Monday, November 3, 2008
Media Bias: Did Obama Ask For It?
Election 2008: Objective Journalism The Loser, Michael Graham, Letters to the Editor, Boston Herald, October 28, 2008
Did you see that amazing video obtained by the Los Angeles Times of Sen. Barack Obama toasting aprominent former PLO member at an Arab American Action Network meeting in 2003? The video in which Obama gives Yasser Arafat’s frontman a warm embrace, as Bill Ayers look on? You haven’t seen it? Me, neither. The Los Angeles Times refuses to release it. And so an incriminating video of Obama literaly “palling around” with PLO supporters becomes one more nail in the coffin of “objective journalism.”
Alas, the obit for objective reporting has been buried - along with the stories about Obama’s 2001 support for court-imposed “redistribution of wealth” and Joe Biden’s latest gaffe. For the record (that’s J-school talk for “I actually know what I’m talking about for a change”), I am not a journalist. I’m an opinion writer and talk show host. But I admire reporters tremendously. I married one. My oldest son is named for the great H. L. Mencken.
So it is particularly heartbreaking for me to see the death of objective journalism. And believe me - it is stone cold dead. Sacrificed on the altar of service to Barack Obama. Former New York Times [NYT] columnist and veteran newspaperman Michael Malone knows it.“I’ve begun - for the first time in my adult life - to be embarrassed to admit what I do for a living,” he said. Malone is disturbed by the “shameless support” journalists have been giving the Obama campaign. Where’s the hardball coverage for Obama they give McCain? Instead, journalists are “actively serving as attack dogs for the [Obama/Biden] ticket.”
“That isn’t Sen. Obama’s fault,” Malone points out. He blames the media, whose job it is to give Obama a thorough vetting “and has systematically refused to do so.” This is hardly news to regular readers of the Boston Globe-Democrat, or viewers of MS-We-Hate-Bush. But when the Associated Press starts adding Kool-Aid at the water cooler, we readers are in real trouble.
Jay Newton-Small, a longtime AP reporter, points out in a column in the Washington Post that her old employer has begun practicing “accountability journalism,” which is a media euphemism for “picking the good guys and the bad guys.” “Some of the most eyebrow-raising stories this presidential-election cycle have come from a surprising source: the stodgy old AP,” Newton-Small wrote. The AP, once the gold standard of unbiased “hard news,” is now just another voice in the Spin Room. Newton-Small asks: “When the news organization entrusted with calling elections sets off down the slippery slope of news analysis, it’s hard not to wonder: Is the journalism world losing its North Star, the one source that could be relied upon to provide ‘Just the facts, ma’am’ ?” Facts? Who needs ’em, when we’ve got Obama’s magic tax plan to promote and an uppity Alaska governor to trash?
At the risk of violating union rules, allow me to do a bit of reporting: A new study by the Pew Research Center found that, while 71 percent of Obama’s recent media coverage has been “positive” or “neutral,” almost 60 percent of McCain’s coverage over the same period has been “decidedly negative.” And how much positive coverage did the media give McCain? Fourteen percent. The American people have figured this out. “By a margin of 70 percent to 9 percent,” another Pew study reported, “Americans say most journalists want to see Obama, not John McCain, win on Nov. 4.”
The percentage of Americans who rate reporters as objective and not favoring either candidate? Eight percent. My friends in the Partisan Press, your reputation has now fallen lower than both President Bush (25 percent) and the Democratic Congress (18 percent). Journalistic integrity now ranks along side communicable diseases and nuclear mishaps. Obama will likely be the next president. He will use that power to do things both good and bad. But when Americans look for tough, honest journalists to challenge him, where will we find them?
Text Source: Boston Herald
Graph Source: www.WILLisms.com