Juggernauts Don’t Turn Well

Here’s an interesting article about the dynamics of the Democratic campaign:

The Clinton organization had a clear plan A: It envisioned the candidate, as the choice of the party establishment and natural heir to the presidency, to so dominate 2007 that she would be able to corner, not have to capture, the nomination. It worked perfectly for most of the year.

The strategy has imploded. In a similar situation, Bill Clinton would have changed plans on a dime — he could have gone from B to E during a rest stop.

111 thoughts on “Juggernauts Don’t Turn Well”

  1. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that it has “imploded”….in the context of this framing, I’d say “stumble” might be a more accurate term.

  2. Agreed about the stumbling vs implosion. What remains to be seen is if they’ve stumbled at the top of some stairs. We should know soon enough.

  3. Hurricane Rodham sure is having a lot of trouble, considering that she’s got only one serious opponent – serious in the sense of staying interesting, because he can’t beat her. The rest of those big mean guys wouldn’t add up to half a Eugene McCarthy. There hasn’t been a forgone conclusion like this one since the Nazis invaded the Low Countries.

    So I think Clinton is still on track for the nomination. A few people might have to commit “suicide” and there might be a couple of unexplained trailer park fires, but she’ll pull through.

  4. I have always looked at Hillary as a long shot. Sure she has lots of supporters, but the more people hear her voice the more they look for a substitute.

    It is interesting to me how little we hear her actual voice. We hear about her, but we don’t hear her. If her opponents could just play tapes of Hillary speaking, if everyone was treated to four hours of Hillary, she would be finished.

  5. Hillary is still assured her position, it just wont be the coronation she envisioned. Honestly, how anyone can think Obama could beat her is really puzzling. The rest of the “candidates” were picked right out of central casting, and as such, have about as much of a chance of wining themselves.

    The bigger question will be, once she has the lock, will the media actually challenge her?

  6. bq. The bigger question will be, once she has the lock, will the media actually challenge her?

    You mean on her policies, or her pantsuits?

    I am bracing myself for the onslaught of vapid stupidity and stenography that will greet whatever Dem candidate is chosen by the Primaries. There is already enough idiocy to suspect it will surely be a true command performance worthy of the sheltered inbred elitist Corporate Republican-controlled Press. What they don’t seem to get is that the public is more than willing to give Hilary or any other candidate a fair shot on the basis of their record and policies, and is sick of all this made-up crap about whether she tipped the waitress at a diner.

    I want information, not “analysis”. When’s the last time our airwaves were used by the corporate media to actually provide us with the necessary facts and data that an informed electorate requires?

  7. Sorry Alan, but Hillary can’t simultaneously run for president in the real world and in the Bizarro phantom zone that you inhabit. I don’t know if there’s an FEC rule against it, but state laws would prevent her name being placed on the ballot in two different universes.

    That aside, I think there are two obvious things here that people are failing to appreciate. First, the Clintons are nowhere near as popular as some people like to believe. Second, popular or not they can’t be denied the nomination unless the Democratic Party undergoes some kind of transformative exorcism. You don’t need a “narrative of inevitablity” when you’ve got actual inevitability.

  8. _”sheltered inbred elitist Corporate Republican-controlled Press.”_

    Curse that Repuplican shill of a corporation CNN for stocking its ‘undecided’ audience with democratic campaign operatives just so they could blow the whistle on themselves and make Hillary look bad. Right up there with Dan Rather intentionally self-emolating just before the last election (that’s taking one for the team Dan! see you at the country club). Gotta run- I’m meeting Pinch, Stephonopolous, Soros, and Chrissy Matthews down at Spago to talk strategy. We’re gonna put Jenna in the WH one of these years!

  9. bq. Sorry Alan, but Hillary can’t simultaneously run for president in the real world and in the Bizarro phantom zone that you inhabit.

    Glen, I suspect that to you the “real world” might look like a “Bizzaro phantom zone”, no?

  10. bq. Curse that Repuplican shill of a corporation CNN for stocking its ‘undecided’ audience with democratic campaign operatives just so they could blow the whistle on themselves and make Hillary look bad.

    And this means, what, exactly, Mark? Certainly it does nothing to refute my contention.

    Look, if you guys are going to restrict your news feeds to Glenn Reynolds et al., you ain’t never gonna appreciate what it looks like from my perspective. I will acknowledge that my views are subjective, but I will go against either one of you anytime on this issue if you’d like to do more than make sneering dismissals. You might learn something.

    I’ll make you a deal. If you spend a few minutes of your time reading the media criticism “on this site”:http://mediamatters.org/, I’ll do the same with any similar references you can provide that support your beliefs. Here is a link to articles on Hilary’s portrayal “in the media”:http://mediamatters.org/issues_topics/hillary_clinton?f=h_hot

    If you would like, we could also debate this on a more “theoretical” level. Do you dispute the fact that big corporate conglomerates own the major media outlets and, as a matter of pure business principle, are compelled by their fiduciary responsibility to maximize their corporate profits by all necessary means (not to mention the strong incentive by the multi-billionaire executives to continue to accrue their vast fortunes), including attempts to directly influence or control government? Have you EVER tuned in to Fox News???

    Despite Glen’s and your reply, I’ve read enough from you both here to appreciate that you’re decent, intelligent and sometimes humorous people, so I’m willing to give your views a hearing.

  11. Alan — when Reps and Dems are evenly divided and nearly 90% of reporters, editors, and managers are registered Democrats, and donations as a matter of public record, favor Democrats over Republicans by most in the Media by a matter of ten to one, it’s laughable to believe in Republican Media.

    Corporate interests are not surprisingly overwhelmingly DEMOCRAT, given Democrat’s elitism and Republicans slight edge in populism.

    You can go to my site “campaign-money.com”:http://campaign-money.com and check our for yourself. I’ll be updating my site in a day or so with new data, but you can look around for now.

    Check out Hillary’s campaign, by same business, vs. say Romney’s. Look at how the donors break out (all data from FEC) by occupation/business.

    You don’t have to take my word for it, you can check it out for yourself (or heck go the FEC website and see for yourself, beware their UI is ugly though).

    Hillary’s problem is that she creates winners and losers. Men will lose, obviously, since Hillary openly intends to punish white working men and reward women at their expense. She’ll also pursue policies that benefit the rich elite at the expense of working people, such as illegal immigration — cheap nannies and gardeners and low wages for such.

    As long as Reps don’t nominate a suicidally idiotic candidate like Huckabee (I don’t heart him) they have a serious chance of rolling up Hillary decisively.

  12. -Whats the single most influential newspaper on the planet, the ‘newspaper of record’, and who is its publisher? That would be the New York Times company (who also own the Boston Globe and the Internation Herald amongst 13 other papers), and the publishers would be the Sulsberger family who’s politics are quite well known.

    -Who created CNN, merged it with Time Warner and eventually AOL to form one of the hugest corporations in the world? Give you a hint, he’s married to Jane Fonda.

    -What point of view dominates PBS, television and radio?

    We immediately have two probably insurmountable problems. 1.I’m completely unwilling to stipulate that Big Corporate and Democratic/leftist are automatically antithetic as you seem eager to posit. Thats demonstrably absurd as George Soros can tell you. 2.(and this is the real killer) I gravely doubt we will agree on what constitutes a democrat slant. The reason there is a slant isnt because media people are intentionally biased or stupid, its because what they see as entirely middle of the road is in fact very left wing in comparison to the nation.

    Bill Moyers is extremely left wing. Dan Rathers is left wing. George Stephonopolus is left wing. For that matter, can you think of any former Republican politicians/political advisors that are called upon to be either unbiased commentators or debate moderators? I can think of 3 off the top of my head- Stephonopolus, Chris Mathews, Tim Russert.

  13. _”I can think of 3 off the top of my head- Stephonopolus, Chris Mathews, Tim Russert”_

    3 Democrats of course. Theyve worked for Clinton, Carter, and Moynihan respectively.

  14. If you spend a few minutes of your time reading the media criticism on this site …

    Alan, I’m very familiar with Mediamatters.org, and its founder David Brock. If reading this website has convinced you that the establishment media is a “sheltered inbred elitist Corporate Republican-controlled Press”, then any criticism I could offer would be purely superfluous. You yourself have become my argument.

    Mediamatters.org is how the Clintons attack their enemies in the media, now that they are no longer able to attack them with subpoenas and IRS audits.

  15. As an aside- it occurs to me that Alans logic can be taken to any arena, and soon we must assume the world is run by scary Conservatives.

    Example- Universities such as Harvard survive and prosper based largely on alumni contributions and grants. Such contributors are by definition big money from hyper successful individuals and organizations who naturally are interested in maintaining their wealth. Therefore Universities cannot in fact be liberal enclaves, they must be “sheltered inbred elitist Corporate Republican-controlled”.

  16. bq. -Whats the single most influential newspaper on the planet, the ‘newspaper of record’, and who is its publisher? That would be the New York Times company

    That would also be the paper that published Judith Miller’s channeled propaganda, wouldn’t it? Influential to be sure.

    Your counter arguments take the general-and flawed-approach of focusing on a few individuals in the media with past ties to Democrats presuming that their every word is tainted by this past association. I am pointing you to specific cases of bias. If you’d like an earful about the NY Times, go read “Bob Somerby.”:http://www.dailyhowler.com/

    Let’s see some specific cases of Left wing bias transmitted in the media. I know they’re out there. I’m only asking for you to show it to me (and perhaps to consider the “data” rather than the personalities…itself another form of bias that could be explored). I don’t care what you think of Soros or Ted Turner. The attack on personalities is no defense against my charge.

  17. Wait a minute- you premised this entire conversation on the fact that big corporations own the media empires. I simply pointed out that the individuals owning and running these corporations were in many case leftists, and more importantly the people on the ground actually running them were avowed democrats in most cases. You cant have it both ways.

    Your theory is because of Judith Miller the NYT is a republican shill in any way? Do you have any idea how INSANE that is? The only way you can possibly believe that is if you are so incrediably left wing that the NYT seems conservative by comparison.

    Again every survey shows that a large majority of reporters, editors, and publishers lean democrat across the board compared to the rest of the country. Are you really arguing that although the vast majority of those who rather, edit, and broadcast the news are democrats- somehow the media has a conservative bias? How is that possible?

    You want examples of Demoractic bias? Got a few years? Off the top of my head:

    -Rathergate
    -Beauchamp
    -CNN stocking the republican debate with democratic operatives.
    -CNN encouraging a questioner to toss Hillary a softball question to end the democratic debate.
    -Kyoto: find me an AP article referencing Kyoto that doesn claim Bush killed the treaty when in fact Clinton yanked it when the Senate voted it down 98-0. Happens about once a month. “Heres”:http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/show/157128.html one from today.

    Check out Bernie Goldberg’s book Bias. It explains things about as well as possible from an insiders perspective. Again- its not necessarilly about intent. Its about a newroom full of people that all think the same way- and how that affects who you talk to, how you phrase things, and what stories are ‘important’.

  18. As for Hillary, she’s plenty smart, and draws on the same circle of advisers her husband did. I wouldn’t lose a whole lot of sleep over this, and I suspect she isn’t either.

    Meanwhile, Anyone who believes the press is Republican controlled needs to adjust their dosage. Or read a Pew Survey or two.

  19. bq. Meanwhile, Anyone who believes the press is Republican controlled needs to adjust their dosage.

    Thanks for the contribution, Joe. Real insightful.

  20. bq. Wait a minute- you premised this entire conversation on the fact that big corporations own the media empires. I simply pointed out that the individuals owning and running these corporations were in many case leftists, and more importantly the people on the ground actually running them were avowed democrats in most cases. You cant have it both ways.

    I am basing my view on the published information, not the alleged (and that is all it is) political bias of a few people in the media.

    Your examples are shockingly weak, by the way. If you’d like to try again, please feel free. By my counts, the cases presented on a DAILY basis at mediamatters illustrating a Right wing bias in the published news easily treble the list you came up with.

    Perhaps this is an issue for another thread, because clearly no one wants to discuss this issue seriously. Which is, unfortunately, what I expected.

  21. Alan, Mark Buehner’s examples were specific and easily understood because each caused a real convulsion in how their respective narratives were perceived by the consuming public.

    Meanwhile, your examples are, well, nonexistent.

    You could fix that by posting a cherry-picked list and we could compare effects side by side. Or you could keep arguing from snarky assumed authority.

  22. Alan makes the interesting argument that you cant diagnose the forest as sick by looking at the individual trees.

    Then he slams Joe for not making an substantative examples or arguments. Ironic.

    _”By my counts, the cases presented on a DAILY basis at mediamatters illustrating a Right wing bias in the published news easily treble the list you came up with.”_

    I expect if i was working full time for George Soros I could provide all the examples you could wish for. I’d be happy to take the job if somebody is offering, but at the moment i dont have the time or resources to spin a bunch of nonsense all day that apparently at least _somebody_ takes seriously.

    Ironically you are pointing to a website directed and funded by superwealthy liberals as the arbiter of bias in the media. That doesn’t seem at all weird to you?

    Here’s a fun example of mediamatters ‘studies’ from the “American Spectator”:http://spectator.org/blogger.asp?BlogID=1999 that shows you how they base the nonsense Alan eats up with a spoon:

    “Remember that Media Matters study I mentioned on Friday? The one that purports to show that the Sunday morning talk shows are biased to the right based on their guest line up? At my request, Media Matters sent me the raw data. Here are a few of the talking heads that Media Matters counts as “neutral”:

    Ron Brownstein
    Alan Brinkley
    Alan Dershowitz
    Thomas Friedman
    Doris Kearns Goodwin
    Ceci Connolly
    Gwen Ifill
    Dan Rather
    Douglas Brinkley
    Bob Woodward
    Carl Bernstein
    Jeremy Rifkin (Author of The European Dream: How Europe’s Vision of the Future is Quietly Eclipsing the American Dream)
    Michael Scheuer (Author of Imperial Hubris: Why the West is Losing the War on Terror”

    Like I said, when you are to the left of Dennis Kucinich I guess Dan Rather does seem like a moderate.
    The schtick is pretty lame- intentionally confuse opinion people like Limbaugh and Hannity with actual journalists, and then pretend everybody is much further to the right than any sane person would stipulate to cook your books.

  23. Mark B.,

    General Electric, Walt Disney, New Corp. (i.e. Rupert Murchoch), Dow Jones, Clear Channel, Hearst Corporation…these are among the owners of American MSM. Not exactly an exclusively leftist bunch now, are they?

    I am one of those whose poltical and social opinions tend to be so zanily left that yes, indeed, the New York Times (my daily paper) is conservative from my point of view. But I wouldn’t call them conservative, I would call them centrist. I think you would be surprised at the number of us who feel this way…we are not such rare–or insane–species.

    I mean, how far off the deep end can the democratic party be if they have half the country voting for their candidates.

    Failure to advance a conservative political agenda doesn’t make a media outlet liberally biased.

    With very few exceptions, US media is a profit-making enterprise, governed by corporate board rooms. The degree to which any particular outlet is successful is a reflection of its ability to capture a share of the marketplace. Don’t blame the reporters & editors, blame the readers and watchers. As 10,000 Maniacs once said, “Give ‘em what they want.” US MSM is a centerist enterprise.

  24. Mark B.,

    Do you think it is fair to discount Hannity & Limbaugh from the “media is conservative” argument because they are “opinion people” when the number two example on your list of “the media is leftist” argument is The New Republic, which is an opinion journal.

    Also, this Rathergate thing…C’mon. Yes, the MSM enjoys going after the powerful and hopes to expose scandal and lies, ala Paula Jones, Whitewatergate, etc. If Bush were their only target, you might have point. As for the shoddy journalism aspect of that incident (as opposed to the political), well, it was shoddy and people were fired.

    I think you are stacking the deck as much as your opponents are in this argument.

  25. Mark- several things:

    -I dont disagree that the many media outlets are owned by large corporations that arent necessarilly political at all. I was replying to Alan’s idea that somehow the media was vastly owned by conservatives, which is absurd.

    -You are absolutely entitled to feel the NYT is anywhere on the political spectrum. But the idea is to rate the media outlets based on where they fall compared to the American people. Against that argument there is simply no way to consider the NYT anything but left leaning, and the MSM in general tends much more democrat than not. There is ample polling data to support this.

    -Where the democratic partys policies lie have nothing to do with this. We are talking about the idea that the MSM _purports_ to be neutral providers of information. That is not true. Its not a sin to be biased, its a sin not to recognize it or worse, to lie about it. To turn it around, almost half the nation votes republican and yet there is only 1 television news outlet that is deemed right of center. Thats not healthy.

    -As far as profit goes, the MSM has been hemoraging money for a decade. Thats the market, well and good. But much like lawyers or educators, the media holds itself as an elite class of professionals. They judge themselves and as a group convey to the nation what is news, etc (who moderates presidential debates? who decides who gets seats in the white house press corp, etc). Hence, this is not entirely a market dependent field. The idea that who holds the giant endorsed megaphone doesnt matter is just not realistic. Particularly with the amount of bias and shoddy journalism that has come to light in the past few years.

  26. _”Do you think it is fair to discount Hannity & Limbaugh from the “media is conservative” argument because they are “opinion people” when the number two example on your list of “the media is leftist” argument is The New Republic, which is an opinion journal.”_

    The New Republican scandel in question was a news story, not an opinion piece. When Hannity or Limbaugh break news then they can be held to that standard. Yapping on a talk show is far different than sending reporters into the field (or taking reports from employees spouses).

    _”Also, this Rathergate thing…C’mon. Yes, the MSM enjoys going after the powerful and hopes to expose scandal and lies, ala Paula Jones, Whitewatergate, etc. If Bush were their only target, you might have point.”_

    Yes indeed, the hunt for the taudry will trump politics, I dont deny that. But the point is, can you really see Dan Rather and co doing such shoddy reporting to rush out a story pre-election against a Clinton? It wouldnt happen, it doesnt happen. Yeh, theyd love to break a story like that, but they would fact check it to death. The point of the Bush thing was that it fit their conception of Bush _so completely_ that they couldnt fathom that they were being played. They _wanted_ to beleive it. I don’t see them wanting to believe something negative about John Kerry or Al Gore or Hillary Clinton, theyd love to print it, but it wouldnt fit so succinctly into their world view. Its journalistic profiling essentially. How often do MSM stories negative to Dems get sat on until Matt Drudge breaks them btw? They are fine tooth combing the stories about Dems, while they cant wait to boot a Republican story out the door posthaste.

  27. Mark B., I’m not sure if MSM is hemoraging money, which implies a loss, and not rather simply experiencing a decrease in profits (due to tecnologogical shifts, not political ones). They’re still making plenty of dough.

    I still have difficulty in reconcilling your view (in #13) that the NYT is “most influential” newspaper on the planet, with the view that the NYT is out of touch with the mainstream. If it hangs so far to the left, how is able to weild such influence.?

    I would argue that it is its centrist position (as well as track record for comprehensiveness & accurace, relative to its competitiors) that has endowed it with such influence. It ‘s not luck of the draw and it’s not because people are stupid.

    Again, media are driven by corporate influences, not ideological ones.

  28. Mark B.

    Sorry we’re crossing comments here…my fault for doing 2 in a row.

    I haven’t read any of the Beauchamp things except for here at WoC, so I may be at a facutal disadvantage. My understanding was that it was not passed off as a news story but as the diary of a soldier. I.e., this wasn’t by a reporter or a newstory but an intensely subjective account. Again, I admit I may be wrong about the presentation.

    Your arguments about what Rather would or wouldn’t do, and by extension what the other 3,000 TV journalists would or wouldn’t do, is, I think, based on your assumptions, which, in turn, are grounded in the very reality we are arguing about. In short, they are self-reinforcing and don’t really advance your argument so much as repeat it.

    My belief is that for every Dan Rather there is a Rupert Murdoch. I admit that mine is parochial view. I see as many people on the subway each morning reading the NY Post as I do the NYT. Ever seen a NYP headline? Not exactly in love with Hilary. Rudy, on the other hand……local hero…free campaign posters everyday thanks to the Post.

  29. Mark B.

    Offering a compromis position here:

    a. the US media is largely owned by conservatives.

    b. the US media is largely run by liberals.

    c. the tension between the two (owners and workers) tends to even out the product in the end, which is mostly garbage, but with some worthwile stuff showing up now and then.

  30. _”Mark B., I’m not sure if MSM is hemoraging money, which implies a loss, and not rather simply experiencing a decrease in profits”_

    First off- declining profits is hemoraging money from a business pov. If you arent growing, you are dying.

    The network news divisions dont make much if any “money.”:http://www.stateofthemedia.org/2005/narrative_localtv_guest.asp?media=6&cat=10

    _”I still have difficulty in reconcilling your view (in #13) that the NYT is “most influential” newspaper on the planet, with the view that the NYT is out of touch with the mainstream. If it hangs so far to the left, how is able to weild such influence.?”_

    Because the rest of the MSM takes its cues from the NYTs, quite literally. This isnt a secret, if its in the NYT, its news by definition to the networks and other papers. Nevermind that its circulation has been dropping like a rock, its the insiders national “Newspaper of Record”. Bernie Goldberg explained it extensively- newsrooms will sit on stories until they appear in the Times.

    _”Again, media are driven by corporate influences, not ideological ones.”_

    They are driven by both. How can they not be? Media people make the decisions, not bean counters. Even the “media”:http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9D01E7D8173DF936A15754C0A9629C8B63 doesnt deny this.

    _”THE PUBLIC EDITOR; Is The New York Times a Liberal Newspaper?”_

    _By DANIEL OKRENT_
    _Published: July 25, 2004_

    _OF course it is.”_

    “_I’ll get to the politics-and-policy issues this fall (I want to watch the campaign coverage before I conclude anything), but for now my concern is the flammable stuff that ignites the right. These are the social issues: gay rights, gun control, abortion and environmental regulation, among others. And if you think The Times plays it down the middle on any of them, you’ve been reading the paper with your eyes closed.”_

    Thats the Public Editor of the NYT. Can we consider at least that issue closed?

  31. _”Your arguments about what Rather would or wouldn’t do, and by extension what the other 3,000 TV journalists would or wouldn’t do, is, I think, based on your assumptions, which, in turn, are grounded in the very reality we are arguing about.”_

    Thats a fair point- all i can do is ask where the counter examples are. Why is it that all of the rushed out, sloppy scandals the MSM entities produce seem to be aimed at Republicans? And why, on the other hand, do stories like Lewinsky or Christmas in Cambodia get sat on until Matt Drudge or some other outsider breaks them and they cant be ignored? With apologies to Alan, what else exactly can we do but analyze this by specific examples?

    _”My belief is that for every Dan Rather there is a Rupert Murdoch. I admit that mine is parochial view.”_

    Rupert Murdoch doesnt have a microphone, and if he did no-one would mistake him for a neutral party.

    _”I see as many people on the subway each morning reading the NY Post as I do the NYT. Ever seen a NYP headline? Not exactly in love with Hilary.”_

    But i can pick up the NYT in every city and town in the nation. Not so much the Post. Thats FINE, good for the Times. But the point is the power they have in the industry. Even that power is fine, but the denial that they are what they are (not by the Times themselves anymore apparently) is just a distraction. Lets call a spade a spade.

  32. _”c. the tension between the two (owners and workers) tends to even out the product in the end, which is mostly garbage, but with some worthwile stuff showing up now and then.”_

    Mark- i respect your proposition, but I must decline. First, I think the idea that Corporations in general are ‘republican’ is flat out wrong. That was one of the first points in this thread. Corporations try to make money, and they can do that via Republicans OR democrats equally well. Most corporations give to both parties pretty equally, and they are rewarded pretty equally.

    Its the people the actually run the media that count, and they are as likely to be lefty leaning as righty (Sulzburgers, Turner). I mean, is Sumner Redstone a Republican? Leslie Moonves? Who knows? The only reason we know about Murdoch, I suspect, is because he is an avowed Republican.

    The real question is would Dan Rather or Tom Brokaw bow down if the CEO of the company called and tried to force their hand in a story? I sincerely doubt it. Biased or not, these guys consider themselves serious professionals with great integrity (its their stock in trade). How does this alleged corporate bias work in practice? If Viacom or AOL/Time-Warner spiked an Anti-Bush story and that got out it would be WW3 journalisitically.

    If there is nothing so like to god as a general on a battlefield, there is nothing so like a god as a network news director in his newsroom.

  33. Rupert Muroch doesn’t have a microphone? Tell you what…I’ll trade him mine in exchange for ownership of a TV Network, a satellite network, and severl dozen newspapers.

    I think we’ll just have to continue disagreeing on this. (I have to respectuflly disagree with Okrent, too.)

    I think the NYT ability to sell newspapers so successfully across the US is due to the fact that people are willing to buy them and, thus, the argument that they represent something other than a middle of the road pov, is unconvincing.

  34. _”Rupert Muroch doesn’t have a microphone? Tell you what…I’ll trade him mine in exchange for ownership of a TV Network, a satellite network, and severl dozen newspapers.”_

    Im sure we all would. I’ll take his yatchs. That isnt the point. If rupert murdoch sat down in one of his studios and told the nation ‘trust me, here is an important news story’, who would listen? So much of journalism is trust. Dan Rather people listen to. Wolf Blitzer. Not Rupert Murdoch.

    _”I think the NYT ability to sell newspapers so successfully across the US is due to the fact that people are willing to buy them and, thus, the argument that they represent something other than a middle of the road pov, is unconvincing.”_

    Rush Limbaugh is the biggest radio personality in the history of the medium. Does that make him middle of the road by definition?

  35. To the extent that Rush Limbaugh’s views are representative of an enormoush chunk of the US population, yes, he is middle of the road, though on the conservative side. I wouldn’t use that fact to make the argument that the US media is therefore conservative…or has a conservative-bias.

    you would have a stronger (though still flawed) argument if you used rathergate as evidence that dan rather is a liberal, or that 60 minutes has liberal leanings, or that cbs has a liberal bias. But as single instance, among hundreds of thousands of counter examples, it is no arugment that the media as a whole is liberaly biased. (you’d still have to look at that one segment as measured against the entirety of dan rather’s reporting over 40 years—it’s the converse argument of that the NYT is conservative because they helped hype the war in iraq with a series of articles)

    Look, if support of gay rights and the primacy of science over christian faith are indicators of “liberal-bias,” then yes, journalists and academics have a liberal bias…thank god! But then we would need to rethink what liberal bias means, which would be better defined, in my view, as “absence of illogical, tradition-based, predjudices.”

    But I am assuming that liberal bias in this context means that “factual” reporting is slanted in such a way as to make democratic goals appear more attractive than they otherwise would to a reasonable person.

  36. Mark B., I will let Rupert Murdoch’s products speak for themselves with regard to the degree of influence his personal political views have over news content. I notice that none of his media holdings are ever listed among those alleged to have “liberal bias.”

  37. _”Look, if support of gay rights and the primacy of science over christian faith are indicators of “liberal-bias,” then yes, journalists and academics have a liberal bias…thank god! But then we would need to rethink what liberal bias means, which would be better defined, in my view, as “absence of illogical, tradition-based, predjudices.”_

    Bing0. And that is precisely the attitude that puts the MSM to the left side of America. Again- _im not saying thats wrong._ But pretending otherwise won’t do.

    I believe in gay marriage, evolution, don’t think abortion should be outlawed- and yet i consider myself fairly conservative. Still, I understand that many of those views do not jive with the majority of Americans. The difference is I don’t consider the people who believe them illogical.

    Most of the nation is against gun control, most consider themselves religious, most are against gay marriage. To be on the NYT side of these things is NOT to be mainstream by any conventional definition.

    But the problem is the NYT and the MSM take your view of things- that those things are illogical and illiberal and therefore to be against them is by definition mainstream, and therefore they can maintain neutrality. That is an incredibly arrogant and destructive tact to take. Say what you want about Limbaugh, at least he doesnt take the position that everyone already agrees with him and therefore even acknowledging the existance of an honest (if misguided) opposition is unnecessary.

    We have exactly hit on the problem, and i am glad. When you dont KNOW anybody that is against abortion, or is an evangelical, or against gun control, or affirmative action- how can you possibly represent their position honestly? If you dont believe they have a valid position?

    Now if nobody in your newsroom ever served in the military, or grew up on a farm, or lived in Missouri, or supported Ronald Reagan- how can you possibly, even if you REALLY want to, put on an even handed news broadcast?

    Think about this- one excellent argument for making sure there are minorities and women in newsroom and college campuses is that your need that perspective from someone first hand. IE- its arrogant and even racist to think even the most enlightened white man can really understand and have insight to bring a minority perspective to a newsroom or college campus. And i believe that. But why doesnt that apply to political and social points of view as well? Isnt that even more important? Skin color itself doesnt prove anything, after all.

    And that, in a nutshell, is the ‘bias’ argument. And you are right- it ultimately hinges on this deep down idea that the liberal point of view on most issues is simply the truth. Not a slant, no different than believing in gravity. And that is pure arrogance.

  38. Mark B., not surprisingly, I disagree. If we are talking about economic policy, gun control, taxation and the whole host of issues that separate the convervatives from the liberals, well that’s one thing.

    but when you start talking about evangelical positions, positions that arise out of religious beliefs, that’s different. Call me arrogant. I don’t care. But if the Bible is the source of your civic judgement, then, yes, to me, arrogant liberal that I am, you are beyond the intellectual pale….I don’t care how many of them there are.

    To that extent, I suppose we agree with each other..the US media and US academics have a secular humanist enlightenment-based bias. If that’s what you mean by liberal, fine.

    I think liberal in this context, however, is more often defined by a belief in higher taxation than conservatives, and a greater governemntal role in combating social problems like crime, poverty, obesity, racisms, etc. There are rational, acceptable differences of opinion on these things between conservatives and liberals. I don’t think the media tends toward one side or the other on this class of issues. (I’m sure plenty of reporters like to hunt).

    I don’t think newsrooms hire on the basis of political affiliation, by the way, nor do I think they should.

    I am going to let you have the last word here, as I am leaving computer access for the day. I look forward to reading your response tomorrow. Be well.

  39. mark:

    To the extent that Rush Limbaugh’s views are representative of an enormoush chunk of the US population, yes, he is middle of the road, though on the conservative side. I wouldn’t use that fact to make the argument that the US media is therefore conservative…

    One of the things that makes this issue so bootless to discuss is that people won’t distinguish between the establishment news media (which purports to be objective and non-partisan) and the openly partisan media.

    The United States has long had the most vigorous partisan media in the world, running the full gamut from far left to far right and every stop in between. This has absolutely nothing to do with bias, because it is ridiculous to accuse openly partisan media of bias.

  40. Mark Poling said:

    bq. Alan, Mark Buehner’s examples were specific and easily understood because each caused a real convulsion in how their respective narratives were perceived by the consuming public.

    bq. Meanwhile, your examples are, well, nonexistent.

    Right, Mark. I link to pages and pages of specific examples of Right wing media bias (although I don’t completely agree with all examples) and Mark comes back with…

    bq. Ironically you are pointing to a website directed and funded by superwealthy liberals as the arbiter of bias in the media. That doesn’t seem at all weird to you?

    …rather than refuting a single instance raised there.

    You have an interesting (i.e, backwards) notion as to what constitutes an asymmetrical argument.

  41. Mark P.

    No discussion on “media bias” can take place until we all agree on what it is that defines “bias” in this context, or whether that is even the main problem that infects the current media. Perhaps in instigating this line of conversation in the manner I did I was guilty of not doing so at the outset. However, I think mark and Mark B where heading in that direction above, but unfortunately left the issue hanging. Perhaps this is a good topic for a new thread/s.

  42. And anyway, Mark P., I already provided a prime example that not only provides evidence of a Right wing infiltration of the popular news,

    That example is Judith Miller’s reporting in the run-up to the Iraq invasion.

    Now, not only does 1x(Miller) = 1000x (Beauchamps), it also refutes the simple-minded idea that the NY TImes has a “Liberal bias” because it’s publisher’s write anti-Bush Administration editorials every once in a while.

    So perhaps you might want to read a bit more carefully before making accusations. You might also want to make note of how Mark B. responded (in #19) before doling out kudos for serious debating.

    In case you still don’t get it, here’s the essence of Mark’s counter-argument:

    bq. Your theory is because of Judith Miller the NYT is a republican shill in any way? Do you have any idea how INSANE that is? The only way you can possibly believe that is if you are so incrediably left wing that the NYT seems conservative by comparison.

    I’ll make an additional note that this comes from someone who, later in the thread, accuses another poster of intellectual arrogance for failing to grant equal validity to ideas that are very popular but demonstrably false. This is why I think we need to define what a “liberal bias” is before proceeding any further….when people like Mark B. accuse you of being Liberal for pointing out facts, then we have a large hill to climb before seeing a reasonable end to the path of this debate.

    Or maybe we even need to come to some agreement on what “reality” is….

  43. First sentence should read:

    “And anyway, Mark P., I have already given a prime example that provides evidence of a Right wing infiltration of the popular news:”

  44. Alan- Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Judith Miller is only noteable because of the Plame affair. Every other major media outlet in the nation was reporting essentially the same story- that Iraq had WMD programs active. Perhaps because the Clinton administration had long been telling them so for YEARS?

    This idea that because the media believed the WMDs they must be Bush shills is simply undefendable. Most of the worlds intelligence agencies in including our own, and 2 different presidential administrations of both parties beleived it.

    Lets play ball though. I’ll stipulate for a moment that the Bushs have infiltated the media. How does that work? What is the mechanism? Are the editors of the NYT conservatives? Are the reporters? Or are they being forced to slant their stories? How? By whom? How are they being leaned on? Why arent they selling a billion papers by exposing the pressure?

  45. Mark B., as I understand it the Judith Miller/WMD episode is a little bit more complicated than you make it seem. She was a very well known reporter long before the Plame affair brought her to the attention of a wider audience. (if she won a pulitzer then surely she must have been “notable” beyond the Plame affair). In the leadup to the war, she wrote a series of articles about very specific aspects of Iraq WMD program. The sources for these articles turned out to have been mostly Libby. Michael Massing wrote a lengthy “expose” about this and about other MSM parroting the administration line in the New York Review of Books, which I highly recommend. After the fallout of the Massing story, the Times then did a fairly exhaustive mea culpa documenting all the Miller stories, and admitting that they, the NYT, should have done a more dilligent job in checking the accuracy of the sources, and, of course, been more skeptical of them.

    No one is accusing the Times or other media of being a shill for the Bush administration. There are more than two possible positions to occupy than “shill for Bush administration” and “liberally-biased.” The point being made is that for a so-called “liberally-biased” newspaper, the NYT seems to be awfully willing at times to take a conservative administration at its word. (Too often, for my tastes, they report administration statements without challenging them…that doesn’t make them shills, but it does make them insufficiently skeptical and, if they are so liberally-biased, they are not very good at it)

    What bothered a lot of people about all of this was that since, as you have pointed out the NYT is a very influential paper (I would argue because of a good track record of accuracy), their blind acceptance of Gov’t intelligence reports (via the VPs office) re Iraqi WMD helped to convince a lot of other influential people to support an invasion of Iraq in the mistaken belief that Iraq posed a threat. That intelligence, which the NYT accepted on face value, now turns out to have been pretty thin and pretty selected in order to create an appearance of certainty whereas the reality was marked uncertainty.

    I think this is a case in which high-level access led to bad judgement on the part of editors and reporters. Maybe lunch with Libby was all it took for Miller to shed her liberal-bias. There have been suggestions that she had more than lunch and shed more than bias. Who knows. In any event, the episode certainly makes it more difficult to accuse the Times of being “liberal.”

  46. _”In any event, the episode certainly makes it more difficult to accuse the Times of being “liberal.”_

    But bias is systematic. This case is mostly noteable _because_ it is so out of character for the Times, as they freely admit. Sure she listened to closely to the administration- but was there a different administration she could have approached? Is there any reason to believe she would have been more skeptical had a Clinton been in the WH?

    Im still curious how the liberal roots of the NYT are being denied when their own ombudsman flatly (even proudly) agreed to it.

    To get back to the question you asked me before i was hijacked by RL, i think its very hard to draw a line between ‘logical’ stances that happen to be liberal- evolution, maybe gay rights, which we might agree science and logic prove conclusively, and more debateable subjects like abortion or gun rights.

    Journalists (personal bias or no) arent usually policy wonks like most of us probably are to some degree. They arent usually idealogues for that matter (with noteable exceptions). That being the case- they are even less likely to spend time and thought differentiating between the back country literalists who want god back in biology books, and fly over conservatives who are against abortion and gay marriage. To the cocktail circuit there really isnt much difference. In other words, i dont know if that distinction you draw is particuarly common with those who dont engage their idealogical rivals very often. Who in fact dont know anybody who believes in those things.

  47. _Now, not only does 1x(Miller) = 1000x (Beauchamps), it also refutes the simple-minded idea that the NY TImes has a “Liberal bias” because it’s publisher’s write anti-Bush Administration editorials every once in a while._

    I’d say 1x(Miller)>100,000x(Beauchamp)

    Miller had a lot to do with starting a war that may have had a million or so casualties so far. Beauchamp made a bunch of conservatives gnash their teeth and steam came out of their ears, and has had essentially no effect apart from that.

    For myself, I don’t think the NYT reporting has a liberal bias. They’re pretty good at reporting what appears to have happened, with only a little bit of liberal opinion like it’s better when refugees and innocent civilians don’t get killed. And I don’t much care about their editorials one way or another.

    But the argument that Miller proves the NYT doesn’t have a liberal bias, is flawed. Miller gave them a chance for scoops, for news that no one else had access to. Of course they wanted it. Except when it turned out that the special info Miller was sending them was lies, and there was reason to suspect that she knew it all along…. If she fooled them, if they thought she was on their team when really she was on somebody else’s team, that doesn’t say much about what they wanted. They could have been liberals and been fooled.

    How would it have gone otherwise?

    Miller: I’ve got a deal, the Bush administration says they’ll give me a series of exclusives, we’ll be the first on some breaking topics.

    TIMES: Oh. Ah. I see. Well. I guess it’s time for you to terminate your relationship with the Times and find another job. We’re a liberal paper and we can’t publish exclusive news that comes from warmongers. No, somebody else will have to publish your scoops.

    That would be mighty liberal, wouldn’t it?

  48. Mark B., I’d like to challenge your perception of NYT reporters (I live in NYC, so I know a lot of them personally). 1. they come from all over the country (& world). 2. Many of them live (or have lived) all over the country and the world. It’s not like they live in some sort of thoughtless bubble. The chief criteria for a reporter is to be able to write well. The other self-selecting criteria is an interest in writing. Most NYT reporters who do live in NYC report on local stories anyway, so your view of them going to Manhattan cocktail parties and sneering at the unwashed hicks is somewhat irrelevent to the issue at hand.

    I think some definitions are in order. To me, to say the NYT has a liberal bias is to believe that the NYT writes, edits, selects…that is to say, distorts….its presentation of the news in order to advance a particular (liberal) political agenda and to oppose (or defeat) a rival (conservative) agenda. This is a case for which you would need to provide some evidence. This is what I contest.

    However, if you want to claim that NYT reporters & editors, as a class of people, hold certain assumptions that are in conflict with many Americans, I would not argue. I believe that those assumptions are inherently vital to their ability to perform their job. The same for academics. These assumptions are a set of standards about truth, reality, verification, honesty, and so forth, coupled with the belief that science, academics, journalism should not be used in the service of any particular political agenda.

    I make this distinction because there is an identifiable mindset in this country which believes that liberalism equals secular humanism and that the values of secular humanism are in conflict with their own values and, furthermore, they actively oppose secular humanism. If the NYT is liberaly-biased in THAT sense, then I would agree. The NYT is not going to be “fair” to proponents of Intelligent Design any more than they would be to proponents of a flat earth just because there are tens of millions of ID believers and 2 or 3 flat earth believers. The NYT is not going to take a “Christian” point of view; (I wish they would take a less “American” point of view in their international coverage, however, which I believe is deeply flawed. I don’t think the paper so should be so pro-US soldiers in covering the Iraq war, e.g.)

    I do think that most NYT reporters, reporters in general, writers in general, in fact, would strongly tend to be more liberal politically than the average American….almost by definition. This is a self-selecting group with a natural tendency toward the liberal arts. I would go so far as to say that the very enterprise of journalism (as distinct from active propaganda) is a liberal endeavor. I think that journalism–as a skeptical trade–is much more attractive to the liberal mindset than it is to a conservative one, though obviously there are dozens of exceptions. I think that people who pursue PhDs–and therefore the college teaching profession–are similarly a self-selecting group which, by its nature, is going to be more politically liberal than the average american. While there is a large percentage of Americans who do not believe in evolution, you would find a disproportionately small number of them among the ranks of biologists. Do biologists have a pro-evolutionary bias? Do the police have a pro law-and-order bias?

  49. Mark, everything you just said i pretty much agree with (with the possible exception of the background of times reporters- how many served in the military, how many went to a state school in the midwest, how many go to church regularly… nothing wrong with those answer, just a lot they tend to have in common far from what is average in America as a whole).

    What i am suggesting is that you take what we just agreed on, and consider the implications for how news is processed. Like I said, the issue isnt usually an intent to make one side look good. Far more subtle (and ultimately far more important) is the ulderlying decisions made in newsrooms every day that are naturally affected by personal beliefs. Which stories are important and which arent is the most obvious and routine. Guy shoots up a mall is important (by anyones standards). Lady shoots guy before he can shoot up a church is less important. That would be a more blatant and consious example (ie not wishing to give the ‘false’ impression that stopping crimes with guns is common or likely), but more subtle decisions certainly happen every day.

    Or who you interview- if you tend to think most of the people opposed to abortion are the bomb throwing protesters, and the ‘average’ women is more like a NOW spokesperson- those are the people who get interviewed. Which of course reinforces the stereotypes that started the whole cycle. And race issues are an even bigger kettle of fish. Why is Al Sharpton on everyone’s speeddial? Why dont scandals involving supposed black leaders like Sharpton or Jessie Jackson get touched with a ten foot pole? Political correctness is alive and well in our newsrooms.

    But my point is that intellectual diversity _is important._ We believe that in college campuses, but not in newsrooms?

  50. _I do think that most NYT reporters, reporters in general, writers in general, in fact, would strongly tend to be more liberal politically than the average American….almost by definition._

    Of course. How could ignorant conservative yokels like Jonanthan Swift, Edmund Burke, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Herman Melville, TS Eliot, CS Lewis, JRR Tolkien, William Faulkner, John Crowe Ransom, Alan Tate, Walker Percy, or Alasdair Mac Intyre possibly write well? That requires liberal politics.

    _The same for academics. These assumptions are a set of standards about truth, reality, verification, honesty, and so forth, coupled with the belief that science, academics, journalism should not be used in the service of any particular political agenda._

    This is absolutely hilarious to anyone who has been anywhere near a university department in humanities or social sciences in the last thirty years.

    I believe these are the kinds of usually unspoken and always prejudiced assumptions Mark was talking about.

  51. bq. But the argument that Miller proves the NYT doesn’t have a liberal bias, is flawed.

    I would agree with your argument, JT, except for the fact that Judith Miller is but one example of RNC or WH channeling into the MSM and the NYT. Rutenberg, Bumiller, Seelye, et al. consistently do the same thing as Miller did….take a Right wing “source” and give them the primary voice in a major political column without bothering to check whether the Truthiness is true or not. I used to get the NYT daily and I got so fed up with the sneering, skewed coverage of John Kerry leading up to the 2004 election that I cancelled my subscription. And let’s not forget about their role in the public flaying of Al Gore. Then there’s Maureen Dowd and Gail Collins, who never met a Dem they couldn’t invent some childish nickname for.

    With Liberal friends like the Times, who needs enemies?

    To go on to other major media outlet, here are a few further prominent examples:

    1) The Washington Post’s front-page article on Obama’s “Muslim problem.”:http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1207/7193.html

    2) Joe Klein’s mindless recitation of a false Republican talking point about Democrats and the “domestic spying bill.”:http://blog.wired.com/27bstroke6/2007/11/time-columnist.html

    3) National Review reporter Thomas Smith’s false report about “Hezbollah in Lebanon”:http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tag/thomas-smith-jr (this is the closest thing to the Beauchamp affair from the Right).

    4) Fox News. Many examples. “Here’s one.”:http://www.crooksandliars.com/2007/03/26/open-thread-fair-or-balanced/

  52. _”I would agree with your argument, JT, except for the fact that Judith Miller is but one example of RNC or WH channeling into the MSM and the NYT. “_

    Again, is there some other administration they should be talking to? And when Joe Wilson used the NYT as his personal propoganda machine (with the complicity of his wifes anti-Bush faction of the CIA) where was the conservative bogeyman to squash it?

    _”With Liberal friends like the Times, who needs enemies?”_

    No doubt. But taking pot shots at fellow dems doesnt indicate a conservative bias. Limbaugh has flayed more republicans than you can name- he’s hell on John McCain for instance, and he filleted Bushs father for the entire second half of his administration. Does that mean Limbaugh is a liberal?

    This illustrates the point- just because the NYT/MSM isnt liberal enough _for you_ doesnt make it conservative except in your mind.

    All your ‘examples’ show is that the media isnt going to somehow carry water for all the different democrats similtaneously somehow and happy airbrush them all. That would be as absurd as it is impossible. The media is indeed first and foremost about news and particularly scandal. They arent going to be nice to every democratic candidate jut to make Alan glad to wake up in the morning and be a democrat- just as Republicans spend plenty of time bashing Republicans.

    And if you look at the Clinton/Kerry scandals it was right leaning blogs that broke them. Remember Matt Drudge?
    The media tried as hard as they could to ignore them in many cases until it because impossible.

  53. And Alan- i’d again ask you to explain the actual mechanism for conservative bias in the NYT and elsewhere. Are the editors conservative? Which reporters? Who is leaning on whom?

  54. Mark B.

    “This illustrates the point- just because the NYT/MSM isnt liberal enough for you doesnt make it conservative except in your mind.”

    I couldn’t agree more. I also agree with the corollary statement is true: just because the NYT/MSM isn’t conservative enough for you doesn’t make it liberal except in your mind.

    The political flavor of the NYT depends entirely on one’s point of view. I argue that because the US seems roughly evenly split between liberal and conservative, (we liberals see the NTY as conservative, and conservatives see it as liberal) and because of its stature, influence and popularity, the NYT (& to a averaged-out extent, the MSM) is centrist in its leanings, favoring neither liberal nor conservative political positions in its news reporting.

    I have always said that the absence of a conservative bias in the NYT is not evidence of a liberal bias.

    One reason I enjoy the NYT is precisely because it doesn’t advance my causes. I trust its reliability a little bit more. As major news reporting orgs in the US go, I think they do the best in maintaining objectivity. They are deeply flawed, of course, but I think they do make a sincere attempt.

    In the example you used earlier, about failing to publish a story of woman shooting a potential gunman, it is your political agenda that becomes apparent. You want the story told because it bolsters your argument against gun control. In other words you place value on the story, not for its news content, but for how it affects a political argument. The NYT has failed to advance your argument and therefor it must be biased. I have always found that those who charge bias inevitably use examples of failure to promote their own causes.

  55. Mark B. Sorry to be long-winded, but here you go:
    I’m not sure diversity in the newsroom is either desirable or feasible. How would it work? Do you have 5 different versions of each article, representing the 5 most common points of view in the US? Or do you have one of 5 possible points of view (in rotation) with a identifying label? I think that underpinning the very idea of a newspaper is the premise that there exists in an ideal form an objective point of view, and that a good newspaper tries hard to achieve it, in order to avoid bias. There is a spectrum, surely, of bias, ranging from zero (“the sum of angles in all triangles is 90 degrees”) to 100 (“my ex-wife is a miserable wh#re”). A good newspaper would try to get as close to the one as it could humanely manage.

    Of course there is the philosophical position that bias is impossible to escape. I think in English and therefore will always look at the world differently than someone who thinks in German or Arabic. I am a white man of a certain age, economic and educational background and will necessarily see the world differently than a Chinese peasant in a rice field in 732 A.D. sees the world. The NYT will always reflect a limited range of possible points of view as represented by the collective cultural conditions of its writers, editors, etc. From this perspective ALL newspapers must necessarily carry a bias and the statement “The NYT has a liberal bias” is not a very meaningful statement. We would be left to argue either that all bias are equal or that some are better than others, with the accompanying sub argument of how we evaluate biases. By success? (An emphasis on engineering is better than an emphasis on emotional well-being because my well-designed weapons allow me to dominate you politically.) By morality? (Blessed are the meek and by using those weapons you will go to hell.)

    But I believe that the statement “NYT has a liberal-bias” is not philosophical but political. The charge of bias would require evidence that it does promote a liberal political point of view, and more importantly, if we are to avoid the philosophical swamp, does so by distorting news coverage. That is to say, this belief requires belief that there exists a non-biased point of view from which the NYT deviates in order to champion a particular point of view. Only then can the statement be meaningful. But it can then be subject to requests for evidence. You would have to show what the non-biased point of view is, and how the NYT deviates from it. Otherwise, we simply get back to: that the NYT failing to be conservative is not evidence of it being liberal. Bias is in the eye of the reader.

  56. _”I argue that because the US seems roughly evenly split between liberal and conservative, (we liberals see the NTY as conservative, and conservatives see it as liberal) and because of its stature, influence and popularity, the NYT (& to a averaged-out extent, the MSM) is centrist in its leanings, favoring neither liberal nor conservative political positions in its news reporting.”_

    I highly doubt the majority of liberals see the NYT as conservative. Why would they read it? On the other hand I am quite certain the vast majority of conservatives DO see the NYT as liberal. And in fact polls uphold this completely. The country acknowledges a liberal bias in the media. Statistically that is a simple fact. This idea that everything washes out doesnt work, for that reason.

    _”The NYT has failed to advance your argument and therefor it must be biased. I have always found that those who charge bias inevitably use examples of failure to promote their own causes.”_

    Very true- which is why you have to look at the _systematic_ content of the news. Over the years, the NYT has been consistantly anti-gun. That is out of step with the majority of the US. They have been consistantly pro-gay marriage. Out of step. Consistantly anti-border wall/pro-illegals. Consistantly pro affirmative action. Consistantly pro-abortion.

    Its not like they break down the middle on these issues. They are overwelmingly out of step with Conservatives on these CORE conservative issues. Now your definition of core liberal issues are probably different, which is great, but we are talking about statistics here, and statistically the NYT is simply way farther out of step with the right than the left. There is no balance. You cant have a handful of people WAYYY out on the left limb compared to multitudes on the center of the right limb and claim the fulcrum is in the middle. That isnt how politics work.

    And to reiterate- i have no problem with the NYT or the MSM leaning left. I do have a problem with the power that provides them in our current system. How long will crazy old Helen Thomas keep pride of place at WH briefings? Can you even _conceive_ of a conservative idealogue of that nature in that position? I have an even bigger problem with the media _claiming_ to be neutral, when that is demonstrably not true. If your editorial page unerringly leans left, your paper will lean left. Same with leaning right like the WSJ. Lets just start calling a spade a spade.

  57. Mark- bias is in the eye of the reader, thats why you examine statistics to see the forest.

    How do you mitigate bias, or at least train your journalists to think outside their personal box? Easy. The same way the left has been encouraging organizations to integrate for decades. You bring in voices that are unrepresented. Just like you do in the board room, just like you do in the supreme court, just like you do in higher education. Even a single member of your staff that, say, is a member of the NRA is an invaluable resource for where the pro-gun argument currently stands- as compared to where a casual anti-gun civilian _thinks_ they stand.

    Same for coverage of the military where you routinely see simple mistakes such as mixing up military terminology. That in itself is not a big deal, but it certainly betrays an underlying lack of familiarity with military matters and lifestyle. An single editor or other staff member could correct that and educate the entire newsroom.

    Isnt that a major argument for affirmative action? Why does it only apply to skin color instead of actual philosophy? And im not talking about radical, out there, beliefs, but beliefs that approaching 50% of the nation agree with. Wouldn’t that make for better news?

  58. _”Nearly two-thirds of those online respondents who detected bias in the media (64%) said the media leans left, while slightly more than a quarter of respondents (28%) said they see a conservative bias on their TV sets and in their column inches. “_

    _”While 97% of Republicans surveyed said the media are liberal, two-thirds of political independents feel the same, but fewer than one in four independents (23%) said they saw a conservative bias. Democrats, while much more likely to perceive a conservative bias than other groups, were not nearly as sure the media was against them as were the Republicans. While Republicans were unified in their perception of a left-wing media, just two-thirds of Democrats were certain the media skewed right – and 17% said the bias favored the left.”_

    “Zogby Poll”:http://www.zogby.com/news/ReadNews.dbm?ID=1262

    _”Journalists at national and local news organizations are notably different from the general public in their ideology and attitudes toward political and social issues. Most national and local journalists, as well as a plurality of Americans (41%), describe themselves as political moderates. But news people ­ especially national journalists ­ are more liberal, and far less conservative, than the general public.”_

    _”About a third of national journalists (34%) and somewhat fewer local journalists (23%) describe themselves as liberals; that compares with 19% of the public in a May survey conducted by the Pew Research Center. Moreover, there is a relatively small number of conservatives at national and local news organizations. Just 7% of national news people and 12% of local journalists describe themselves as conservatives, compared with a third of all Americans.”_

    “Pew Poll”:http://people-press.org/reports/display.php3?PageID=829

    So the American people think the press trends liberal, the PRESS thinks the press trends liberal, but the press in fact trends conservative… why?

  59. Mark B.

    I am not arguing what other people think. Polls have shown that a majority of americans think Iraq was involved in 9-11 and that humans do not share a common biological ancestry with chimpanzees. I don’t dispute that americans think the press is liberal –we are all told this repeatedly, it is one of those things “that everybody just knows…dhuh!” But I don’t think it bears much scrutiny. But again, my position is predicated on what the statement “press is liberal” means. The meaning shifts among several versions. Some versions I agree with more than others. I’m not going to repeat myself on this but simply refer to my #57 above.

    Affirmative action applies to skin color but not for political beliefs for several reasons. Affirmative action is meant to reduce ECONOMIC disparity between black & white, male & female, etc. The belief is that educational and employment opportunities have a significant impact upon earnings. Since it has been well established that blacks and women earn less than whites and men, it is hoped that if the barriers to educational and employment opportunities are forced open, earnings among groups will over time spread out more evenly. It’s a theory. I am unaware of any studies showing that conservative thinkers earn less money than liberal thinkers. (I certainly know that I am personally brining down the income average of liberal thinkers).

    I see a lot of problems with parsing out jobs based upon applicants political beliefs. Of course there are exceptions. The NYT employs its op-ed columnists based upon political beliefs inasmuch as it is their job to espouse their political beliefs in print. To do so with reporters and editors would be a little spooky.

    I think a better solution to the dilemma that you believe exists is to have interested readers sample a diversity of media. I also see that your complaint is not so much the NYT is liberal (you say you have no problem with that) but that a liberal paper is so influential. But, of course, that the NYT is influential is not the fault of the NYT but of those who are influenced by it. Frank Rich used to be able to close a Broadway show with a single review because people wouldn’t pay money to see a show he didn’t like. Robert Parker can price a good bottle of Bordeaux out of my range just by rating it 90 instead of 89. His influence is not his fault, it is the product of other people’s perceptions that he knows what he’s talking about.

  60. _But I believe that the statement “NYT has a liberal-bias” is not philosophical but political. The charge of bias would require evidence that it does promote a liberal political point of view, and more importantly, if we are to avoid the philosophical swamp, does so by distorting news coverage._

    But that isn’t the argument.

    While there is the minor argument that NYT employees are liberals and so they are unconsciously biased about what they think is news and what they report about, that isn’t really the issue.

    _Over the years, the NYT has been consistantly anti-gun. That is out of step with the majority of the US. They have been consistantly pro-gay marriage. Out of step. Consistantly anti-border wall/pro-illegals. Consistantly pro affirmative action. Consistantly pro-abortion._

    _Its not like they break down the middle on these issues. They are overwelmingly out of step with Conservatives on these CORE conservative issues._

    The issue is that the NYT isn’t on the “conservative” *side*. If they don’t take the conservative side on core conservative issues, then they’re liberals.

    It mostly isn’t about how they report news. It’s that they aren’t on the conservative team. That makes them liberals and bad.

    And the obvious way to fix it is to replace half the staff by conservatives who *are* on the conservative team and who will print things specificly from a conservative point of view.

  61. bq. And Alan- i’d again ask you to explain the actual mechanism for conservative bias in the NYT and elsewhere. Are the editors conservative? Which reporters? Who is leaning on whom?

    Mark B., I see that perhaps I have not made an important point clearly enough. I am not arguing that the NYT has a conservative bias. What I am arguing is that they’ve served as a (willful?) accomplice in propagating Right wing/administration propaganda. This makes them de Facto pro-Republican (not conservative) despite their avowed leanings or the opinion of Dan Okrent (what that has to do with anything I’m still puzzling over…).

    Perhaps they do it to preserve “access” to administration sources. Perhaps they do it out of fear of political reprisals (e.g., like the Petrayus/Betray-us flap). Perhaps they do it out of a desire to maintain their social or economic status, and couldn’t be bothered to investigate whether powerful and influential people are routinely using them to advance their narrow cause even if it is contrary to the principles that our nation was founded on and thrives, or against the interests of the average Joe Sixpack who is suffering in the Bush economic stagnation. When you argue above that they don’t represent the interests of “average” people I agree with you, but not for the same reasons and to the same detriment. I really couldn’t tell you what the exact reasons for all this are. Nor do I care. All I can say is that it’s right there in the pages for all to see.

    And on the issue of willful or not, in the end I have decided that it doesn’t matter whether they know they are being duped (bad) or not (worse, perhaps). Either way, they’ve been complicit, in my view, in sending Bush to the WH twice and our young brave soldiers to war in Iraq over lies. If they had applied even 10% of the skepticism and scrutiny to these events that they did to, oh, Whitewater or Lewinsky, for example, we’d be in a very different place perhaps. A better one. So it will take a long time and a lot of contrition for me to overcome even just these two journalistic transgressions, and so far I see little evidence that they’re moving in that direction.

    And finally, the pages of the NYT are but one media outlet, and in the overall context I will agree with mark that they hew closer to fair and balanced than most others. BUT, this discussion does not begin and end with the NY Times. I know, it’s a bit overwhelming, perhaps, to make the same arguments about all of the other numerous outlets and their complicity with the Right, so you can be forgiven perhaps for attempting to argue the issue by focusing on the Times, the “low-hanging fruit” in this context, as it were. But if you’re going to raise Dan Rather or Beauchamp as prime examples of left-wing bias, I’m left wondering whether you are at a loss to come up with better evidence of a more systematic, continual and pervasive liberal bias, because that is what my examples argue for. (Opinion polls are meaningless, by the way, so please try to move beyond that and give us specific examples from the media.)

  62. _”The issue is that the NYT isn’t on the “conservative” side. If they don’t take the conservative side on core conservative issues, then they’re liberals.”_

    No.. if they consistantly take the liberal position, they are liberals. Isnt that the definition?

    _”It mostly isn’t about how they report news. It’s that they aren’t on the conservative team. That makes them liberals and bad.”_

    Again- no. Its that they are on the liberal team.

    I think the notion that is repeatedly seeping into this conversation is that there are conservatives, and there are right thinking people. That keeps coming back up, and that is the core of the problem.

  63. “The issue is that the NYT isn’t on the “conservative” side. If they don’t take the conservative side on core conservative issues, then they’re liberals.”

    _No.. if they consistantly take the liberal position, they are liberals. Isnt that the definition?_

    What if they just report the news without taking positions about it? It sounds to me like that makes you consider them liberals.

    _I think the notion that is repeatedly seeping into this conversation is that there are conservatives, and there are right thinking people. That keeps coming back up, and that is the core of the problem._

    Well, I compare NYT with, say, Fox News. I went to the Fox website and picked the top two stories.

    bq. The Challenge: Romney Fights Slickster Image Critics want voters to think the dapper Mitt Romney will say or do whatever it takes to win

    bq. Dems Downplay Rumors of Plan to Sideline Byrd Sources said there are no plans to remove Sen. Robert Byrd from a key post

    The first of these looks to me like an editorial posted as news. The second could be also. NYT doesn’t have the reputation of doing that sort of thing much. Washington Post though is now famous for reporting the “rumors” that Obama is muslim as if the rumors are news but the debunking is not news and needn’t be meantioned.

    Here are the top two from NYT:

    bq. Fed Approves Plan to Curb Risky Lending The new restrictions are meant to curb unfair and deceptive lending practices and to prevent a recurrence of the subprime meltdown.

    bq. F.C.C. Eases Media Ownership Rule A restriction preventing a company from owning both a newspaper and a television or radio station in the same city was loosened.

    The first appears to assume that the Fed intends to be part of the solution rather than part of the problem, is that a liberal slant? The second reports a fact without putting any interpretation in the headline or the first sentence.

    If I’m right that NYT reports news while Fox reports slant, then it looks to me like your objection is not that NYT slants its news the wrong direction but that it fails to slant its news the right direction.

    Have I misunderstood your complaint?

  64. _”But if you’re going to raise Dan Rather or Beauchamp as prime examples of left-wing bias, I’m left wondering whether you are at a loss to come up with better evidence of a more systematic, continual and pervasive liberal bias, because that is what my examples argue for. (Opinion polls are meaningless, by the way, so please try to move beyond that and give us specific examples from the media.)”_

    Not sure how cutting Moveon.og a discount to call Patreus a traitor on a full page of their paper ingratiated the NYT to the administration (much less the nation) but lets move on.

    Ok. Lets play ball. (setting aside the idea that all 3 of you seem to take as a given that the opinion of the unwashed American people is worthless… after all nearly 50% of them vote Republican and hence arent right thinking. Amazing how this conversation bends back on itself).

    _”2002 study by Jim A. Kuypers: “Press Bias and Politics How the Media Frame Controversial Issues.”:http://www.amazon.com/Press-Bias-Politics-Controversial-Communication/dp/0275977595/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1198016383&sr=1-3 In this study of 116 mainstream US papers (including The New York Times, the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and the San Francisco Chronicle), Kuypers found that the mainstream print press in America operate within a narrow range of liberal beliefs. Those who expressed points of view further to the left were generally ignored, whereas those who expressed moderate or conservative points of view were often actively denigrated or labeled as holding a minority point of view. In short, if a political leader, regardless of party, spoke within the press-supported range of acceptable discourse, he or she would receive positive press coverage. If a politician, again regardless of party, were to speak outside of this range, he or she would receive negative press or be ignored. Kuypers also found that the liberal points of view expressed in editorial and opinion pages were found in hard news coverage of the same issues. Although focusing primarily on the issues of race and homosexuality, Kuypers found that the press injected opinion into its news coverage of other issues such as welfare reform, environmental protection, and gun control; in all cases favoring a liberal point of view.”_

    Note Kyupers also wrote “Bush’s War Press Bias and Framing of the War on Terror”:http://www.amazon.com/Bushs-War-Justifications-Terrorist-Communication/dp/074253653X if you are interested in some exhausting detail on the press coverage we’ve been discussing in the war on terror and iraq. He’s has a PHD in communications and his work is entirely academic and meticulously documented.

    Here is a link to a “study”:http://aida.econ.yale.edu/karlan/papers/newspapers.pdf at Yale that actually attempted to gauge the effect of media bias on newspaper readers. It gave free subscriptions to the Washington Times, The Washington Post, and a control group. The group that read the Post was 8% more likely to vote Democrat in the monitored election.

    Here’s a study from UCLA “study”:http://www.newsroom.ucla.edu/portal/ucla/Media-Bias-Is-Real-Finds-UCLA-6664.aspx?RelNum=6664 _”Groseclose and Milyo then directed 21 research assistants — most of them college students — to scour U.S. media coverage of the past 10 years. They tallied the number of times each media outlet referred to think tanks and policy groups, such as the left-leaning NAACP or the right-leaning Heritage Foundation.”_

    _”Of the 20 major media outlets studied, 18 scored left of center, with CBS’ “Evening News,” The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times ranking second, third and fourth most liberal behind the news pages of The Wall Street Journal”_

  65. _”Have I misunderstood your complaint?”_

    Yes. And the examples you provided were Fox covering political stories and NYT covering economic stories. WHy not throw a sports headline in? The MSM only seems neutral where you agree with them. Im not arguing it wouldnt be the same for me. Im arguing it doesnt balance with _the nation as a whole._ The studies prove that. Again- the only defense offered for this is that the NYT et al is ‘right’, objectively, and the nation on the balance is wrong. Which i dont doubt is about what you believe.

  66. bq. What if they just report the news without taking positions about it?

    Sotto voce: Jesus, Mary and Joseph.

    OK, sorry, that reaction is not pointed specifically at the NYT. But permit me to observe…

    Textual analysis of broadcast news reports, to cite one example, show a significant tendency to identify one speaker or his organization with a characterological adjective, while the other speaker or organization is merely named. Guess which one gets the bonus adjective.

    “Joe Doakes, from the right wing think tank Foo Foundation, had this to say…” “…but the {no adjective} Bar Center’s Mairsie Doates says…”

    This doesn’t happen just once in a while. It happens an inordinate amount of the time. Measurably so. Implacably so.

    “What if they just report the news without taking positions about it?” Like Gandhi re Western Civilization, I think it would be a good idea.

  67. Exactly. The broadcasting equivalent of scare quotes. I have no notion that this is at all concious either, this is a perfect example of how unconcious thinking influences behavior. To Peter Jennings- Jessies Helms IS the very conservative senator, while Teddy Kennedy is simply the Senator from Massachusetts. In his mind this is a fair and equivalent nondistinction. Kennedy is a middle of the road guy, Helms is a far right winger. This happens constantly.

    _”Comparing the 1992 Democratic and Republican conventions, the MRC discovered quite a disparity: While the Democrats gathered in New York City were dubbed moderate more often than liberal by a margin of 51 to 38, Republicans in Houston were described with various conservative labels over moderate ones by a margin of 9-to-1. In total, viewers heard 118 conservative labels vs. 13 moderate ones. No Democrat in New York was ever described as “far left” or “hard left,” not even Tom Harkin or Jesse Jackson. But in Houston, on five occasions each, CBS and CNN used “hard right” and/or “far right” to describe Republicans.”_

    _”In four days of Democratic coverage, CNN attached 22 labels to Democrats, but at no time did CNN label any Democrat “far left.” When the GOP gathered, CNN issued 49 ideological labels, five of them “far right.” In fact, in the first night from Houston CNN used 25 labels, three more than all week from New York. On Monday from the Republican meeting Candy Crowley announced: “As for what Buchanan has to say, this is really an appeal to the far right.” Co-anchor Catherine Crier asked analyst William Schneider whether “the Republicans made concessions to the far right in hopes that the rest of the Republican Party isn’t watching.” On the last night, Charles Bierbauer recalled Buchanan’s speech as being “heavy-handed conservative” and Frank Sesno labeled Buchanan and Bill Bennett as “very hard, far right conservatives.””_

    _”Consider the two major women’s political organizations in the United States — the conservative Concerned Women for America and the liberal National Organization for Women. By all measures, NOW is at least as far to the left as CWA is to the right. But an MRC study of three newspapers (Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Washington Post) and the three news magazines showed that NOW was labeled liberal in only 10 of 421 newspaper stories (or 2.4 percent of the time) in 1987 and 1988. CWA, with three times the membership of NOW, was only mentioned in 61 stories in the same time period, but was labeled conservative 25 times (41 percent).”_

    _”The same pattern holds true for comparisons of the conservative Heritage Foundation (labeled in 59 percent of major newspaper stories) and the liberal Brookings Institution (just one percent), the conservative Family Research Council (45 percent) and the liberal Children’s Defense Fund (under 4 percent), and other similar pairings. The conservative organization or individual is regularly labeled, but the liberal counterpart is not. Why? Because the national media see liberal groups as “us” and conservative groups as “them.”_

    “source”:http://www.mediaresearch.org/books/identifybias.asp#7

  68. bq. Not sure how cutting Moveon.og a discount to call Patreus a traitor on a full page of their paper ingratiated the NYT to the administration (much less the nation) but lets move on.

    Well, let me clarify then, Mark: It was a paid advertisement.

    bq. setting aside the idea that all 3 of you seem to take as a given that the opinion of the unwashed American people is worthless… after all nearly 50% of them vote Republican and hence arent right thinking.

    Mark, please; speaking for myself, I certainly wrote nothing of the sort….read more carefully, I actually agreed with you above that the typical media personalities and executives do not reflect the mainstream view….but that doesn’t automatically mean they’re lefties….many of the positions of the typical modern Washington Republican representative are out of touch with mainstream views as well. Most Americans want universal health care, higher corporate taxes, higher CAFE standards, and to be out of Iraq. Just to name a few.

    But again that gets into the issue of framing or agreeing on what “the mainstream” is, and you don’t seem to want to recognize the distinctions in the definitions and how that colors such broad brush statements that you are making here, or the results of the polls you are far too attached to as evidence against an argument that I at least am not making.

    Let me put it another way. If all you’re willing to do is “add up” the times that one side’s views are represented vs. the other’s in the absence of any attempt to reference a more objective “Truth” (when possible), then the survey studies you describe are meaningless. It could be, for example, that the Republican’s lie more frequently than Democrats in their public statements. If that is the case, then should the media simply try to provide an even “balance” between what partisans say, or should they attempt to point out instances where claims are demonstrably falsifiable or false? In the single news item “Republicans claim the earth is flat; Democrats disagree” good news because it is “balanced” between the parties? In the case where the news points out that “scientists believe Republicans to be wrong”, then you have a skewed news item (and perhaps a new enemy….scientists) by a simple bean-count.

    So clearly this is not the way to address this issue.

  69. _Here’s a study from UCLA study “Groseclose and Milyo then directed 21 research assistants — most of them college students — to scour U.S. media coverage of the past 10 years. They tallied the number of times each media outlet referred to think tanks and policy groups, such as the left-leaning NAACP or the right-leaning Heritage Foundation.”_

    _”Of the 20 major media outlets studied, 18 scored left of center, with CBS’ “Evening News,” The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times ranking second, third and fourth most liberal behind the news pages of The Wall Street Journal”_

    But this is easily explained. The right-leaning Heritage Foundation publishes garbage. So of course reasonable researchers won’t refer to them as much.

    It just tends to work out that way. Evolutionists count as on the left, Creation Scientists on the right. Scientists who believe the climate is changing on the left, those who say it isn’t so are on the right. Scientists who believe burning tobacco causes lung cancer on the left, those who say it doesn’t are on the right. Economists who believe cutting taxes further will pay for itself in increased revenue are on the right, the rest are on the left. I don’t know why it happens that researchers who refuse to look at the evidence or who fake evidence so often take positions on the right, it just happens a lot. Maybe that’s where the funding is.

  70. _”Joe Doakes, from the right wing think tank Foo Foundation, had this to say…” “…but the {no adjective} Bar Center’s Mairsie Doates says…”_

    _This doesn’t happen just once in a while. It happens an inordinate amount of the time. Measurably so. Implacably so._

    It sounds like you have some sort of complaint about this. What’s wrong with pointing out that the right-wing think tankers are right-wing?

  71. J Thomas, I very nearly despair of communicating my simple point to you. I really don’t know how to be plainer than I have been without insulting your intelligence. Taking that risk, I humbly ask you to re-read my #68, and what M. Buehner said to back me up in #69. Perhaps further discussion with you on this aspect of the media is useless. You be the judge.

  72. J Thomas:

    Having read your attempted takedown of M. Buehner, all I can say is that “Left” and “Right” are today idiotic — nay, idiocy-GENERATING — labels, and only ever accurately applied, ostensively, to the old French Parliament.

    That old devil Nolan Chart, for all its limitations, is at least an attempt at increasing clarity, a little.

    I am reminded of the Pynchon/Chomsky quote, which goes something like “If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don’t have to worry about the answers.”

    I give up. I assess that you and I cannot successfully communicate on this issue. This disappoints me.

    People enjoy simple, single narratives, and Right/Left plays right into that. It makes “Whom do you trust? / And on what basis?” (my mindfulness mantra) just like hitting the big top bar on an old Vote-a-matic.

    People are often wrong. Media are often wrong.

    I need a haircut and a hiatus.

    Further deponent saith not.

  73. bq. So of course reasonable researchers won’t refer to them as much.

    You completely misread what the quote says. Scotoma much, J Thomas?

    This time I’m not sotto voce.


    Jesus.
    Mary.
    And Joseph.

    PS:

    I broke my word. I posted again. Sorry about that.

    Except for maybe pinch-hitting on sp*m detail, I’m declaring a personal moratorium at WoC ’til at least 15 Jan.

  74. JT – with this one, you step completely into the Twilight Zone:

    But this is easily explained. The right-leaning Heritage Foundation publishes garbage. So of course reasonable researchers won’t refer to them as much.

    Isn’t it even a little bit dull for you to be so self-righteous? It’s certainly dull to me.

    You’re welcome to post comments here as long as you honor the Comments Policy; but I’m done dealing with you. Plonk.

    A.L.

  75. _”It sounds like you have some sort of complaint about this. What’s wrong with pointing out that the right-wing think tankers are right-wing?”_

    Nothing. Why wouldnt you point out that left wing think tankers are left wing in the same stories?

  76. _”Well, let me clarify then, Mark: It was a paid advertisement.”_

    It was also heavily discounted, which no-one at the NYT was able to provide a rationale for. Again- if the NYT is so concerned with not crossing the white house, running (much less discounting) this HUGE ad doesnt seem real smart.

    _”It could be, for example, that the Republican’s lie more frequently than Democrats in their public statements. If that is the case, then should the media simply try to provide an even “balance” between what partisans say, or should they attempt to point out instances where claims are demonstrably falsifiable or false?_”

    And here, _once again,_ we come back to the idea that the liberal view is right and the conservative view wrong, which absolutely PERMEATES this argument. We literally can’t go 2 posts without it being inserted that the liberal view is more likely to be objectively true (leaving aside J Thomas’s well known perchant for disbelieving and demonizing any source that disagrees with him). The evolution debate is a single fringe issue that affects practically nobody. There are a dozen issues i’ve listed that only a truly arrogant fool believes is simple black and white- gun control, abortion, border control, gay marriage, etc. Somehow those ideas (i must assume) have an objectively ‘true’ answer that the media is simply faithfully covering as well.

    And somehow you guys cant recognize that THAT is the problem.

  77. Nort, you did yeoman work, but don’t let one brick wall remove you from discussions.

    AL #76 – In fact, J Thomas’ #71 revealed a fundamental blindness where JT has shown that he has so wrapped his view of the world in a set of false stereotypes and mythology so wooden as to be comical. So much effort to prevent a heterodox thought purchase on his mind.

  78. _There are a dozen issues i’ve listed that only a truly arrogant fool believes is simple black and white- gun control, abortion, border control, gay marriage, etc. Somehow those ideas (i must assume) have an objectively ‘true’ answer that the media is simply faithfully covering as well._

    For one of those issues, I’ve seen a collection of really bad statistics opposing gun control, that shouldn’t be taken seriously. I have not seen good or bad statistics that support it. What I think happens is that when the armed crime rate goes up, places where they don’t like guns they try for gun control, and places where they do like guns they try for longer prison terms. Increased crime causes gun control some places and increased gun ownership other places, and the causation in that direction so strong that we can’t tell how much gun control increases or reduces crime. Meanwhile, gun control enthusiasts point to the gun accident rates and family disputes and such, and argue that this cost is too high, without noting that they have no workable plan to keep guns away from people who’d have accidents or family disputs. (Arresting them after the fact doesn’t help much at all.) It’s turned into a social thing — places where people like guns there will be no gun control, and places where they don’t there eventually will be. There will probably not be large results — people who want guns will get them illegally, police will have one more thing to arrest people for when they want to arrest them, we’ll still have accidents and family murder/suicides and so on in places with strict gun control, and about the same percentage of stupid criminals will still live in places without gun control where they might get shot or imprisoned for long terms for their crimes. The whole thing just doesn’t make much difference.

    But right wing gun-control experts usually make howling statistical mistakes. They aren’t technically serious.

    So, why should they be taken seriously by anyone? Except that they say things that many of us want to hear….

    Anyway, are you arguing about editorials in the liberal media, or are you arguing that the news reporting is slanted in favor of abortion, gay marriage, open borders, and gun control? I don’t see that it is. Usually they go ahead and report utter lies from right-wing sources instead of mentioning that the lies have been disproved. Sometimes they also report wrong-headed opinions from liberal sources who should not have been considered informed sources in the first place.

  79. Mark, this is getting a little boring now.

    bq. It was also heavily discounted…

    Can you provide documentation for this claim, because from my understanding of the issue this is a canard.

    But I’ll note that you’ve now retreated from saying the ad is evidence of a liberal bias to opining that it “doesn’t seem real smart”. I’ll count that as a capitulation on this point.

    bq. And here, once again, we come back to the idea that the liberal view is right and the conservative view wrong, which absolutely PERMEATES this argument.

    I see that a misreading of my statement:

    bq. It could be, for example, that the Republican’s lie more frequently than Democrats in their public statements. If that is the case

    …which sets up a hypothetical, has provoked this rant, perhaps in an effort to provide yourself cover from having to answer my simple question in this paragraph (slightly re-written for clarity):

    bq. Is the single news item “Republicans claim the earth is flat; Democrats disagree” an example of good reporting because it is “balanced” between the parties? In the case where the news points out that “scientists believe Republicans to be wrong”, then you have a skewed news item (and perhaps a new enemy….scientists) by a simple bean-count.

    If you’d prefer to address real-world examples instead of hypotheticals, feel free to provide them….

  80. _”Did MoveOn.org get favored treatment from The Times? And was the ad outside the bounds of acceptable political discourse?”_

    _”The answer to the first question is that MoveOn.org paid what is known in the newspaper industry as a standby rate of $64,575 that it should not have received under Times policies. The group should have paid $142,083. The Times had maintained for a week that the standby rate was appropriate, but a company spokeswoman told me late Thursday afternoon that an advertising sales representative made a mistake.”_

    _”The answer to the second question is that the ad appears to fly in the face of an internal advertising acceptability manual that says, “We do not accept opinion advertisements that are attacks of a personal nature.” Steph Jespersen, the executive who approved the ad, said that, while it was “rough,” he regarded it as a comment on a public official’s management of his office and therefore acceptable speech for The Times to print.”_

    “Clark Hoyt”:http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/23/opinion/23pubed.html?_r=1&n=Top/Opinion/The%20Public%20Editor&oref=slogin
    Public Editor of the New York Times
    9/23/2007

    Alan, is it to much to ask you do the barest amount of your own research before you go off? It took me less than a minute to find this.

  81. _”But I’ll note that you’ve now retreated from saying the ad is evidence of a liberal bias to opining that it “doesn’t seem real smart”. I’ll count that as a capitulation on this point.”_

    Count it however you want but that is crap. I was juxtaposing your ridiculous contention that the Times is beholden or intimidated by the Bush administration. I dont need to reiterate the liberal slant in giving Moveon a discounted ad. That is apparent to everyone not living on Mars.

    _”If you’d prefer to address real-world examples instead of hypotheticals, feel free to provide them….”_

    I’ve provded enough, I think. Example after example, study after study. You are playing a lunatic game of saying examples are just anachdotal, and statistical studies dont provide specifics. Go back and reread the thread if you want examples. I’m not going to post more you can ignore in turn.

  82. _”Anyway, are you arguing about editorials in the liberal media, or are you arguing that the news reporting is slanted in favor of abortion, gay marriage, open borders, and gun control? I don’t see that it is.”_

    JT, quit backpeddling. We established about a week ago we werent talking about editorials. We are talking about how hard news stories get slanted in various ways. Through ignorance (constant mistakes regarding what an assault weapon is, for instance), through unconscious labeling of conservatives but NOT liberals (numerous examples i posted above), through assigning the mantel of the mainstream to groups like NOW or Al Sharpton whom they will go to as the de facto representatives and voices of women and blacks respectively (who elected them exactly?). By quoting idealogically liberal studies and institutes as though they are unafillitated while always labeling conservative groups as partisan.

    And we’ve established you dont see that as bias, because you agree with all those decisions. Its fine to be biased, its not fine to be a hack.

  83. bq. The answer to the first question is that MoveOn.org paid what is known in the newspaper industry as a standby rate of $64,575 that it should not have received under Times policies. The group should have paid $142,083. The Times had maintained for a week that the standby rate was appropriate, but a company spokeswoman told me late Thursday afternoon that an advertising sales representative made a mistake.

    Absent evidence to the contrary, Mark, I don’t think a mistake qualifies as evidence of bias, or whatever else it is you think it suggests.

    bq. I dont need to reiterate the liberal slant in giving Moveon a discounted ad. That is apparent to everyone not living on Mars.

    If this is what you’re trying to establish, Mark, then again you make an exceedingly weak argument. Because you are essentially asking us to ASSUME that the editors or anyone outside of the advertising department is complicit in organizing a liberal/left wing attack by discounting an ad (real sorry about asking for you to provide documentation…as I said, I wasn’t familiar with this…so thanks…but you did make the claim). An argument that rests upon such a unproven presumption collapses in the absence of evidence of purpose or intent. Or, to use your phrasing, it’s crap.

  84. Mark, I disagree that the media say NOW represents women. NOW represents NOW, a particular group of women. Similarly, Sharpton represents himself and the people who agree with him.

    And there’s nothing wrong with pointing out which think-tanks are conservative, because it makes a difference. We have science — and then we have conservative science. We have economics — and conservative economics. It’s different disciplines. So far I haven’t seen a separate conservative engineering, though, thank god. Maybe someday we’ll see a separate conservative engineering but so far we’ve managed without that and it’s just engineering without much politics.

  85. _”And there’s nothing wrong with pointing out which think-tanks are conservative, because it makes a difference.”_

    J Thomas… i am going to say this ONE MORE TIME and if you fail to acknowledge it I am done with you:

    Its ok to label think-tanks conservative. YOU MUST ALSO LABEL LIBERAL THINK TANKS AS LIBERAL. Why are you having so much trouble comprehending that? Are you intentionally trying to misrepresent my point?

  86. _”Absent evidence to the contrary, Mark, I don’t think a mistake qualifies as evidence of bias, or whatever else it is you think it suggests.”_

    OH! They just happened to mischarge a highprofile full page ad BY 50%. Give me a friggin break. They only acknowledged this after they were caught. If the shoe was on the other foot you would be LAUGHING at this defense. Dog ate my homework. Major, high profile, FULL PAGE ad, radically mischarged and its just a little accident. Oh and i notice you ignore the part where they violated their own policies regarding ad attacks on individuals.

    AGAIN- the FREAKIN NYT OMBUDSMAN HIMSELF took the NYT to task for this. Why are you defending a paper that isnt even really defending itself on this?

    This dog at my homework defense wouldnt fly on any investigation the NYT was doing on any other corporation, thats for damned sure. The NYT had little choice but to claim ignorance and incompetance considering they would probably have been in violation of campaign laws for doing Moveon that little favor.

    Its funny- but you are so willing to explain away all these ‘mistakes’ like Rathergate, Beauchamp, and this flap, yet they _always_ seem to benefit one side. Guess what, if you lean left, you are liable to trip left.

    You guys are outrageous. We’re clearly dealing with an article of religious faith here. I’m sorry to have offended your dogma. Go back to your scriptures.

  87. So….just to reiterate…you have no evidence the ad placement was purposeful or done with the knowledge of the editors BASED ON THEIR LIBERAL-LEANING VIEWS except that they “only acknowledged it after they were caught”?

    I guess you feel the same way about the NRO flap (i.e., it provides the same type of evidence against the NRO and a right-wing bias).

    At any rate, once again, weak tea.

    bq. I’m sorry to have offended your dogma. Go back to your scriptures.

    Mark, don’t worry, you haven’t offended me or my dogma(s) in the least. How could you…you haven’t even come close to challenging my arguments…

    I will say, however, that this testy (on your end) exchange has somewhat altered my view of you as a reasonable commenter. You should have more tolerance of people who think differently than you, especially when they comprise such a large proportion of humanity (or perhaps Mars?).

  88. I think Mark has done yeoman’s work maintaining his composure while continuing to engage the purposely obtuse.

    Mark, as a long standing lurker, a tip of my hat to you sir.

  89. Well, lurker, that’s an interesting definition of “maintaining composure”….and thanks for the back-handed swipe at a conversation that, in my view, Mark B. never really wanted to engage in seriously. Is this because he (and you, by inference from your comment) think those who hold views like ours are “obtuse” or “from mars” or “dogmatic” because his arguments (such as they are) have failed (miserably) to be convincing, then perhaps you should look inward rather than outward for an explanation.

    For my part, I’m only too happy to reconsider my views or look at issues from multiple viewpoints. That is one reason I opened this conversation to begin with, inviting Mark B. and Glen W. to provide their views. Oh well, the best laid plans and all….

  90. Mark B, I don’t think the charge of being outrageous is any way merited. I understand the frustration of not being able to change minds, but I don’t think you have offered sufficient evidence to persuade me that my thinking on this is wrong. As to the charge of my reverting to dogmatic beliefs, well, frankly, in this instance I feel that I am arguing AGAINST received wisdom.

    The case for media being liberal in general, or the NYT being liberal in particular, rests on selecting less than a handful of examples, explaining away counter-examples as abberations, and general statements such as “conservatives are always labeled conservatives, liberals are labled as normal” that have no factual foundation. Thrown onto this mix is the dressing that everyone “thinks” or “knows” that the press is liberal so it must be true.

    Again, for the 99th and I hope final time, because the media as a whole, or one news outlet in particular, doesn’t advance or support a conservative line, does mean that it is liberal. I think conservatives simply feel that their world-view is not represented. Well, neither is mine. And, although I once bought some bootleg Neil Young records in Berkley once upon a time, I am not so out there in left field that my views fall outside the mainstream political conversation in this country…at least not yet.

  91. Mark, for the record, i apologize if you got caught in my frustration. To my mind Alan and J Thomas have made it a habit of playing the Lucy to my Charlie Brown in presenting evidence. Im tired of the goalposts moving with those two.

    I’m surprised you havent mentioned any of the studies I linked to. Aside from the numerous (and by definition) anechdotal examples bandied about, it would seem to me the academic studies deserve something better than a nonreponse.

    Individual examples (as i have freely admitted) can always be written off by anything from simple mistake to clerical error, and depending how credulous you are at the circumstances and timing its easy to explain away just about anything. Even CNN tossing softballs to Hillary while stacking the Republican debate with democratic activists you can write off as total freak chance. Of course even examples like that virtually never happen the opposite direction. So you apparently _have_ to look at the matter systematically if every example will be dismissed out of hand.

    Here are some more studies, just to stir the pot:

    _”Just like so many reports before it, a joint survey by the Project for Excellence in Journalism and Harvard’s Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy — hardly a bastion of conservative orthodoxy — found that in covering the current presidential race, the media are sympathetic to Democrats and hostile to Republicans.”_

    “Investors Business Daily”:http://www.ibdeditorials.com/IBDArticles.aspx?id=278808786575124 – link to the study inside

    _”A study by University of Michigan doctoral candidate Brian A. Patrick, released in June 1999, found that the National Rifle Association was portrayed negatively in editorial and op-ed pieces 87 percent of the time (as opposed to 52 percent negative collectively for four other citizens’ lobbying groups, including the NAACP and ACLU). More ominously, Patrick’s study documented a clear anti-gun bias in the news coverage of the NRA by comparing things such as use of descriptive language, use of quotes and use of photos.”_
    “link”:http://www.ajr.org/Article.asp?id=35

  92. Mark B., you are quite right. I haven’t had the time to study the studies you’ve linked to and probably should before I pipe in again. In fact, I didn’t intend to join in again till I had a chance to read them but I was drawn in by the “outrageous” charge. Apology accepted as graciously as it was offered. I’ll look into the studies and see if I stand corrected.

  93. bq. To my mind Alan and J Thomas have made it a habit of playing the Lucy to my Charlie Brown in presenting evidence.

    Sure, Mark, whatever you say. I’m real sorry to hear that simple attempts to reason are so frustrating for you…you should try sitting in my seat for a while and try dealing with someone who hurls insults and raises strawmen at nearly every opportunity, gets angry when they are unable to force their beliefs on others, and then asks for forgiveness for behaving badly but blaming others in the process rather than taking responsibility for their own words.

    What a display you’ve put on here, I must say.

  94. By the way, I thought “this might be of interest to some:”:http://hardblogger.msnbc.msn.com/

    MATTHEWS: Right now, without looking in the rearview mirror, which is of no value at all to you or to me…

    LIEBERMAN: Right.

    MATTHEWS: I mean, I’ve said on this show I voted for Bush the first time.

    Moving the goal posts again, I guess?

  95. Alan,

    I don’t think examples like Matthews, Rush Limbaugh, Glen Beck, or Bill O’Reilly really refute Mark’s claims. Those guys are paid to make commentary, not report. They make no pretense of being objective or fair, and their viewers know what they’re getting. That’s why they are viewers. It’s the “reporters” who claim and pretend to be, and, I think Mark makes a good case, actually believe they are objective who support his case. I did not intend to attack the other mark earlier with my comment, but the comments he made that I commented on are a case in point. Good writers (actually he just said writers) are liberal by definition? Academics are interested in truth and objectivity? No one in English, Education, Anthropology, Social Science, and, increasingly, History departments even believes there are such things. These are the kinds of assumptions that journalists live and breathe. _Their_ agenda is truth and objectivity, and if you disagree with them, _your_ agenda is. . .well, an agenda. How can that not color what they present as news and how they present it?

  96. Fred,

    First of all, I do not agree that “news analysts” should be left out of the consideration. These people are a main source of news for millions of people and take up a significant (perhaps the majority) of air time. They’re the ones that shape the Conventional Wisdom inside the beltway and construct the Narratives that pervade the news. They conduct interviews with politicians and candidates and moderate debates. As such, they are highly influential.

    Second of all, Mark B. raised Chris Matthews name, above, and in other contexts he is often cited as a “Liberally biased” person because of his past association with Democrats. The comment refutes that soundly, not to mention a hundred idiotic statements against Hillary or other Dems (and some Republicans) that constantly flow from his warped mind.

    Third, I disagree that Mark has made a good case for a “liberal” bias for reporters. One of the gaping holes in this argument is Judith Miller. Another is the methodology behind the bean counting surveys he relies on. The MoveOn Ad is evidence of nothing.

    But really you touch upon another sore point in this thread, and that is the total disconnect between what Mark B. is addressing and what I, at least, am claiming about the media. Like I said, this subject must begin with a discussion on what we define as “bias” in the media, and my request for specific examples was an effort to help do this by example.

    There’s a lot here to get into, but sadly the tone from Mark B. and sometimes others has slipped into the exasperated and incredulous, making it impossible from my end to maintain civility, which I have strove to do because I think these are interesting and important issues. It is unfortunate that the primary person who has chosen to join in this discussion does not have respect for the views I am expressing.

  97. All I will say is its _astonishing_ how Alan is perfectly willing to use singular examples to support his own case but utterly rejects them (a far greater number of them btw) when anyone else poses them. Chris Matthews voted for a Republican _once_ and that wipes out all the studies and polls showing journalists leaning overwhelmingly Democrat? And Judith Miller- hey, I’ll play the Alan game. She claims it was all a big misunderstaning. Unless Alan can provide overwhelming evidence to the contrary we have to take her at her word. Probably just a clerical error.

    Alan if anyone has demonstrated an inflexibility in thinking here its you. I know full well i wont change your mind, because you have a quasi-religious conviction here as your arguments display. Ironically (considering where this conversation has been), its really little different than the creationists claiming evolution is bunk because they find two fossils that dont fit the pattern.

    Like I said- you dismiss individual examples out of hand, and your either ignore or attack the messengers of statistical analysis. I’m not sure there is any conceiveable evidence that _could_ exist that would change your mind. Which is what makes your contention an article of faith.

  98. Mark, I’m not dismissing them out of hand, instead I’ve tried to explain why I don’t think they’re good examples or strong arguments. And you are, again, displaying your propensity for exaggeration by interpreting my comment about Matthews as suggesting a negation of the studies you cite, which I have other problems with that I already started to explain.

    bq. I’m not sure there is any conceiveable evidence that could exist that would change your mind.

    Absolutely there is, you just haven’t been very good at providing any beyond the trivial and questionable ones. For example, I have recently noted the largely negative media response to the Paul and Huckabee campaign successes, which argues strongly for a structure that is anti-establishment, not just anti-Democrat. My concerns with the corporate media do not always fit into a neat political box; rather it is that they too often behave as wealthy, pampered self-righteous fools who are easily seduced by power and propaganda and couldn’t care less about the average person, and that this has naturally aligned them largely, but not exclusively, with Republicans in the last 8-10 years.

  99. Alan- perhaps the biggest cognitive dissonence in your argument is the inability to grasp that the media can be motivated and influenced by numerous things. The argument that- hey they are getting to close to the Republican President’s political hacks in order to get access- therefore there cant be a systematic liberal bias. Or, hey- they tend to love to stir up contraversy by helping to elevate outsider candidates because it makes for a good story- and therefore their cant be a liberal bias. Those are non-sequitars, because assumedly those kinds of practices should cancel each other out right to left. But certainly the underlying orthodoxy (which is liberal) remains. Its not a conspiracy, not even often intentional. Its a tendancy, and while in specific circumstances there are obviously other factors that will eclipse that tendancy (a juicy Democrat sex scandal, say) the next day its back to business as usual. The NRA is still a ‘hard right wing’ bunch of gun nuts and the Handgun Control people are still a grass roots moderate foundation, and the copy will reflect that in a number of ways.

    And simply claiming that you find academic studies unconvincing is not an argument.

  100. alan, you were doing so well in the last post; yes, the role and identity of the media is complex and primarily pro-institutional. But you’re just flat kidding when you think that they are factually closely aligned with the GOP, and you’re insulting when you suggest that “…they too often behave as wealthy, pampered self-righteous fools who are easily seduced by power and propaganda and couldn’t care less about the average person, and that this has naturally aligned them largely, but not exclusively, with Republicans in the last 8-10 years.“…because that’s the kind of people Republicans are, as opposed the the kind, gentle, humane, truth-telling Democrats? Get a clue – both parties are institutionally designed to to Whatever It Takes to stay in power, and neither party has a monopoly on virtue.

    But I’ll tell you what. Why don’t you lay out a case for why the new media are in the GOP’s pockets, and I’ll consider putting it up as a post. Note that ‘refusing to bay for the impeachment of Bush’ doesn’t count as a good argument.

    A.L.

  101. Here’s a study from an economist from Stanford.

    _”News organizations select which stories to cover and how those stories are treated. Journalists who have career interests that can be furthered by being published may have the opportunity and incentive to add interpretation and content to their news reports. In the theory presented here, this can take the form of bias or unbalanced reporting in the terminology of The Times’ public editor. Bias affects both coverage and treatment.”_

    Research Paper No. 1845
    “PERSISTENT MEDIA BIAS”:http://www.wallis.rochester.edu/conference11/mediabias.pdf
    David P. Baron

    This quote from Bernie Goldberg sums up things nicely:

    _”And it is this inability to see liberal views as liberal that is at the heart of the entire problem. This is why Phyllis Schlafly is the conservative woman who heads that conservative organization but Patricia Ireland is merely the head of NOW. No liberal labels necessary. Robert Bork is the conservative judge. Laurence Tribe is the noted Harvard law professor. Rush Limbaugh is the conservative talk show host. Rosie O’Donnell is simply Rosie O’Donnell, no matter how many liberal opinions she shares with her audience.”_

  102. bq. …because that’s the kind of people Republicans are, as opposed the the kind, gentle, humane, truth-telling Democrats?

    No, that’s not what I meant; the “power and propaganda” part applies to the Republicans, the other traits to the media.

  103. Alan, you geninely think that filibustering represents a ‘ruthless or effective’ use of power? That’s your metric?

    Is that really your final answer? I can think of all kinds of other metrics; enforcing lobbyist hiring practices, strongarming donations, managing media. All of those would seem to be a stronger measure, and for all of those I can point to relative parity between Republican and Democratic pluralities.

    A.L.

  104. And an interesting analysis on how it has been “presented in the media:”:http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/index.html

    Steven Greene of North Carolina State University’s Department of Political Science emails as follows: A quick and dirty Lexis/Nexis search reveals that in 2007 the Times had 83 stories with the term “filibuster” and the Post had 187. Over the same period in 2005 (seemed like the first year of a Congressional session was the fair comparison), the term “filibuster” appeared in 358 Times stories and 407 Post stories. The data therefore totally back you up on this.

  105. Anybody else have no idea what this is supposed to mean? Is filibustering now somehow an illicit or underhanded practice? If so i’d like to hear why Bush’s judicial nominees received unprecidented filibusters.

    Is this anything like providing presidential pardons to your wife’s campaign contributors on your last day in office by any chance?

    Yeah, replublicans manipulate more than democrats. Ask anyone that has gotten in the Clintons way over the last 30 years. Heck, just go ask “Obama.”:http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/Vote2008/story?id=4032659&page=1

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