Posts Tagged ‘dangerous’

Hypocrite Sarah Palin-Denouncing Democrats Used ‘Targets’ On Their Maps

March 31, 2010

This is just too classic an example of the most blatant kind of Democrat hypocrisy and mainstream media propaganda.

From Vocal Minority:

Liberal Hypocrisy: Guess Who Used “Target” Imagery on Their Maps?

In addition slandering the Tea Party on a daily basis, the Democrat-media complex has had another target in their sights: Sarah Palin.

About a week ago, the leftocracy, was all atwitter due to Sarah Palin having this map on her Facebook page:

Palins-Facebook-map

The icons placed on strategic Congressional districts throughout the U.S. were interpreted as cross hairs or gun sights. Devonia Smith at the Examiner says they’re neither; they’re surveyor’s symbols:Surveryorsymbol

So what exactly sent libs into a tizzy? Well, take out your fully functioning brain for a minute, and replace it with a liberal brain. Now do the calculation:Cross hairs = Guns = Violence
= Sarah Palin is threatening violence against Democrats!

Google “Sarah Palin” and “cross hairs” and you will see libs from politicians to the network shows to the mainstream editorial pages castigate Sarah Palin’s “despicable” ad. I even got into an argument with more than one liberal Facebook friend over the inoffensive (to most sentient human beings) ad. One of them even insisted Palin should be arrested. Amused, I responded: Arrested for what? Because of liberal politicians you support, we can’t even profile at the airport or engage in “warrantless wiretapping” or engage in any other preventative measure to capture radical Islamic terrorists. We need to wait until they’ve actually blown up an airplane or building before we do anything. But this liberal Palin-hater wants her immediately arrested for allegedly “inciting violence” by using crosshairs on strategic Congressional districts on a U.S. map. (Again, the liberal brain.)

The targets, obviously (to most sentient human beings), were symbolic. Hell, I’ve put politicians’ faces inside gun sights on my own blog as symbolic political targets. (Alas, neither Paul Krugman, Howard Kurtz, Anthony Weiner, nor Chris Matthews have discovered my blog!)

When Palin’s ad came out, the leftocracy went on and on about how she “crossed the line!” By the way, isn’t it funny how the right is always “crossing the line”? But for some reason calling Bush a Nazi and a war criminal; denouncing our troops as stupid, uneducated, hick dupes and cold-blooded murderers; calling the Iraq War “lost” while our troops were in harm’s way; publishing a full-page NYT ad reading “General Betray-Us;” the NYT adorning its front pages with classified information that hampered our war effort; and giving an endless forum for anti-American opportunists like Cindy Sheehan were never considered “crossing the line”? ‘M just sayin’.

Anyway, the British-health-(s)care-loving Paul Krugman wrote:

All of this goes far beyond politics as usual … you’ll search in vain for anything comparably menacing, anything that even hinted at an appeal to violence, from members of Congress, let alone senior party officials … to find anything like what we’re seeing now you have to go back to the last time a Democrat was president.

John at Verum Serum gladly accepted that challenge:

Really, Paul? I’ll search in vain?

DLC-Targeting-map

The map appears on this page of the Democratic Leadership Committee website (dated 2004 during the Bush years). I guess we could argue over whether the DLC counts as “senior party officials” but they’re certainly as much a part of the party as Palin who, after all, currently holds no elected office. …

But wait, there’s more!

When Palin’s map became an issue, Rep. Chris Van Hollen, leader of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), rushed on MSNBC to denounce it, telling Chris Matthews:

I really think that that is crossing a line…In this particular environment I think it’s really dangerous to try and make your point in that particular way because there are people who are taking that kind of thing seriously.

Really, Chris? So what do you think about this map?

DCCC-target-map

Each one of those red targets represents a “Targeted Republican.”You’ll never guess where I found this map. That’s right, it’s on the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) website. They launched the site and the map on February 23rd of this year, making it just over a month old. And yet Van Hollen was quoted by Politico just today denouncing Republicans for “pouring more and more gasoline on the flames.” Right back at you, pal. …

You have to be kidding me! The leader of the DCCC is condemning Sarah Palin for “crossing the line” with this supposed violent imagery when his own committee did the same thing only a month ago!?The knee-jerk “OMG, Sarah Palin scares me!” mentality of the leftocracy is so old and tired. But with regard to this latest outrage there’s only one way to describe them:

Hypocrites.

Democrats and liberal journalists are as dishonest as the sun is hot.

Liberals also fainted in panic over the “hate” Sarah Palin expressed when she said “Don’t Retreat, Instead – RELOAD!

And we all know how Democrats denounced Obama for his “FIRED UP, READY TO GO!!!” remarks, as we all recognized he was very clearly inciting his followers to violent acts of arson.

Oh, wait.  I’m sorry.  That was me assuming that Democrats and the mainstream media had enough brains or enough fairness to treat both sides the same way.  When they don’t have any of either.

Update, January 9, 2011: Given that this article is receiving more attention due to the shooting of  Rep. Gabrielle Gifford (among 18 other victims), I ought to throw a bone to a more current article on that subject: “Gabrielle Giffords Shooting: Don’t Blame Sarah Palin, Blame Jerod Loughner (Who If Anything Is A Leftist)”

For those who continue to want to blame Sarah Palin for using surveyor symbols to identify vulnerable Democrat-held districts, or for her “rhetoric,” I leave you with this:

The website Daily Kos has also deleted a diary about Rep. Gabrielle Giffords entitled “My Congresswoman Voted Against Pelosi, Now She’s Dead To Me,” but so far has not deleted a post by founder Markos Moulitsas that lists Giffords’ district among those on their “target list,” and noted that “Not all of these people will get or even deserve primaries, but this vote certainly puts a bulls eye on their district.” (emphasis ours).

Given the clear and abundant record of Democrats and liberals doing not merely the same as Sarah Palin, but in fact worse, what is your beef with Sarah, again???

Obama As Joker And Typical Hypocritical Liberal Outrage

August 7, 2009

Pictures of Obama as “the Joker” above the label “socialism” began popping up around the L.A. area.

Needless to say, liberal outrage was swift to follow.

It didn’t matter that liberals had already come up with the idea themselves to attack George Bush.  Nor did it matter that this was the work of one anonymous person, versus the fact that the “Bush-as-Joker” project was created by a major mainstream media outlet in Vanity Fair.

Joker_Bush

The blatant hypocrisy in crying “FOUL!” over the picture of Obama as Joker never even enter into the liberal mindset that saw no problem in the picture of George Bush as the Joker.  Hypocrisy is such a part of them – the very atmosphere they breathe – that they appear as completely unaware of their hypocrisy as a fish is unaware of the water around it.

Noel Shepperd at Newsbusters demonstrates the outrage from the mainstream media surrounding the “Obama-Joker” stunt that somehow never managed to materialize when a major media outlet portrayed Bush as Joker.

Oh, the OUTRAGE (pronounced in identical cadence to the “Oh, the HUMANITY” famously uttered by Herbert Morisson at the explosion of the Hindenburg):

Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable President Earl Ofari Hutchinson is calling the depiction, politically mean spirited and dangerous.

Hutchinson is challenging the group or individual that put up the poster to have the courage and decency to publicly identify themselves.

“Depicting the president as demonic and a socialist goes beyond political spoofery,” says Hutchinson, “it is mean-spirited and dangerous.”

“We have issued a public challenge to the person or group that put up the poster to come forth and publicly tell why they have used this offensive depiction to ridicule President Obama.”

And how long did you think it would take for some leftist goon to depict it as an act of racism? I mean, after all, we ALL know there is a long historic association between “the Joker” and the negro, going all the way back to when Cesar Romero played the role on the the campy Batman program in the 1960s.

Who could have missed the obvious anti-black racism of that role?  No one I know, anyway.  And, of course, when Jack Nicholson reprised the role in one of the more recent Batman movies, I remember everyone saying, “There they go with that racism again!”

I am now immunized from any charge of racism.  I have a knee-jerk response: “That is a terribly racist thing of you to say, you racist bigot.”  When charges of racism are unleashed like a flood, it simply turns into water flowing off a duck’s back.  The real racists are the people who keep leveling the charge for partisan ideological effect.

I think my favorite pseudo-outraged piece by the pseudo-intellectual Lost Angeles Times is this one:

Reading into the Obama-as-Joker poster … or not

11:50 AM, August 5, 2009

Joker There’s nothing like a controversial political caricature to get people talking, blogging and tweeting.

But when it comes to understanding those same cartoons — as opposed to rehashing, reblogging and retweeting them — context is key.

The New Yorker magazine’s infamous cover illustration of Barack and Michelle Obama in radical drag, bumping fists in the Oval Office as an American flag burns in the fireplace, is understood to be a parody of conservative paranoia, not an attack on the first couple. But put that same image on the cover of the Weekly Standard and the illustration takes on a vastly different meaning.

In this respect, the image of President Obama in Heath Ledger Joker-face is especially disturbing because it is completely devoid of context — literary, political or otherwise. The image seems to have emerged from nowhere and was created by no one. Deracinated from authorial intent, Obama-as-Joker becomes a free-floating cipher that can be appropriated and re-appropriated by everyone.

Clearly, the poster — which has already mutated into countless variations on the Internet — communicates a virulent hostility to Obama, but in a vague and flailing way. It can mean anything and it could mean nothing. (The latter seems more likely than the former.) In some versions of the image, the word “socialism” has been appended to the poster. But as media outlets like CNN have pointed out, the Joker (as portrayed by Ledger in “The Dark Knight”) was a rabid anarchist, which doesn’t jibe well with the accusation of socialism.

Like Shepard Fairey’s “Hope” poster, the mystery “artist” behind the Joker prank has borrowed and altered an existing media image of the president for his or her own creative ends. (It’s from a cover shot of Obama featured on Time magazine.) In many ways, the Obama-as-Joker picture can be viewed as the evil twin of Fairey’s “Hope” — one is laudatory and arguably hagiographic while the other is mean-spirited and demonic. Maybe one day, a publicity-savvy museum will mount the two of them side-by-side in an exhibition on the malleability of the digital image.

Understandably, some people have latched on to the poster’s white-face significance. Is the creator saying that the president is pretending to be someone he’s not? Again, it’s impossible to know for sure. The Joker was a garish parody of a clown, and a clown can be any race — the white makeup doesn’t necessarily have an ethnic subtext.

At one extreme, the poster suggests that Obama is a psychopath who is completely out of control and running afoul of the law — which he clearly is not. For a cartoon or parody to work, it must have at least one toe placed firmly in the realm of reality — a credible starting point from which to launch into the free-for-all ether of comedy.

The most that can be said about Obama-as-Joker is that it’s a prank that the Joker himself would have been proud of. It has exploded like a cultural grenade — an act of cultural terrorism? — and has left meaningless chaos in its wake.

– David Ng

First notice the complete omission of the Vanity Fair attack against Bush.  Mentioning it would obliterate Ng’s thesis, so he simply doesn’t mention it.  But isn’t the fact that it was done to Bush part of the overall “context” in understanding why it might be done to Obama?  Why bother yourself with revealing something that would only serve to demonstrate how truly full of crap you are?

Then there is the reference to the New Yorker cover featuring Barack and Michelle Obama “in radical drag.”  It’s not the Obama’s we’re mocking, it’s conservatives.  So it’s okay.  You see, it’s perfectly acceptable to fabricate a straw man by which to mock and attack conservatives.

Whether Vanity Fair or the New Yorker, the point is the same: if you’re a Joseph Goebbels-modeled propagandist, as long as you’re not negatively depicting your fellow Nazis, pretty much anything goes.  The left is always able to create a self-serving “context” to declare what is and is not in bounds.  “Joker-Bush” is perfectly acceptable; “Joker-Obama” is immoral, dangerous, and racist.  Says we.

Then there’s the dismissal of “Joker-Obama” on the grounds that Heath Ledger’s Joker was an anarchist – and Obama is clearly not.  Let’s put aside the fact that “the Joker” has been around for a loooooooong time prior to the Heath Ledger movie role, and that it is frankly asanine to define the meaning of the Joker strictly within the Heath Ledger-created “context.”  Let’s put aside that Cesar Romero’s Joker and Jack Nicholson’s Joker were just thugs (as in “Chicago thugs”) with an unusual pigmentation.

Was George Bush an anarchist?  You see, that’s why any analysis that really wanted to take itself seriously needed to mention the Vanity Fair “Joker-Bush.”  If Bush wasn’t an anarchist, and the left used the Joker anyway, then how is it somehow suddenly intellectually stupid for the right to use the same motif?  Other than the fact that Goebbels never turned his propaganda against the Nazis?  What about the simple playground rules that if you punch me in the mouth, I get to punch you back?

In any event, the Lost Angeles Times writer concludes that Obama as Joker “is completely devoid of context — literary, political or otherwise.”

I’ve got two things to say to that.

First of all, it there is absolutely no related context, then why is everybody talking about it?  Why didn’t they talk about Bush-as-Joker the same way?  Good satire simply has to have some direct relationship with the object of the satire.  And the closer to reality the satire comes, the more powerful it is.  If there’s no connection, the joke is literally lost.  So I would ask the Lost Angeles Times, why is it that some lone guy put up a poster of Obama as the socialist “Joker” that struck a powerful chord, while a giant magazine published a nationally distributed cover that failed to strike anything?

And secondly, I would submit to you that there very much IS a context.  And that context is that President Obama, like the Joker, is “changing” society in what will be an incredibly destructive way.  Like the Joker, who loved to mar traditional societal representations with his own image, Obama is out reshaping and distorting and perverting our society into his own, yes, socialist image.  I can’t help but think of that elderly woman who got so tired of seeing Obama that she sold her televisions.

Joe the Plumber heard Obama talk about “spreading the wealth around” and responded by saying, “That sounds like socialism.”  And Joe the Plumber was right: it DID sound like socialism because it WAS socialism.

The Obama campaign came out in a fury that he was not a socialist, and that his policies were not socialism.

Then after Obama won election, the leftist magazine Newsweek triumphantly exclaimed:

And Earl Ofari and David Ng want to tell us it is somehow “mean-spirited and dangerous” to simply state the truth?

We’re seeing what is being done with the “Joker-Obama” poster to what is being done with the “manufactured anger” over health care town hall meetings.  Just as it was the left that FIRST attacked George Bush as “the Joker,” it was also the left that began using the tactics that liberals are ascribing to conservatives confronting Democrat politicians over health care.  An article written back in 2001 records how the left would show up and simply shout down conservative speakers such as David Horowitz, Ward Connerly, Dinesh D’Souza, and many others.  They weren’t even allowed to clear their throats before they were shouted down.

This is part of the larger category of how the left used to say “Dissent is the highest form of patriotism” (usually erroneously attributing it to Thomas Jefferson) when Bush was president, only to depict conservatives as being obstructionist and immoral for protesting President Obama’s policies.

This tactic of blatant hypocrisy is only successful because the mainstream media are themselves major participants in that leftist hypocrisy.

Hopefully, by pointing out these blatant acts of mainstream media hypocrisy and pseudo-outrage, we can turn the spotlight of legitimate criticism on them, rather than on the false target of conservatives.

Obama’s Economic Forecast: No Reality In Sight

July 16, 2009

Right on the heels of Wall Street analyst Meredith Whitney predicting 13% or higher unemployment, we are beginning to see mainstream media economic forecasters abandoning their “Isn’t Obama just wonderful” chant and wake up to smell reality.

I added my own frequently smarmy comments in brackets with the content in italics.

Experts: Obama Too Optimistic on Economy

Politico: Miscalculation Would Mean Much Higher Deficits Than the Administration Is Now Acknowledging

July 14, 2009

President Barack Obama’s economic forecasts for long-term growth are too optimistic, many economists warn, a miscalculation that would mean budget deficits will be much higher than the administration is now acknowledging.

The White House will be forced to confront the disconnect between its original, upbeat predictions and the mainstream consensus about how the economy is likely to perform in a new budget forecast to be unveiled next month.

Christina Romer, chairwoman of the White House’s Council of Economic Advisers, said in a POLITICO interview that the administration – like many independent economists – did not fully anticipate the severity and pace of this recession. She said the White House will be updating its official forecasts.  [Allow me to interject here that this now oft-repeated excuse is insane.  Obama personally and repeatedly fearmongered the economy by comparing it to the Great Depression.  And now he has the naked chutzpah to claim he didn't realize it was actually bad?  That is completely INSANE].

The new numbers will come as part of a semiannual review that, under ordinary circumstances, is the kind of earnest-but-dull document that causes many Washington eyes to glaze over.

This time, however, the new forecasts – if they are anything like what many outside economists expect – could send a jolt through Capitol Hill, where even the administration’s current debt projections already are prompting deep concerns on political and substantive grounds.

Higher deficit figures also would arrive at a critical moment in the health care debate, as lawmakers are already struggling to find a way to pay for the president’s nearly $1 trillion reform package.

Alternately, if Obama clings to current optimistic forecasts for long-term growth, he risks accusations that he is basing his fiscal plans on fictitious assumptions – precisely the sort of charge he once leveled against the Bush administration.

White House officials rebuff such suggestions, saying the midyear correction is precisely intended to keep their economic program reality based.

But a series of POLITICO interviews in recent days with independent economists of varied political stripes found widespread disdain for Obama’s first round of assumptions, with some experts invoking such phrases as “rosy” and “fantasy.”

Obama’s current forecasts envision 3.2 percent growth next year, 4 percent growth in 2011, 4.6 percent growth in 2012 and 4.2 percent growth in 2013.

The administration is already under intense pressure over its economic calculations on the most politically sensitive statistic: employment. The administration once vowed to use stimulus policies to keep the jobless rate below 8 percent; it is now just shy of 10 percent.

Deficit figures do not pack the same emotional punch as unemployment lines do. But they matter greatly to policymakers and the financial markets as a measure of whether the country can afford Obama’s big agenda.

And the general public is paying attention, too.

In a June NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, a bare majority – 51 percent – of respondents approved of Obama’s handling of the economy, down from 56 percent in February.

In addition, 58 percent said the president and Congress should focus on keeping deficits down, even if that delays an economic recovery, the poll found.

“They used a rosy forecast, and that’s understandable because a quick recovery makes the rest of the agenda possible. It creates the basis for the revenues you need for health care and climate change,” said Robert Shapiro, a former Clinton economic adviser.

“But it’s also dangerous and risky because if the forecast doesn’t come true, you’ve undermined the basis for the rest of your policies,” he added.

White House officials note that at the time of their forecasting, the depth of the crisis was less clear. For instance, the global reach of the downturn wasn’t fully apparent late last fall.

Another challenge was that the slowdown “was going from a relatively normal recession into something much worse, and we were at a pivot point, if not a turning oint,” Romer said.

“There was just inherently a lot of uncertainty. None of us has a crystal ball, especially at a time when there is a lot of new information coming in. That’s when you have to be ready to update. That’s certainly what a lot of forecasters have done and what we will do, as well,” she added.

[In response to the last three paragraphs let me say this: I have been predicting economic calamity for nearly a YEAR now if Obama got elected, and I have been citing expert sources in every single one of those articles to support my claim.  One of my "favorite" predictions came in October 8 - obviously well BEFORE Obama claimed unemployment would not rise above 8% if his stimulus package was enacted.  CEO's predicted that "some of Obama's programs would bankrupt the country within three years, if implemented." Romer's "crystal ball" stuff is just garbage, just as her "Nobody knew it would be bad" line - and frankly just as her bogus economic forecasting].

Those outside forecast adjustments have been almost universally in a downward trend.

White House officials began to lay the groundwork for the politically ill-timed revisions when Vice President Joe Biden recently conceded the administration had “misread” the economic indicators in January about how bad the economy actually was.

Obama later amended those remarks, saying the White House had “incomplete” information, which led to their miscalculations.

Either way, those admissions appear to pave the way for a significant rewrite of the White House’s economic outlook, starting with it growth predictions.

“Those numbers will prove to be much, much too optimistic,” said J.D. Foster, a former economic adviser in the Bush administration.

To appreciate the potential problems that can arise once those numbers are changed, consider this:

The White House projected revenues for 2012 are forecast at $3.1 trillion. But if growth is just 2 percent, rather than around 4 percent, as some economists now expect, that income would hover around $2.4 trillion – adding another $700 billion to the projected deficit of $581 billion.

“That would be a significant change in the deficit,” said Foster, who did the math.

There is a case for hewing close to the administration’s original, out-year conclusions, said some economists.

The president’s hope for a burst of new economic activity around “green” jobs in the energy and environment sectors and the kick-in of the infrastructure phase of the stimulus package could provide some healthy growth, economists say.

“The question is, what will drive the growth? It’s not likely to be the housing market or another tech bubble. We don’t know what it is going to be, but it doesn’t make sense to assume it won’t be anything,” said James Horney, an economist with the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Still, it’s not clear whether another optimistic outlook will sell on Capitol Hill.

Mark Zandi, chief economist for Moody’s Economy.com and a frequent adviser to Capitol Hill, said the worsening economic picture makes passage of health care reform even more essential.  [Which is like handing a man in a free fall an anvil instead of a parachute in terms of economic sense.  We're reeling at the prospect of massive deficits, so let's add another trillion - and probably several trillion - to our deficit in the name of erasing our deficit].

“It’s so important for policymakers to show that they will address the long-term fiscal pressures on the economy and budget very, very soon,” he said, including the rising costs of Medicare and Medicaid that are overwhelming the federal budget.  [Medicare has a $61.6 trillion unfunded liability and is expected to bankrupt us by 2019, so let's push for more government health care so we can be even more truly screwed than we already are].

The key for outside investors, he said, is “to see if policymakers credibly pay for it.” If Congress does it right, “that could be quite a positive thing” by boosting U.S. credibility in the world markets that are financing the nation’s debt.  [IF... IF...  If winged monkeys flew out of my butt on command, I could get a good job at the circus].

Roger C. Altman, another former Clinton economic adviser, recently suggested in a Wall Street Journal column that Congress move aggressively on health care reform and Social Security – both fixes that could ease deficit pressures.  [Just remember that when George Bush attempted to reform Social Security, Democrats demonized him for it].

“Public anxiety over deficits may make this fix [of Social Security funding] possible now, even though it has been elusive for years,” he said.

But Peter Morici, a University of Maryland economist, said the White House should set aside major domestic initiatives and focus on stabilizing the economy by attacking the trade deficit.

“The spending required for health care, the tax on business with a [climate change] cap-and-trade system, and the wasteful spending inside the stimulus will finish the job that the Chinese mercantilism began,” he said. “We’re headed for a disaster here.”

Go slow is also Shapiro’s guidance, suggesting a phased-in approach to any universal health care insurance program, which would delay its full costs.

Almost all of the economists interviewed – including former Bush White House officials – were sympathetic to the Obama economic team’s plight.

Its January forecasts didn’t deviate sharply back, then, from most other predictions by established and respected economic experts.

The Congressional Budget Office, for instance, predicted growth in 2012 of 4.4 percent, compared with the White House’s 4.6 percent.

But some worry the administration now is on the verge of making another mistake by inadequately addressing the next big threat: inflation fears.

No one can predict when that day will come, but many think now that it will be sooner rather than later.

When it does come, the Federal Reserve Bank will face a Hobson’s choice, said Morici: either runaway inflation or higher interest rates, both of which could stall a recovery and send the economy back into recession.

The Fed’s decision to pump money into the economy to stave off disaster in the financial sector and elsewhere last year was understandable, said Foster.

“But a price must be paid for what they did,” he added, and that means withdrawing that liquidity from the market to combat inflation. “In this case, the amount of liquidity to be withdrawn is unprecedented,” he added.

Zandi doesn’t dismiss Foster’s scenario, but he said it’s possible the country could get through inflation scares without as much damage.

“I think policymakers will do roughly the right thing with health care reform and get a reasonably credible package from a fiscal perspective,” he said.

“Then the current stimulus will be reasonably sufficient to push us out of recession later this year and into early recovery,” he added.

Republicans predicted that the “stimulus” wouldn’t “stimulate” and that the pork-laden package would fail, just as they also forecasted that the funds wouldn’t get out in time to do any good.  It’s funny how the media – which never listens to anything conservatives have to say anyway – are allowing the Obama administration to present the lie that “no one knew the economy would be this bad under our messianic governance.”

Personally, I keep going back to Gerald Celente, the Trends Research CEO who predicts food riots and tax revolts by 2012.  I see him making a lot more sense, rather than less, every single day.  And I don’t doubt for a second that liberals will mock such forecasts even as the riots and revolts erupt around them.

For the record, you can tell – given the complete lack of mention of “defense” or “the military” – that both are going to suffer greatly as Obama scrounges for funds to pay for his massive socialist agenda.

ABC Journalist Damns Whole Field Of Journalism Over “DANGEROUS” Bias

October 29, 2008

This is as powerful as it is frightening, coming from a fourth-generation journalist with ABC named Michael S. Malone.

ABC News
Media’s Presidential Bias and Decline
Columnist Michael Malone Looks at Slanted Election Coverage and the Reasons Why
Column By MICHAEL S. MALONE

Oct. 24, 2008 —

The traditional media are playing a very, very dangerous game — with their readers, with the Constitution and with their own fates.

The sheer bias in the print and television coverage of this election campaign is not just bewildering, but appalling. And over the last few months I’ve found myself slowly moving from shaking my head at the obvious one-sided reporting, to actually shouting at the screen of my television and my laptop computer.

But worst of all, for the last couple weeks, I’ve begun — for the first time in my adult life — to be embarrassed to admit what I do for a living. A few days ago, when asked by a new acquaintance what I did for a living, I replied that I was “a writer,” because I couldn’t bring myself to admit to a stranger that I’m a journalist.

You need to understand how painful this is for me. I am one of those people who truly bleeds ink when I’m cut. I am a fourth-generation newspaperman. As family history tells it, my great-grandfather was a newspaper editor in Abilene, Kan., during the last of the cowboy days, then moved to Oregon to help start the Oregon Journal (now the Oregonian).

My hard-living — and when I knew her, scary — grandmother was one of the first women reporters for the Los Angeles Times. And my father, though profoundly dyslexic, followed a long career in intelligence to finish his life (thanks to word processors and spellcheckers) as a very successful freelance writer. I’ve spent 30 years in every part of journalism, from beat reporter to magazine editor. And my oldest son, following in the family business, so to speak, earned his first national byline before he earned his drivers license.

So, when I say I’m deeply ashamed right now to be called a “journalist,” you can imagine just how deep that cuts into my soul.

Now, of course, there’s always been bias in the media. Human beings are biased, so the work they do, including reporting, is inevitably colored. Hell, I can show you 10 different ways to color variations of the word “said” — muttered, shouted, announced, reluctantly replied, responded, etc. — to influence the way a reader will comprehend exactly the same quote. We all learn that in Reporting 101, or at least in the first few weeks working in a newsroom.

But what we are also supposed to learn during that same apprenticeship is to recognize the dangerous power of that technique, and many others, and develop built-in alarms against them.

But even more important, we are also supposed to be taught that even though there is no such thing as pure, Platonic objectivity in reporting, we are to spend our careers struggling to approach that ideal as closely as possible.

That means constantly challenging our own prejudices, systematically presenting opposing views and never, ever burying stories that contradict our own world views or challenge people or institutions we admire. If we can’t achieve Olympian detachment, than at least we can recognize human frailty — especially in ourselves.

Reporting Bias

For many years, spotting bias in reporting was a little parlor game of mine, watching TV news or reading a newspaper article and spotting how the reporter had inserted, often unconsciously, his or her own preconceptions. But I always wrote it off as bad judgment and lack of professionalism, rather than bad faith and conscious advocacy.

Sure, being a child of the ’60s I saw a lot of subjective “New” Journalism, and did a fair amount of it myself, but that kind of writing, like columns and editorials, was supposed to be segregated from “real” reporting, and, at least in mainstream media, usually was. The same was true for the emerging blogosphere, which by its very nature was opinionated and biased.

But my complacent faith in my peers first began to be shaken when some of the most admired journalists in the country were exposed as plagiarists, or worse, accused of making up stories from whole cloth.

I’d spent my entire professional career scrupulously pounding out endless dreary footnotes and double-checking sources to make sure that I never got accused of lying or stealing someone else’s work — not out of any native honesty, but out of fear: I’d always been told to fake or steal a story was a firing offense & indeed, it meant being blackballed out of the profession.

And yet, few of those worthies ever seemed to get fired for their crimes — and if they did they were soon rehired into even more prestigious jobs. It seemed as if there were two sets of rules: one for us workaday journalists toiling out in the sticks, and another for folks who’d managed, through talent or deceit, to make it to the national level.

Meanwhile, I watched with disbelief as the nation’s leading newspapers, many of whom I’d written for in the past, slowly let opinion pieces creep into the news section, and from there onto the front page. Personal opinions and comments that, had they appeared in my stories in 1979, would have gotten my butt kicked by the nearest copy editor, were now standard operating procedure at the New York Times, the Washington Post, and soon after in almost every small town paper in the U.S.

But what really shattered my faith — and I know the day and place where it happened — was the war in Lebanon three summers ago. The hotel I was staying at in Windhoek, Namibia, only carried CNN, a network I’d already learned to approach with skepticism. But this was CNN International, which is even worse.

I sat there, first with my jaw hanging down, then actually shouting at the TV, as one field reporter after another reported the carnage of the Israeli attacks on Beirut, with almost no corresponding coverage of the Hezbollah missiles raining down on northern Israel. The reporting was so utterly and shamelessly biased that I sat there for hours watching, assuming that eventually CNN would get around to telling the rest of the story & but it never happened.

The Presidential Campaign

But nothing, nothing I’ve seen has matched the media bias on display in the current presidential campaign.

Republicans are justifiably foaming at the mouth over the sheer one-sidedness of the press coverage of the two candidates and their running mates. But in the last few days, even Democrats, who have been gloating over the pass — no, make that shameless support — they’ve gotten from the press, are starting to get uncomfortable as they realize that no one wins in the long run when we don’t have a free and fair press.

I was one of the first people in the traditional media to call for the firing of Dan Rather — not because of his phony story, but because he refused to admit his mistake — but, bless him, even Gunga Dan thinks the media is one-sided in this election.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not one of those people who think the media has been too hard on, say, Republican vice presidential nominee Gov. Sarah Palin, by rushing reportorial SWAT teams to her home state of Alaska to rifle through her garbage. This is the big leagues, and if she wants to suit up and take the field, then Gov. Palin better be ready to play.

The few instances where I think the press has gone too far — such as the Times reporter talking to prospective first lady Cindy McCain’s daughter’s MySpace friends — can easily be solved with a few newsroom smackdowns and temporary repostings to the Omaha bureau.

No, what I object to (and I think most other Americans do as well) is the lack of equivalent hardball coverage of the other side — or worse, actively serving as attack dogs for the presidential ticket of Sens. Barack Obama, D-Ill., and Joe Biden, D-Del.

If the current polls are correct, we are about to elect as president of the United States a man who is essentially a cipher, who has left almost no paper trail, seems to have few friends (that at least will talk) and has entire years missing out of his biography.

That isn’t Sen. Obama’s fault: His job is to put his best face forward. No, it is the traditional media’s fault, for it alone (unlike the alternative media) has had the resources to cover this story properly, and has systematically refused to do so.

Why, for example to quote the lawyer for Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., haven’t we seen an interview with Sen. Obama’s grad school drug dealer — when we know all about Mrs. McCain’s addiction? Are Bill Ayers and Tony Rezko that hard to interview? All those phony voter registrations that hard to scrutinize? And why are Sen. Biden’s endless gaffes almost always covered up, or rationalized, by the traditional media?

Joe the Plumber

The absolute nadir (though I hate to commit to that, as we still have two weeks before the election) came with Joe the Plumber.

Middle America, even when they didn’t agree with Joe, looked on in horror as the press took apart the private life of an average person who had the temerity to ask a tough question of a presidential candidate. So much for the standing up for the little man. So much for speaking truth to power. So much for comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable, and all of those other catchphrases we journalists used to believe we lived by.

I learned a long time ago that when people or institutions begin to behave in a matter that seems to be entirely against their own interests, it’s because we don’t understand what their motives really are. It would seem that by so exposing their biases and betting everything on one candidate over another, the traditional media is trying to commit suicide — especially when, given our currently volatile world and economy, the chances of a successful Obama presidency, indeed any presidency, is probably less than 50/50.

Furthermore, I also happen to believe that most reporters, whatever their political bias, are human torpedoes & and, had they been unleashed, would have raced in and roughed up the Obama campaign as much as they did McCain’s. That’s what reporters do. I was proud to have been one, and I’m still drawn to a good story, any good story, like a shark to blood in the water.

So why weren’t those legions of hungry reporters set loose on the Obama campaign? Who are the real villains in this story of mainstream media betrayal?

The editors. The men and women you don’t see; the people who not only decide what goes in the paper, but what doesn’t; the managers who give the reporters their assignments and lay out the editorial pages. They are the real culprits.

Bad Editors

Why? I think I know, because had my life taken a different path, I could have been one: Picture yourself in your 50s in a job where you’ve spent 30 years working your way to the top, to the cockpit of power & only to discover that you’re presiding over a dying industry. The Internet and alternative media are stealing your readers, your advertisers and your top young talent. Many of your peers shrewdly took golden parachutes and disappeared. Your job doesn’t have anywhere near the power and influence it did when your started your climb. The Newspaper Guild is too weak to protect you any more, and there is a very good chance you’ll lose your job before you cross that finish line, 10 years hence, of retirement and a pension.

In other words, you are facing career catastrophe — and desperate times call for desperate measures. Even if you have to risk everything on a single Hail Mary play. Even if you have to compromise the principles that got you here. After all, newspapers and network news are doomed anyway — all that counts is keeping them on life support until you can retire.

And then the opportunity presents itself — an attractive young candidate whose politics likely matches yours, but more important, he offers the prospect of a transformed Washington with the power to fix everything that has gone wrong in your career.

With luck, this monolithic, single-party government will crush the alternative media via a revived fairness doctrine, re-invigorate unions by getting rid of secret votes, and just maybe be beholden to people like you in the traditional media for getting it there.

And besides, you tell yourself, it’s all for the good of the country…

PISS OFF THESE DISGRACES TO FAIRNESS AND TRUTH IN THE MEDIA; VOTE REPUBLICAN ON NOVEMBER 4!!!

I have been writing about the horrendous media bias – and how terribly destructive it is to democracy, and to the American political process – for some time.  My point has been: when the media – which has been charged with the Constitutional duty to keep the political process honest and fair – itself becomes the propaganda arm for one political party, it becomes impossible to sustain a democracy.  If the truth is misrepresented, or distorted, nor simply not reported, in the interests of advancing one particular political ideology, a fatal cancer is introduced in the democratic process.

We have seen the very likely death of two precious institutions during this campaign: 1) of the media’s integrity and honesty; and 2) of public campaign financing.

The media has stooped to misrepresentation, propaganda, demagoguery, and flat out lying, in order to elect Barack Obama for President.  And Barack Obama – in order to win election – abandoned his own promise to accept public campaign finance and – in the words of The Associated Press – “doomed” public finance.

What major candidate for President will ever again accept public funding if he realizes he might very well find himself or herself outgunned by a 4-1 margin by electing to do so?  Enter big money the likes the American political process has never before seen, thanks to one Barack Obama.

You can’t put either genie back into the bottle.  If media propaganda obtains its intended result, if massive campaign money obtains its intended result, both institutions are doomed forevermore.  And democracy itself is doomed along with them.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 493 other followers