[internetworkers] Republican controlled media

Rowland Smith rowland at cashi.us
Sun Sep 19 11:11:43 EDT 2004

Can we P-L-E-A-S-E  have Michael for president?!

Michael Czeiszperger wrote:

> On Sep 19, 2004, at 3:25 AM, Don Rua wrote:
>> There's something about the comments on this thread that brought 
>> questions to mind:
>> Summary assertion: The 'republican controlled' media is 
>> de-legitimizing journalism by labeling it "the liberal media".
>> Q: If the media is republican controlled, why wouldn't they label 
>> themselves as objective. Why trash what they own?
>> Q: Or, if the 'republican controlled media" is just a small 
>> percentage of media, how is it that their voice can be heard over the 
>> majority? Why wouldn't the majority of media voices effectively earn 
>> our respect by doing good work objectively, at a much greater volume 
>> than a minority group? Are the republican voices just smarter?
> There are two types of media outlets. The first are  the three 
> broadcast networks, "liberal" newspapers and magazines which employ 
> professional journalists trained on an ethic of objectivity who bend 
> over backward to avoid even the appearance of bias.  The second are 
> conservative broadcast networks such as Fox, newspapers and magazines 
> which are mostly staffed not with trained journalists, but rather with 
> employees who come from conservative lobbying groups and think tanks.
> The movement to label objective journalist as having a "liberal bias" 
> started in the 70s by political operatives of the Nixon administration 
> who sold conservative business interests on the goal of bullying the 
> media through constant criticism to provide incentives to induce the 
> media to give equal time to heavily subsidized pro-business and pro 
> Vietnam-war commentators on the air. This work was implemented with 
> hundreds of millions of dollars in donations from businesses to groups 
> such as Accuracy in Media and the Media Research Center.  Any 
> broadcast in the objective media that didn't include a conservative 
> point of view, however implausible, was met with an angry, coordinated 
> attack.  To make a long story short, over 30 years this has forced the 
> objective media to gradually shift from the role of objective 
> reporting into the role of providing media time for "commentators". 
> Instead of objective reporting, where the goal is the find the truth, 
> we are simply given two opposing viewpoints.
> The reason the conservative movement decided to go this route rather 
> than create conservative media outlets with journalists is object 
> media outlets give equal scrutiny to all points of view, something 
> that does not fit in with their political goals. Your typical 
> "liberal" newspaper for instance can't be controlled--  it will tend 
> to report both the bad and good about an issue, which is at odds to 
> the conservative propaganda agenda.  The other problem with using 
> journalists is the conservative establishment doesn't have any, and 
> they tend to believe that everyone else is like themselves, i.e. 
> one-sided partisans who's only goal is to push a certain agenda.
>> Q: Thirdly, it seems as if these assertions assume the masses are 
>> ignorant, and can't tell opinion from logic. I guess with Bush in 
>> office, liberals on this list would say EXACTLY!, but then what do 
>> you say when Clinton or Kennedy is in office? Do the masses become 
>> smart only when your party is in office?
> I'm not sure of your point.
>> Q: If people admit that there are 'right wing' media outlets doing 
>> all this nasty business, isn't it a bit naive to assume that all of 
>> the other media outlets are objective? I think that there are too 
>> many examples of liberal media bias to say the label is the fault of 
>> republican strategy. I don't need a 'cue' from the right to know that 
>> Maureen Dowd is liberal, or to question why the media still puts 
>> Carvel on screen, etc. I don't see any paper's editorial boards 
>> writing that abortion is horrible and should be overturned, so 
>> where's the right-wing domination?
> There are of course partisan lobbying organizations for a huge range 
> of issues.  Unfortunately there is no underlying liberal agenda as 
> there is on the right, so while the right has groups such as the 
> enormous Heritage Foundation, where the public relations staff alone 
> has 80 people, the left is stuck on single agenda issues and 
> organizations such as the environment, pro-choice, etc.  When the 
> media decides do have "balanced" reporting they just grab a 
> commentator from both sides rather than give an objective assessment.  
> This goes hand-in-hand with the conservative movements distrust of 
> science, wanting to lend equal importance to opinion as they would 
> towards peer-reviewed research.
> I see you're interested in newspaper editors. An extensive study by 
> Harvard's Center on the Press, Politics, and Public Policy looked at 
> the partisan nature of the four leading editorial pages, The New York 
> Times, the Washing Post, the Wall Street Journal, and the Washington 
> Times.  The research found that "conservative editorial boards are far 
> less willing to criticize a Republican administration than liberal 
> pages are willing to take issue with a Democratic administration".  
> Outside of the editorial pages the research found that liberal papers 
> criticized then president Clinton 30 percent of the time, while 
> conservative papers criticized President W. Bush only 7 percent of the 
> time.
> Another example of a partisan network is the Fox News Network, which 
> is run by Republican party consultants and echos the RNC's talking 
> points on a daily basis.
>> By the way, for the past three months I have been working in news 
>> rooms while I hunt for a product marketing position in my area. I run 
>> production teams that put out several papers, and work with 5 
>> editors-in-chief. While they all try very hard to make sure they 
>> don't APPEAR biased (all employees are forbidden to have political 
>> bumber stickers on their cars), I hear their true comments in the 
>> newsroom. They share their frustrations, exasperations, and political 
>> thoughts freely as they are banging out stories or looking over 
>> letters to the editor. There is NO objective media as far as I can 
>> tell, as they are all human and subject to what grabs their attention 
>> as 'newsworthy'. They try, on the whole, to be honest and fair, but 
>> they don't go looking for stories that conflict with their beliefs, 
>> and they run fast after those that align with their beliefs.
> The main books on media bias have pretty much the same thing, that 
> journalists try to be objective, even to the point of not being able 
> to put bumper stickers on their cards, but yet can't help for subtle 
> bias to creep in since they are human.  Compare this, then with 
> conservative media outlets such as Fox news who totally reject even 
> the concept of objective reporting in favor of a top-down controlled 
> propaganda.  That is why "media bias" is so important to the 
> conservative movement. Without it, they wouldn't have an excuse to 
> broadcast their own propaganda.  They get to criticize objective 
> reporting by providing political commentary that don't meet even the 
> most minimal journalist standards. For example,  when a journalist 
> such as Jason Blair at the NYT is found to make up stories, he or she 
> is fired.  Contrast this with Fox News, which tolerates reporters who 
> regularly broadcast easily refuted falsehoods, and even edit 
> recordings to make it seem like public figures said something they 
> didn't.
> ___________________________________________________________________
> michael at czeiszperger dot org
> Chapel Hill, NC
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