“Behavior Placement”: Networks Officially Go To Work For Ministry Of Propaganda Spreading Obama Gospel Through Subliminal Messages

“Behavior Placement”: Networks Officially Go To Work For Ministry Of Propaganda Spreading Obama Gospel Through Subliminal Messages

April 18th, 2010 Posted By Pat Dollard.

cass-sunstein
Cass Sunstein, Communist Revolutionary Operative

“People do not want to be hit over the head with issues, but including aspects in the programming makes it resonate more successfully with viewers,” said Jeff Zucker, chief executive of NBC.

Times Online:

A TELEVISION star swigs her mineral water and throws the bottle into a recycling bin. In another scene, in the American version of The Office, the workers complain about metallic-tasting reusable water bottles and switch to filtered tap water instead.

They are among the television stars in shows from sitcoms to detective dramas who are lining up to bombard their fans with subliminal messages. “Behaviour placement” is aimed at persuading audiences to lead greener, healthier and happier lives.

The shows, including Law and Order and 30 Rock, a comedy starring Alec Baldwin and Tina Fey — the one throwing the water bottle — are first being broadcast in America but many will be aired in Britain in the next few weeks.

NBC, one of the big four American television networks, has even hired psychologists to drop environmentally friendly nods into the scripts.

The initiative reflects the “nudge effect” promoted by Richard Thaler, an economist, and Cass Sunstein, a lawyer who is advising President Obama on how to teach people to avoid bad decisions, from jumping red lights to eating junk food.

“People do not want to be hit over the head with issues, but including aspects in the programming makes it resonate more successfully with viewers,” said Jeff Zucker, chief executive of NBC.

Others disagree. The Week magazine, which covers American current affairs, describes such programmes as “cynical and manipulative”.

“The pressure to be eco-conscious is reaching a new high,” said Christopher Rosen, a writer. “NBC implies that people are too dumb to make healthy decisions on their own … television should stick with what works — product placement, where they awkwardly jam products into their programmes to make people want to buy them.”

Tim Kring, the creator of Heroes, the US science fiction series broadcast on BBC2, said he first became aware of behaviour placement when a lorry appeared in an episode picking up recyclable soft drinks bottles.

In America the scene prompted oil companies to pay for advertisements around the show in a bid to associate themselves with the green message.

Documenting the Media’s Lopsided Liberal Slant

 

Documenting the Media’s Lopsided Liberal Slant
MRC Details 40+ Surveys About Journalists’ Liberal Opinions and Public’s Growing Awareness of Bias
By: Rich Noyes | View PDF Version 
February 18, 2010 08:54 ET

Surveys over the past 30 years have consistently found top journalists are much more liberal than the rest of America. At the same time, public opinion polls show Americans see the media as politically biased, inaccurate and an obstacle to solving society’s problems. The numbers document a credibility crisis for journalism that only a swift move towards professionalism and fairness can fix.

The MRC has now created a one-stop online resource, “Media Bias 101,” detailing more than 40 surveys revealing journalists’ liberal opinions and the public’s attitudes about bias. The report also contains page after page of quotes from top reporters discussing media bias — most denying the problem, but some admitting it.

Key findings:

WHAT JOURNALISTS THINK

■ The American Society of Newspaper Editors found self-identified liberals outnumbered conservatives in newsrooms by a four-to-one margin, 61% vs. 15%.

■ Most newspaper editors (71%) admit journalists’ opinions “sometimes” or “often” influence coverage, vs. just one percent who say that “never” happens.

■ A 1995 Pew Research Center survey of journalists found 48% thought there had been “too little” coverage of Bill Clinton’s achievements, vs. two percent who saw “too much” coverage. The same survey in 2004 found most national journalists (55%) thought the media were “not critical enough” of George W. Bush, vs. just 8% who thought the media were “too critical” of Bush.

Nearly all of the media elite (97%) agree “it is a woman’s right to decide whether or not to have an abortion,” with five out of six (84%) strongly agreeing with this statement.

HOW JOURNALISTS VOTE

■ More than four-fifths of surveyed journalists voted for the Democratic presidential candidate in every election between 1964 and 1976.

■ More than three-fourths of “elite journalists” (76%) said they voted for Michael Dukakis in 1988.

■ 89% of Washington-based reporters said they voted for Bill Clinton in 1992. Only seven percent voted for George Bush, with two percent choosing Ross Perot.

■ An informal survey of Washington-based journalists in the summer of 2004 found them backing John Kerry over George W. Bush by a 12-to-1 margin.

■ In 2008, 96% of staffers at the online Slate magazine said they were supporting Barack Obama for president.

WHAT THE PUBLIC SAYS ABOUT BIAS

■ In every presidential election since 1992, most Americans saw the media as backing the Democrats. In 2008, 70% of Americans said journalists wanted Barack Obama to win, vs. nine percent who felt the media favored John McCain.

■ Every year from 2001 through 2009, Gallup found roughly three times more Americans said the media are too liberal vs. those who claimed a pro-conservative bias.

■ Nearly nine out of ten Americans (87%) “strongly or somewhat agreed that the news media have their own political and public policy positions and attempt to influence public opinion.”

■ A 2007 Harvard survey found 84% believe the news media have too much influence on voters’ decisions.

■ 55% believe media bias is more of a problem than big campaign contributions.

■ Just 29% of Americans think news organizations get their facts straight, and only 18% say the media are fair.

■ Nearly nine out of ten Americans (89%) think reporters “often” or “sometimes” let their own political preferences influence the way they report the news.

For details about these and many other surveys, check out the new “Media Bias 101” at http://www.MRC.org.

Lies, Dammed Lies and CNN’s Mideast Reporting

Lies, Dammed Lies and CNN’s Mideast Reporting

Granted we are in a recession and all media outlets have trimmed staff, but CNN REALLY Needs a fact checker. Since Israel began the bombing of Gaza last week, the Cable Nonsense Network has been doing its best to spread misinformation about Gaza War. CNN’s Lies included blaming Israel for breaking the cease fire and accusing Israel of not letting necessary medical supplies into Gaza. But then again, CNN has never been big on the truth:

Who Broke the Ceasefire? CNN’s “Fact Check” Falls Short-CAMERA
by Alex Safian, PhD

In recent days CNN has been playing an interview with Palestinian politician Mustafa Barghouti in which he claims that Israel broke the ceasefire with Hamas by launching an attack in November, and that the current fighting is therefore the fault of Israel rather than the Palestinians. Barghouti also charged that Israel’s supposed blockade of Gaza was a further violation of the ceasefire agreement with Hamas.
Barghouti’s charges are nonsense and easily disproved – but apparently not easy enough for CNN to disprove.
On Dec. 31, perhaps in response to complaints about the Barghouti interview, anchor Rick Sanchez made a great show of supposedly “fact checking” the charges “fairly [and] honestly.” Here’s the clip:
CNN’s intrepid fact-checkers found a few online articles confirming that there was an Israeli attack in November, and were satisfied and looked no further? Does CNN really believe finding such articles proves that Israel broke the ceasefire? 
Might there have been prior serious violations by the Palestinians? In fact there were many such violations, including dozens of rockets and mortars fired into Israel during the so-called ceasefire. And there was also sniper fire against Israeli farmers, anti-tank rockets and rifle shots fired at soldiers in Israel, and not one but two attempts to abduct Israeli soldiers and bring them into Gaza.
All of this was missed by Rick Sanchez, his co-anchor Jim Clancy, and the CNN fact-checkers. Here are some of the details:
(most of this data is from The Six Months of the Lull Arrangement, a detailed report by the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, an Israeli NGO)
From the start of the ceasefire at 6 AM on June 19 till the incident on November 4th cited by CNN, the following attacks were launched against Israel from Gaza in direct violation of the agreement:
  • 18 mortars were fired at Israel in this period, beginning on the night of June 23.
  • 20 rockets were fired, beginning on June 24, when 3 rockets hit the Israeli town of Sderot.
  • On July 6 farmers working in the fields of Nahal Oz were attacked by light arms fire from Gaza.
  • On the night of August 15 Palestinians fired across the border at Israeli soldiers near the Karni crossing.
  • On October 31 an IDF patrol spotted Palestinians planting an explosive device near the security fence in the area of the Sufa crossing. As the patrol approached the fence the Palestinians fired two anti-tank missiles.
There were two Palestinian attempts to infiltrate from Gaza into Israel apparently to abduct Israelis. Both were major violations of the ceasefire.
  • The first came to light on Sept. 28, when Israeli personnel arrested Jamal Atallah Sabah Abu Duabe. The 21-year-old Rafah resident had used a tunnel to enter Egypt and from there planned to slip across the border into Israel. Investigation revealed that Abu Duabe was a member of Hamas’s Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, and that he planned to lure Israeli soldiers near the border by pretending to be a drug smuggler, capture them, and then sedate them with sleeping pills in order to abduct them directly into Gaza through a preexisting tunnel. For more details click here and here.
  • The second abduction plan was aborted on the night of Nov 4, thanks to a warning from Israeli Intelligence. Hamas had dug another tunnel into Israel and was apparently about to execute an abduction plan when IDF soldiers penetrated about 250 meters into Gaza to the entrance of the tunnel, hidden under a house. Inside the house were a number of armed Hamas members, who opened fire. The Israelis fired back and the house exploded – in total 6 or 7 Hamas operatives were killed and several were wounded. Among those killed were Mazen Sa’adeh, a Hamas brigade commander, and Mazen Nazimi Abbas, a commander in the Hamas special forces unit. For more details click here.
It was when Israel aborted this imminent Hamas attack that the group and other Palestinian groups in Gaza escalated their violations of the ceasefire by beginning to once again barrage Israel with rockets and mortars.
In light of these systematic and serious violations of the ceasefire by Hamas and other Palestinian groups in Gaza, it is absurd to claim that Israel broke the ceasefire in November or at any other time.
That CNN took Barghouti’s charges seriously and repeatedly aired them calls into serious question CNN’s competence as a news organization. It is also notable that while Sanchez said that Israelis denied Barghouti’s charges, he apparently did not see the need to have an actual Israeli appear to deny the charges in detail.
The Border Crossings  Open or Closed?
Barghouti also claimed that Israel violated the ceasefire agreement by allegedly refusing to open border crossings to allow food, fuel and other goods into Gaza. This charge is also false – Israel did open the crossings and allowed truckload after truckload of supplies to enter Gaza. Closures until November were short, and in direct response to Palestinian violations, some of which were detailed above.
To quote from the ITIC report on the “Lull Agreement” linked above:

On June 22, after four days of calm, Israel reopened the Karni and Sufa crossings to enable regular deliveries of consumer goods and fuel to the Gaza Strip. They were closed shortly thereafter, following the first violation of the arrangement, when rockets were fired at Sderot on June 24. However, when calm was restored, the crossings remained open for long periods of time. On August 17 the Kerem Shalom crossing was also opened for the delivery of goods, to a certain degree replacing the Sufa crossing, after repairs had been completed (the Kerem Shalom crossing was closed on April 19 when the IDF prevented a combined mass casualty attack in the region, as a result of which the crossing was almost completely demolished).

Before November 4, large quantities of food, fuel, construction material and other necessities for renewing the Gaza Strip’s economic activity were delivered through the Karni and Sufa crossings. A daily average of 80-90 trucks passed through the crossings, similar to the situation before they were closed following the April 19 attack on the Kerem Shalom crossing. Changes were made in the types of good which could be delivered, permitting the entry of iron, cement and other vital raw materials into the Gaza Strip. 

... Israel, before November 4, refrained from initiating action in the Gaza Strip but responded to rocket and mortar shell attacks by closing the crossings for short periods of time (hours to days). After November 4 the crossings were closed for long periods in response to the continued attacks against Israel. (Rearranged from p 11- 12)
Day to day details of the supplies delivered to Gaza and the numbers of trucks involved have been published by the Israeli Foreign Ministry and are available here. The figures confirm that the passages were indeed open and busy.
CNN conveyed uncritically – multiple times – Mustafa Barghouti’s charge that Israel violated the cease fire by not opening the crossings. Unfortunately this charge, like his charge that it was Israel that violated the ceasefire, is entirely bogus.
Too bad CNN anchors Rick Sanchez and Jim Clancy, along with the network’s fact checkers, didn’t bother to really fact check anything. Too bad CNN didn’t bother to actually interview an Israeli official or expert who could debunk Barghouti’s charges with the facts.
Judging by Rick Sanchez and Jim Clancy, viewers who want accurate, factual news from the Middle East should avoid CNN like the plague.

Open Letter to ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS and Affiliates, also The Arizona Republic, U.S.A. Today

Open Letter to ABC, CBS, NBC,  PBS and Affiliates, also The Arizona Republic, U.S.A. Today and The East Valley Tribune,
 
    I thank God for computers and e-mail, without which, I would only see and hear ONE side of the news. I do use the word “News” loosely.
    I’m from the old school where a Journalist reported the facts, all the facts. That means when someone says something, you check the facts before reporting it. Obviously the new school allows you to editorialize and choose which facts you deem pertinent. We the public used to count on you for the news. Not anymore. You have tarnished the name “Journalist.”
    The media is having a love affair with Obama and you are not even trying to report the news. The bias is so obvious it makes me sick. You let news of Obama’s ties with questionable people go so you can hatchet McCain and Palen for the least things. Are you hypnotized are just stupid with bias? Is your love that blind?
    Do you really think Socialism is what America needs. Do you really think this man is RIGHT for a country that he and his wife privately hate? Perhaps I gave you too much credit for being thinking and educated people.
    If it were not for Conservative Radio, the Drudge Report and all the e-mails I receive, I would never hear anything unflattering about Obama and I would not have heard anything flattering about McCain. For instance, all the flack about McCain being born in the Panama Canal. That got a lot of play. The fact that a law suit has been filed about Obama being born in Kenya has never been mentioned on your shows or in your papers. It’s been fair game to hit McCain and Palen with any and everything, but don’t mention Obama’s middle name, his wife, his kids, his ears, his race [which by the way is not black]. The man has ties to terrorist, bigots and Islam, but there are no questions from you.
    Do you realize how you have beaten down President Bush? Never do you mention that for the last two years he has had NO cooperation from a Democratic Congress. He is blamed for everything that’s gone wrong. You never mention how the Democrats contributed to the financial problems. The old school would at least show Honor to the Office. The new school has spent too much time with “academia,” another word for “Liberal.”
       In Orissa, India, killings of Christians and 5,000 homes have been burned, but we have not been informed by you of this condition. Where did you go to school? Better yet, did you go to school? You don’t even try to hide your feelings. Your bias is so apparent that it makes your reports unbelievable. 
    I think you must take responsibility at this time for the division in our country . I am seventy-five years old and have never been as angry with the opposition as I am this time and it’s 90% your fault. If our country is divided, guess who’s to blame? You have continually fanned the fire with your bias reports. No wonder the newspapers are in trouble and the television news ratings are down.       
                                        Bettye H. Simmons

Media’s Presidential Bias and Decline

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 apprehend 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 CNNi 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 &

This is the opinion of the columnist and in no way reflects the opinion of ABC News.

Michael S. Malone is one of the nation’s best-known technology writers. He has covered Silicon Valley and high-tech for more than 25 years, beginning with the San Jose Mercury News as the nation’s first daily high-tech reporter. His articles and editorials have appeared in such publications as The Wall Street Journal, the Economist and Fortune, and for two years he was a columnist for The New York Times. He was editor of Forbes ASAP, the world’s largest-circulation business-tech magazine, at the height of the dot-com boom. Malone is the author or co-author of a dozen books, notably the best-selling “Virtual Corporation.” Malone has also hosted three public television interview series, and most recently co-produced the celebrated PBS miniseries on social entrepreneurs, “The New Heroes.” He has been the ABCNews.com “Silicon Insider” columnist since 2000.

 

Editing Their Way to Oblivion: Journalism Sacrificed For Power and Pensions

Editing Their Way to Oblivion: Journalism Sacrificed For Power and Pensions

October 24, 2008 – by edgelings

By Michael S. Malone

The traditional media is playing a very, very dangerous game.  With its readers, with the Constitution, and with its own fate.

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, Kansas 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 thirty 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 by-line 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 ten different ways to color variations of the word “said” – muttered, shouted, announced, reluctantly replied, responded, etc. – to influence the way a reader will apprehend 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 their unconscious.

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.

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 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 an 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 CNNi would get around to telling the rest of the story . . .but it never happened.

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, Gov. Palin, by rushing reportorial SWAT teams to 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 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 Senators Obama and Biden.  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 McCain’s lawyer, 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 Senator Biden’s endless gaffes almost always covered up, or rationalized, by the traditional media?

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 manner 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.

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, ten 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 . . .

CNN media scandal publishes bogus report

CNN media scandal publishes bogus report

 

http://news.yahoo.com/nphotos/slideshow/photo//081021/480/73d55d014e2e4685a1271966f725973d/      PHOTO of woman holding a sign, . . . .”I’m not JOe the Plumber but I am Nan the small business owner

 

Media Scandal: CNN Tries to Suppress Colorado Vote(?) As Palin Sets Attendance Records

CNN reported yesterday incorrectly that the McCain Camp is ceding Colorado to Marxisant radical Barack Obama.
The report by CNN on the Colorado election was not true.  
http://www.thedenverchannel.com/politics/17766400/detail.html?rss=den&psp=news


And,
it came at the wrong time…

A Sarah Palin and Joe the Plumber supporter in Grand Junction, Colorado on Monday.
(AP /David Zalubowski)

CNN published this bogus report as VP Candidate Sarah Palin was setting all-time attendance records in Grand Junction just yesterday.
22,000 supporters showed up to see Governor Sarah Palin break a Grand Junction record!

“First Dude” Todd Palin is making four campaign stops in western Colorado and Denver on Tuesday. Todd will be at a Village Inn Restaurant in Glenwood Springs, the Eagle Diner in Eagle and the McCain-Palin campaign headquarters in Eagle on Tuesday morning.

Michelle Malkin has more on this outrageous fraud.