Monday, September 08, 2008

There is hope for journalism yet

Apparently MSNBC is going to remove Olbermann and Matthews from the anchor desk for the rest of the political season. The reason is their all-too-obvious pro-Obama bias which has carried over from the primaries to the general election.

That is all well and good, because it was obvious from their treatment of Senator Clinton to the two conventions that those two had gone over the edge, but, then again, so what? Why not have a station that cheers for one candidate? Well, it turns out that the journalists at NBC care. From the article:

In May, MSNBC President Phil Griffin said in an interview that during live events Olbermann and Matthews "put on different hats. I think the audience gets it. . . . I see zero problem."

But NBC News journalists, who often appear on the cable channel, did see a problem, arguing behind the scenes that MSNBC's move to the left -- which includes a new show, debuting tonight, for Air America radio host Rachel Maddow -- was tarnishing their reputation for fairness. Tom Brokaw, the interim host of "Meet the Press," said that at times Olbermann and Matthews went too far.
How about that? The professionals setting their own standards and policing themselves. Good for them.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am sure Fox will follow MSNBC's lead.

Jeff

Tom said...

They should, just as soon as Brit Hume, as an anchor, starts leading convention attendees in cheers (like Matthews did, as an anchor) and saying he is sickened by this or that thing that his candidate's opponent said (like Olbermann did, as an anchor).

Hume leans right, but do you think he goes that far in his role as an anchorman? I honestly don't watch enough Fox to know.

Anonymous said...

Be specific Jeff. What bias do you see at Fox and how would you correct it? Don't come in here with that weak junk.
Paul

Anonymous said...

Andrea and I call MSNBC the Obama "Boner" network--and Tom's comments are correct about Olbermann and Mathews shamelessness. Let's be honest Paul, FOX is shameless as well (Rupert Murdoch has made billions from this--to his credit) and they don't have a network news side to hold them to some account. I realize that MSNBC ceased to be real news and was/is merely red meat for the partisans--I would argue that FOX serves the same function. Is there anything wrong with that? No, cable news is merely 19th century newspapers in a different format. MSNBC = FOX is all I'm sayin.

Jeff

Anonymous said...

Fair enough, but I disagree. I actually like partisan news outlets. It's kind of insulting when they try to hide it.
Paul

Anonymous said...

I just read another blog on the internets and discovered that Foxnews isn't nearly as fair and balanced as it claims. Is this true? What does this mean for America?

Randy, An Increasingly Concerned Citizen and Father of Four

Bill L. said...

There is no such thing as fair and unbiased. Being human we are biased and can not help it. Some do a pretty good job of hiding it, some don't. I kind of agree with Paul about liking partisan news outlets. News papers have been doing it since their beginning. We gravitate towards the outlet that matches our bias.
If have to get nasty with someone, I just watch MSNBC first to get me in a real foul mood before I start. Biased news outlets have do a good purpose.

Robert C. said...

Maybe there's no way to eliminate bias, but news networks, partisan or not, have certain obligations which are related to objectivity. They should feel obliged to be intellectually honest -- for example, they should not intentionally misrepresent the positions of those they disagree with.

And they should represent their own positions honestly as well. The trouble isn't (just) that Fox News is biased, it's that Fox News claims to be "fair and balanced" when they really have no intention of being fair and balanced.

Anonymous said...

More grist for the mill:

http://meganmcardle.theatlantic.com/archives/2008/09/media_matters_1.php

Paul

montana urban legend said...

Hume worked in network news before coming to cable, and as near as I can remember, he seemed to present as much gravitas as his colleagues at NBC do. If there were a network equivalent to NBC that wanted to partner with FOX News, then Hume would be their man, as Brokaw and David Gregory are for NBC. But either he's too satisfied with his role at FOX News or there just isn't a big enough market for serious conservative journalists. There really are only three or so networks to begin with.

Anonymous said...

This is pretty unimpeachable evidence right here:

http://newsbusters.org/blogs/p-j-gladnick/2008/09/13/abc-news-edited-out-key-parts-sarah-palin-interview

I don't think ABC can claim that they have a shred of objectivity after this.
Paul

Anonymous said...

or intellectual honesty, for that matter
Paul

Anonymous said...

Paul,

ABC news is dedicated to electing Obama? Geez. So much of what we read in newspapers and see on newscasts is edited by a series of people working under time constraints and intense pressure--not to elect Democrats--to get viewer ratings. Is there bias in the news? Yes--but it is not the monolithic liberal bias conservatives loooveee to lambast. Network news is so contentless
anymore--between Katie Couric's colonoscopy and Brian Williams proving he loves NASCAR--I can't imagine they have time or an inclination to push a political agenda. Most people get their news from local news and newspapers. Read a local paper and watch local news and find the bias.

Jeff

Anonymous said...

This is what I was responding to:

"They should feel obliged to be intellectually honest -- for example, they should not intentionally misrepresent the positions of those they disagree with."
They should've found time to broadcast the entire interview. Something as serious as a VP candidate interview should merit more than a chopped up interview. They chose to edit out certain parts of it and the resulting interview painted a different picture of Palin.
Paul

Anonymous said...

Paul:

ABC's job it to garner ratings. If they aired the entire interview--noboby would watch. Pallin could go on Meet the Press and have an entire hour. Do the backgrounds of journalists and the entire news media (editors, producers, etc) find their way into the news? Yes. I find it amusing when they try to cover Evangelicals. They haBve no clue who or what these people are. As someone who grew up a Southern Baptist, I don't the media biased "against" Evangelicals they have so little clue that the coverage is not very good--and they do treat them as "the other" but this isn't some nefarious plot it is merely a product of not know much about them. Also, the military. Most journalists have never served they don't get the culture or understand the basics. Consequently, the coverage of the military isn't very interesting.

Most folks who work in national media orgs went to similar schools, come from the same regions/socio-economic backgrounds, and are altogether very homogeneous-they have a bias--but it is a cultural filter.

Happily, most folks don't get news from the NYT, LATIMES, network news, or even CNN. They watch local news and read local newspapers. It would intersting to see what sort of cultural biases local news reporters in Wichita Falls, TX or Chattanooga, Tn bring to their coverage. Liberals might have the NYT editorial page not the news division (which definitely has a liberal slant)-but so what? Nobody in my family or their friends reads the NYT editorial page.

Jeff

Robert C. said...

Interesting idea, Paul. I agree that ABC has a responsibility not to distort Palin's positions; I'm not sure they have a responsibility to air the complete interview (provided they don't take out pieces which are contextually relevant to Palin's answers).