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The new “liberal bias”

By | February 27, 2008 | Opinion

RUSH LIMBAUGH IS A NEO-CON, partisan idiot. That doesn’t stop him from being right once in a while.

Our news media is biased.

Where he’s wrong, of course, is when he charges a “liberal” bias. News media, as a marriage of generally liberal individual reporters and generally conservative corporate interests, has generally avoided outright partisan bias. American news leaves that to Fox News and The New York Times.

For this tally, also forget hotheads like Bill Maher and Ann Coulter — their broadcasts are many things, but they aren’t news.

Let’s talk ABC, NBC and CNN. Let’s talk real newspapers, or the wire services. Surprised? Here’s a hint: This bias is more intrapartisan than anything.

News organizations are now slanted against — drumroll, please — Democratic presidential contender Hillary Clinton.

Big surprise. Not.

If you’ve seen, read or heard any election coverage of the last month-and-a-half, this is nothing new to you.

Whatever the content of the articles, the latest Newsweek’s headlines referred to the Clintons with a hearty, “How they have lost” and “Hillary should get out now.”

MSNBC described Clinton’s debate challenge to Obama — “Meet me in Ohio.” — with the word “snapped.” CNN went out of its way to report that Obama was in Ohio at the time.

If you care at all about late-night television, the joke’s on Hillary Clinton. According to the same issue of Newsweek, Clinton weathered 68 late-night jokes about her during the writer’s strike, while Obama has had just 18.

Don’t get me wrong: When it comes to the Democrats, I’m an Obama guy all the way. His candidacy is probably the best thing since sliced Jesus. Moreover, I’d probably vote for Chthulu before I’d vote for either Clinton to any elected office.

Even I, self-described Clinton bigot, acknowledge that the media has some sort of grudge.

Is the media’s bias a sexist bias? Excluding the Limbaughs of the world, probably not.

Sexism is against AP Style, and overt sexism is simply passé.

What has Clinton done, then, to deserve this bias against her, if the arbitrary distinctions are a no-show? It was as recently as her husband’s administration that CNN was lambasted as the “Clinton News Network,” and all of a sudden it seems as if the cable news agency will have to change its name to ONN.

Why fault the media more than we fault anyone else? Bias, after all, is in human nature. Some might argue that it is human nature.

The same latest issue of Newsweek with the “Hillary should get out now” headline had another article that addressed how the brain plays with favoritism.

Human brains are biased in favor of those we see as on “our team,” it says, and biased against those on “the other team.”

Bias, therefore, is unavoidable. Despite whatever efforts the media could spearhead to avoid bias, at least some will slip through. The only variable is how the subject of the media’s attention deals with the coverage.

Hillary Clinton’s shrewd pragmatism and self-lauded experience should have recognized that. I say she has nobody but herself to blame.

In an election season where as recently as last fall she was coronated as the presumptive Democratic nominee and next president, she let up. Her campaign didn’t see a protracted fight for the nomination likely, and they don’t seem to have had a back-up plan.

That pokes a big hole in her presidential readiness argument. If she’s worth her salt in experience and judgment, she could have seen it coming and take steps to avoid it. Either she isn’t, or she didn’t. Pick one.

Interestingly, no credible news organizations especially have it out for Republican presidential contender John McCain.

The Arizona senator has, remarkably, stayed aloof from any en masse media bias, whether due to artful handling on the part of his campaign staff, or simply the overwhelming, overbearing interest in the Democratic race.

Sure, The New York Times used anonymous sources to allege that McCain almost had an affair with a lobbyist, but that’s The New York Times. We expect that sort of thing from them.

The bias against Clinton? Now that’s special.

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12 Responses to The new “liberal bias”

  1. gm says:

    I find the notion of media bias against Hillary rather amusing. While I agree that Obama has been the focus of coverage in the past couple of months, it is important to remember 2 things. First he is the new entity. There haven’t been years of stories and numerous books written about Obama. People and the media want to learn more about him. Furthermore, this is a very recent phenomenon. In November and December, the press was concluding a 2 year long coronation of Hillary as the Democratic nominee and probable winner in November. Obama’s press clippings overwhelmingly focused on the fact that he had no chance to win. If 3 or 4 weeks of reporting telling Hillary she can’t win when it is true (unless the super delegates take the nomination out of the hands of voters), then what do you call a year of being told you can’t win, when not a single vote had been cast?
    I do agree that there are certain members of the media who have it in for Hillary. Maureen Down and Chris Mathews come to mind as examples of people in the press who have little use for her. Yet, there are also those who are clearly on the Clinton train and have made attacking and ridiculing Obama their mission. Just check out Paul Krugman in the New York Times.
    Finally, it is important to note all the negative things about Hillary the press has failed to report on. She has made much ado about the Obama campaign mischaracterizing her position on NAFTA which, when she is in Ohio she claims to have always been against (She is far less emphatic when in Texas where it is more popular). Where is the story detailing the dozens of statements made by her and Bill in support of it? The press has allowed her to explain away her handling or mishandling of the health care issue while first lady, with the simple statement that she made mistakes and learned from them. What were the mistakes and what would she do differently? How many millions of uninsured people would have had coverage in the past 15 years if Hillary had been willing to compromise? Have you seen a single reporter ask her about travelgate, whitewater or her husband’s infedelity which she helped cover up? When the Lewinsky affair became public, Hillary said it was a lie that was part of a vast right-wing conspiracy. More significantly, she attacked the press for being duped by the right and getting caught up in the moment. Sound familiar?

  2. gm says:

    I find the notion of media bias against Hillary rather amusing. While I agree that Obama has been the focus of coverage in the past couple of months, it is important to remember 2 things. First he is the new entity. There haven’t been years of stories and numerous books written about Obama. People and the media want to learn more about him. Furthermore, this is a very recent phenomenon. In November and December, the press was concluding a 2 year long coronation of Hillary as the Democratic nominee and probable winner in November. Obama’s press clippings overwhelmingly focused on the fact that he had no chance to win. If 3 or 4 weeks of reporting telling Hillary she can’t win when it is true (unless the super delegates take the nomination out of the hands of voters), then what do you call a year of being told you can’t win, when not a single vote had been cast?
    I do agree that there are certain members of the media who have it in for Hillary. Maureen Down and Chris Mathews come to mind as examples of people in the press who have little use for her. Yet, there are also those who are clearly on the Clinton train and have made attacking and ridiculing Obama their mission. Just check out Paul Krugman in the New York Times.
    Finally, it is important to note all the negative things about Hillary the press has failed to report on. She has made much ado about the Obama campaign mischaracterizing her position on NAFTA which, when she is in Ohio she claims to have always been against (She is far less emphatic when in Texas where it is more popular). Where is the story detailing the dozens of statements made by her and Bill in support of it? The press has allowed her to explain away her handling or mishandling of the health care issue while first lady, with the simple statement that she made mistakes and learned from them. What were the mistakes and what would she do differently? How many millions of uninsured people would have had coverage in the past 15 years if Hillary had been willing to compromise? Have you seen a single reporter ask her about travelgate, whitewater or her husband’s infedelity which she helped cover up? When the Lewinsky affair became public, Hillary said it was a lie that was part of a vast right-wing conspiracy. More significantly, she attacked the press for being duped by the right and getting caught up in the moment. Sound familiar?

  3. The Collegian Staff Comment
    Future Squirrel Stuffer

    I don’t disagree with anything you wrote. Naturally, of course, that doesn’t mean that the media hasn’t been biased against her recently.

    I took the liberty of signing up for her e-mail mailers, and today woke to find a message from Bill Clinton in my inbox. It mentioned something along the lines of a “spending gap” on advertising compared to the Obama camp.

    The Clinton campaign — rightly or not — seeks to cas Obama in the light of a “golden boy” who wrongly tries to outspend Clinton, the rightful heir of the nomination.

    Roles reversed, much?

  4. The Collegian Staff Comment
    Future Squirrel Stuffer

    I don’t disagree with anything you wrote. Naturally, of course, that doesn’t mean that the media hasn’t been biased against her recently.

    I took the liberty of signing up for her e-mail mailers, and today woke to find a message from Bill Clinton in my inbox. It mentioned something along the lines of a “spending gap” on advertising compared to the Obama camp.

    The Clinton campaign — rightly or not — seeks to cas Obama in the light of a “golden boy” who wrongly tries to outspend Clinton, the rightful heir of the nomination.

    Roles reversed, much?

  5. The Collegian Staff Comment
    Future Squirrel Stuffer

    … seeks to *cast* Obama …

  6. The Collegian Staff Comment
    Future Squirrel Stuffer

    … seeks to *cast* Obama …

  7. gm says:

    I agree it is pretty remarkable how much things have changed in just a few weeks. What is not new is Bill and Hillary playing the victims. I laughed out loud when Hillary whined that she keeps getting asked questions first in the debates. Keep up the good work Benjamin.

  8. gm says:

    I agree it is pretty remarkable how much things have changed in just a few weeks. What is not new is Bill and Hillary playing the victims. I laughed out loud when Hillary whined that she keeps getting asked questions first in the debates. Keep up the good work Benjamin.

  9. Kimbo Slyce says:

    Clinton is not a woman and O(s)bama is not black!!!

    These are Republicrats just like McCain, Romney, Dodd, Edwards, Kerry, Giuliani and the rest of the elitist field of current and former candidates.

  10. Kimbo Slyce says:

    Clinton is not a woman and O(s)bama is not black!!!

    These are Republicrats just like McCain, Romney, Dodd, Edwards, Kerry, Giuliani and the rest of the elitist field of current and former candidates.

  11. The Collegian Staff Comment
    Future Squirrel Stuffer

    It’d be more correct to say that the GOP is more Democratic than ever, what with its embrace of big government ideologies .

  12. The Collegian Staff Comment
    Future Squirrel Stuffer

    It’d be more correct to say that the GOP is more Democratic than ever, what with its embrace of big government ideologies .

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