Monday, October 25, 2004


We need to continue and expand the discussion of our expectations from the media. A few years ago, the predominant voices were those decrying the mythical "liberal press." The corporate media were emboldened by this to transform their reporting to a consistent right-wing perspective. In November of 2000, before the votes were counted, the news media sung a chorus of "Should Al Gore concede?" It was dirty and wrong.
One of the ongoing sources of right-wing favoritism from the media is actually stemming from the idea that the reporting should be balanced and fair. Implemented wrongly, this approach has obscured the strengths of John Kerry and the Democrats, and glossed over George Bush's inadequacies.
Michelangelo Signorile gives a good example through examining the commentary on the debates:

"Television news coverage has become so twisted that CNN commentators are not only withholding judgment on who won each debate, waiting to get spun by the campaigns--they're admitting that they're doing so...
All of which is why it has been pitiful to watch tv commentators pander to Bush in the post-debate analysis. The Hardball panel on MSNBC went out of its way to compliment Bush after both debates--Salon noted that they seemed to have watched some other debate on another planet the first time around--while Tim Russert and Tom Brokaw punted, pining on with sentimental crap about how debates show the true spirit of democracy. On CNN on Friday night, Jeff Greenfield blurted out a wish-washy analysis that basically amounted to saying the debate was a draw--though he didn't even want to be that definitive--while Wolf Blitzer waited until Judy Woodruff offered up a report from the "spin room." "

It is not obvious to me how to go about fixing these issues so that the American people can get reasonable information from the media. But we should observe the reporting on the eve of, and through the final result of the election with a critical eye. Discussing the problem and spreading the truth are critical tasks for the nurturance and rebuilding of our now fragile democracy.


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