Sanity Injection

Injecting a dose of sanity into your day’s news and current events.

Mainstream media, it is time for thy reckoning

Posted by sanityinjection on November 5, 2008

The election is over. America, both red and blue, will move on in reasonably good fellowship. But there is one lingering item from the election that needs to be addressed and must not be swept under the rug. That is the disgraceful, shameful, and nakedly partisan “reporting” by the mainstream media during the campaign, to the point that even Democrats and liberals felt compelled to denounce it.

Of course, the editorial boards would prefer to sweep it under the rug. “Hey, the election’s over, that’s all in the past, fuhgeddaboudit, we promise we’ll be extra fair from now on!” That must not be allowed to happen.

Let me be very clear what I am talking about. I am not saying that the media stole the election for Obama. Biased media coverage was only one among many factors aiding Obama’s candidacy, and he probably would have won without it. Nor am I suggesting that the media was too hard on McCain (with the exception of a few rags like the New York Times that have lost all journalistic credibility with their shameless tabloidism) – McCain was subject to about the same level of scrutiny as any recent Presidential candidate. Rather, I am simply arguing that time after time after time, the mainstream media either deliberately or passively failed to apply the same standards of reporting to both campaigns.

To give a couple of brief examples: How many times did newspapers and TV networks characterize McCain’s economic plans as “vague and lacking in specifics”, while failing to hold Obama accountable when he repeatedly evaded the question of which of his many new domestic programs would have to be delayed because of the economic crisis? Or how about this lament from the London Telegraph:

“After thousands of hours of oratory and interviews, we know more about Sarah Palin’s dress bills than Barack Obama’s foreign policy.”

I don’t recall ever hearing any reporters questioning who paid for Joe Biden’s suits or how much they cost – do you?

Each of these incidents, in and of itself, is small potatoes and you could make a case for overlooking it. But when you add up, over the course of months and months of columns, interviews, and live TV coverage, all those little incidents become a mountain of bias. And it does have an effect.

In the new Age of Obama, it is time for the American news media to grow up and accept responsibility for its actions. They wield great power, and with power must always come responsibility. Since in our free society we view the regulation of the press by the government as anathema (rightly), it is time for the media associations to get serious about holding accountable those members of their profession who shame and embarrass their colleagues by violating all the accepted standards of objective and reliable news reporting.

Unfortunately, I very much fear that, like the overgrown children whose behavior they mimic, they will decline to impose any limitations on themselves unless forced to do so. The only saving grace is that the growth of the Internet, with its endless diversity of news sources and blogs, continues to be a counterweight to any and all attempts to manipulate public opinion by controlling Americans’ access to information.


31 Responses to “Mainstream media, it is time for thy reckoning”

  1. FembotsForObama said

    let’s hope you are right about the Internet. We will have to oppose the Fairness Doctrine if we hope to maintain any sort of balance in reporting during an Obama Administration.

    I’m not very hopeful on either count. Pravda has just begun.

  2. politicsIsdirty said

    The people must fight against this lack of journalistic integrity from the MSM. Boycott them and the pundits that work for them.

  3. Gary Hershdorfer said

    If the media accused McCain of being vague, it is because he was. He often asserted he was going to balance the budget by the end of his term and freeze expenditures (excluding largely unspecified areas). He and Gov. Palin showed little understanding of the budget process. Obama laid out his priorities. Dealing comprehensively with the financial crisis and the economy, then energy, ending the wars well, health care and so on. To take issue with the media for covering the huge story of Barack Obama’s Change at the expense of John McCain’s constantly changing story isto misunderstand the role of the media.

  4. […] Mainstream media, it is time for thy reckoning […]

  5. misanthropicus said

    There is no redemption for the traditional media – even today, it’s 3:30 PSt and CNN still keeps the morning post about prop 8 in California which declares the results “slim” – this for a clera 52-48 %, then the title under the Nor Coleman and Al Franken declares “Dems Make Further Indroads”, this when the Minnesota results is tight, it is (and will) favor Colemen.
    Simply, there is no redemption for liberals – they will always, in any circumstance lie.

  6. AnninCA said

    The only real way to hold the media accountable is to not seek their product. It’s time for a big change in how we consume news.

  7. Oregon4Obama said

    Hey I voted for Obama and its funny while i was watching the commentary on CNN last night that they brought up all the phony controversies or stupid stories… the American flagpin or Palins outfits….

    Its rediculous that they brought all this up AFTER the election….

    History was made and we all have to make sure that we do our homework just a little better next time to make sure that we are not being led by the media, we are only being informed….

  8. Tim said

    Well, now we have a one party government with a party controlled press. It’s the old Soviet era deja vu. Pravda has no news and Isvetia (sp) has no truth!

  9. Louis said

    I began to notice that the front page of the online New York Times was regularly putting top of page articles on their front page, with headlines that mentioned Obama. So I started to keep track of Obama vs McCain headlines over several weeks.

    Most days the ratio was three or four to one, Obama vs McCain. One particular day, the top four articles, stacked one atop the other, all mentioned Obama in their headline. McCain had one small headline, on a small article at bottom of the front page.

    That property has morphed into a common fan magazine, as have ABC and NBC, and most entertainers. It’s incorrect to classify them as you did formerly; “Fan magazine” is the only accurate identification.

  10. Mark said

    How DO those sour grapes taste….get over yourselves folks….the time has come to get on with the business at hand and become involved! Do not sit on the sidelines whining like sissies and listen to your Hannity and Limbaugh….The solution is within us….quit your bellyaching and do something! Meals on Wheels, Volunteer at a mission, work with those that are less fortunate.
    Be members of the human race and forget your partisan B.S. be Americans….it isn’t about Republicans and Democrats….it’s about AMERICANS!

  11. PUMA said

    The media selected and elected him president. HE IS NOT MY PRESIDENT. Go be a good Obama boy and do as he says. I do not believe the BS we have been served for months. I am glad it’s over. Now prepapre to witness the biggest disappointment in your life – a politician.

  12. Used2bdemocrat said

    Everyone offended by the shoddy, biased, and ass kissing, in the tank, selling out democracy media knows what products they have to sale for a profit. Just dont buy them, relegate their news-worthiness lower than the tabloids, lower than the toliet paper in the bathroom. These scumbags are as low as they come. One day they will meet the right American that will remind them in no kind way that American Independence and freedom requires that they report true facts and not their ideological leanings, and slanted bias. Use the internet, or word of mouth wherever possible, bankrupt the slime. If all who were offended by the way they treated half the populace then their ass would be to scared to lie and conive in their corrupt journalistic world. Used2bdemocrat

  13. LaDonna said

    #10 Mark: Get over yourself. Believe it or not the majority of Republicans are the biggest contributors to charity. We love our country and we believe in helping our fellow man. I will continue to help my fellow man and tithe to my church and FIGHT for my country and MY and my fellow man’s rights. You would do well to examine the plank in your own eye before you point out others. As for Hannity, Rush and Levin and anyone else you want to complain about – well, the dang truth hurts, doesn’t it. They are the minority because they have the microphone and are able to speak what MILLIONS of us are feeling. They are not the cause, they are out voice and WE WILL NOT BE SILENCED!

  14. Media Sprite said

    “Unfortunately, I very much fear that, like the overgrown children whose behavior they mimic, they will decline to impose any limitations on themselves unless forced to do so.”

    Really? Unless forced to do so? By what mechanism? Sure sounds like shades of the “Fairness Doctrine”.

    Don’t conservatives hate that kind of shit? What happened to the Free Market of ideas?

    John McCain ran a erratic, gaffe filled, poorly organized, nasty, race and terror-baiting campaign. Which didn’t work very well with voters, but provided the media with plenty of raw meat. Compare that to the bulk of Obama’s campaign, above board and issue based, epitomized by his half-hour infomercial where he doesn’t even MENTION McCain!

    Please…the crappy coverage McCain got was a perfect reflection of the crappy campaign he ran.

  15. jack said

    ….I was actually surprised that McCain only lost by 5%…the media bias surely created 15 to 20% difference…

    …anyone who claims the media is not biased is not in touch with reality…

    …the voters have voted for a man who does not represent them….intelligent people were not aware of Obama’s abortion record…not aware of his “talking points only knowledge of foreign policy” and not aware of his continuously changing positions and his flat out lies…

    …people who believe in smaller government and traditional values went out and voted obama…this disconnect is in large part thanks to the media (a group that got Ds in finance and math)

    …the problem isn’t that Obama was elected the problem is that the playing field was anything but even because of a total disregard for ethics integrity and honesty…

    …I am all for being fair and sportsman like but people have a moral obligation to call a spade a spade and speak out against dishonesty and corruption…and that is what has won today…

    …this could be the turning point in history…when turning points happen people don’t notice and thereby help them happen

  16. Paulo said

    I think people who believe the media are “liberally biased” often have a very pronounced conservative bias. The media has been historically very favorable to John McCain and I believe they treated him fairly in this election. I had hoped to see better examples in the article above to definitively convince me otherwise.

    The first argument just appears to be some lazy attempt at an anecdotal argument. Apparently the author saw McCain’s economic plan criticized, but not Obama’s. Well one could argue that the criticism of Obama’s supposed “associations” was much more prominent than McCain’s associations to Keating, Liddy, Hagee &al. – as long as we are making simple anecdotal observations.

    As far as a comparison between Palin’s wardrobe and others, I think many people will remember back to when Edwards was VP and had a supposed $400 haircut. If that was newsworthy, I would suppose pandora is out of the box. Funny I don’t remember anyone screaming “conservative bias” back then or anyone expecting the media searching for some sort of balancing point against Cheney.

    I honestly believe the media did a decent job this time around. They corrected a lot of false statements on both sides and actually did their homework. Of course, we can’t have that. How on earth can a Republican win in an environment where the claims of the candidates are actually examined and fact-checked. You might as well just gag the Republican. I suspect that is why some are trying so hard lately to “work the refs” so the media can go back to not doing their jobs and just repeating whatever crazy or deceptive claim made by a candidate – which only benefits the Machiavellian attitudes of people like Rove and his surrogates.

  17. Bigfoot said

    As a white southerner I am so tired of the media harping on the ‘racism’ of people not voting for Obama. They are still doing it even now, after the election. That Obama made inroads in the South in spite of the racism of southern whites. Or that racism stll persists even though we have a black President Elect. It is as if there were no other reason to vote McCain. Southern whites are the most conservative voters in the country. And the most flag waving patriotic. It didn’t matter that Obama was a shade dark. Most of us wouldn’t have voted for him in any case – because of his politics. But it is an obsession of the media and a very, very loud bias.

  18. Regghw said

    I’m a democrat and I agree the media was very bias in their reporting on the democratic primaries and the general election. I’m an African American and I am proud to have witnessed the historical moment of Nov. 4, but we are allowing a dangerous movement when the American people doesn’t hold the media to a higher standard.

    The majority of Americans do not read and rely on all of their information from sound bites. If we allow the media to control our thoughts we are headed for trouble down the road. I agree that the main stream media needs to feel the American peoples disgust. If they lose face with Obama he will be victimized by this procedure as he runs for re-election.

  19. mac said

    The MSM was so damned deep in the tank for Bama it would have taken a bathysphere to reach them. Don’t think so? Read the stories on how great it is that Bama won today from EVERY DAMNED ONE OF THEM.

    Bama was a lousy candidate who had only one thing going for him: his skin color. His path was smoothed every step of the way by the MSM, his every gaffe ignored, his questionable and extremely thin past buffed up where possible and again ignored when buffing couldn’t be done. Americans know less about Obama than any other Presidential candidate in history. That was the MSM at work. Thanks for nothing, and I mean that literally because nothing is exactly what we got in the way of investigative reporting about Obama. Anything that looked even vaguely bad was considered “racist.”

    The people who wanted this guy now have him. By winning, he’s screwed himself according to his Alinsky bible because he now has responsibility. If the Republicans are smart they’ll treat him exactly like the Dems treated Bush for the last eight years. Get ready, Dems. You sowed the wind. Prepare to reap the whirlwind.

  20. Jeff Cox said

    When I drop into these far-right blogs and get my hair blown back by the perpetual, continuous anger, frustration, resentment, blame, demonization and drama that drives these people and their talk-radio heros like some black, empty flame, I always miss H.L. Mencken.

  21. sanityinjection said

    Mr. Cox – I’m amused by your characterization of Sanity Injection as a “far-right” blog. I’m glad that people of every political stripe read and comment here, but if you think Sanity Injection itself is “far-right”, you really need to get out more.

  22. ThreeDogs said

    A suggestion for what to do on Inauguration Day:

    Those of you who still subscribe to a newspaper, cancel it.

  23. geevill said

    Looking forward to the middle class tax cut. The honeymoon is already over for Obama. Broken promise #1- Unpaid street workers are demanding their $30 pre-paid visa cards.

  24. benmansfield said

    my response has gone deeper
    I no longer watch sunday night football because of Olbermann being involved and im actually down to one show on the whole network NBC actually

  25. Donna said

    The bias in the media was treasonous and Obama would not have been elected without it.

    1. Electing the first black President is historic and very symbolic. As a nation we are tired of the burden of racism and people with black and white skin were excited about the prospect of electing a President with black skin to break through that glass ceiling. I saw real joy on the faces of some black voters as I worked the polls on Tuesday. It meant alot symbolically to them and I imagine they were so glad to show this to their children.

    2. Even just 1 of the following list would have changed this race completely. The huge media giants that provide much of the “national news” surpressed information damaging to Obama with a vengeance.

    There was an active propaganda campaign that pulled heavily viewed videos damaging to Obama on youtube, repeatedly. Videos about the cause of the economic crisis (Fannie and Freddie, Dodd, Frank, Obama given huge sums of money from Fannie and Freddie during his short tenure in the U.S. Senate.) Videos showing Obama campaigning in 2006 for Odinga, a socialist/communist educated in communist East Germany, named 1 son Fidel Castro, rich aristocrat in Kenya. Odinga lost the Dec 27, 2007 election (even after Dick Morris went to Kenya to help him in Nov 2007 – video of press conference on youtube) and now 1 year later, 800 churches are burned, 1100-1500 people are dead, and 300,000 people are displaced. Human Rights Watch has a report on it from the Kenyan commission, dated Oct 18, 2008. The video of Obama and Odinga together in Kenya, kept getting pulled. Once after 300,000 views. Time Warner (Warner Music) and Youtube (owned by Google) surpressed political speech unfavorable to Obama.

    RealClearPolitics pulled repeatedly “Reader Articles” that were about research on highly damaging subjects about Obama, particularly if they started earning “too many votes” from other readers. Obama’s never produced birth certificate, etc. etc.

    On the eve of the election, I realize that we didn’t even have transcripts of Obama’s undergraduate college career from Occidental and Columbia University… potentially because Bill Ayers lived near there at the time and may have been Obama’s teacher and/or advisor.

    Tapes of Obama (LA Times) saying that the Israelis have practiced “genocide” against the Palestinians and don’t have a natural right to their land, in the presence of former PLO Columbia professor Khalidi and Bill Ayers (master bomb builder for the Weather Underground) and his wife who was convicted of violent crimes.

    There are huge amounts of careful documented research that suggest Bill Ayers ghost wrote Obama’s memoir “Dreams from my Father” in 1995.

    Bill Ayers’ 2001 book “Fugitive Days” is dedicated to Black Liberation Army and “May 19 Communist” men and women who killed policemen. He calls them freedom fighters. On wikipedia, one of the officers was killed with 2 shots in the head with his own firearm.

    Bill Ayers promoted that 2001 book by posing for a picture standing on the American flag. Khalidi acknowledges as #1 the help that Ayers gave to his 2004 book “Resurrecting Empire”.

    The 98 pages, videos etc. of documented fraud in the 2008 Democratic caucuses from Lynette Long or wewillnotbesilenced2008

    Online fundraising of Obama with large amounts of prepaid credit cards (McCain would not accept them), no checks of credit card nbrs against name,zipcode, security code like what happens everytime you buy something with a credit card online, no disclosure of people who gave less that $200 in aggregate, even though that supposedly added up to hundreds of millions of dollars, bogus names on contributions, etc. Contribution amounts that look like foreign contributions with foreign currencies changed to dollars.

    On and on and on it goes… Tony Resko, Infants Born Alive act… the media talks endlessly about Sarah Palin and McCain … should have run their campaign differently supposedly…

    No the media lied and actively surpressed the truth about Obama while attacking his opponents relentlessly on any possibly perceived infraction.

    The media does not love freedom nor democracy.

  26. sanityinjection said

    Here’s the latest from Chris Matthews, who doesn’t even have the grace to be ashamed of his partisanship:

  27. MNchick said

    I think this is a fact that can easily be said by either a liberal or a conservative. While I do believe McCain’s campaign was poorly run, I don’t believe that had he had better coverage from the media, he would have won. Just being in the same party as Bush unfortunately has affected him drastically – never mind that he has always been very good at being bipartisan.

    You’re right, the media came off very strongly for Obama. Very little was reported negatively about this man. Yes, they did ok on fact checking, but not background reporting. It comes as no shock to anyone.

    It is doubtful there will be a change in this type of reporting; it has been a slippery slope for some time.

    “They wield great power, and with power must always come responsibility” – is that Spiderman?

  28. Johannes said

    I fully agree with this article and most of the comments…I am not an American but a German citizen and I have been following this election since the beginning of the year when the run off contests started.

    Firstly I must say that the press were pro Obama from the very start of his campaign to gain the nomination. Even Hilary Clinton rarely got media exposure, not too mention the lack of exposure for the Republican candidates. Once Obama got the nomination the one sided Media coverage not only in the USA but in EUROPE as well, was actually an embarassment. Obama could do nothing wrong and he HAD to be the new USA President.

    As far as Germany’s Media was concerned I could expect nothing else because up to 75% of the Media outlets (TV,Radio and Print) are either wholly owned by, or fully controlled by the SPD Party (Social Party for Democracy equivalent to your Democratic Party) and everything Republican/Conservative is very evil in their eyes! Since Obama’s victory we have been basically bombarded with news items/reports (all positive may I add) about Obama and how the “world has been saved and a new beginning is in store for us all” even though they really do not know his background, what he really stands for and what his policies are for the next 4 years. I started to think that I had missed some thing in this whole scenario and maybe the new “Messiah” had been born, was alive and well, living in the USA and was now to be the new President…….Hooray, I have lived to see the coming of the Messiah!?????

    An interesting question to ask here is “has there been any investigation into the ownership of your USA Media outlets”, because I am sure that you will find the majority owned by or under the control of Democrats/Liberals! It is rather alarming but this political grouping has fully understood the meaning and the power of PROPAGANDA and therefore been far more clever and efficient in getting the Media under its control. Their subsequent abuse of the Media to forward their agendas, views, ridicule of the opposition parties and successes in elections, have overwhelmed the opposition in most countries throughout the world. Similarly Obama and his election staff used the internet(YouTube, Facebook, MySpace etc.) brillantly and to such an extent that even kids were aware of Obama and Obama fans…..and this obviously had an influence on the voting decisions of many parents.

    To sum up – Obama and the Democrats over ran McCain and the Republicans with their use and abuse of the internet and the baised support of the Democratic controlled Media outlets. Let this be a lesson and if the Republicans and others who did not vote for Obama want to have any chance of taking back the Whitehouse in 2012, then start using the internet even more extensively than they did. Not only in election year but from today onwards because I fear that you will continue to have baised reports of Obama’s presidency from your Media – in their eyes “he will do no wrong, make no stupid decisions and his term of office will be SUPER”. If he fails to deliver on some of his promises, well then Bush will be the guilty one again……it is simple the majority of the Media in USA are Democrats and Liberals and they have the say and can do no wrong!

  29. tubby said

    To #21 – Sanity Injection may not profess to be right-wing, but it draws such readership (e.g., LaDonna, PUMA, misanthropicus) — to the point where people who don’t make a habit of listening to Hannity and Limbaugh every day become disillusioned with this blog, and fear any comments contributed will result in a deluge of irrational right-leaning criticism.

    One note: let’s not forget Obama only won the popular vote by a 7% margin – hardly a landslide. A 46% share of the vote for McCain makes a good case for thinking, non-media-biased Americans who aren’t affected by “propaganda”. Certain people may be swayed by the media, but most reasonable people who choose to vote will watch the debates and read up on the candidates. Yes, the Palin coverage was harsh, but then didn’t we deserve to know where her experience was lacking? Sure, maybe there could have been more negative coverage about Obama, to even the scale. Or – here’s a thought – how about no negative coverage at all? Leaving this to the far-left and far-right blowhards like Air America Radio and Hannity, respectively. Sanityinjection is right – where are the media outlets who will report the facts? You sure as hell can’t count on CNN, Fox News, or MSNBC for that. But hey, I’m a lying liberal, so you can’t really trust anything I say 😉

    On a lighter note, did anybody see the Keith Olbermann spook on SNL last week? As a former Olberman fan (before he turned all preachy), I found that bit spot-on.

  30. sanityinjection said

    Tubby, I think I’ve been very clear that posters from all parts of the political spectrum – and indeed all corners of the world – are welcome here. I’m not going to start censoring comments in order to create some sort of artificial ideological balance here a la the Fairness Doctrine. Sanity Injection’s Comment Policy above spells out the rare cases when I will censor a comment – and I’m happy to say I can count on my fingers the number of times I have had to do that.

    If you feel that the balance of the comments has tipped heavily to the right, why not invite some of your politically conscious liberal friends (and I know you have many!) to read and comment here?

  31. kajaki said

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    I will be sure to bookmark it and return to read more of your useful information.

    Thanks for the post. I will certainly return.

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