Media bias and asnwer to Joe Oglesby’s post

by Leonid Balaban

Please forgive me for not posting properly, but for some reason I couldn’t reply to Joe’s post.

Joe,

I don’t mean to be sarcastic in my answer to your post, but “you’ve got to be kidding”.

Please tell me of any other issue that occupied news and cable airways more than the Obama-Wright controversy? In fact, Obama had to make 2 separate speeches about it, just to make people stop talking about.

Firstly, if Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh and others want to practice journalism, that would be the first time they’d ever do it. Hannity might not even know what journalism is all about, since he never bothered finishing his college degree at NYU. Same goes for Rush Limbaugh, who flunked out of Southeast Missouri State University. O’Reilly at least has two master’s degrees and one of the in Journalism.

Second, the art of practicing journalism involves presenting facts which are found during extensive research. I agree with you partially that new media has not been doing a good job in that area. With that said, talk show hosts like Limbaugh, Hannity, Olberman and others are not journalists, but talk-show hosts, who are on the air to present their opinion and not news. They discuss newsworthy events, but that doesn’t make them journalists.

Third, the Fairness doctrine and the deregulation of the FCC which started by Pres. Ronald Reagan had a lot more to do with the dying breed of journalists and real news coverage than the so called “liberal media”

Forth, speaking of liberal media, I don’t have the figures behind my claim, but let’s look at the Colorado Radio market. Name me one other radio station, other than KKZN-760, that broadcasts liberal/progressive talk? You might be somewhat correct when it comes to print media, but there’s little doubt that radio and TV markets are controlled mostly by conservatives. Example, Clear Channel Communications, broadcast primarily conservative talk. Sinclair Broadcasting group, which operates a lot of TV stations, mainly in the south and midwest, actively promotes right-wing/conservative agenda. I urge you to look at this wikipedia article that contains a lot of information regarding its controversies.

To prove my point that liberal media bias is just a myth, I bring you David Brooks, a conservative columnist who writes for guess what? New York Times, and organization that’s absolutely despised by the right. Here’s what he said about Sarah Palin in his interview for the Atlantic:

[Sarah Palin] represents a fatal cancer to the Republican party. When I first started in journalism, I worked at the National Review for Bill Buckley. And Buckley famously said he’d rather be ruled by the first 2,000 names in the Boston phone book than by the Harvard faculty. But he didn’t think those were the only two options. He thought it was important to have people on the conservative side who celebrated ideas, who celebrated learning. And his whole life was based on that, and that was also true for a lot of the other conservatives in the Reagan era. Reagan had an immense faith in the power of ideas. But there has been a counter, more populist tradition, which is not only to scorn liberal ideas but to scorn ideas entirely. And I’m afraid that Sarah Palin has those prejudices. I think President Bush has those prejudices.

So, I hate to burst your bubble, but journalism is not dead, at least not yet. We need not only to re-regulate FCC and the media markets, but allow News organizations to work as non-profit units, that way they cover events and news fairly.

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Media bias and asnwer to Joe Oglesby’s post

  1. Joe Oglesby

    By: Joe Oglesby
    You’ve got me. By watching Fox News, listening to Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity I am inclined to believe that the Obama-Wright controversy was reported on heavily. However, I also know that Fox News broke the story before any other network. And NBC reported on Obama’s response to the story, not the story itself. It received a lot of coverage because when a presidential candidate’s spiritual advisor expels hatred as he did we, the American people, deserve to know why a candidate is so closely affiliated with such an angry hateful man.
    You lump Olbermann in with two personalities who you have agreed are commentators. Yet, Olbermann, who until a month ago, was an anchor at MSNBC. The current fluctuations within MSNBC due not excuse the previous bias on their part.
    The fairness doctrine has nothing to do with who is appointed anchor to a network. The fairness doctrine regulates programming. If you have figures that prove otherwise please present them so that I am not spouting falsehoods.
    Sinclair Broadcast Group is a local affiliate. They do not in any way command who is involved in the media Sinclair may chose to broadcast. They are simply a broadcaster, not a news organization. Sinclair choosing not to broadcast an event is the same as any other broadcaster that chooses to or not to air certain programming.
    I have to criticize you on having the majority of your sources come from Wikipeida. Wikipedia is a user built site, so anyone can post information on the site regardless of whether it has any ground to stand on. I know for a fact that Wikipedia is not a source that is allowed to be used in collegiate or scholarly papers because for the most part the sources can not be trusted. With that said I am discrediting the information you used, but I entered into the links with caution and senses alert.
    Yes David Brooks is a conservative, however he writes for the opinion section of the newspaper. He like Hannity and Limbaugh is simply a commentator. He presents ideas not “facts.” One other outlet that I will bring up because it is wholly appropriate when discussing newspapers, is the associated press. The associated press proved again today just where they stand. If this one source is not enough search the internet or go here. I realize the previous site is set up in the same fashion as wikipedia, but rest assured the facts are present in this, much as they were in yours.
    I will concede that Fox leans moderately right, but other than this single network I am unaware of another major network that also leans right. I am very aware of how far left NBC leans, and that CBS and ABC lean moderately left. That doesn’t exactly leave many, if any, networks left when taking into account that these majors do own nearly everything else on television. I stand behind Sean Hannity in stating that “we will look back on 2008 as the year journalism died.”

  2. Joe Oglesby

    Edit:
    Sorry for the long comment, but a lot of points were raised that I felt inclined to address.

  3. balaban13

    Joe, I appreciate your reply and I will try to answer some of the questions you have raised.

    Sarah Palin has received 1/100th of coverage that Obama has gotten in terms of her shady associations with her waco pastor, who believes in witchcraft, the per-diem she recieved while staying at home, the fact that she promised to cooperate with the Troopergate investigation that Republican legislature has approved and so on. McCain has his own problems with sitting on a board with a Nazi sympathiser or something along those lines. If we go with a 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon type of association, we can say that McCain used to work with a racist senator from North Carolina. Does that make McCain a racist?

    Second, Olberman’s anchorship at MSNBC still does not make him a journalist. They have journalists on the panel like Andrea Mitchell, Norah O’Donnell, David Shuster and so on. But Olberman never considered himself a journalist. In fact, when Tim Russert died and there were rumors that Olberman was in contention for the job for Meet the Press, Keith said on his own show that he’s not qualified.

    Fairness doctrine has a lot to do with it, because broadcasting companies would have to be forced to present 2 sides of the story, and before you say that Fox is “fair and balanced”, I’ll tell you that they are not. Besides Alan Colmes, who’s such a week host, I’m having a hard time thinking of anybody who’s somewhat progressive on that network. As for the other networks, all I can do is remind you of the time, in 2006 right before the mid-term elections, when ABC aired a very controvercial docudrama “Path to 9/11”, in which there were a lot of false points made. A constant public pressure actually forced ABC to edit the piece and put warnings on the screen that it’s not a documentary.

    Although wikipedia itself is not a scholastic source, the article itself is sourcing legitimate sources, so I urge you to check it out again.

    The reason I brought up Synclair broadcasting is because they refused to air Nightline episode where the names of soldiers who died in Iraq were read.

    AP, in general, used to be a non-partisan source until they hired a right-wing hack Ron Fournier, who was actually advising McCain in 2007. Here’s the Politico article about him:
    http://dyn.politico.com/printstory.cfm?uuid=1DA639E4-3048-5C12-0010F30E475931F7

    Once again, I will not count Hannity as a credible source in saying that. He’s not a journalist, never has been and never will be. Find me a credible journalist who makes the same statement and we can argue about it.

    Lastly, for your viewing pleasure, here’s one of Hannity’s latest interviews with Robert Gibbs, Obama’s communication director. For us, progressives, it’s a beutiful thing to watch.

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