Thursday, June 28, 2012

Quote For The Day

Via The Atlantic's Matthew Cooper:

"When John Roberts was nominated to be chief justice in 2005, a very prominent liberal lawyer told me that he was reassured. Roberts, he noted, was a practicing attorney with years of trials under his belt -- unlike the academic Antonin Scalia or Clarence Thomas with his slew of government jobs and no real private practice experience. The real world experience of Roberts, this liberal lion thought, would make the Chief -- and the court -- less rigid ideologically."

Thursday, June 21, 2012

More Media Nonsense


Charlie Harper and I rarely, completely disagree. Generally we're on the same page and the devil lives where the devil lives.

His Herald Courier article on "Media Bias" is no exception.

I cannot disagree with the following,
The problem with selective edits and biased reporting of only selected facts is that it undermines not only the integrity of journalism, but on our political process as a whole.  Conservatives have every right to be suspect of what appears on MSNBC.  Liberals have every right to be suspect of FoxNews.
But down where the devil lives things become much more complicated and Charlie suffers from the very contagion he decries.

Is there bias in the media? Yes. Is it pervasive and steered in one particular direction? Outside the clearly uniformed polemicists, not really. And most importantly, does it bleed into reporting? Hardly and usually the evidence given of this grave sin is flimsier than a piece of scotch tape in a hurricane (Charlie's example of Andrea Mitchell's idiocy is a notable exception).

The context that Charlie leaves out in his "pox on both their houses" column is one side has spent over forty years, birthed with the utterance of "nattering nabobs of negativism", constructing a massive mythology that is then used as a narrative cudgel  in any political discussion.

A clearer picture of bias and its level of infection is given by conservative Conor Friedersdorf,
There is some liberal bias. It's fine to call it out -- but absurd to treat it as the very core of your worldview, the explanation for every ideological setback you suffer, or the main factor preventing a better society.
The very core of your world view may sound like hyperbole, but not when practically every conversation about the good Reverend Jeremiah Wright starts with the press didn't cover him, when it was ABC News that first broadcast the outrageous videotape.

Not when Joe Scarborough blasts the NY Times for covering Mitt Romney's Scrooge McDuck like exploits while ignoring John Kerry's fabulous elitism - only to be told the old grey lady in 2004 ran a series about the Boston brahmin's excesses.

Not when you consider a conversation I had with a conservative about the gas shortages of 2008. He claimed the "librul AJC" blamed Governor Sonny Perdue. I recalled most of the coverage focused on the hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico. He insisted. I researched. And then show him two articles from the AJC that squarely lay blame for the shortage on the storms. Nary a mention of Governor Perdue. He was still not satisfied and insisted the eggheads blamed the Republican Governor.

Of course the left has sinned too and MSNBC is as leprous  as Naaman. But it is not an obsession with the left. It is not carved into their DNA. It is not the subject of every last beloved conversation.

And the greater sin which is covered by this cacophony of constant caterwauling about the unfair liberal media conspiracy is that, as Jon Stewart noted, the true bias is "lazy".

Not in the trenches of the dailies where good people like Aaron Gould Sheinen and Jim Galloway (raging liberals both, I'm sure) toil, but the most fervent wallowing is in the slop houses of the national political press. Where the hogs are fed not on turnips and roots, but by the endless swill that spews forth from the twitter gullet of every person who has traded all vestiges of shame for the title "operative".

Jamelle Bouie of The American Spectator lances straight to the center of the boil,
The monstrous truth of this dynamic is that it’s driven by political journalists. They are the ones who breathlessly cover campaign tweets in a desperate bid for web traffic, they are the ones who act as glorified opposition researchers, evaluating claims on the basis of whether they’ll be used in an ad, and not whether they’re accurate or truthful. The obsessive focus on trivia, the constant search for gaffes—these are things generated by the political press.
 Today's story is about a mythical place called WaWa. Tomorrow's story will likely dance on the head of some new semantic pin. Or whatever is the latest "controversy", "miscue" or blessed shiny object that matters so much to all those who do matter; meaning the press itself and not 99% of the voters who will actually participate in the electing of our next leader.

Meanwhile, the Republicans are myth building, the Democrats are self-destructing, the Libertarians are keeping a straight face while pretending a Romney presidency would somehow blossom with more love of freedom than the current, the Tea Partiers have reached the U.N. conspiracy stage of transportation discussions, we face a terrifying fiscal reckoning and Syria seems intent on solving all its problems by not having any people left alive to cause problems.

And about a million other things that would matter unless your primary bias is your own self importance; which is the only real sin the press has exhibited for years.