Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Reporters can be suck-ups, too

By J. Kingston Pierce

As a longtime journalist, I know better than to think that reporters or editors are inherently biased--either toward the Left or the Right. They’re mostly just the usual run of flawed human beings who try not to let their vested interests in a favorable future (i.e., one free of fear, debt, and bombs dropping on Iran) color their coverage of the world. The talking heads at FAUX News speak disingenuously when they refer to “the liberal media.” They know better--and if they don’t, then they’ve been sipping too long at Rupert Murdoch’s right-wing lemonade stand.

But every once in a while a bit of honest-to-goodness media bias is shown. This comes from one of Steve Benen’s posts in Salon’s excellent War Room blog:

We’ve known for a while that so many political reporters fawn over John McCain that the media is often considered “McCain’s base,” but Dana Milbank’s latest piece [in The Washington Post] suggests news outlets are anxious to solidify the relationship.

Appearing before the nation’s newspaper editors yesterday, AP Chairman Dean Singleton pressed Barack Obama on whether he would send more U.S. troops to Afghanistan, where “Obama bin Laden is still at large?” McCain’s treatment was slightly different.

McCain’s moderators, the AP’s Ron Fournier and Liz Sidoti, greeted McCain with a box of Dunkin’ Donuts. “We spend quite a bit of time with you on the back of the Straight Talk Express asking you questions, and what we’ve decided to do today was invite everyone else along on the ride,” Sidoti explained. “We even brought you your favorite treat.”

McCain opened the offering. “Oh, yes, with sprinkles!” he said.

This is pretty rank bias, right up there with the cheerleading FAUX News has done for George W. Bush over the last seven years. It’s old-boyism at its worst. Surely, the reporters understand--if they’ve actually been listening to McCain in the back of that Not-So-Straight Talk Express -- that he lacks both the temperament and the knowledge on a wide range of issues (economics being the most significant being the most significant) that will be required of whoever has to begin cleaning up Bush’s mess next year. However, as the story above proves, they are more interested in palling around with politicians than treating them with equal but distant respect. Dubya pulled the same crap on the Washington and national press corps in 2000. Haven’t these people learned anything since then? If they can’t tell when they’re being conned, how in the hell can they prevent the rest of us from being taken for a ride, as well?

Get your lips off McCain’s ass, people.

READ MORE:McCain Attacks the Press, Who Then Offer Him His ‘Favorite Treats’ of Coffee and Donuts” (Think Progress); “Do You Have What It Takes to Be a Serious Journalist? Take This Test and See!,” by J.D. Rhoades (What Fresh Hell Is This?).

(Cross-posted at Limbo.)

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