4.20.2005

Rover on the media

I've read before that Karl Rove doesn't make many appearances outside of stumping for his man, so I found this piece in the Washington Post rather novel. Whatever you think of this guy, he's damned shrewd, so I'd assume most will take anything he says with a grain (or two) of salt. That being said, this quote was what got me: "I'm not sure I've talked about the liberal media," Rove said when a student inquired -- a decision he said he made "consciously." The press is generally liberal, he argued, but "I think it's less liberal than it is oppositional."

Taken at face value, this additude makes whole lot more sense to me than the conspiratorial blatherings I usually come accross on the topic of liberal bias. And, poof!!. Just like that, Rove seems less like he-who-must-not-be-named and more like reasonable human being. Weird.

17 comments:

Joe said...

I thought that was a pretty insightful comment by Mr. Rove, the media being more oppositionally biased than ideologically biased.
John Stewart made a different criticism, that the media is "lazy biased." It's so much easier to report the horse race, the scandal, etc, than to report hard news. It's easier to let the talking heads talk than to do an investigative report.
If you add the other obvious problem, that the media will print what will sell, then you've got, voila, Whitewater! Remember Whitewater, oh thee liberal-media haters? Remember Monica Lewinski? Oppositional, lazy, commercial, no matter who's in office.

Andrew said...

I don't think the Rove article is nearly as exculpatory of the MSM as you want to believe. He did not say that pervasive media bias ceased being a problem. He was simply saying that the format that news is now being presented in was becoming more problematic than it's bias. I could post examples all day of biased new reporting but it's long since become boring. Yes the media wants a horse race, yes it is lazy, but it is still very ideological.

Monica Lewinski would be a good point but only if you overlook the fact that Newsweek decided to sit on the story for 6 months until it was eventually leaked to Matt Drudge. If ankle biters like Drudge didn't come onto the scene when they did the scandal would have likely never been reported.

Andrew said...

This may be why Rove struck such a conciliatory tone when speaking of the media. It's quickly becoming an anachronism due to bias and irrelevance.

(http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050424/OPINION/504240334/1002)

Joe said...
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Joe said...

Whitewater was well underway before Lewinski came on the scene at all. The media was already giving Clinton the business over it, and they were largely giving Ken Starr a pass on his incredibly cynical and ruthless abuse of power. Lewinski just threw a whole lot of marketability on the fire. Interestingly enough, Clinton basically said the same thing as Rove about the media, that they see their job as one of thorn-in-the-side of public officals. I'm sure anybody can find examples of bias or neglect from the media regarding their own pet-issue or viewpoint. For example, to invoke a recent topic of discussion, the fact that 20,000 people or so die each day because they are too poor to live doesn't receive much media attention. Is that due to left-wing bias? Is it due to the "corporate" media bias that left-wingers acuse the media of? Or is it because those stories are hard to cover and hard to sell?

Andrew said...

The fact that you too seem to believe that Whitewater is synonymous with “witch-hunt” demonstrates the lack of “oppositional” media surrounding the Clinton Administration. It was not some cooked up Haliburton BS, but rather very much a real deal. Contrary to how it was portrayed in the media, the final Whitewater report did not exonerate the Clintons from wrongdoing. Instead it simply said there is “insufficient evidence” to convict either of fraud. The reason there was insufficient evidence was all those who could link the Clintons to the failed land deal either died, left the country, or refused to testify. Several people very close to the Clintons were convicted of defrauding taxpayers of $73million including the then Governor of Arkansas.

(http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=65000301)

The same “oppositional” media that so successfully cast the Clintons as victims of a “vast right wing conspiracy headed by Ken Starr” will likely be in full force in 2008 actively looking the other way for the next Clinton.

As for “both sides being able to find examples of bias”: this is demonstrably false. Last year George Soro’s spent over $3million to create (www.mediamatters.com) to identify right wing bias in the news. As you can see, the site is a joke finding plenty to take issue with self-identified right with ideologues and editorials but barely an iota of criticism for mainstream sources. Compare this with the right wing (http://www.mediaresearch.org/) and there’s no contest. If Soro’s highly funded crack team of “bias fighters” can’t find any right wing bias in the MSM, I doubt anyone can.

Sorry to be cynical, but the reason 20,000 people dieing everyday due to poverty isn’t front-page everyday is because it’s nothing new. Since the dawn of humanity lots of people have routinely died due to poverty and a for lot of reasons that are very unfair but no one’s responsible for, people living in Africa have had a particularly rough time of it. The only reason it now seems like a new urgent problem to some is that we have the communications technology to allow us to be persistently aware of it. If the poverty issue isn’t being covered enough it isn’t because there is some nefarious corporate agenda, but rather because it simply isn’t new and thus isn’t news.

Complete Whitewater Timeline:
(http://www.opinionjournal.com/extra/?id=110003549)

Joe said...

whitewater was B.S., plain and simple. If you give some asshole unlimited power and unlimited money, such as Ken Starr had, combine that with complete and total unscrupulousness, then set him loose, he's going to find something to pin on somebody. The "fraud" you mentioned has absolutely nothing to do with the whitewater land deal. You admit that they found nothing on the Clinton's. In this country, they're innocent until proven guilty. Whitewater started out as a n investigation into a land deal and ended up as an impeachment for lying about a blowjob. Sounds like B.S. to me.
No right wing biases? Nothing, absolutely nothing, that this administration has endured has come close to the whitewater/lewinski level of oppostional coverage. The absence of weapons of mass destruction should have been a scandal of massive proportions, but it was downplayed. Who cares what George Soros found; the point is that, depending on your perspective, the media is going to downplay things that you think shouldn't be downplayed, and it's going to hype things that you think shouldn't be hyped, and it's going to ignore things that you think should be covered.
There are a lot of things that I think should be covered more thoroughly. The Bush tax cuts, the real motivations for the Iraq war, ethnic conflicts in poor countries (which do constitute news and still aren't covered), the recent bankruptcy bill and its connection to credit card companies, the radical mythology of the religious right, inequatably distributed education funding, rising college tuition costs.....I'm not trying to show that the media is right wing; only that they're not biased toward, or against, only one political perspective.

Andrew said...

Like the Clinton spin machine you change the subject from the guilt of the accused to the character of the accuser. Is your opinion of Starr based on an understanding of the facts or a repetition of the spin parroted by the media? Please provide one example of Kenneth Starr lacking scruples. Contrary to the prosecutorial Ahab you seem to believe he was, he had no desire to pursue the Clinton’s after it was no longer legally required to do so. His five years investigating the Clintons had everything to do with the unending pipeline of scandal from the Clinton administration and a poorly written law from the Nixon era, which compelled him to pursue them, and nothing to do with an uncontrolled mandate or zeal. Look into the Iran Contra investigation if you want to find that.
Feb. 17, 1997: Kenneth Starr unexpectedly announces he will step down as independent counsel to become dean of Pepperdine University Law School in California. Feb. 21: After a storm of criticism, Mr. Starr reverses his decision to leave the Whitewater probe, saying he will stay on until investigations and prosecutions are "substantially completed."
And while I believe the Monica Lewinski situation was eventually blown out of proportion, this result had nothing to do with Kenneth Starr or a “BJ”.
Jan. 16, 1998: Attorney General Reno secretly petitions the Special Division of the U.S. Court of Appeals for an expansion of Mr. Starr's jurisdiction into the Lewinsky affair, citing possible witness tampering and obstruction of justice.
I never admitted they found nothing on the Clintons. There is more than ample evidence to suggest that the Clinton’s were involved in fraud; Evidence described in Mr. Ray's statement consisted of two checks, one made out to "Bill Clinton" and the other with a memo line saying "Clinton payoff." There simply wasn’t enough evidence to produce a likely conviction with a DC jury likely comprised of sympathetic government workers.

To get back to the question of bias here is a short list of media outlets admitting liberal bias:

ABC’s “the Note” admitted liberal bias during the election:
"Like every other institution, the Washington and political press corps operate with a good number of biases and predilections."
They include, but are not limited to, a near-universal shared sense that liberal political positions on social issues like gun control, homosexuality, abortion, and religion are the default, while more conservative positions are "conservative positions."
They include a belief that government is a mechanism to solve the nation's problems; that more taxes on corporations and the wealthy are good ways to cut the deficit and raise money for social spending and don't have a negative effect on economic growth; and that emotional examples of suffering (provided by unions or consumer groups) are good ways to illustrate economic statistic stories.
(http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=37059)


NYTimes survey finds Journalists favor Kerry to Bush by a margin of 12-1:
(http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=39754)

NPR acknowledges liberal bias:
(http://www.npr.org/yourturn/ombudsman/2003/031015.html)

Washington Post acknowledges bias in 9/11 coverage:
(http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn?pagename=article&contentId=A20843-2004Apr17¬Found=true)

Chicago Tribune admits anti-bush bias in coverage:
(http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/showcase/chi-0211210393nov21.column)

Take into consideration the handling of the fake National Guard documents by CBS and I think it’s quite hard to argue that MSM coverage doesn't regularly tilt in one direction.

Joe said...

Ruper Murdoch, a right-wing idealogue if ever there was one, owns a large portion of media outlets in the western world. More reporters are liberal, sure. The balance is more equal with editors, and owners are more often republican. I never claimed that there weren't political biases, just that there are both kinds of bias. And if there is a liberal media bias, I wouldn't complain too much; your team is doing pretty well with it, what with controlling all branches of government and all. Sounds like the liberal media is treating you pretty well.
How can you seriously maintain that, from 9-11 until at least the fall of Bagdhad, that the media was biased against the Bush administration? I watched CNN....they may not have had the waving flag icon in the corner like FOX, but they were pretty close. Wolf Blitzer might as well have been driving a tank himself.
You didn't respond to my point that many "liberal" viewpoints are not covered to the satisfaction of many liberals. Some others include: corporate involvement in campaign financing, and campaign financing generally: corporate involvement in foreign governments; CIA role in destabilizing foreign governments; U.S. support of right-wing dictators (like Saddam Hussein, the Taliban, and the Saudi Royal Family); rapidly decreasing proven oil reserves worldwide; Medicaid shortfall; the shifting of the tax burden onto the middle-class; the failure of minimum wage to increase with inflation, global warming, etc, etc, etc
My information about Ken Starr comes straight from the horse's mouth, Bill Clinton. Clinton devotes probably 200 pages of his biography (and yes, I read the whole thing) to whitewater and Starr, pretty convincingly making him look precisely like an unscrupulous zealot. I don't have the book handy, or I'd be glad to present Clinton's version of the facts, which are thoroughly addressed. So no, I'm not using an ad hominem argument against Starr to let Clinton off the hook. Clinton convinced me that he was right and that, indeed, he was the victim of a vast right-wing conspiracy, orchestrated largely by Newt Gingrich, and for which Kenn Starr was a classic hatchet man. Clinton admits that he made a huge mistake in agreeing to the special prosecutor in the first place. The initial investigation by Robert Fiske, a republican appointed by Reno, absolved the Clintons. Then, the jurisdiction for the special prosector changed hands, and a right-wing judge appointed a right-wing prosectutor, Starr, and the rest was history.
One version of Starr's assholeness that sticks out in my mind is the fact that he basically ruined the lives of James and Susan McDougal. James McDougal was suffering from severe bi-polar disorder when Starr finally broke him, and he sent Susan McDougal to jail for refusing to cooperate with his bullshit case.
Starr repeatedly made life hell for people who did his bidding and "cooperated," while harrassing, sometimes seriously harming, people who wouldn't. Most of the indictments that he levelled during his "investigation" had nothing to do with Clinton or Whitewater; they were straight out revenge. He was, by any definition of the term, a complete asshole. If I could kick him in the nuts repeatedly, I would be overjoyed.
I am no feeble-minded sheep being led to poltical slaughter. I can tell the difference between spin and truth, at least as well as any other person can. Please don't respond to me like I'm an idiot.

Joe said...

I'm going to make one more comment and then stop commenting on this post, because it's getting very long and I'm even getting sick of reading my stuff.
It occurs to me that all of the newspapers that Andrew cited as liberal are from liberal areas (new york, chicago, washington). What about the Indianapolis Star, and all of the thousands of newspapers from smaller markets all over the country. The Star's editorial page is much more conservative than it is liberal, and I at least detect a slight conservative edge to its reporting. I wonder if other smaller market papers, particularly in the midwest, are similar?
There's obviously the issue of talk radio as well, though perhaps that doesn't count as Main Stream Media.
You seemed to indicate that Whitewater was a legitimate investigation into serious crimes while Iran Contra, in comparison, was a trumped up smear campaign. Is that what you meant? Do you really think a Whitewater, even if the Clintons were guilty, is a bigger deal than arms for hostages?

Joe said...
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Joe said...

I lied about being done.
The NPR article that Anrew cited from the NPR Ombudsman is in regard to one interview on Fresh Air, a mostly Arts and Entertainment focused interview program produced in Philadelphia. The Ombudsman does not in any way admit bias in NPR news, nor does he admit sustained bias on the part of Terri Gross. He admits only that Gross was unnecesarilly hostile to Bill O'Reily in one particular interview.
This case doesn't prove that NPR is liberal anymore than Tucker Carlson's show on PBS proves that it's conservative.
To prove my point that a lot of liberals/leftists believe that the media exhibits a corporate bias, check out www.liberalslant.com/links.htm

Andrew said...

So in making your ad homonym attacks on Ken Starr you were in fact only parroting Clinton spin. Of course Clinton is convincing, that’s his job. He’s a lawyer and a politician who managed to survive more scandals than any other president. But he’s also a confirmed liar and to not apply the slightest bit of critical thought to his version of events really doesn’t lend any credibility to your argument -- especially the precious sob story about the McDougals. They’re both convicted felons. Do you expect me to believe if some underlings of Cheney were found to have been influence peddling for Halliburton you’d accept a “bi-polar disorder” as an acceptable reason not to pursue the matter? It was Starr’s job as an investigator to investigate and he had Janet Reno there every step of the way consciously empowering him to make every investigation and thus every indictment. Or was she part of this conspiracy you believe in? Was there a handshake? Sorry but the greatest supposed conspiracy of all time needs some primary sources.

I’ll address bias in a main post. The comment editor is beginning to piss me off.

Andrew said...

So in making your ad homonym attacks on Ken Starr you were in fact only parroting Clinton spin. Of course Clinton is convincing, that’s his job. He’s a lawyer and a politician who managed to survive more scandals than any other president. But he’s also a confirmed liar and to not apply the slightest bit of critical thought to his version of events really doesn’t lend any credibility to your argument -- especially the precious sob story about the McDougals. They’re both convicted felons. Do you expect me to believe if some underlings of Cheney were found to have been influence peddling for Halliburton you’d accept a “bi-polar disorder” as an acceptable reason not to pursue the matter? It was Starr’s job as an investigator to investigate and he had Janet Reno there every step of the way consciously empowering him to make every investigation and thus every indictment. Or was she part of this conspiracy you believe in? Was there a handshake? Sorry but the greatest supposed conspiracy of all time needs some primary sources.

I’ll address bias in a main post. The comment editor is beginning to piss me off.

Joe said...

Bill Clinton is a Rhodes Scholar and a brilliant man who did a whole lot of good for this world, and that earns him some credibility in my book. He lied about about his sex life, which I have done and probably will do again in my life.
I'm not "parroting" i.e., as in acting like a parrot, as in mindlessly regurgitating what I heard. I'm a very smart guy who heard a reasoned account of events. I know it was Clinton's point of view, which obviously means he's going to have his bias, but which also means that nobody else has as intimate a knowledge of the facts as he has.
Ok, seriously, I'm done now.

Joe said...

And by the way, Kenn Starr did not work for Janet Reno. The special prosecutor's office was set up precisely for the reason that they didn't want somebody who worked for the Attorney General, because the President is her boss, and they wanted to avoid conflict of interest.
That's why they need a "special prosectuor" in the first place.

Andrew said...

Look up the facts jack -- any new investigation and thus indictment had to be approved by the attorney General. This is precisely why Ken Starr didn't investigate the campaign fundraising issues(chinagate). Janet Reno didn't approve. The belief that Ken Starr was accountable to now one is a fantasy the Clintons would like us all to believe.