We on the political right continue to point out the inherent bias in the media – and by “media”, I mean almost all things broadcast via the airwaves or cable. There is a desire for “fairness” and “balance” but I wonder if there is a bigger issue afloat.
Are there really people in America who believe that unless the established media declares something as “news” that it is not worthy of consideration?
I have been giving consideration to this in light of three recent revelations. The first was this quote from Pat Caddell, pollster for the Democrats, posted by Elizabeth Scalia (The Anchoress):
“First of all, we’ve had 9 days of lies…If a president of either party…had had a terrorist incident and gotten on an airplane [after remarks] and flown off to a fundraiser in Las Vegas, they would have been crucified…it should have been, should have been, the equivalent, for Barack Obama, of George Bush’s “flying over Katrina” moment. But nothing was said at all. Nothing will be said. [...] It is [unacceptable] to specifically decide that you will not tell the American people information they have a right to know. [The MSM] has made themselves the enemy of the American people. It is a threat to the very future of the country; we’ve crossed a new and frightening line on the slippery slope, and it needs to be talked about.”
Caddell was speaking specifically about the terrorist attack in Benghazi but I think that this part of the quote has broad application:
[...] It is [unacceptable] to specifically decide that you will not tell the American people information they have a right to know.
The second item was this post by Ed Driscoll, quoting Tony Blankley from 2004:
According to Editor and Publisher, the respected voice of official big-time journalism: “Chicago Tribune managing editor James O’Shea tells Joe Strupp the Swift Boat controversy may be an instance of a growing problem for newspapers in the expanding media world — being forced to follow a questionable story because non-print outlets have made it an issue. “There are too many places for people to get information,” says O’Shea. “I don’t think newspapers can be gatekeepers anymore — to say this is wrong, and we will ignore it. Now we have to say this is wrong, and here is why.”
Now, there are two revealing statements there. First, it is odd to see Mr. O’Shea, an official, credentialed seeker of truth, complaining about “too many places for people to get information.” He sounds like a resentful old apparatchik glaring at a Xerox machine in the dying days of the Soviet Union.
The second noteworthy statement is the hilarious complaint that they can no longer merely think a story is wrong and ignore it: “Now we have to say this is wrong, and here is why.” It apparently escaped his thought process that if he hadn’t yet investigated the story, it might not be “wrong.” A seeker of truth in a competitive environment might have phrased the sentence: “Now we will have to report it to determine if it is right or wrong.”
Note the highlighted bits.
The last one is the recent results of the Gallup poll on trust in media that found:
- 58% of Democrats trusted media versus 31% for Independents and 26% for Republicans.
- Only 39% of Americans are paying “very close” attention to national political news.
- Among those actually paying attention to national political news, the breakdown is 48% Republican, 39% Democrat and 33% Independent.
So what does this all mean?
I think it means that there are really people in America who believe that unless the established media declares something as “news” that it is not worthy of consideration.
“Progressives” enjoy accusing conservatives and Fox News viewers of being “low information voters” but I can’t see how the numbers from Gallup support that – it appears that we are the most active, discerning and skeptical consumers of news about national politics and our opposition is simply content to lap up without question whatever the establishment puts in their little doggie dish.
This explains the Obama visits to television programs like The View, Letterman and Leno, local radio shows and fawning print mediums like Vanity Fair – all outlets where he can reach this “low information“ segment outside the context of “news” and where he knows that he will not be challenged on his left wing beliefs or failures. His recent experience with Univision is a notable exception – I don’t think that he ever anticipated hard questions from a TV show targeted at a group he presumes majority support from.
Probably will be an IRS or an FCC investigation of Univision announced any day now.
This transmutation of the press from the Fourth Estate into a biased propaganda machine, a veritable Fifth Column of sorts, eliminates any possibility for balance and trust in media and as I wrote in an earlier post, has taken them a half a step away from becoming a state run propaganda arm.
That makes this statement by Pat Caddell ring like the Liberty Bell inside my head:
[The MSM] has made themselves the enemy of the American people.
I’ve never seen anything like it.