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« Overheard: Missing Parts | Main | Shank Weekly Events Calendar: 7.24 - 7.29 »


Dave Feltenberger

I'm certainly no McCain supporter and the thought of him as president frightens me, but I don't see anything wrong with that exchange. Looks like pretty innocent, standard dumbed down mainstream media to me. (Whether that's creepy or not is another question, I guess, but in that case all sides are vulnerable to the same creepiness).


I don't think "dumbed down" really accurately covers it. When you fawn over one party and edit their gaffes and attack another for trivial and/or non-existent incidents that's bias. It's particularly egregious if you are pretending to be unbiased.
The corporate media NEVER calls McCain on his contradictions and flip-flops.


The Daily Show had a bit about how McCain talked about the Iraq/Pakistan border and they pointed out that Iran is between them. They didn't show the context around that, i.e., whether he just slipped and corrected himself or not but, regardless, I can imagine how it would have played had Obama done the same.

Rusty Chompers

How many times has McCain confused Sunni & Shiite?

How many times has McCain referred to the non-existent nation of Chezkslovakia?

Why does McCain think Iraq and Pakistan share a border?

McCain was wrong about invading Iraq.

McCain strolled through a Baghdad square proclaiming how safe Iraq, and a year later, that square was too dangerous for reporters.

What exactly has McCain been right about on foreign policy?

And yet, we are supposed to believe that McCain is the foreign policy wonk because, well, because why? Oh yeah, the MSM keeps pushing that narrative with the help of biased reporters like Sidoti who fawn over him and give him donuts and coffee instead of giving him hard questions and asking about inconsistencies in pretty much all his stances and his self-contradiction.

If the MSM behaved raved about Obama's BBQ and cookouts like they do McCain's, you wouldn't be able to hear yourself think because the Right Wing Noise Machine would be bellyachin' so loud over librul media favoritism.

And yet, when we see concrete evidence that the favoritism is actually conservative, it's excused as "pretty innocent, standard dumbed down mainstream media to me".

Double. Standard.

Also, saying you're "no McCain supporter" hardly negates one from being a partisan player these days since 50% of his own party doesn't even like him.


Actually RC, a correction, McCain "strolled down" that Baghdad street in a flak jacket, accompanied by seven helicoptors, fully armed, and, I believe, (although I don't know and don't want to exagerate) about a hundred heavily armed soldiers, some stroll

Dave Feltenberger

RC - how is any of that at all relevant? I'm actually farther LEFT than Obama in my political beliefs and think that he's recently made a disconcerting move to the center. (I can list some things if you're interested...)

Still, objectively, I think that coffee/donuts thing was absolutely innocent. Crying about bias in MSM is a joke from either side - the NYT claims to be objective but clearly supports Obama; and vice-versa with Fox. There are more examples on both sides. But let's be equally fair to both sides and not get blinded by sports-team-like support of one side vs. the other.

Rusty Chompers

Dave - it's actually all completely relevant to my point of pro-McCain media bias.

Any one of those gaffes and Obama would have been ripped to shreds by the press. The entire angle the media has taken with his trip abroad has been "it's so dangerous for him. Where will he slip up."

This is not the same narrative they take with McCain, why? Favoritism.

Perhaps this will clarify my point for you.

The coffee/donuts was not innocent. She's giddy - a cross between an adoring granddaughter and a rock star groupie.

The NYT clearly supports Obama? What are you talking about? You mean the editorial pages?

You mean their columnists like William "The Bloody" Kristol?

You mean like Mo "Daddy Issues" Dowd?

You mean like David "Salad Bar At Applebee's" Brooks?

You mean like Thomas "Suck On This Iraq" Friedman?

Or do you mean Frank Rich and Paul Krugman.

Hardly balanced, is it? And yet, people who claim to be to "The left" of Obama still like to point out the New York Times media bias just like they were regular listeners of Rush Limbaugh or viewers of Bill O'Reilly.

Or do you mean the actual reporting in the New York Times is liberal? That facts tend to have a liberal bias? That may be true.

What about The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Times, The New York Post, FOX News - they all support McCain.

And since you think the media is equally biased, let's do this. In 10 seconds, name as many liberals with national shows or who are regular news analysts on national shows?

I can do this with Republicans:
Rush Limbaugh
Bill O'Reilly
John Gibson
Brit Hume
Sean Hannity
Joe Scarborough
Chris Wallace
Bill Kristol
Glenn Beck
Michael Savage
Anne Coulter
Michell Malkin
Matt Drudge
Neil Cavuto
Bob Novak
George Will
Cookie Roberts
Andrea Mitchell
Chris Matthews

Okay - who are the liberals in the national media?
Keith Olbermann...
Rachel Maddow who sometimes hosts for Keith Olbermann...


And sorry, satire/parody shows don't count as legitimate informative media - but what the hell, I'll spot you Colbert and Stewart (who has admitted to being a close personal friend to McCain).

See my point?

And sorry, I have a very hard time accepting anyone thinking the NY Times' reporting is liberal is far to the left of Obama unless you mean you are so far left you are in the Ron Paul region of the political spectrum.

And I'm sadly all too aware of Obama's foolish play to the center (kind of the Democratic equivalent of McCain's pandering to religious extremists). I think his vote on FISA was wrong.

It's naive to think that both sides are treated fairly and equally by the media. Who is the party of big business? The Repubs. Who owns most of the media? Big business.

The math on that equation should be pretty simple.

So what's your point? That you don't think the donuts/coffee as that big a deal? Or the gushing over the bbq and McCain's cookouts, or reporters eager to be good to get the good seats on the Straight Talk Express?

Sorry, I prefer reporters to at least have an unbiased, if not a questioning stance, towards a candidate. Not giggle as they give him donuts while they write hit pieces on his opposition.

Dave Feltenberger

"So what's your point? That you don't think the donuts/coffee as that big a deal?"

Yes, precisely. And in fact, that's *all I said* initially!

Your assertion to somehow know my political beliefs is absurd - and how is it you understand my political radar? Because I'm trying to keep some semblance of rationality and reason in political discussion and maybe even -- gasp! -- focus on shit that *matters* instead of this glue-sniffing coffee and donuts nonsense. So *what* if she's giddy - this is mass media, boiled down to the slobbering-on-yourself-stupid lowest common denominator television. It's at least half entertainment! And people do the same kind of innocent entertainment-oriented BS with Obama!

The NYT is liberal and tends to support Obama -- even if only implicitly -- so asserting I'm to the left of that that must mean I'm a gun-toting, abolish-all-social-programs, isolationist Libertarian Ron Paul supporter (who, by the way, is not at *all* Leftist despite his wish to end the war). Do you really see the world through these small minded, "if you're not on my team, you must be on THEIR team!" glasses? You know nothing about me, but somehow think you've got it figured out.

So I'll repeat myself: Obama isn't liberal *enough* for my taste, particularly as of late. Saying I'm farther left than "liberals" means more to me than just waving your team's Obama flag and unquestioningly supporting good-guy Democrats while unquestioningly flogging bad-guy Republicans. I have no party affiliation exactly because of that stupid unthinking shit.

"Sorry, I prefer reporters to at least have an unbiased, if not a questioning stance, towards a candidate."

Isn't that self-contradictory? Do you want the reporter to question stuff (which requires bias, even if only to ruffle feathers and get info), or do you want this supposed non-bias? Please tell me *one* reporter, or in fact one *person*, who is unbiased. It's a fairy tale that reporters and media are or should be "unbiased" or "objective" - they should have some objective criteria and not flat-out lie about facts (or Photoshop photos like those fascists at Fox), certainly, but how can they *not* have bias? Seriously, read about cognitive bias, which is essentially unavoidable. Or sit in on a Psych 101 class.

In Western Europe, particularly Germany and France, newspapers have *known*, *open* bias that people understand; they keep the facts reasonably clear but opinions are known to have bias. A person can inform him-/herself based on the known perspective instead of living in a (dangerous) delusional world, thinking they're in some way objectively unbiased. (Think WW2-era nationalism for extreme examples of this danger). That's how people should approach reporting here: "I understand that Fox will only support Republicans; I understand the NYT is left-leaning" etc. And the media should not claim to be -- or even aspire to be -- totally objective/unbiased, because it's quite simply not possible. What should change, and where I suspect we probably agree, is the MSM should stop claiming to be unbiased and the public should better understand the perspective of the news outlets.

Rusty Chompers

What you claim to be rationality that you are arguing for I see as what has passed for status quo over the past 15 years that has left us with a mainstream media that has done little more than carried water for the Bush Administration and are now takin' it easy on Grandpa Johnny.

So basically, this "rationality" you (honestly, somewhat self-righteously) claim to be striving for I see as little more than carrying water for the water carriers.

Even your cynical view of mainstream media makes excuses for the water carrying and favoritism:
"his is mass media, boiled down to the slobbering-on-yourself-stupid lowest common denominator television. It's at least half entertainment!"

This is excusing that behavior. It serves to reduce our standards and expectations and helps shifts our cultural baseline from what we find acceptable into something that we would not find acceptable 30 years prior.

Most people who float this accusation, "The NYT is liberal and tends to support Obama" tend not to be liberal. So when I doubt your liberal bona fides, I'm playing the odds.

And then, most people who float that accusation and simply repeat it when asked what they mean, like you did when I asked you, well, an even greater percentage of them tend not to be liberal. So I'm playing even better odds.

So, when you say the NYT is liberal, I have no idea what you mean by that conservative talking point, and I suspect, based on your inability to address the points I raised in relation to it, that you don't know what you mean by that either. Because frankly, when you say it and just keep repeating it, you sound like someone who gets their information from FOX/Drudge/Rush - and those people tend not to be liberal (or even moderate) - so again, I'm playing really good odds at doubting you.

Basically - it's the "walks like a duck/quacks like a duck" logic here.

And while I appreciate you questioning my small mindedness, I was speaking more to how you see yourself. Just because you claim you think you are a lefty or a liberal doesn't actually mean that you are.

I agree with you about Obama not being progressive enough. His move to the center has disillusioned me much in the same way that his campaign against Hillary made me feel hopeful. You seem really keen on wanting to talk about this, but I dont' think it's relevant to our conversation or the Shank post that started it.

But let me just ask, how many times have you heard repeated, unquestioned on the mainstream media that you seem to expect very little from that "Obama is the most liberal Senator in the Senate based on his voting record?" A narrative established and followed as common wisdom now by the MSM.

I can think of at least a dozen times I've seen a McCain surrogate make such a claim on a mainstream media program and it go unquestioned.

But back to my point about you calling yourself a liberal - you do realize that there is no linear polarity in politics right? There is not a straight line, with a middle and a left side and a right side. It is actually more like a sphere - and you move far enough left and you end up right, you move far enough right, you end up left.

But if you say you're a liberal, I'll take your word for it, comrade.

As for media bias, okay, if we want to get nit-picky, the very selection of what is news and what isn't news - what is a story and what isn't a story is the result of bias. Sit in on a Journalism 101 class, and that's one of the first things they tell you.

Or, at least, used to.

But to again take your cynical view, "It's a fairy tale that reporters and media are or should be 'unbiased' or 'objective'" is to again lower our standards and expectations, and that way of doing things has gotten us to where we are today - a grossly misinformed/underinformed public.

I don't see reporters asking hard questions equally of all candidates based on facts and their previous statements and voting records as bias.

I see a question like "Who loves America more, you or Rev. Wright?" as being biased.

I see asking John McCain, "How can you expect to lead America through an economic crisis when you yourself has said that you are not very strong on economics" to be a fair question. And when he lied and said, "I never said that," for the MSM to allow him to lie instead of playing one of at least 4 clips where he said it to be biased.

You do realize that strong, functioning democracies depend on a well-informed electorate? Our democracy is in trouble. And our MSM, well, it's the worst it's been in a century.

And I'm aware of cognitive bias, thanks. And just for the record, Wikipedia is hardly a reliable source for anything.

But do you mean to tell me that since you believe that since bias is completely unavoidable we should just toss out any semblance of balance and fair play (which is what has been going on, even as recently as new changes made by AP)?

That's like saying, "Well, we're all going to die, so let's just kill ourselves now."

And are you really arguing that we should base our media models on Germany and France?

Really? Seriously? Cuz those countries have such well-informed and non-fucked up populations? Thanks, but no.

You are arguing for lower standards, and I am arguing for higher ones.

"where I suspect we probably agree, is the MSM should stop claiming to be unbiased and the public should better understand the perspective of the news outlets."

Actually, no. I don't agree with that. I think the MSM should strive to be as unbiased as it pretends to be.

Look, FOX is a Republican Party propaganda tool. We know that. Sure, they call themselves "fair & balanced" but I suspect even most of the people watching the channel know it's not.

Yet, that does not lessen the impact or the damage they do.

Admitting bias won't lessen the damage caused by it.

I recommend checking out David Brock's THE REPUBLICAN NOISE MACHINE for a better indication of how their propaganda successfully proliferates.

But perhaps we need to heed Howard Beale's wisdom from the sadly prophetic movie Network and delineate once again between news and entertainment.

The public owns the air. So we could demand that networks must provide so much news programming a day in order to use our airways. And we could create a definition to separate propaganda and newsotainment from real news. We could restore the Fairness Doctrine. We could, actually, make it a crime to knowingly lie to the public. And that if you don't meet these standards, you can't be considered news.

So, as you can see, I aspire for us to be better. And I don't fit the liberal stereotype of "whining without solutions", because I see solutions. But it will take a populace fed up with being ill-served to demand changes - not a populace who shrugs at obvious bias, lies and manipulation and says, "Well, it's the mainstream media. We expect that."

That only makes it worse.

We should aspire to be better - not expect to be worse.

Amboy Dukes

Actually, Noam Chomsky makes a pretty good argument that The New York Times serves the status quo of American institutions (check out the Manufacturing Consent documentary).

There is no liberal media.

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