The mainstream press is liberal.
The refusal of mainstream media executives to acknowledge the ideological leanings of their staffs has produced a dangerous form of media guilt in which the press leans over so far backward to avoid the charge of left bias that it ends up either neutered or leaning to the right. This happened at The Washington Post and was reflected in weak and sometimes fawning coverage, first of the opening years of the Reagan administration, and even more so during George W. Bush's first term-when not only the lead-up to the Iraq invasion but key domestic initiatives went largely unexamined, with disastrous consequences.
Here's my question for Edsall: If I call myself a vegetarian and believe with all my heart that eating meat is both immoral and unhealthy, but I enjoy a nice steak dinner twice a week, does it make sense to refer to me as a vegetarian?
In case my point isn't clear: If the press "ends up either neutered or leaning to the right," why on earth does it make sense to call it "liberal"?
Sen. Al Franken scored a victory on Tuesday for those calling for more oversight of private military contractors. Not that the Star Tribune bothered to report on it.
Minnesota readers instead had to turn to MinnPost.com -- a Minneapolis nonprofit that continues to school its for-profit competitors -- for news of Franken's amendment:
In one of the most public tests of his political skills since taking office in July, Franken pushed through an amendment Tuesday that would withhold defense contracts from companies like Halliburton if they restrict their employees from taking workplace sexual assault, battery and discrimination cases to court.
MinnPost had 1,200 words up on Franken's amendment the same night it passed.
The Pioneer Press's blog The Political Animal also blogged the story that night: "Minnesota's junior senator opened up a bit of a floor fight this afternoon in Washington, D.C."
A floor fight? Who doesn't love a good floor fight?
Yet Minnesota's largest newspaper was nowhere to be found.
To be fair, the Strib (as the Star Tribune is known locally) did provide its readers with a blog post on Thursday morning mentioning the passage of the amendment -- a blog post attacking Franken for his questioning of a witness during a Judiciary Committee hearing on Wednesday.
In Thursday's blog post -- "Franken gets testy over statistics" -- Eric Roper focused on Franken's demeanor during the hearing. Here is the lede:
Al Franken used to write books slamming his foes for allegedly manipulating statistics. And as one witness before the Judiciary Committee learned on Wednesday, old habits die hard.
Franken's target was Mark de Bernardo, executive director of the Council for Employment Law Equity, who clashed with the senator on his top issue this week: arbitration. It is a technique to keep legal disputes out of court and the topic of Franken's recent amendment, which passed the Senate on Tuesday night. His bill bars funding from defense contractors who prevent employees from suing over sexual assault and other charges.
Despite the major legislative victory, an unusually terse and irritated Franken emerged on Wednesday as he questioned de Bernardo, who was singing the praises of arbitration before the committee.
Let's chalk up Roper's suggestion that Franken shouldn't be criticizing someone for "manipulating statistics" to his employment of a hackneyed cliche. What's more important is, why is Franken's demeanor the subject of the only reporting (in a blog post) by the Strib on the very important -- and underreported -- issue of oversight of military contractors, as well as on Franken's first legislative victory?
(If his demeanor was so newsworthy, why did Roper completely ignore Franken's praising of Jamie Leigh Jones, the victim of gang rape that inspired Franken's amendment, and the genuinely funny and light-hearted moment between the two that preceded Franken's question of de Bernardo.)
While far too many media outlets are focused on allegations against ACORN, the crimes being committed by and occurring under the watch of military contractors are going virtually unnoticed by the mainstream media. Without Franken's amendment, a woman gang raped while working for a military contractor could be forced to take her case to an arbitrator rather than to a jury. Now, such a victim can receive real justice. Sounds like a victory for everyone, including the people of Minnesota.
Franken's amendment even had Republican support, except for some stalwarts like Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), who put up a fight -- a storyline the Strib also missed.
The Strib certainly did not have to portray this as a victory for Franken, even though Roper acknowledged it was in an aside two days later, but it is certainly obligated to cover the legislative actions of Minnesota's junior senator. Apparently, the Strib's awful treatment of Franken during the campaign and recount continues ...
As The Huffington Post's Sam Stein wrote: "After operating largely under the radar during his first few months in office, Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) is slowly beginning to make political ripples."
Let's hope, for the sake of Minnesotans, that the Star Tribune doesn't continue to bury the lede.
Remember when Glenn Beck put his art critic's beret on over his tin foil hat and told us all how the artwork in Rockefeller Center connected President Obama to Mussolini through the indoctrination of our children? Of course you do -- who can forget? It was lots of fun, and we all laughed at Beck. A lot.
But I'm starting to think Beck was on to something. There's a conspiracy afoot that seeks to undermine the very foundations of our country by glorifying socialist malcontents through artwork, and it's more widespread and cancerous than you thought it was before you finished reading this sentence in which I first told you about it.
You see, the statues collection in the U.S. Capitol contains two statues from each state, which the states are allowed to substitute at any time. According to The New York Times, Alabama has replaced one of its two statues -- that of Confederate Army officer and ardent secessionist Jabez Curry -- with a bronze likeness of Helen Keller, who overcame blindness and deafness to become a world-renowned speaker and author.
Do you know what else Keller was?
As Steven Benen observed, "[O]ne of the most conservative states in the union has unveiled a statue in the Capitol honoring one of the most famous American socialists in history."
Don't you understand what's going on here? Rockefeller Center was just the beginning. They've taken over Alabama. They've infiltrated the Capitol. What's next? A bust of Eugene Debs in the Smithsonian? Bernie Sanders in the National Portrait Gallery? A National Archives exhibit of the collected works of Upton Sinclair?
We're through the looking glass here, people ...
The thin-skinned attack man on the right didn't like it when the Daily Beast's Conor Friedersdorf pointed out some obvious, gaping holes in the type of attack 'journalism' Breitbart preaches and practices [emphasis added]:
Mr. Breitbart's media empire, and the outlets with which he most closely associates himself, are thoroughly ideological enterprises, publish few if any ideologically heterodox pieces, seldom if ever correct factual mistakes, and ignore liberal insights entirely.
These are outlets that scoff at claims that the Times attempts objective journalism, but that never question the "fair and balanced" claim made by Fox News, or acknowledge that they deliberately ignore certain stories. Its critics cite columns written by the Times' "public editor" as evidence that the newspaper is unaccountable to the American people—yet they'd never dream of allowing semi-autonomous ombudsmen to operate on their own sites.
In his response posted at Andrew Sullivan's site, Breitbart remained completely silent about the fact that while attacking the mainstream media as being unfair and unprofessional, his sites regularly features falsehoods and almost never posts corrections when those falsehoods are detailed for all to see. And that was the Daily Beast's point: if Breitbart wants to be taken seriously, than he needs to start behaving seriously.
Right now, the junkyard of false accusations and pure fiction that litter his sites make it impossible to treat legitimately the right-wing critique of the press. i.e. Why should we listen to people who have no regard to fair play when they lecture the press about fair play?
And on yeah, Andrew, any luck further deciphering the audio from last week's big community-organizers-pray-to-Obama scoop? Keep us posted, okay?
As in the headline to his Thursday WSJ column:
The GOP Is Winning the Health-Care Debate
Here's the latest from NYT/CBS News poll [emphasis added]:
Regardless of how you usually vote, who do you think has better ideas about reforming the health care system: Barack Obama, or the Republicans in Congress?
Barack Obama Republicans in Congress
9/19-23/09 52% 27%
And oh yeah, theres' this, from the latest Quinnipiac poll:
Just imagine what those numbers would look like if the GOP were losing the health care debate.
From an October 8 Time.com article:
The general in this war is [White House communications director Anita] Dunn, 51, a veteran campaign strategist who arrived at the White House in May. She has been a force in Democratic campaigns since the late 1980s and helmed Obama's rapid-response operation during his run. At the White House, she has become a devoted consumer of conservative-media reports and a fierce critic of Fox News, leading the Administration's effort to block officials, including Obama, from appearing on the network. "It's opinion journalism masquerading as news," Dunn says. "They are boosting their audience. But that doesn't mean we are going to sit back." Fox News's head of news, Michael Clemente, counters that the White House criticism unfairly conflates the network's reporters and its pundits, like Glenn Beck, whom he likens to "the op-ed page of a newspaper."
Under the headline "WH Laughs Off Questions on Czars," The Fox Nation embedded a video titled "Gibbs Is Asked About the Pervert School Czar." In the video, WorldNetDaily.com White House correspondent Les Kinsolving asks Press Secretary Robert Gibbs for his response to a Washington Times editorial's headline, "Obama's lewd schools czar," then asks him whether President Obama is "unconcerned about Kevin Jennings' salute of Harry Hays [sic], who publicly praised NAMBLA?" As Media Matters for America has documented, Fox News and its websites have repeatedly smeared Jennings, a Department of Education official.
Screenshot of The Fox Nation, taken at 10:45 a.m. ET:
From an October 8 Washington Times article:
The Washington Times reported erroneously Wednesday that the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which is part of Homeland Security, awarded the nearly $1 million grant to ACORN in spite of a clear signal from Congress that it intended to cut off funding to the group.
UPDATED: And FYI, this admission by the Times is not in connection with the erroneous "racist" ACORN reporting of Joseph Curl, which Media Matters has highlighted. That remains a separate matter entirely, and the Times still refuses to correct the errors in those articles.
Earlier, Eric took on that ridiculous second-degree guilt-by-association Politico foolishness -- the article that pretended it was newsworthy that of the $750,000,000 Barack Obama raised, $15,000 of it (0.002 percent) came from 6 of the 500 or so people who have signed a petition supporting Roman Polanski.
That's quite obviously not news.
What is news is that yesterday, 30 members of the United States Senate -- all Republicans, all men -- voted against an amendment that would prohibit defense contracts for companies that refuse to allow sexual assault victim a day in court:
Jamie Leigh Jones was a 20-year-old young woman working her fourth day on the job in Baghdad for contractor Halliburton/KBR in 2005, when she says she was drugged and gang-raped by seven U.S contractors and held captive by two KBR guards in a shipping container. But more than four years after the alleged crimes occurred, Jones is still waiting for her day in court because when she signed her employment contract, she lost her rights to a jury trial and, instead, was forced into having her claims decided through secret, binding arbitration.
Today, the Senate listened to her story before approving an amendment by a vote of 68-30 that would prohibit "the Defense Department from contracting with companies that require employees to resolve sexual assault allegations and other claims through arbitration."
That's news. That's 30 members of the United States Senate voting to keep women like Jamie Leigh Jones from being able to sue their employers when they've been raped or assaulted on the job.
But Politico won't tell you who those 30 Senators are. No, they're too busy scouring petitions to see if they can find a director who gave Barack Obama two grand and who doesn't think Roman Polanski should be jailed.
Hey, you have to have priorities.
But Howard Kurtz says the WashTimes is far more fair and balanced these days!
Whatever. The fact is the Times' Joseph Curl on Monday fabricated news. He made stuff up and the Times published it as news. Not once but twice. Media Matters documented the clear fabrication and the Times, to date, still has not corrected the bogus reporting, let alone apologized for it.
Behold conservative "journalism," where nobody--and I mean nobody--is restricted by facts. Instead, 'reporting,' is whatever story you want to tell on any given day. (Nice work if you can get it, right?)
Curl on Monday went to hear ACORN CEO Bertha Lewis speak at the National Press Club and while he was there, Curl heard Lewis say something that no other reporter in the room heard; he heard Lewis lash out at ACORN critics by calling them "racist." Reporters for CNN, and Reuters and the Wall Street Journal and Politico were all at the same Press Club event, but only Curl heard Lewis call her foes "racist."
So Curl typed it up in two different dispatches as news. Again and again he claimed that Lewis had played the race card. Of course, Curl never actually quoted Lewis saying anything about critics being "racist." (How could he quote her when Lewis never said it?) Yet over and over Curl simply concocted news. He weaved his fictitious, GOP-friendly tale, and spread an incendiary lie through the pages of the WashTimes. And when confronted with the truth--when the Times was called out for sending a 'reporter' to a news event and then letting that reporter come back to the newsroom and make shit up--the Moonie daily didn't do a thing to fix the problem.
Think about it. Under editor John Solomon's leadership, it's now okay for the Times to dispatch reporters around town and have them manufacture allegations. To literally invent quotes from public figures. The Times is fine with that. And when the lies are called out, Times editors will sit on their hands and not fix the egregious errors.
That's not journalism. It's propaganda and the Times is a proud practitioner.