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Friday, November 28, 2008

Media Bias Infects The Media's Self-Examination

The mainstream media, which swooned over Barack Obama, is going through a mild period of self-examination. Howard Kurtz' piece, A Giddy Sense of Boosterism, has sparked media self-examination over how the media debased itself through pro-Obama boosterism. Yet even in this self-examination, the pro-Obama bias shines through.

There is no better example of media self-examination bias than an Op-Ed by Jon Friedman, Mr. Obama, Enjoy the Media Adulation While You Can. The article purports to be an expression of remorse for the shabby treatment of Hillary Clinton and John McCain at the hands of the pro-Obama mainstream media. Friedman seems honest in his intent, but even an honest member of the mainstream media cannot help but let Obamamania seep through. Witness the following:
Yes, I'm thrilled that he won the election, underscoring the American ideal that we live in a foreword-thinking democracy, where any man or woman can rise to the highest office in the land. And I'm proud that even Obama's staunchest foes -- particularly the man he defeated, John McCain -- seem to be willing to accept his victory and pledge to help him turn around the economy and cure the nation's other ills.
Notice how Friedman presumes that electing Obama is "foreword-thinking." So those of us who supported McCain are backwards-thinking? Bias. Or how Obama's election proved that "any man or woman can rise to the highest office in the land." Really, I thought the whole point of the self-analysis was that one woman (hint, her name is Hillary) couldn't rise to the highest office because of media bias.

But Friedman saves the best for last. Even Obama's "staunchest opponents" are ready to help Obama, after he saves the economy, to "cure the nation's other ills." Ah yes, Obama as healer who can place his hands on the ill nation and work miracles. Isn't this type of aggrandizement of Obama the very problem Friedman purports to lament?

And what about all those unnamed "other ills." One thing I know for sure, there is one ill even Obama cannot cure. It's called pro-Obama mainstream media bias.

UPDATE: Some attentive commenters have noted the use of the term "foreword-thinking." That was the term used in the original Marketwatch Friedman post. Since then it has been corrected to "forward-thinking" with the explanation that "This is an update to fix a typographical error."


  1. Ah, the perils of spell-check. "Foreward-thinking?" Or was it "forward-thinking" Friedman had in mind to write? Methinks part of Friedman's problem is that his editors don't actually edit his copy.

  2. I checked the text at the link and it has
    "forward" instead of "foreword".

  3. "There is no better example of media self-examination bias than - "

    You give them too much credit. Its not an example of media self-examination - nothing "learned" from this will be put into practice. See CBS Memo Fraud.

    Its more about PR: the media reluctantly fessing up to the public that they know they were biased, pretending to be ashamed of it, so that Joe Q will excuse them, so they can do it all again next election cycle.

  4. The original post said "foreword" so I quoted it that way. They corrected it later, apparently, since the post says "This is an update to fix a typographical error."

  5. Most people learn to adopt the accouterments of self-examination without the messy bother of actually seeing anything unpleasant. Every wife-batterer is an expert at looking sincere.

  6. Interesting, and congrats on the link from Insty! Say, does anyone have any *effective* plans to undercut the influence of the MSM? I keep hearing others whine about bias, but I rarely see anyone else doing anything that's truly effective.

    (Note that Pajamas Media doesn't count, as their idea of "sending the MSM down the river" is useless talking head shows featuring worthless minor pundits).

  7. And where does it say they were wrong -- is there remorse at their mindless pandering? Is there any negative consequence for their betrayal?

    "...particularly the man [we helped defeat for him] ..."

    Given that Obama had $600 million (how much from Soros?) and the national media completely in the tank, they should be asking themselves why it wasn't a blowout.

  8. Another typographical error: the possessive of Kurtz is not "Kurtz'" but rather "Kurtz's."

  9. Last comment says it should be Kurtz's. Not sure about that. There is no single correct usage, as far as I know.

    "Words ending with s, z or x generally omit the "s."" http://www.meredith.edu/grammar/plural.htm

    And "if the noun ends in a "z" sound, use just an apostrophe without adding an additional "s."" http://www.kentlaw.edu/academics/lrw/grinker/LwtaPossessives.htm

    And "If a singular noun ends with an /s/ or a /z/ sound (spelled with -s, -se, -z, -ce, for example), practice varies as to whether to add 's or the apostrophe alone" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apostrophe#Singular_nouns_ending_with_an_.22s.22_or_.22z.22_sound

  10. It's a mistake to particularize "forward-thinking" as you do. In a general sense, Obama's election does speak well for our democracy's ability to be "forward-thinking," or at least open minded. That does not translate into McCain supporters being any less forward-thinking as individuals. Quite logically, they could have been very open to electing a man of Obama's background and heritage, but simply differed with him over policy.

    The election of Obama is something we should all be proud of in this country, regardless of where we stand on the political spectrum.

    So this point is hardly evidence of bias.

    Your formulation of "Obama as healer" is misguided. Obama was elected, much like FDR, because in a large part he was the candidate who most closely embodied a change from Bush, who is now despised in this country more than Hoover in 1932. And like FDR, Obama has been short on specifics, but he has shown leadership, something McCain failed to do. And we have problems to be solved, and the country has spoken and said, "we believe Obama is the man to lead us to solutions."

    That is not bias, just a statement of fact.

    FWIW: I'm no Democrat, and hardly a liberal. I'm just injecting reality.

  11. Obama has been short on specifics, but he has shown leadership

    Help me with the 'leadership' Obama has shown? He's never done anything much less shown any leadership.