Journalists hate to be accused of bias worse than anything but the reality is that we all…every single one of us…have a degree of bias. The difference is whether we admit the bias or not and how we choose to go about the business of reporting. My pledge on this blog is that news items are free of slant, no bias and no opinion. I only share my views or opinions in segments titled REPORTERS NOTEBOOK or COMMENTARY. I figure this gives my readers the opportunity to ignore my rants and formulate their own opinions or, perhaps, read my take on any given news item. The problem I have are with news agencies, which claim some higher legitimacy, but are actually hacks for the left or the right.
Enter Chuck Todd political director and chief White House correspondent at NBC News. In an interview with Politico, Todd says, “To me, the ideological bias in the media really hasn’t been there in a long time. But what is there that people mistake for ideological bias is geographic bias. It’s seeing everything through the lens of New York and Washington.” I would agree. What most people in the rest of the country don’t realize is that the sources reporting the news from the nations media capitals have no clue how the rest of us live…nor do they care. Chuck Todd at least seems to be acknowledging that there was, once upon a time an ideological bias in the mainstream media. To say it “hasn’t been there in a long time,” acknowledges that it was there, once. This is something a lot of journalists would never admit.
Bernard Goldberg writes that to Chuck Todd, bias in the news simply stems from too many elite journalists living in too few places, Manhattan and DC. But what Chuck Todd doesn’t quite seem to understand is that geography influences culture and culture influences ideology. People on the Upper West Side of Manhattan don’t see Obamacare, for example, the same way people in Alabama see it. That’s not because of geography. It’s because of ideology. Or to put it another way, there are a lot more liberals on the Upper West Side than there are in Montgomery. Todd is hard on political journalists, but only up to a point, and makes sure we understand that they’re not slanting the news in favor of liberals because they themselves are liberals. The reason, he says, has a lot more to do with zip codes than party affiliations.
“I think sometimes there are too many people who cover politics that don’t understand the grassroots of the Republican Party,” he correctly tells Politico. And why don’t they understand? Because they cover America from a safe distance, embedded in the nation’s two media capitals – Washington and New York. “Part of what animates them [political journalists] is if [Middle Americans are] pushing it, I’m against it. But also that we don’t understand their day-to-day lives. That we don’t respect the fact that they go to church twice a week. That when we look down our noses upon Wal-Mart, they see it as the only place to shop.”
Those are valid points indeed but they are hardly owned by the left. Joe Muto writes for the GAWKER that Sean Hannity’s interviews are a source of embarrassment for many of us at the FOX News network. Even those ideologically sympathetic to him joke about the ostentatiously friendly treatment he routinely gives Republican candidates. Not that anyone at the network is in the business of grilling GOPers, of course. But Bret Baier and Chris Wallace have been known to make politicians on the right squirm in their seats every once in a while. Hell, even O’Reilly seems to know that you’ve got to give the interviewee a little bit of chin music, if only to give yourself cover later when someone questions your credibility.
But that lesson seems to have escaped Hannity. And despite the derision it earns him from the Lamestream Media, it’s probably been mostly beneficial for his show. The reason he’s able to book so many GOP luminaries is that they know that they have a safe space, a child-proofed room where they’ll be able to talk at length without interruption, state falsehoods without challenge, and reach the Republican base completely unfiltered. Hannity’s welcoming cocoon even extends to fake-conservative Mitt Romney. If you listen to Sean on a regular basis, you can tell that he’s suspicious of Mitt—rightfully so, because now that Romney has sewn up the nomination, he’s going to attempt to pivot away from conservatives so fast and hard that Ronald Reagan’s tombstone is probably going to crack in half. But Hannity can read the writing on the wall, so he invites him on the show and makes nice with him.
A favorite target of right wing talk show fanatics is CNN but sometimes CNN gets it right. After saying Ann Romney had never worked a day in her life, Democratic activist Hilary Rosen was trying to spin her way out of the firestorm over her comments. CNN’s Wolf Blitzer would have none of it on Thursday’s The Situation Room as he reprimanded her, forced her to apologize, and asked her how it felt to be thrown “under the bus” by Democratic allies. Blitzer grilled Rosen for upwards of ten minutes and ripped her “awful way of saying” what she intended to say about Romney. He then made her “look into the camera” and talk to Romney, and after she dodged an apology a deadly serious Blitzer called her out on it.
I remind my audience that my blog is not owned by any corporation. It is not held by any of the media giants and I generally try to go to the source in my reporting. DMNEWSI frequently uses international news organizations like the BBC, NHK, Guardian, Telegraph, Deutsche-Welle, ANSA and Al-Jazeera to name a few. Why? Because all of those news organizations have bureaus in the United States but not one of them is held by U.S. interests. Editors and producers are not answering to any American corporate hacks and the reporting shows it.