While driving back from my classes on Wednesday, I was listening to a report on the Energy Bill, then before Congress, on NewsRadio KNX 1070. This “news” station included two perspectives on the legislation, the first, a lengthy commentary from a spokesperson for an advocacy organization who faulted the bill, referring to it (three times by my count) as lining the pockets or the oil companies. The second perspective came from Florida Democratic Senator Bill Nelson, also an opponent of the legislation. (He was among only 19 Democrats (along with 6 Republicans and one Independent) voting against the legislation.) The “news” station did not include a perspective (at least in the segment I heard — about 7 PM PST) from proponents of the bill.
And yet the bill was quite popular in Congress; today, it cleared the Senate by a vote of 74-26. The margin in the House was 275-156. More than half of the Senate’s Democratic caucus (25 of 44 Senators) voted in favor of the legislation.
As a popular bill was heading toward passage in Congress, a bill which the president favors, a “news” station only saw fit to broadcast the views of opponents of the legislation. This is not the only time when we see our mainstream media broadcasting one perspective, usually a perspective at odds with that of President Bush. Powerline reports that a reporter got himself in hot water for “criticizing the performance of his media colleagues in Iraq.” Mark Yost merely noted that the media coverage of the Iraq war “ignores positive changes” in that recently-liberated land.
Just as KNX only reported one side of the debate on the Energy Bill, the MSM only reports one side of the story in the war on Iraq. No wonder a recent AP report dropped this line (as if it were established fact) in an article on the president’s legislative successes that these successes were “a welcome break from unrelenting bad news from Iraq” (emphasis added; article via Polipundit). One need only check Arthur Chrenkoff’s regular columns (on OpinionJournal.com) on the Good News from Iraq (this is the latest) to see that, despite the many setbacks since coalition troops liberated Iraq from Saddam Hussein’s tyranny, there has been much good news in Iraq. As Yost reported, however, the MSM largely ignores the good news.
Yost has firsthand knowledge of the slanted reporting:
I know the reportings bad because I know people in Iraq. A Marine colonel buddy just finished a stint overseeing the power grid. Whens the last time you read a story about the progress being made on the power grid? Or the new desalination plant that just came on-line, or the school that just opened, or the Iraqi policeman who died doing something heroic? To judge by the dispatches, all the Iraqis do is stand outside markets and government buildings waiting to be blown up.
I also get unfiltered news from Iraq through an e-mail network of military friends who arent so blinded by their own politics that they cant see the real good were doing there. More important, they can see beyond their own navel and see the real good were doing to promote peace and prosperity in the world. What makes this all the more ironic is the fact that the people who are fighting and dying want to stay and the people who are merely observers want to cut and run.
Even as this honest reporter attempts to tell the truth of what is going on in Iraq, a number of reporters have savaged him for daring to suggest that their coverage might be biased. This is not to say that everything is hunky-dory in Iraq. Because it’s not. It’s merely to note that the MSM is not telling the full story of what is going on there. We have made much progress there. Many Iraqis welcome our troops and are glad they are there. As Iraqis are becoming increasingly optimistic about their future, the American media seems to be becoming increasingly committed to proving that Iraq is another Vietnam and less committed to telling the truth of our mission there.
I’m not suggesting that the MSM only report only successes in Iraq. It should tell the full truth, presenting good news as well as bad.
The MSM’s failure to report good news helps convinces many (including yours truly) of their bias. And even though the Energy Bill passed overwhelmingly, I’m not suggesting that media should have ignored views of the legislation’s opponents. Indeed, it did right to report them, but it should have reported them alongside the perspectives of those who favored the legislation. And perhaps have included the views of those Representatives and Senators wavering on the bill as well as those who had mixed feelings on the president’s proposals. If media outlets wish to serve as new sources rather than as voices of opposition to the president, then they need to include all perspectives on the issue, particularly when Congress was debating the legislation (i.e., the time I heard the radio broadcast).
One reason we keep the comments section open on this blog is to provide a forum for debate and discussion, to encourage those who disagree with us to express their views. And we acknowledge that we have a political point of view. We don’t claim to be non-partisan, yet still we give our critics an opportunity to chime in. Many MSM outlets, however, do make that claim and yet repeatedly, they neglect to report both sides of an issue. More often than not, the side they neglect is that which we support. More often than not they neglect to report information and ideas which show the president, his Administration and the GOP in a positive light.
It’s not the media’s business to paint a positive portrayal of the president. It shouldn’t be their business to paint a negative picture of him either. Their job should be to paint an accurate picture of the president–as well as of the variety of other individuals in the public eye. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem they’re interested in presenting all aspects of this Administration and its policies, more determined are they to tell the story they want to tell than to present the news in an unbiased manner.
-Dan (AKA GayPatriotWest): GayPatriotWest@aol.com
UPDATE: Speaking of media bias, Powerline asks, “How is it possible that American journalists have so little interest in an attempt to assassinate our President?” Georgian police (of the nation, not the U.S. state) recently captured a man who threw a hand grenade at the stage where President Bush was speaking on May 10 when he was in Tbilsi (the nation’s capital), yet the MSM has all but ignored the story.