MEDIA BIAS? YOU DON'T SAY ...
The function of a journalist long ago metastasized from being one that reports what is happening in as objective a manner as possible to one who fancies himself (or herself) a kind of modern day crusader, desirous of righting the wrongs around them, revealing injustices, and saving the planet from second-hand smoke, chlorofluorocarbons, God and conservatives (quite possibly in that order).
Perceptions and reality are often as one.
In a Fox News poll published in late July, almost 70% of Americans said they believed that the majority of those who frolic in the rolling meadows of the main stream media favored a Barack Obama presidency.
(Does such a contraption exist to adequately measure your shock at this revelation?). In the same poll, Americans saw the media’s coverage of the two presidential candidates as being more favorable to Senator Obama by a margin of 7 to 1.
Earlier this month, Rasmussen released a poll yielding similar results, stating that 70% of people believed the media was definitely pushing for one of the two candidates - and of that group, Obama was perceived to be favored by the mainstream media by a margin of 5 to 1. Brent Baker at News Busters cites another Rasmussen poll saying that Americans, by a 10 to 1 margin, believe the media is trying to hurt Governor Sarah Palin – including 28% of Democrats.
While I am willing to concede that one man’s serious, hard-hitting news piece is often another’s shoulder-shrugging head-scratcher, I confess to nearly digging a groove into the surface of my scalp last week from all the scratching after hearing Barbara Walters on ABC’s “The View” comment that Governor Sarah Palin “had a glorious ride with the media.”
I had to make sure I heard that correctly.
I needed a work crew of six to remove my jaw from the floor.
To borrow a line from Frasier Crane on Cheers, “What color is the sky in her world?”
The Media Research Center’s “Trashing of Sarah Palin” refers to some of the more shameless examples of the attacks on the Alaska governor, including one - the steady salvo of questions by so-called serious journalists as to whether or not Palin can be an effective mother while running for the Vice Presidency, two - the ostensible "fair-minded" investigative examinations of Palin as the conservative mother of a pregnant out-of-wedlock daughter, and three - the always relevant and unbiased look at her "inexperience" in a campaign season that sees the main stream media spend entirely no time whatsoever on Senator Obama’s light list of “look at what I’ve done” yummies.
I'm sure it won't be long before stories of how Palin makes her children shoot at roaming moose from dive-bombing helicopters before skinning them with a steak knife will soon surface.
Interesting to note here is that nearly half of all “unaffiliated” voters – the all-too critical “independent block” – also believe the media is trying to hurt Governor Palin.
Interesting, too, is how the glossy veneer of the mainstream media’s troubling charade continues to remain uncompromised – amongst themselves.
Their sham of impartiality is still foisted onto the American people daily, but because they exist primarily within their own forest they almost always miss the trees. They distinguish themselves as straight down the middle, detached from affiliation, objective purveyors of whatever they deem to be news, ready to involuntary activate the “neutral” switch when the situation calls for it.
(Recall the famous line attributed to theater critic Pauline Kael in 1972 after Richard Nixon's landslide victory, “How could Nixon have won? I don’t know anyone who voted for him.” Whether the quote is apocryphal or not doesn’t matter, because the sentiment, as it pertains to the relationship between the main stream media and the rest of the country, is spot on).
The concept of mainstream media objectivity is certainly a pleasant notion - fabled in song and story - but too often it is not a realistic one.
Some can adhere to it.
Media bias is not self-evident primarily because the mainstreamers find themselves in a fraternity that is overwhelmingly liberal – i.e., normal.
In March, the Pew Research Center released the results of a survey conducted of “222 journalists and news executives at national outlets.” It was part of a report called “State of the Media.” (It took two search-and-rescue teams several hours to unearth this deeply buried little gem of a paragraph). Quoting from the report:
Only six percent said they considered themselves conservatives and only two percent said they were very conservative.
This compares with 36 percent of the overall population that describes itself as conservative.
Most journalists, 53 percent, said they're moderate.
24 percent said they were liberal and eight percent very liberal.
Well, what do you know about that ...