A Philosopher's Blog

Will the Media be Too Easy on Obama?

Posted in Politics, Reasoning/Logic by Michael LaBossiere on January 27, 2009

While some might think that the notion that the media has a liberal bias is a new thing, it actually dates back to Spiro Agnew. This notion continued under the Reagan administration and is still around today. For example, it has been claimed that the media was too easy on Obama during the primaries and general election. Some even have gone so far as to claim that the biased media contributed to his victory. Naturally enough, some wonder whether the media will be too easy on Obama now that he is President.

Of course, there is the question of whether the media has a liberal bias or not. Some critics point to the surveys showing that journalists tend to be politically liberal as evidence for a liberal bias. While this does provide grounds for concern, the mere potential for bias does not entail actual bias. To use an analogy, I have definite moral views. However, when I grade student papers in my ethics classes, I do not grade them based on whether they match my view or not. Presumably other professionals can exert the same restraint as I and keep their bias in check.

In the face of such a question, the natural thing to do is to turn to the experts. Unfortunately, the experts disagree. For example, Eric Alterman argues that the liberal bias is a myth (What Liberal Bias?) while Bernard Goldberg contends that the bias is a fact (Bias). One problem with reports and books on the media is that they generally come from media folks. As such, this does raise a bit of a problem: can the media folks be trusted to objectively assess their own bias (or lack thereof)?

Laying aside experts, one way to address the matter of liberal bias is to observe what the media says about Obama. Clearly, not all the media folks are liberals who will take it easy on him. After all, the fine folks at Fox News tend to be very critical of Obama. Rush Limbaugh and other such media folks are also clearly not taking it easy on Obama.Of course, they can be accused of having a conservative bias-something that should be criticized as severely as having a liberal bias.

Other news companies might be seen as being biased in Obama’s favor. For example, some folks think that CNN is a bit too liberal leaning (with some notable exceptions) and will take it too easy on Obama. While CNN claims it will “keep them honest”, that remains to be seen.

In general, the media is often easily manipulated by the government. A few recent examples: first, the federal government  created a fake “news report” praising airport security. This “news report” was then distributed to stations along with a prepared introduction for local anchors to read.

Second, during its first four years the Bush administration spent a quarter of a billion dollars on fake “news” about Medicare, Iraq, Social Security, and No Child Left Behind. It should be noted that the Clinton Administration was also active in manipulating the media.

Third, between 2004 and 2005 three editorialists were exposed for taking money directly or indirectly from the Bush Administration to promote its policies and programs. Armstrong Williams received $200,000.

Fourth, in 2007 FEMA held a “press conference” in which FEMA staff members asked the questions. The White House spokesperson replied by saying that the practice was not employed by the White House and was not something that was condoned. This reply was reported uncritically by the White House Reporters, despite the fact that the White House has done the same in the past.

While more examples could be given, these should suffice to show that the media has a long tradition of being manipulated by the government and taking it easy on the President. True, the media did get tougher on the Bush Administration. However, that was when Bush’s approval ratings began to plummet. In light of the past, it seems reasonable to expect that the media will be fairly easy on Obama-provided that he remains popular. After all, shouldn’t he get the same easy ride that Bush got?

While Fox will be critical of Obama, someone should just play them tapes of what they said about the “liberal media” attacking Bush. After all, if the President should be treated a certain way by the media, that should hold whether the President is a liberal or a conservative.

My view is, of course, that the media folks should strive to be objective. When the Obama Adminstration is in error or up to something shady (wait for it…), then the media should call them on this. When the Obama Administration does well, then that should be noted as well.

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27 Responses

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  1. Ted said, on January 27, 2009 at 7:26 pm

    With the mounting job casualties, here’s hoping SCOTUS either finds someone, somewhere, has standing to require BHO’s birth certificate or fixes attention on a criminal indictment before he wins his War on Prosperity.

  2. magus71 said, on January 28, 2009 at 6:42 am

    Goldberg’s books use studies done by entities that as he says, “are far from being conservative”. They come to the same conclusion: The Media loves liberals and democrats, and as the title of his newest book states, slobbers all over Barack obama. It’s immediately and blatantly obvious, the media’s bias for the democrats. 95% of jounalists are registered dems–who does anyone think the journalists want to win?

    Goldberg also said, that while the media has had a liberal bias for the last 50 years, the Obama campaign set new standards. It literally became media activism. Time magazine: Seven cover stories about Barack Obama, Two for McCain.

    There is simply too much evidence for media liberal-bias. When we point out Limbaugh and Fox, we do so because they are the exception, not the rule. The military has even had to consider the media as a third party in any war we enter. We know we will have to fight an enemy who wields guns and an enemy who uses pens. The media has cost soldier’s lives. Check out the forst battle of Fallujah. US marines were pushing extremists from their stronghold there. The fighting was house to house and vicious. But the media began telling false stories of American attrocies there. Newsweek even had to make a retraction about Geneva Convention violations. Bush foolishly caved and told the troops to pull out before the battle was over. Guess what? We had to go back and more Americans died, with contractor’s burned bodies being hung from bridges–to the overwhelming silence of hypocritical and hateful “Peace Activists”. Apparently, it’s only a peace worth fighting for if the enemies of America are dying, not when our soldiers are having their heads cut off for YouTube.

    I’m glad that members of the meida are doing these “insider secrets” books. The media has become a tyranny in and of itself. Like everything else, their power needs checks and balances too.

  3. kernunos said, on January 28, 2009 at 8:35 pm

    I thought this discussion was finished. The Liberal media has admitted being biased. By the way, throwing Rush into this discussion is a little odd to me. Rush does not bring us the news. He is a Conservative talk show host. He is not running under the guise of objectivity. Here are a few examples of the Left-wing media admitting to bias. You can debate it all you like Mike but they have openly admitted bias. This is from a profession that is supposed to uphold objectivity above everything else.

    http://newsbusters.org/blogs/noel-sheppard/2008/09/13/lib-photographer-admits-making-mccain-look-sinister-mag-cover

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/11/07/AR2008110702895.html

    http://newsbusters.org/blogs/noel-sheppard/2009/01/17/maddow-bashes-fox-news-then-admits-never-seeing-one-fnc-program

    http://www.mediaresearch.org/BozellColumns/newscolumn/2003/col20031021.asp

    http://technorati.com/videos/youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DcSFYNyZmaX0

    http://proteinwisdom.com/?p=11020

    http://gatewaypundit.blogspot.com/2008/11/now-that-election-is-over-media-admits.html

    http://scottthong.wordpress.com/2008/07/24/obamedia-loves-obama-and-i-mean-red-hot-steaming-wet-lurve/

    This one is my favorite. This video has Obama voters admitting where they learned their misconceptions from. You guessed it….the Liberal media.

    http://scottthong.wordpress.com/2008/11/09/washington-post-admits-media-was-biased-in-favour-of-obama/

    I can find more if you like. There were hundreds.

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on January 29, 2009 at 8:37 pm

      By saying the “liberal media” is biased, you are begging the question by assuming they are liberal. Also, it is like claiming that people are fat because fat people are fat. It is true of some people, but not all. Sure, there are media folks with a liberal bias. But that does not entail that the media has a liberal bias as a whole or even that it is an endemic problem,

      Throwing Rush in isn’t odd. Unless by “media” you just mean “news people”. Sure, Rush doesn’t claim to be an objective newscaster, but he seems to be in the media. He does, after all, have that radio show.

  4. kernunos said, on January 29, 2009 at 12:12 pm

    What is going on here? I submitted a post with many links proving that the Left wing media has admitted their own bias. It is not showing up here. When I repost it, it says I already said that but it isn’t here. What gives?

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on January 29, 2009 at 8:38 pm

      The spam filter took the large numbers of links as a sign of spam. Plus, it suffers from a liberal web media bias.

  5. magus71 said, on January 29, 2009 at 12:38 pm

    HAHAHAHA! Obama now has control of the NSA….search engines are constantly monitoring this and other web sites for thoughtcrimes. Thoughtcrime does not entail death–it is death….MUAHAHAHAHA!

  6. kernunos said, on January 29, 2009 at 1:50 pm

    I knew it. Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy!!!!!!!

  7. kernunos said, on January 29, 2009 at 9:12 pm

    I’ll fix its wagon then. I have to get my point across after all. :)

  8. kernunos said, on January 29, 2009 at 9:21 pm

    By media I do mean ‘news people’. The problem brought up by the people accusing the media of being biased are talking about ‘news people’. Nobody would think it worth pointing out bias when the title of the show says so. In pointing out that the media(news people) is biased is because it undermines the very foundation of what journalism is all about. If you say that the ‘news people’ are biased it sure makes you wonder whether or not they should have First Amendment protection to the extent they do when they can sway elections politically and contribute to the death of our soldiers. You know that information is king when it comes to elections. If a large percentage of the media is controlling dissemination of information based on their political bias then there could be a problem.

    By the way, if you put forth the notion of people considering media to have Liberal bias then maybe you need to define what you mean by media. Obviously I was baited with the tossing in of Rush and my assumption of ‘news people’ but 8 track tapes are media too. :P

  9. kernunos said, on January 29, 2009 at 9:25 pm

    I thought this discussion was finished. The Liberal media has admitted being biased. By the way, throwing Rush into this discussion is a little odd to me. Rush does not bring us the news. He is a Conservative talk show host. He is not running under the guise of objectivity. Here are a few examples of the Left-wing media admitting to bias. You can debate it all you like Mike but they have openly admitted bias. This is from a profession that is supposed to uphold objectivity above everything else. By the way, Bernard was one of the ‘good ol’ boys’ for what, 25 years at CBS? He does have some insider knowledge.

    http://newsbusters.org/blogs/noel-sheppard/2008/09/13/lib-photographer-admits-making-mccain-look-sinister-mag-cover

  10. kernunos said, on January 29, 2009 at 9:27 pm

    …and another……

    http://www.mediaresearch.org/BozellColumns/newscolumn/2003/col20031021.asp

  11. kernunos said, on January 29, 2009 at 9:27 pm

    …and another……

    http://technorati.com/videos/youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DcSFYNyZmaX0

  12. kernunos said, on January 29, 2009 at 9:28 pm

    …and another……

    http://proteinwisdom.com/?p=11020

  13. kernunos said, on January 29, 2009 at 9:42 pm

    …and I can find more but I am getting overboard here to prove a point. The information that the ‘news people’ on the left now admit their bias is plentiful. If they admit it then why do you try and propose the opposite? Do they not understand what they are saying? The problem comes when you agree with what they are saying already. You then take the information as unbiased because you feel the same way. There is no need to question motives when your own beliefs reinforce their bias. Most Americans do not trust ‘news people’ because they have been found to be unreliable and untrustworthy when it comes to telling the truth in an objective way. This is based on a study in this link…

    http://www.stateofthenewsmedia.org/2008/narrative_special_attitudes.php?cat=1&media=13

    But if want to paint the media with such a broad stroke and not focus on the press, in my incorrect assumption, then you are not really going out on a limb with your point. It wouldn’t even be worth debating. If you are talking about the press then we have a debate on our hands.

  14. kernunos said, on January 29, 2009 at 9:48 pm

    The ‘Left Wing’ Liberal press is failing in the arena of ideas against ‘Conservative’ press and are failing economically. The Left press cannot stand up to the scrutiny of the internet and bloggers who often uncover their lies. Economically they are and will fail without government bailouts. Mark my works, the Liberal press will get a bailout to continue the heavy dose of Obama butt-kissing. You heard it here first.

  15. kernunos said, on January 29, 2009 at 9:50 pm

    Many news rooms erupted in cheers when Obama appeared at his inauguration…

    http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2168601/posts

    Did this happen with Bush?…..Either of them?

  16. magus71 said, on January 30, 2009 at 3:03 am

    System Overload. Cannot compute. Thoughtcrime Overload…

  17. kernunos said, on January 30, 2009 at 10:37 am

    I’m a sprint poster not a long distance poster like the owner of this blog. :)

  18. kernunos said, on January 30, 2009 at 11:21 am

    Here is the latest example of being too easy on Obama. This incident wher Obama tried to open a window in China is practically unheard of in the mainstream media. This happened on his recent trip to China.

    http://www.redstate.com/streiff/2009/01/29/gary-larson-forsees-the-obama-administration/

    Luckily for the internet we hear about it. It is no big deal and that is why the ‘mainstream media’ (the Liberal ones) do not mention it. What they do mention recently is this….

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/4454738.stm

    Try to find anything on BBC about Obama getting thwarted by a window.

  19. kernunos said, on January 30, 2009 at 11:34 am

    Oh, here is the article stating that only one media outlet brought the story. The article, albeit short makes a claim that there were 9480 articles written about the Bush blunder by media outlets. That doesn’t count bloggers and ‘Youtube’ videos.

    http://technorati.com/posts/6UGHP10YMl4KkIoLv2_xSZy%2B%2B0WAB1wZdLzhUlTFheA%3D

    Let us just keep wondering if they softball Obama. I will keep tally of the major media outlets talk of Obama’s blunder. Any guesses on how many there will be?

    You see? With the internet we can now see the bias. Before the internet it would be hard to know.

  20. kernunos said, on January 30, 2009 at 11:35 am

    I think I’m helping you hit counts…. :)

  21. kernunos said, on February 6, 2009 at 3:04 pm

    George Stephanopoulos is more proof that the media will be easy on ol’ Obama.

    http://www.mrc.org/press/2009/press20090204.as


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