posted on 04/13/2014 7:14:19 AM PDT by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin

Does a bear........in the woods?


2 posted on 04/13/2014 7:16:26 AM PDT by Don Corleone ("Oil the gun..eat the cannoli. Take it to the Mattress.")
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To: Kaslin
 photo grandpa-simpson-shakes-fist-at-clou.jpg
3 posted on 04/13/2014 7:17:07 AM PDT by gorush (History repeats itself because human nature is static)
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To: Kaslin

The mainstream media has been pro socialism from the 20’s.


4 posted on 04/13/2014 7:22:06 AM PDT by Vaduz
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To: Kaslin

Journalists.Working hard to replace lawyers as the most reviled group in America.


5 posted on 04/13/2014 7:22:08 AM PDT by Farmer Dean (stop worrying about what they want to do to you,start thinking about what you want to do to them)
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To: Kaslin
I’ve often heard conservative and Republican operatives complain, “If the mainstream media would only cover the issue fairly . . .” My advice? Don’t hold your breath.

Amen, bro.

As much as I love talk radio, I get sick of hearing my favorite hosts get their panties all wadded up over something that was said by some idiot on some idiot cable news show or by some idiot in some idiot newspaper.

Mock them, yes. But to get "outraged" and demand some sort of retraction or apology, forget it.

Also, I am sick of hearing "If this had happened under a (insert name of Repulbican here)"....

Screw that.

We have to stop reliving the last war.

It would better serve us if we would say something along the lines of, "Okay. I look FORWARD to President Palin using The IRS as a weapon against Liberal groups...." Or, "Then I guess you'll be okay when Secretary of State Cruz blames the death of an American ambassador on a video and sends Ambassador Limbaugh out to lie about it on the weekend news shows...."

We can't change the past, but if we can get people to see what the future might hold, at least then we might actually have a chance to change what's coming.

Might.

6 posted on 04/13/2014 7:30:52 AM PDT by Texas Eagle (If it wasn't for double-standards, Liberals would have no standards at all -- Texas Eagle)
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To: Kaslin

The debate is over, the facts are settled.

The media isn’t just biased to the Left, it’s actively partisan to the Left.


7 posted on 04/13/2014 7:31:26 AM PDT by SampleMan (Feral Humans are the refuse of socialism.)
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To: Kaslin

Maybe someone could write a program to write news articles based on actual newsworthiness. For instance, protests would be covered by the amount of actual protesters, so that a million pro lifers would get front web page coverage, whereas 2 anti Koch hippies would not even get a mention.


8 posted on 04/13/2014 7:36:01 AM PDT by sportutegrl
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To: Kaslin

The debate contrasting big vs small government is based upon a flawed premise that we should not accept.

The real debate should occur over positive liberty vs negative liberty. In other words this should be about what the government can do to you vs what the government cannot do to you.

Anything else is meaningless.


9 posted on 04/13/2014 7:36:23 AM PDT by Noumenon (Resistance. Restoration. Retribution.)
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To: SampleMan
 photo HowTheNewsMediaLies.jpg
10 posted on 04/13/2014 7:36:28 AM PDT by gorush (History repeats itself because human nature is static)
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To: SampleMan

Recents events have once again, been badly covered by the legacy media. Rat scandals,immigration issues,and the range war have been hardly mentioned.
It is absolutely true that the MSM has decided to join hands with the Rats to attack the freedom of speech and freedom of religion in order to destroy any resistance to a single party socialist state. One ruled by an oligarchy of which they are a member.


11 posted on 04/13/2014 7:38:02 AM PDT by Oldexpat
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To: Kaslin

The Republicans need to renounce the MSM at every opportunity and refuse to walk into its traps, like left-wing hosted debates. They need to remind the public continuously that the MSM IS the DNC’s mouthpiece.


12 posted on 04/13/2014 7:51:35 AM PDT by Spok ("What're you going to believe-me or your own eyes?" -Marx (Groucho))
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To: Kaslin

Re: Fournier. All you have to do is watch him on TV. The self-righteousness of the inside the beltway liberal is readily apparent.


13 posted on 04/13/2014 8:07:07 AM PDT by sauropod (Fat Bottomed Girl: "What difference, at this point, does it make?")
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To: Texas Eagle

It would be great if the big names on our side would stop fighting each other and pool resources to create a news broadcast that can be sold as a syndicated program for any station wanting an alternative to the 6:30 WH press release broadcast.

Or start a credible cable news network.


14 posted on 04/13/2014 8:13:53 AM PDT by VanDeKoik
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To: Kaslin

Sharyl Attkisson

I say this because of the supposed shift the author sees, then why was she leaving (forced out?) of CBS?


15 posted on 04/13/2014 8:58:29 AM PDT by VRW Conspirator ( 2+2 = V)
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To: Noumenon

I’ll take it one step further back. What is the purpose of government? The answer to that determines all that follows.


16 posted on 04/13/2014 1:08:24 PM PDT by Jacquerie (Change is not made without inconvenience, even from worse to better - Richard Hooker. Article V.)
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To: Jacquerie
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

"That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."

This, I believe is the best and most succinct answer to your question.

17 posted on 04/13/2014 1:47:07 PM PDT by Noumenon (Resistance. Restoration. Retribution.)
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To: Noumenon

Yep, like F=MA to engineers and physicists.

For political, societal happiness and harmony, “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men.”


18 posted on 04/13/2014 1:57:18 PM PDT by Jacquerie (Change is not made without inconvenience, even from worse to better - Richard Hooker. Article V.)
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To: Jacquerie

It’s pretty straightforward, isn’t it? The monsters who violate this principle have no excuse - they know full well what they are doing.


19 posted on 04/13/2014 2:03:06 PM PDT by Noumenon (Resistance. Restoration. Retribution.)
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To: Noumenon
A few weeks ago, Tom Harkin (Fascist - IA) was on the C-Span morning show. He was spewing the usual statist drivel about Obamacare. I told the call screener my question to him was, “what is the purpose of government?”

A few seconds before I was due up, the line went dead. It wasn't the first time I was cut for wanting to ask simple, foundational questions.

Yes, they know d@amn well what they do.

20 posted on 04/13/2014 2:14:09 PM PDT by Jacquerie (Change is not made without inconvenience, even from worse to better - Richard Hooker. Article V.)
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To: Jacquerie

In a better world, a better America, none of these monsters would be walking around alive and free.


21 posted on 04/13/2014 2:22:55 PM PDT by Noumenon (Resistance. Restoration. Retribution.)
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To: Kaslin
Journalism’s short deadlines make journalism superficial, and journalism’s need to attract attention makes journalism negative.

Compound superficiality with negativity and you get cynicism. Which just happens to be an exact description of leftism.

22 posted on 04/13/2014 4:10:11 PM PDT by conservatism_IS_compassion ("Liberalism” is a conspiracy against the public by wire-service journalism.)
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