Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Why Am I Not Surprised, Part 2

Author David Kuo says that his book, which claims the Bush White House has regularly "dissed" evangelical Christians, was contracted to be published in 2007...not 2006.

His publisher rushed the book -- which calls on Christians to remove themselves from the political process -- into print before the election.

The publisher? Simon and Schuster, owned by the same parent company that owns CBS, which airs 60 Minutes. You do the math.

NewsBusters also mentions that although 60 Minutes portrayed Kuo as a conservative, he has previously worked for both Edward and Joseph Kennedy.

Some conservative.

Yes, there is media bias, and it is clear to this writer that Simon and Schuster and 60 Minutes have been hoping to use Kuo's book as a tool to dishearten Republicans prior to the election. That would be such a new concept for those companies...not.

I have not linked to the book as I personally don't wish to provide it with any more publicity than it's already received, but obviously you can check it out at Amazon or elsewhere if you're interested.

8 Comments:

Blogger Jim said...

Laura,

This topic of media bias has spawned a lot of reading/thought on my part. I made a post about it, but even since the post I am slowly starting to agree with you that among the journalists themselves, there is a left-of-center leaning. This does play out in some instances of media bias that you have pointed out. However, I could point out an equal number of bias that happens at the corporate level, which has a right-of-center bias. The journalists have a say in some of the day-to-day decisions, but the head office also has a say. These were readily visible during the 2000 and 2004 elections -- not so much this time though. I think that is because the networks tend to go with the status quo (see my post for sources).

I have a friend who is a TV Journalist, and he suggests an FCC rule that no news shows be subject to ratings or sweeps. Interesting idea.

11:33 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Hi Jim, I read your media post the other day but didn't comment as I was short on time (and am not registered at Word Press). I found your post thoughtful, though (no surprise, grin) I didn't agree with a lot of it. :) I particularly wondered about two topics you didn't directly address in your post: the inherent bias of journalists who self-identify as Democrats in huge numbers (in the range of 90%+) and the conundrum that media businesses consistently make agenda-driven rather than profit-driven decisions; so I was interested to hear your further thoughts.

On the surface one might say the networks or papers focus on someone like Foley because that kind of topic "sells" and gets ratings, but overall the old media is dying. I would posit that it's not "simply" competition from new media, but that viewers are increasingly turned off because of the bias and now they can find more complete news elsewhere. So we have the LA Times and NY Times laying off employees and subscribers dwindling, because they are making choices that repel rather than attract readers and viewers...or check out NBC News being forced to slash its budget today.

I disagree that the corporations themselves tend to make right of center decisions but that's a topic for another day. :)

Thanks for taking the time to share your ideas,
Laura

12:03 PM  
Blogger Robin B said...

I'd like to weigh in on this a bit. I couldn't subscribe to a united "conspiracy" theory, but I do believe that decades of liberal educators in journalism departments and colleges in general has impacted what is now a culture of it's own. I remember hearing lectures on the purpose of media outlets, news reporters, and the like, being to keep watch on institutions such as the governemnt. What has happened, in my opinion, is that mainstream media has become an institution itself. Again, it is not, in my mind a behind-closed-doors collusion/monopoly, just a culture and mindset.

Robin

12:25 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

I think you're right, Robin, the culture definitely starts early, at the liberal journalism schools.

I think Bernard Goldberg's BIAS covers this well, including the points you make. The culture/mindset you refer to is so taken for granted by those in the media that it's hard for them to accept other ways of thinking as having legitimacy.

Thanks much!

Laura

12:41 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

Laura, I'll see what I can do about my commenting.

Robin said: " I remember hearing lectures on the purpose of media outlets, news reporters, and the like, being to keep watch on institutions such as the governemnt. What has happened, in my opinion, is that mainstream media has become an institution itself."

Teachers teach this because it is absolutely correct. The Media (aka "the press") has a stated purpose in the successful functioning of a democratic society. Just as the media gave Clinton a hard time when he was president, so is the media giving Bush a hard time. It's their job, even though it may seem unfair, and I don't think that concept should be called "liberal" at all. It's a basic concept that you will be happy is in place in 2008 when we have a D in the White House. heheh.

And Laura, I will point out the self-declaration of Democrats among the press if I can find a recent study. All the numbers I have go back to 1988. :( I think it's still true, but I don't think it's 90% like it used to be. That fact can get to the heart of this debate.

Also, what decisions do you think the LA Times made that was to their detriment?

1:16 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

"It's their job, even though it may seem unfair, and I don't think that concept should be called 'liberal' at all. It's a basic concept that you will be happy is in place in 2008 when we have a D in the White House. heheh"

There is simply a different attitude in the media towards Democrats and Republicans which is incredibly pervasive, even if the media covers problems in a Democrat administration. For instance, one little example is the constant use of the phrase "conservative Republican" to describe politicians, while omitting the phrase "liberal Democrat" in most similar instances. The adjective is only used to apply to conservatives, because liberals are seen as the "norm" or the "good" by those in the media.

I also don't think it's the media's job to undermine the country, which is something that has happened this summer. The media has come to view themselves as a "branch" of government with their own special powers which are above the law, which I think is a completely false notion. The media has been overreaching and usurping powers which properly belong to the Executive Branch, i.e., disclosing classified information.
See: http://laurasmiscmusings.blogspot.com/2006/07/why-do-they-hate-us-part-2.html

If you have not yet read BIAS I highly recommend it for concise examples of further details. Goldberg is not a conservative Republican so you might find his perspective of interest. Monitoring the Media Research Center or NewsBusters websites will give you further insight into what I'm talking about, although coming from your perspective you may not find yourself in agreement with the complaints.

As far as the L.A. Times, a search of the phrase Los Angeles Times at "Search This Blog" for my blog will produce a few examples. For much more extensive examples, I highly recommend Patterico's Pontifications, blogrolled under "Southern California Links."

Hugh Hewitt has recently interviewed a couple longtime Washington reporters who were very open about the extremely high percentages of Democrats in newsrooms such as the WA POST. I'm blanking out on the names of the interviewees, but one of the interviews was the first week of this month if you'd like to check his archives.

I feel sure I have heard reference to studies more recent than 18 years ago but I don't have time this afternoon to do some Googling on that. Back to work now for me!

Best wishes, Laura

2:00 PM  
Blogger Robin B said...

Jim:
I didn't mean to imply that keeping a vigilant watch on government was not a vital role of the press, but rather that the press has become an institution and is therefore very ineffective in its role. I sense that the resistance that many in the mainstream media have had to the "new" media results from a sense of entitlement among its members that only they are qualified to do our thinking for us. Nothing frosts me more than to see a network news promo sharing with me that they'll help me "understand" the events. What arrogance.

6:36 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

"Nothing frosts me more than to see a network news promo sharing with me that they'll help me "understand" the events. What arrogance."

That really bothered me about Katie Couric, as that was one of the things they were pushing -- Katie wasn't going to tell us the news, she was going to tell us what to think about the news: "The biggest job isn't telling people what happened. It's getting them to understand why they should care." (Posted here 8/13/06)

Good discussion!

Thanks,
Laura

8:26 PM  

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