Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Bias? What bias?

So, there was this lecture by the guy from CNN.

I'm not going to cruicfy him. He was very entertaining and the lecture was quite enjoyable. Nearly everyone in the room thought there was a liberal media bias. Someone suggested that it is because it is a Republican in the office. Almost no one thought the media was easy on Clinton, so the question is "how can there be a liberal media bias?"

And he admitted there was a bias but not a philosophical bias. His arguement was that the bias was toward creating conflict, being anti-establishment (regardless of who was in office), and that many journalists were looking for a "gotcha" story. Because noisey shows and scoops get ratings, it can appear to be biased.

The only mention of bloggers came when he talked about how the story of Rathergate snowballed. The story of the memo was 'sloppy, awful journalism. The first thing they should have done was to check with a document examiner. I don't know one in the country that would have authenticated it. Now the credibility of CBS journalism is tarnished.' (rough paraphrase)

He mentioned bloggers and Eason Jordan - nothing of note. Both times he mentioned bloggers, he said "conservative bloggers." Hey - there are liberals ones out there. They are just bought and paid for by the Dean campaign.

Let's talk bias though. He said that wearing a campaign button, having a bumper sticker or contributing to a campaign is a fireable offense at CNN and at Fox. I guess no one mentioned it to the folks at CBS who had an anti-Bush thing in their news truck. He said that most of the main section stories in the NYT come from the Sunday morning talk shows.

I think what I enjoyed most was the discussion on how a simple (or not so simple) question can impact a candidate's entire image. Al Gore was going to appear on a show that he produced in 1999 to do an interview with Wolf Blitzer. When they were coming up with questions, he said "how about 'what separates you from Bill Bradley?" Wolf thought the question would be boring "I'm the Vice President" and no revealing answers. The guy insisted that Wolf ask it so Wolf did.

The answer?

'I invented the internet.'

After we all stopped snickering, we talked about spin. The Republicans issued press releases right away, one including Trent Lott's diagrams for the 1943, 1947, and 1973 paper clip that he invented. The producer felt that Al Gore dropped the ball in trying to halt the spin. If Al felt he mis-spoke, as some claim, then Al should have been more clear in his responses. Instead, a lifetime of public service was boiled down to claims that he created the internet and earth tone suits to make him appear like an Alpha Male. (When should Naomi Wolf give fashion advice anyway? She's a.. a.. not even a pundit and certainly not a stylist.)

I think that's it folks. If I find anything else in my notes, I'll add them. Ta-ta!