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The Vast Left-Wing Media Conspiracy (I love these debates)

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It's from the Wall Street Journal, so hack away boys!! :happy:

Fred Barnes: The Vast Left-Wing Media Conspiracy - WSJ.com

The Vast Left-Wing Media Conspiracy

Everyone knew most of the press corps was hoping for Obama in 2008. Newly released emails show that hundreds of them were actively working to promote him.

When I'm talking to people from outside Washington, one question inevitably comes up: Why is the media so liberal? The question often reflects a suspicion that members of the press get together and decide on a story line that favors liberals and Democrats and denigrates conservatives and Republicans.

My response has usually been to say, yes, there's liberal bias in the media, but there's no conspiracy. The liberal tilt is an accident of nature. The media disproportionately attracts people from a liberal arts background who tend, quite innocently, to be politically liberal. If they came from West Point or engineering school, this wouldn't be the case.

Now, after learning I'd been targeted for a smear attack by a member of an online clique of liberal journalists, I'm inclined to amend my response. Not to say there's a media conspiracy, but at least to note that hundreds of journalists have gotten together, on an online listserv called JournoList, to promote liberalism and liberal politicians at the expense of traditional journalism.

My guess is that this and other revelations about JournoList will deepen the distrust of the national press. True, participants in the online clubhouse appear to hail chiefly from the media's self-identified left wing. But its founder, Ezra Klein, is a prominent writer for the Washington Post. Mr. Klein shut down JournoList last month—a wise decision.

It's thanks to Tucker Carlson's Daily Caller website that we know something about JournoList, though the emails among the liberal journalists were meant to be private. (Mr. Carlson hasn't revealed how he obtained the emails.) In June, the Daily Caller disclosed a series of JournoList musings by David Weigel, then a Washington Post blogger assigned to cover conservatives. His emails showed he loathes conservatives, and he was subsequently fired.

This week, Mr. Carlson produced a series of JournoList emails from April 2008, when Barack Obama's presidential bid was in serious jeopardy. Videos of the antiwhite, anti-American sermons of his Chicago pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, had surfaced, first on ABC and then other networks.

JournoList contributors discussed strategies to aid Mr. Obama by deflecting the controversy. They went public with a letter criticizing an ABC interview of Mr. Obama that dwelled on his association with Mr. Wright. Then, Spencer Ackerman of The Washington Independent proposed attacking Mr. Obama's critics as racists. He wrote:

"If the right forces us all to either defend Wright or tear him down, no matter what we choose, we lose the game they've put upon us. Instead, take one of them—Fred Barnes, Karl Rove, who cares—and call them racists. . . . This makes them 'sputter' with rage, which in turn leads to overreaction and self-destruction."

No one on JournoList endorsed the Ackerman plan. But rather than object on ethical grounds, they voiced concern that the strategy would fail or possibly backfire.

Among journalists in general, there's always been a herd instinct. Eugene McCarthy, the Minnesota senator and Democratic presidential candidate, once described political writers as birds on a telephone wire. When one bird flew to the wire across the street, they all did. In Mr. Ackerman's case, I'm glad none of the birds joined him across the street.

We've often seen media groupthink in campaigns. In 1980, most of the media decided that President Jimmy Carter was being mean-spirited in his re-election effort with his harsh denunciations of Ronald Reagan, his Republican opponent. The media turned the meanness issue into major story. In 1992, journalists treated the economy as if it were dead in the water, though a recovery from a mild recession had begun early the previous year. I could go on.

I think JournoList is—or was—fundamentally different, and not simply because one of its members proposed to make palpably false accusations. As best I can tell, those involved in JournoList considered themselves part of a team. And their goal was to make sure the team won. In 2008, this was Mr. Obama's team. More recently, the goal seems to have been to defeat the conservative team.

Until JournoList came along, liberal journalists were rarely part of a team. Neither are conservative journalists today, so far as I know. If there's a team, no one has asked me to join. As a conservative, I normally write more favorably about Republicans than Democrats and I routinely treat conservative ideas as superior to liberal ones. But I've never been part of a discussion with conservative writers about how we could most help the Republican or the conservative team.

My experience with other conservative journalists is that they are loners. One of the most famous conservative columnists of the past half-century, the late Robert Novak, is a good example. I knew him well for 35 years. He didn't tell me what stories he was working on nor ask what I was planning to write. He never mentioned how we might promote Republicans or aid the conservative cause, nor did I.

What was particularly pathetic about the scheme to smear Mr. Obama's critics was labeling them as racists. The accusation has been made so frequently in recent years, without evidence to back it up, that it has little effect. It's now the last refuge of liberal scoundrels.

The first call I got after the Daily Caller unearthed the emails involving me was from Karl Rove. He said he wanted to talk to his "fellow racist." We laughed about this. But the whole episode was also sad. I didn't sputter at the thought of being called a racist. But it was sad to see what journalism, or at least a segment of it, had come to.

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It all sounds like sour grapes from Tucker Carlson who wasn't allowed in the group.

That said..

JournoList: Conspiracy, Scandal, Or Locker Room Trash Talk ?

It certainly seems juicy, but the truth of the matter is that these mostly young JournoListers were completely unable to stop the Wright story from coming out, or from preventing journalists like Stephanpoulos and Gibson from focusing on it a debate. For several weeks during April, while Obama was battling Hillary Clinton in Pennsylvania, the Rev. Wright story was front and center. Obama had tried to put the story behind him with a speech in Philadelphia in March, but Wright continued to give media interviews where he seemed to be on his own mission to embarrass Obama, which required Obama to speak yet again and formally repudiate his former Pastor. So, if the JournoListers were really intent on spiking the Rev. Wright story, they failed, and they failed miserably.
At the same time, though, the suggestion that the best way to distract from the Wright story was to randomly call some conservative pundit racist is rather disturbing, as Ed Morrissey notes:

Let’s put this in its proper perspective. Ackerman wasn’t talking about a strategy to expose real racists, in the media or anywhere else. The Washington Independent reporter wanted to conduct a campaign against any figure on the Right, including journalists like Fred Barnes, to smear him as a racist for the political purposes of electing a Democrat to the White House. Notice that Ackerman doesn’t even bother to ask people to look for actual evidence of racism, but just suggests to pick a conservative name out of a hat. Tellingly, the pushback from members of Journolist had less to do with the outrageous idea of smearing an innocent person of racism to frighten people away from the story than with whether it would work. Mark Schmitt, now at American Prospect, warned that it “wouldn’t further the argument” for Obama, and Kevin Drum objected because playing racial politics would “probably hurt the Obama brand pretty strongly.”

It certainly puts efforts by the Left to paint the Tea Party as racist in an entirely new light. It also calls into question the ethics and judgment of anyone who participated in that Ackerman thread.

Indeed, but as Morrissey goes on to note, the people involved in this exchange were all opinion writers of one kind or another, not reporters or editors. So, none of this is really evidence of an effort to keep facts out of the newspaper, or off the air.

The Wright piece seems to have been the high watermark of the Daily Caller series, though.

Sounds like "Frat Boys" venting a bit..

I

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A bit of a counter attack to the Left Wing Bias, (from a conservative, no less)

Conservative Media Bias

Conservatives have long complained about liberal media bias. But conservative media bias seems to be much worse.

In a brief “Note to the Right,” Kevin Drum observes:

There have been three big conservative outrages that have choked the airwaves over the past couple of weeks. #1 was about a bunch of scary black men, the New Black Panther Party. #2 was about a bunch of scary Muslims who want to build a triumphal mosque on the sacred soil of Ground Zero. #3 was about a vindictive black woman who works for the government and screws the white people she deals with. The running theme here is not just a coincidence.

Honest to God, someone on the right needs to start talking about this. Not David Frum or Andrew Sullivan, who have long since been purged from the ranks of real right wingers. Someone that conservatives actually listen to. Pronto. Who’s going to start?

Matt Yglesias, noting that even Ann Althouse has called the Daily Caller’s releases on the JournoList brouhaha “weak” and “pretty mild stuff,” is even more to the point:

At some point conservatives need to ask themselves about the larger meaning of this kind of conduct—and Andrew Breitbart’s—for their movement. Beyond the ethics of lying and smear one’s opponents, I would think conservatives would worry about the fact that a large portion of conservative media is dedicated to lying to conservatives. They regard their audience as marks to be misled and exploited, not as customers to be served with useful information.

As I’ve noted many times, I largely stopped watching and listening to broadcast news and political talk years ago. Not only do I get almost all my news and commentary online these days, I’ve almost completely abandoned sources that I consider too polemical or predictable. So, I mostly judge those other sources based on what bubbles up into the blogospheric discussion, which may not be representative of the whole.

But both Drum and Yglesias make excellent points. Far too much of conservative media seems to be a nakedly propagandistic exercise, designed to manufacture outrage. To be sure, the general direction of media, period — see Politico and HuffPo, for example — is to do whatever’s necessary to generate traffic or ratings. But outright manipulation and distortion is qualitatively different than mere hype.

In fairness, OTB covered all the stories Drum mentioned and quickly identified them as bunk. But that’s almost our stock in trade here: Most of the Outrage of the Day stories on the left and the right are based on some combination of assuming the worst of opponents and not understanding how the system works. We occasionally fall into the same trap others do, but our default position on almost all those stories is “Meh.”

And Yglesias’ note that conservative media outlets are, at the end of the day, in the business of lying to conservatives is worth underscoring.

Tucker Carlson, who’s trying to create a conservative HuffPo with his upstart Daily Caller, has always struck me as harmless enough and rather close to me politically, hovering somewhere in the centrist conservative – mild libertarian territory. My sense is that he’s just trying too hard to make a splash with this JournoList story and banging the drum too hard. But, to the extent there’s an outrage there, it’s the one Andrew Sullivan has been pointing too — the clubbishness of media elites — rather than some conspiracy to set the news agenda. Certainly, it’s not that a bunch of liberal journos were excited that Obama won the election.

Andrew Breitbart, on the other hand, become well known as a result of the fraudulent ACORN sting operation and has been trying to replicate that on a regular basis. There’s simply no reason to give him the benefit of the doubt at this point.

My advice remains what it was more than a decade ago — before the modern Yellow Journalism era –when I was teaching Media and Politics courses to undergraduates: Consume a wide variety of news sources, especially those that challenge your own biases.

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IGNORE THE MAN BEHIND THE CURTAIN!

Yes, because someone'll be along in a while to tell us that there's absolutely no link whatsoever between ownership and bias. They got told that by someone who got told to say it. That wouldn't get questioned though - oh no, it's always best to believe what rich men tell you... ;-)

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More media debate....

Pro-Obama media always shocked by bad economic news | Michael Barone | Politics | Washington Examiner

Pro-Obama media always shocked by bad economic news

Unexpectedly!

As megablogger Glenn Reynolds, aka Instapundit, has noted with amusement, the word "unexpectedly" or variants thereon keep cropping up in mainstream media stories about the economy.

"New U.S. claims for unemployment benefits unexpectedly climbed," reported CNBC.com May 25.

"Personal consumption fell," Business Insider reported the same day, "when it was expected to rise."

"Durable goods declined 3.6 percent last month," Reuters reported May 25, "worse than economists' expectations."

"Previously owned home sales unexpectedly fall," headlined Bloomberg News May 19.

"U.S. home construction fell unexpectedly in April," wrote the Wall Street Journal May 18.

Those examples are all from the last two weeks. Reynolds has been linking to similar items since October 2009.

Mainstream media may finally be catching up. "The latest economic numbers have not been good," David Leonhardt wrote in the May 26 New York Times. "Another report showed that economic growth at the start of the year was no faster than the Commerce Department initially reported -- 'a real surprise,' said Ian Shepherdson of High Frequency Economics."

Which raises some questions. As Instapundit reader Gordon Stewart, quoted by Reynolds on May 17, put it, "How many times in a row can something happen unexpectedly before the experts start to, you know, expect it? At some point, shouldn't they be required to state the foundation for their expectations?"

One answer is that many in the mainstream media have been cheerleading for Barack Obama. They and he both naturally hope for a strong economic recovery. After all, Obama can't keep blaming the economic doldrums on George W. Bush forever.

I'm confident that any comparison of economic coverage in the Bush years and the coverage now would show far fewer variants of the word "unexpectedly" in stories suggesting economic doldrums.

It's obviously going to be hard to achieve the unacknowledged goal of many mainstream journalists -- the president's re-election -- if the economic slump continues. So they characterize economic setbacks as unexpected, with the implication that there's still every reason to believe that, in Herbert Hoover's phrase, prosperity is just around the corner.

A less cynical explanation is that many journalists really believe that the Obama administration's policies are likely to improve the economy. Certainly that has been the expectation as well as the hope of administration policymakers.

Obama's first Council of Economics Advisers chairman, Christina Romer, whose scholarly work is widely respected, famously predicted that the February 2009 stimulus package would hold unemployment below 8 percent. She undoubtedly believed that at the time; she is too smart to have made a prediction whose failure to come true would prove politically embarrassing.

But unemployment zoomed to 10 percent instead and is still at 9 percent. Political pundits sympathetic to the administration have been speculating whether the president can win re-election if it stays above the 8 percent mark it was never supposed to reach.

Administration economists are now making the point that it takes longer to recover from a recession caused by a financial crisis than from a recession that occurs in the more or less ordinary operation of the business cycle. There's some basis in history for this claim.

But it comes a little late in the game. Obama and his policymakers told the country that we would recover from the deep recession by vastly increasing government spending and borrowing. We did that with the stimulus package, with the budget passed in 2009 back when congressional Democrats actually voted on budgets, and with the vast increases scheduled to come (despite the administration's gaming of the Congressional Budget Office scoring process) from Obamacare.

All of this has inspired something like a hiring strike among entrepreneurs and small-business owners. Employers aren't creating any more jobs than they were during the darkest days of the recession; unemployment has dropped slowly because they just aren't laying off as many employees as they did then.

In the meantime, many potential job seekers have left the labor market. If they re-enter and look for jobs, the unemployment rate will stay steady or ebb only slowly.

We tend to hire presidents who we think can foresee the future effect of their policies. No one does so perfectly. But if the best sympathetic observers can say about the results is that they are "unexpected," voters may decide someone else can do better.

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Thanks, Belch! It's about time we had a debate on this. Do you like your popcorn with movie theater butter or cheese?

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Not much of a debate those on the right think it tilts to the left. Those on the left have given up and gone to other sources.

That is the way the first part has been for the last 50 years. And nobody on the right really cares what the left thinks (and vice versa)

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when the "liberal" media stops giving .01% of the population dressed up like old dudes from the 1700s hours upon hours of coverage, over estimating their power, etc - then y'alls might have a point. Until then, its pretty much totally laughable.

Don't blame the media for the fact that your party has old stale ideas that everyone knows don't work. Don't blame the media for the fact that your party latches onto horrifically unpopular ideas.

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Yup, I'm pretty left wing, and when I want confirmation of my feelings, I'm reading blogs, not checking out the lamestream media.

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Left wing= people like me. No mainstream media is as left as us, they are all right and center right sources.
Yup, I'm pretty left wing, and when I want confirmation of my feelings, I'm reading blogs, not checking out the lamestream media.

Couple of Tories the both of yer ;-)

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To be fair, a small group of newspapers characterizing a series of economic reports as unexpectedly lower than anticipated is pretty definitive proof of a major institutional campaign to promote far-left leadership. I would say to my fellow liberals, maybe we should stop fighting on this issue, as we have finally been fully exposed by Michael Barone's thorough argumentation.

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Ted Rall seems to agree, at least that there seems to be a media cult who is biased.

I’ve heard that from enough “liberal” websites and print publications to consider it a significant trend.

A sample of recent rejections, each from editors at different left-of-center media outlets:

• “I am familiar with and enjoy your cartoons. However the readers of our site would not be comfortable with your (admittedly on point) criticism of Obama.”

• “Don’t be such a hater on O and we could use your stuff. Can’t you focus more on the GOP?”

• “Our first African-American president deserves a chance to clean up Bush’s mess without being attacked by us.”

I have many more like that.

What’s weird is that these cultish attitudes come from editors and publishers whose politics line up neatly with mine. They oppose the bailouts. They want us out of Afghanistan and Iraq. They disapprove of Obama’s new war against Libya. They want Obama to renounce torture and Guantánamo.

Obama is the one they ought to be blackballing. He has been a terrible disappointment to the American left. He has forsaken liberals at every turn. Yet they continue to stand by him. Which means that, in effect, they are not liberals at all. They are militant Democrats. They are Obamabots.

As long as Democrats win elections, they are happy. Nevermind that their policies are the same as, or to the right of, the Republicans.

SYNDICATED COLUMN: Rise of the Obamabots | Ted Rall's Rallblog

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As soon as an article blames the "liberal" media for liking Obama too much, its obvious they have no idea what they're talking about. Obama isn't liberal, he's a corporate democrat. If you read true liberal sources, it would become quite apparent.

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Well, by putting quotes around, "liberal" Rall is inferring that they aren't liberal. They're just party harlots.

And I think he probably is right about this, if nothing else.

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Well there is certainly no way the media is far to the right or classical left. I can't remember that last time I heard a news story on abolishing the fed or decriminalizing narcotics.

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Well there is certainly no way the media is far to the right or classical left. I can't remember that last time I heard a news story on abolishing the fed or decriminalizing narcotics.

It's probably right next to the liberal media criticizing Obama for keeping all of Bush's anti-terrorism policies... or right next to the liberal media criticizing Obama for killing hundreds of innocent civilians with his Nobel Peace Drones... or their criticism his extension of the Bush tax cuts... or their criticism of his Gitmo closing... or their criticism of his decision not to try KSM in civilian court... or their criticism of not fighting for the public option... etc etc.

Liberal media my tushy

what a joke

Edited by pfife

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Yup, I'm pretty left wing, and when I want confirmation of my feelings, I'm reading blogs, not checking out the lamestream media.

Are you further left than your avatar, that used to annoy the crap outta me but now I find rather engaging?

Alexander Pope might have something to say about my change of opinion on that.

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These are the 2 things in the original article that bother me.

JournoList contributors discussed strategies to aid Mr. Obama by deflecting the controversy. They went public with a letter criticizing an ABC interview of Mr. Obama that dwelled on his association with Mr. Wright. Then, Spencer Ackerman of The Washington Independent proposed attacking Mr. Obama's critics as racists. He wrote:

"If the right forces us all to either defend Wright or tear him down, no matter what we choose, we lose the game they've put upon us. Instead, take one of them—Fred Barnes, Karl Rove, who cares—and call them racists. . . . This makes them 'sputter' with rage, which in turn leads to overreaction and self-destruction."

Until JournoList came along, liberal journalists were rarely part of a team. Neither are conservative journalists today, so far as I know. If there's a team, no one has asked me to join. As a conservative, I normally write more favorably about Republicans than Democrats and I routinely treat conservative ideas as superior to liberal ones. But I've never been part of a discussion with conservative writers about how we could most help the Republican or the conservative team.

I've always said that everybody is biased. People write from their world view. I don't think you can separate the two. The problem is when try to hide your world view for the purposes of propping up an ideology as mainstream, or to benefit a group or candidate. I think it's disingenuous.

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Now, after learning I'd been targeted for a smear attack by a member of an online clique of liberal journalists, I'm inclined to amend my response.

At least we know why Fred Barnes was eager to write this.

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