The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Sunday, October 26, 2008


Over the past few years I have written many, many posts castigating the main stream media (MSM) for blatant-left leaning bias that has over the past year morphed into outrageous acts of omission and advocacy for Barack Obama.

Regardless of who you’re supporting for President, I hope you’ll pause for just a moment and consider the long-term danger of a media that can no longer be trusted to report fairly. One of the strengths of our democracy is a free press—a powerful advocate for those of us who are not in government and an even more powerful watchdog guarding us from those who are.

Michael S. Malone, a fourth generation journalist who currently works for ABC News, has written a powerful column suggesting that for the first time in his professional life, he is ashamed of his chosen profession.

Malone is a pragmatist. He realizes that no one can be completely unbiased and that small acts of spin and advocacy have always occurred in the media. I agree.

But he goes on to suggest that we’re now witnessing something very new and very dangerous. He writes:
But what really shattered my faith -- and I know the day and place where it happened -- was the war in Lebanon three summers ago. The hotel I was staying at in Windhoek, Namibia, only carried CNN, a network I'd already learned to approach with skepticism. But this was CNN International, which is even worse.

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. The reporting was so utterly and shamelessly biased that I sat there for hours watching, assuming that eventually CNNi would get around to telling the rest of the story & but it never happened.

I wrote many posts during that period arguing the same thing. It provides cold comfort to see a professional restate my concerns three years after the fact and after the damage perpetrated by the media bias had been done.

But it gets much worse. Malone continues:
But nothing, nothing I've seen has matched the media bias on display in the current presidential campaign.

Republicans are justifiably foaming at the mouth over the sheer one-sidedness of the press coverage of the two candidates and their running mates. But in the last few days, even Democrats, who have been gloating over the pass -- no, make that shameless support -- they've gotten from the press, are starting to get uncomfortable as they realize that no one wins in the long run when we don't have a free and fair press.

I was one of the first people in the traditional media to call for the firing of Dan Rather -- not because of his phony story, but because he refused to admit his mistake -- but, bless him, even Gunga Dan thinks the media is one-sided in this election.

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not one of those people who think the media has been too hard on, say, Republican vice presidential nominee Gov. Sarah Palin, by rushing reportorial SWAT teams to her home state of Alaska to rifle through her garbage. This is the big leagues, and if she wants to suit up and take the field, then Gov. Palin better be ready to play.

The few instances where I think the press has gone too far -- such as the Times reporter talking to prospective first lady Cindy McCain's daughter's MySpace friends -- can easily be solved with a few newsroom smackdowns and temporary repostings to the Omaha bureau.

No, what I object to (and I think most other Americans do as well) is the lack of equivalent hardball coverage of the other side -- or worse, actively serving as attack dogs for the presidential ticket of Sens. Barack Obama, D-Ill., and Joe Biden, D-Del.

If the current polls are correct, we are about to elect as president of the United States a man who is essentially a cipher, who has left almost no paper trail, seems to have few friends (that at least will talk) and has entire years missing out of his biography.

That isn't Sen. Obama's fault: His job is to put his best face forward. No, it is the traditional media's fault, for it alone (unlike the alternative media) has had the resources to cover this story properly, and has systematically refused to do so.

Why, for example to quote the lawyer for Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., haven't we seen an interview with Sen. Obama's grad school drug dealer -- when we know all about Mrs. McCain's addiction? Are Bill Ayers and Tony Rezko that hard to interview? All those phony voter registrations that hard to scrutinize? And why are Sen. Biden's endless gaffes almost always covered up, or rationalized, by the traditional media?

But all of that is now water under the bridge. It’s very likely that the blatant bias of the MSM has been a major contributor to the election of Barack Obama. I’m certain that many reporters and editors at news organizations like the NYT, the LAT, the Washington Post, and the alphabet networks will celebrate their “victory” on the night of November 4th.

But in the long run, the MSM lost much, much more than they’ve won. They’ve lost the trust of tens of millions of people, who can no longer rely on their objectivity or fairness. They’ve lost their ability to serve as a watchdog against politicians who over-reach. They lost their credibility—and in the world of words, that’s pretty much all you’ve got.

The behavior of the MSM has been shameful—disgusting is not too strong a word. I’m not sure the media can ever repair the damage they’ve done to themselves and to the country.