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Overt Liberal Media Bias: Journalistic Fraud

  1. Mar 22, 2005 #1

    russ_watters

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    The topic of the media's liberal bias has raised its head again in several threads, so I figured I'd consolidate. We've discussed it before, of course, and it always seemed to me that once the statistics were shown, the threads always died quitely. HERE they are:

    Its also noteworthy that the number in the media identifying themselves as liberal has actually increased significantly in recent years. Now, while this isn't direct evidence of bias, the only way it could not manifest itself as a bias is if we assume that the liberals are many times as capable of hiding their bias as conservatives. Ie, say 1 in 100 in the local media wear their bias on their sleeve - out of 10,000 reporters, that would mean 12 conservative and 23 liberals display an open bias unless somehow liberals are only half as likely to wear their bias on their sleeve.

    Now, since the stats are usually a thread-killer, I want to have a look at the issue in a different way. I want to focus on the problem-children because they are the easiest to identify. While it would be an interesting discussion which is worse, subtle bias or overt fraud, at the very least, the overt fraud is easy to recognize.

    So, I'd like to list some examples of journalistic fraud and related misconduct and what they say about the leanings of the media. My criteria here is that wrongdoing is eventually acknowledged by, at the very least, the media outlet. So in most of my cases (and, I would encourage anyone to adhere to this criteria), a direct statement by the network/paper is involved, as well as people losing their jobs. Cases should not be limited to liberal leans or even any bias at all. Part of what I'm trying to do here is get a sampling of what the relationship is between the liberal fraud, the conservative fraud, and the guys that were just bad reporters.

    First off, of course, has to be Dan Rather. While Dan Rather escaped unharmed, four people including his producer and the upper management of 60 Minutes (Thursday?) lost their jobs. This was a story specifically designed (as stated in a memo from the producer) to swing the election.

    Jayson Blair. This is journalistic fraud at its most basic: he didn't lean left or right, he just fabricated or plagarized pretty much every story he ever wrote for the NY Times.

    Peter Arnett (my personal favorite): Peter Arnett may well be the source of the idea that liberals hate America. He's far left wing and much of his reporting is anti-American. While his anti-American bias didn't quite get him arrested for treason during Gulf II, it did end, probably permanently, his employment with American media. He now reports for England's "Daily Mirror." No, treason isn't fraud, its just, apparently, the next logical step for him. He lost is CNN job in 1998 due to his story on Operation Tailwind about poison gas use in Vietnam. Though CNN won't admit fraud because of ongoing litigation, several producers were fired over it and Arnett left shortly after. All this for a Pulitzer winner.

    Giraldo Rivera: How he ever got out of Jerry Springer's shadow, I'll never understand, but, in any case, I don't consider his misconduct politically motivated - he's just an idiot. While he didn't get in trouble for shooting a segment where he prayed over the spot of an American soldier's death - from 100 miles away - he did get booted out of Iraq for talking about troop movements too much.

    Jack Kelly: A Pulitzer finalist (pattern...?), Kelly fabricated dozens of stories over 20 years or so. Not politically motivated, he appears to be cut from he same cloth as Jayson Blair: just a lazy liar.

    HERE is a list of 13 scandals (not necessarily fraud), including some of the cases discussed above. Near as I can tell, at least 4 involve Pulitzer winners or finalists. Coupled with what I just learned about Pulitzer (he along with Hearst invented sensationalism), my general opinion of the media is sinking lower than I ever thought possible.

    In my searching, I also came across THIS: not a specific reporter, but the bias (and possibly fraud) by the NY Times itself is absolutely breathtaking.
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2005
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  3. Mar 22, 2005 #2

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    Good summary: you missed my favorite, Carl Rowan (lib, gun control freak) firing a warning shot from an illegal handgun at teenagers trespassing in his back yard in Wash., D.C., and "missing." Didn't hurt the kid seriously --- didn't go to jail --- and his kid (cop) didn't get kicked off the force for furnishing pop an unregistered firearm.

    'Nother way to look at things --- major media outlets are located in major cities, and cater to "local" tastes. Major urban areas are the "enlightened" liberal hotbeds every election --- pretty much follows that the media are generally liberal. Wire services and syndicated columnists operate through the majors rather than from rural offices (don't see Dimebox, TX on column heads too often), and the "big city lib" bias is injected into the rural, small potatoes outlets through such a mechanism.

    Are the media biased toward liberal (read bright lights and glitter) viewpoints? Certainly, that's their market. Is there some drift toward the center or right? Maybe --- urban literacy rates are plummeting with the implementation of lib education programs in public schools, possibly shifting the demographics measured at the circulation desks toward the rural readership/viewership.
     
  4. Mar 22, 2005 #3

    russ_watters

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    Heh, that's hilarious (I hadn't heard of him), but I'm not seeing any misconduct in it.
     
  5. Mar 22, 2005 #4
    There is a difference between liberals and conservatives in disguise.

    For instance I would say that not a single democratic senator is a true liberal.
     
  6. Mar 22, 2005 #5

    SOS2008

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    Really? From the same article:
    This is a comparison of journalists to the general population, not a comparison within journalism itself. Variables correlated with being more liberal, such as education, probably would result in journalists being more liberal than the general population. Also from this article:
    In other words, maybe the media isn't becoming more liberal but rather the general public is becoming more conservative. This article continues:
    I no longer have the source at hand, but the point was made that a conservative media doesn't necessarily have to be measured in quantity, but who yells the loudest.
    This was already discussed in depth in an earlier thread, so briefly, first you say Rather "escaped unharmed" then you say four people lost their jobs. No one retired prematurely or lost jobs over similar smears against Kerry and his military record.

    Jason Blair doesn't compare to the presstitution of Gannon, or other pundits on the Bush payroll to pitch his agenda. Giraldo isn't even a journalist, and like Jon Stewart, should at least be upfront about it.
    Ditto.
     
  7. Mar 22, 2005 #6
    Well, obviously there is a liberal bias in jobs which demand a high degree of literacy and critical thinking.
     
  8. Mar 22, 2005 #7
    :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:


    ps- any "liberal" newspaper or news station that doesn't have someone like noam chomsky, bill blum, michael parenti, etc on regularly is most certainly NOT even remotely liberal. michael moore definitely doesn't represent the true "liberals" in the US.
     
  9. Mar 22, 2005 #8

    russ_watters

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    Huh? I think you misread. The first numbers (the ones I quoted) are absolute numbers - the numbers in journalism, not compared to anything else.
    Certainly. Certain values and a mindset common to people wanting to be journalists is where the bias comes from. Similarly, most engineers are conservative. I'm glad we agree. :biggrin:
    No, the article is quite specific and that ain't what it says.
    Well, Fox certainly generates a loud reaction from the liberal media, reflecting how much further to the left the rest of the media is. Is that what you mean? :biggrin:
    I'm not following: what journalists comitted fraud in the reporting of Kerry's military record?
    That's true: none of them committed fraud.
    Um, Geraldo reported (still does?) for NBC and MSNBC news.

    edit: while that was entertaining, arguing to be argumentative isn't all that endearing, SOS...
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2005
  10. Mar 22, 2005 #9

    SOS2008

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    I didn't misread--I was just quoting from a different section of the same article, and then commenting on it.
    From the same article -
    These are numbers comparing journalists to the general public.
    Once again, I quoted and then made a comment, and Fox News IS really loud.
    Reporting untrue stories (i.e the "Swifties" false claims) is a form of fraud, and Gannon wasn't even using his real name! What's that called? I don't think anyone takes Geraldo seriously--he's entertainment value for ratings (like a few folks on FOX News).
    Okay Mr. Augmentative--or are you just trying to make me feel better by trying to convince me this country isn't moving to the right, to the right, to the right? :biggrin:
     
  11. Mar 22, 2005 #10
    I like how the three or four "Journalists" that were actually on the Bush administration's payroll were excluded from this listing of journalistic fraud, along with Robert Novak, who revealed the name of a covert CIA agent whose husband had pissed off the Bush administration.

    Some members of the media might have a liberal philosophy, but how many have a paycheck funded by liberals (Besides of course Air America, but that's a company based on the premise of liberal commentary, not a company based on the premise of objective news like Fox News or anything of the like)?

    Also, look at talk radio, how many talk radio hosts who aren't on Air America are NOT openly conservative? I'd argue that any "Liberal" sects of the media, save Allen Colmes (pathetic sack of crap) and Air America aren't nearly as openly Ideological as the Conservative sects are, and the Conservatives are much louder in spreading their propaganda. Liberals are more a, shall we say, "silent majority" in the media.
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2005
  12. Mar 22, 2005 #11

    SOS2008

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    You mean like:
    Yeh, this was already discussed in the Gannon Guffaw thread.
    Exactly, and why there were complaints that Fox's tag line of "fair and balanced reporting" was false advertising.
    I brought this up before too--Christian radio is big (and then I made the joke that all liberals have is NPR--boring!). Seriously, an earlier point about variation of news in urban versus rural areas is something to think about too. Also, it has to do with choice, which I argue has become more conservative--it doesn't matter how many liberal news sources there are if people in the "red" rural states choose to tune into FOX.
     
  13. Mar 22, 2005 #12
    Well, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly, and lots of other big-name Conservative commentators live in NYC or other Urban areas...
     
  14. Mar 22, 2005 #13
    I thought that intelligent people, realized that labels like Liberal and Conservative are tools of propagandists, and have little to do with reality; except in the sense that they are used to manipulate opinion and attempt to lead people in a spin master's direction. It is interesting to me that I rarely hear that conservative values are a threat to anything, yet I hear that Liberals are by implication, the evil. Ohhhhhhh very left leaning liberal.

    The Right has a boat load of money, five boatloads actually with which to try and get more money. One of the ways they do this is by convincing poor frightened people, that liberals are threatening their way of life. They try to tell them that honest reporting of the news, is Liberal, that they shouldn't believe what they see. It is the most amazing thing to me. But, here is some real news, the stock market dropped like a large rock off a high bridge today, and gas prices are over three dollars a gallon, and this freaking government wants my kids to bet their lives on the whim of whatever other economic mess they come up with, over the next whatever, while they want to finish the robbery of Social Security. All the while, warning us about the liberal bias in the news. What is the news supposed to be?

    Is it supposed to be like 1984 where we all sit down to linger over Bush's words every night, where we rant around the living room and hate who they want us to, where we ask our 16 year olds to enlist to take on our next oil rich enemy? Is it that we are supposed to just read the conservative paper, while the leaky trains roll by full of radioactive waste, destined for leaky repositories just out west, and never question any decision the government makes, because it would be liberal or left leaning to do that? Shall we worship the rich and powerful, and buy whatever they are selling, and die and give our meager estates, to the medical establishment in the last two weeks of our lives, and perpetuate conservative values? Shall we be happy with our lot in life that we have won, in some toady contest, and never give a thought to the well being of anyone else, or any thing else, and stay inside our little houses, except for our lucky little vacations to a decent reality, possibly?

    Is thinking and looking at things a liberal trait? Just when did I become a Liberal? Was it when I said the air was so bad, I couldn't really breathe well in it? Was it when I said I want equal pay for equal work? Was it when I wanted my children to be taught Science in school, rather than religious opinion? When did it become not okay to be free in this country?

    What are we supposed to see, let me put forth a scenario. Peter Jennings is on, and he is saying, "Oh the president has on such a crisp suit today, how his blue eyes crinkle and sparkle in the light of morning, isn't he a paragon of a man. Oh he has the worst enemies, and he is standing strong." Thank you and that is the news from here. What? What is the news supposed to be, to make it proper?

    I will tell you, I sat and looked at the pictures of Bagdad, all the overheads I could see the night before we were supposed to unleash, "Shock And Awe". What a piece of arrogant, and cruel, spin that was. How perfectly awful that was, and that is what I pay for? That does not represent me or my values. Those are the values of madmen. There was this calm, ancient, city reflected in the Euphrates, the cradle of civilization, home of the Code Of Hammurabi, and we were going to demolish it. We terrorized every woman and child there, we put Saddam in power, we gave him all his weapons, and now we were going to do that. If the news had been truly liberal, they would have been screaming for impeachment, and for war crimes trials to begin. I think they were very decent about it. Oh yes, and the liberal news guys, had a one in thirty chance of dying in the opening days, where troops had 1 in 200.

    Liberal media, what? Will it be like China? Grim guys all in the same suit, in front of giant pictures of our fearless leaders? Will there be stonings again, when we become properly conservative?

    The toadies for the big money go on and on about liberal this and that, and complain that college campuses are full of GASP!!! LIBERALS!!! Well what they really mean, is that they are full of thinking people who are there to educate our young people to think critically. I am royally tired of the neo-propaganda that calls on everyone to dismiss reality.
     
  15. Mar 22, 2005 #14

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    Rowan went on regularly in his columns about the need for gun control --- obviously for everyone but himself; fraud? Can't call a columnist fraudulent, really, but hypocrisy and fraud aren't really all that different.
     
  16. Mar 23, 2005 #15
    Dayle, I wish you had the standing of MLK so people would actually listen. I fear those words will be forgotton the moment this post drops off the front page.

    P.S. I proudly call myself a liberal.
     
  17. Mar 23, 2005 #16

    russ_watters

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    I guess I don't see your point then: journalists are more liberal than average for the general population and there are more liberal than conservative journalists. So what? When you say "Really?" it sounds like you want to contradict something I said.
    Yeah, I know - your comment was a paraphrase of the article and was factually wrong. The article did not say that the general public is getting more conservative - it didn't survey the general public at all and says explicitly that the media is getting more liberal.
    No, it isn't. If the Swifties made false claims, then they committed fraud, not the journalists who reported on their claims.
    A pseudonym.
    The country is moving to the right, but that is irrelevant to this thread.
    C'mon waste (and SOS) I know you know what the word "fraud" means - I'm not going to play the definition game. Gannon, et al sold their opinions, they did not fabricate facts. And the thread about that died a quiet death after it was pointed out that that's not something unique to Bush's administration. Don't forget that.
    Talk show hosts are not reporters. Rush Limbaugh is quite open about his purpose and talk radio is not supposed to be reporting unbiased news. That is irrelevant to this thread. Perhaps, though, we should have a discussion about which is worse: open bias or concealed bias (ethically, its a no-brainer: concealed bias is worse)...
    Huh? Did you watch the DNC? 'Us vs them' is practically the motto of the Democratic party.

    Really, though, none of that rant is relevant to this thread, except for this one thing:
    You actually have it backwards (Berkeley - need I say more?), but its an important point: if people in this country had more critical thinking skills and could identify and filter out the bias, then the bias wouldn't be such a big deal. But the problem is that people don't think for themselves, an when they see Dan Rather (for example) spewing fraudulent liberal propaganda, they assume what he's saying is factual and not just his massively biased opinion. Pulitzer pioneered Rather's concept of lying to the public through the media in order to manipulate public opinion. Several of the people I listed above won or were nominated for Pulitzer prizes for doing just that.

    Here's a thought sure to scare some liberals here: with the country moving to the right, how much further to the right would it go if the media wasn't lying to people in an effort to move them to the left?
    True enough.
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2005
  18. Mar 23, 2005 #17
    It seems that all the statistics, and debate over semantics, are really a moot point. If the population is conservative, which the article shows, these people will tune into conservative news sources (FOX, Christian radio, etc.) regardless of how many liberal journalists/agencies there are. So maybe the question really should be "Is the country becoming more conservative?" and I think if this was a poll, the response would be overwhelmingly YES. So get over it all ready... :bugeye:
     
  19. Mar 23, 2005 #18

    russ_watters

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    Trouble is, if the average joe can't spot a bias when he sees it, how will he know to switch to the bias he wants? With the advent of Fox, its less of an issue today than 5 years ago, but 5 years ago, the average joe might assume they were getting unbiased news when, in fact, they were being gently nuged to the left. That's the danger of a hdiden bias.

    Beyond that, Fox isn't just the only news outlet that leans right, they are also the most sensational (and therefore, imo, about the lowest quality). So I (for example) don't watch Fox, even though their ideas are more in line with mine than the other stations.
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2005
  20. Mar 23, 2005 #19

    SOS2008

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    "Really" was a sincere wonderment at the assertion that statistics always kill a thread. And then I was making the point of comparison between journalists versus the public (in reply to what you posted), which first you deny, and now you admit (that the article makes comparisons between journalists and the general population) a twisting and circular pattern...
    This is verbatim from the article:
    This also was verbatim from the article
    What is this saying? It's saying a more conservative population is a factor in these results.
    So these journalists don't need to check the facts before reporting lies unless it involves documents per Dan Rather? :confused:
    I completely disagree with this, because anyone with basic economic understanding will say as I have that services (news) will accommodate the market (the growing conservative population) to obtain higher profit (ratings).
    It doesn't seem to matter what is pointed out, such as using a fraudulent name (i.e. fraud), you persist in arguing the point and then accusing others of playing definition games.
     
  21. Mar 23, 2005 #20

    russ_watters

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    Fair enough.
    Very carefully this time:

    -The article says the number of liberal journalists is higher than the number of liberals in the general population.
    -The article does not say (as you have asserted) that the general population is getting more conservative. It may be true (imo, it probably is), but it is not discussed in the article, as you asserted.
    -The article also does not say (as you assert) that the media is only getting more liberal when compared with the general population. Your statement:
    Sure, you did say "maybe", but that doesn't make the assertion any less wrong. The article, quite simply, doesn't say that and what the article does say directly contradicts it.
    More conservative than what? More conservative than liberal or more conservative than it was 10 years ago? The article does give statistics that say its more conservative than liberal, but it does not give statistics that it is more conservative than it was 10 years ago (or any other timeframe).

    It also does not say that the main poll results reflect the "value gap" (as you are asserting) but rather he "value gap" is a reflection of the poll results.
    What's confusing about this? There is no fact to check in a direct quote! Compare:

    -Dan Rather: This memo from Bush's CO says....
    -SBV: We didn't go into Cambodia on Christmas Eve.
    -Random reporter: The SBV say that they didn't go into Cambodia on Xmas eve.

    In the first "quote", Dan rather is making an assertion about what someone else said. Its up to him to make sure that is, in fact, what the CO said.

    In the second "quote", the SBV is claiming a fact about the boat's movements that contradict what Kerry said (lets set aside that that fact has been verified....). Its up to him to be accurate about that fact of the boat's movements.

    In the third "quote", a random reporter is paraphrasing the words of the SBV. It is up to him to make sure he accurately paraphrases the SBV. But:

    -If the SBV lied, is fraud by the SBV.
    -If the SBV lied and the random reporter knew it at the time, that would be fraud by the reporter to repeat a known lie.
    -If the SBV lied and the reporter found out later and didn't come clean (see: Dan Rather again), it would be fraud by the reporter.
    -If the reporter was unsure of the accuracy, it would be inethical to say otherwise, but not fraud.

    So what really happened in that case: there was controversy over the statements and that controversy was investigated. At no time(that I saw) did any reporter ever vouch for the accuracy of the claims by the SBV. All of the initial reports went something like: 'The SBV say ...this..., but the Kerry campagn says ...that...' Both sides presented, no necessary endorsement of either claim. As doubt came over either version, doubt was discussed in the news.

    Now, of course, the irony is that doubt or not, the SBV stayed in the news. Kerry's attempt to use his service to his advantage backfired, and his attempts to smother the fire just fanned the flames.
    That's true. Fox's emergence bears that out. So how is that relevant to this thread?


    It doesn't seem to matter what is pointed out, such as using a fraudulent name (i.e. fraud), you persist in arguing the point and then accusing others of playing definition games.
    Since when is using a pseudonym fraud? Journalists and actors do it all the time - mostly because their real names are boring or difficult to say. I would assume he used it because "Gannon" rolls off the tongue better than "Guckert". If you are claiming he was intentionally trying to conceal his identity, that'd be one thing, but you aren't claiming that, are you? (and if you are, prove it)
     
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