Patterico's Pontifications


Let the Media Rehabilitation Begin

Filed under: General — DRJ @ 2:04 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The media has taken hits this week. There were already questions about MSNBC’s coverage in favor of Obama, and many sources questioned how the media covered McCain’s announcement of his VP pick, Sarah Palin. Polls now show 51% of Americans think the media is biased and US Weekly reportedly had thousands of subscriptions canceled after its “Babies, Lies and Scandals” cover piece on Sarah Palin.

So it’s not surprising that some in the media might feel a need to rehabilitate their image with stories that humanize and encourage us to smile with reporters. Accordingly, I give you Exhibit “A” — one of the top stories at the Washington Post’s political blog, The Trail:

“Andrea Mitchell vs. the Balloons”

Does that make you feel all warm and fuzzy about reporters and especially MSNBC?


38 Responses to “Let the Media Rehabilitation Begin”

  1. “The item in today’s Drudge Report is categorically untrue. There has been absolutely no discussion about having Sarah Palin on my show. At the beginning of this presidential campaign when I decided that I was going to take my first public stance in support of a candidate, I made the decision not to use my show as a platform for any of the candidates. I agree that Sarah Palin would be a fantastic interview, and I would love to have her on after the campaign is over.” – Oprah Winfrey

    Wesson (f6c982)

  2. Heck no I would have liked water balloons.

    mymy (2c4553)

  3. I just got a tingle up my leg. That Andrea Mitchell …! Three Advils should make it go away, though.

    nk (21731d)

  4. I have to say, they were freaking PUSHING the balloons into her way… It was uncalled for, and it displayed a certain lack of class…

    Scott Jacobs (a1c284)

  5. I think the last comment in the Mitchell video – “the political equivalent of a chuck-e-cheese” won’t really help with that rehabilitation.

    I’m surprised she didn’t report “the mood here is somber”

    Apogee (366e8b)

  6. I think the last comment in the Mitchell video – “the political equivalent of a chuck-e-cheese” won’t really help with that rehabilitation.

    That’s Olbermann for you, not being “part of the solution”…

    Scott Jacobs (a1c284)

  7. I made the decision not to use my show as a platform for any of the candidates. — Oprah Winfrey

    Michelle Obama, wife of the presumptive Democratic party Presidential nominee Senator Barack Obama, will be the featured guest on XM Satellite Radio’s “Oprah & Friends” channel, next Monday. [the week of August 25th, 2008]


    Winfrey has had the Obamas as guests on her television show, featured them in her magazine and gushed about the senator’s potential to change American politics in repeated public appearances.

    The Magic Touch? – (September 5, 2007)


    That Ofrah Windfree lady, she’s a liar.

    cboldt (3d73dd)

  8. Andrea Mitchell vs the Balloons? Always take the balloons and give points.

    I assume the match-up we are talking about is: When locked in a room with Andrea Mitchell and a bunch of balloons, do you spend your time talking with Andrea Mitchell or playing with the balloons?

    JVW (d54fc4)

  9. Do you have a link for the subscription cancellations of US mag???

    Dana (b4a26c)

  10. Birds of a feather…

    Ponder: which is filled with more air, one of those balloons or a talking head?

    Dan S (438146)

  11. Since the balloons fell from the ceiling, they are filled with “cold” air;
    We know that most ass-hat journo’s are filled with “hot” air, so it would seem that, the only thing keeping her from floating away is the lead in her …

    Another Drew (faec8a)

  12. Dana,

    The US Magazine subscription cancellations was on NewsBusters,

    referencing the story here:

    Looking Glass (b8b824)

  13. Dana, the powers that be at US Weakly are not predisposed to leak those numbers, but the ABC (Audit Bureau of Circulation) numbers will be available in a few weeks, or in a month at the latest. Needless to say, Jahn Wenner has been a notorious leftie from way back during the salad days of Rolling Stone, so no big surprise on their hit piece regarding Palin.

    “It was uncalled for, and it displayed a certain lack of class…”

    I didn’t see it, but if Ms. Mitchell can’t take the bare minumum of heat, she should stay out of the kitchen. The reason why Olberdouche wasn’t there is that he might have been slapped repeatedly, and the one thing he cannot countenance is anyone disagreeing with him. Courage.

    Dmac (874677)

  14. Dana (#9), Michelle Malkin has the story (check the link at the bottom of the story more info). Apparently US is officially disputing the 10,000 cancellations figure, and has also said that 5,000 is not correct either, but wouldn’t elaborate further. Sorry I can’t remember where I read this, but you can probably find it through Malkin’s site.

    JVW (d54fc4)

  15. I can’t imagine a hardened reporter, one who’s covered the WH for the majority of her career, and all of sudden…”balloons, by the thousands, coming down on my head! Eeek! Call security!” I mean, come on…break me a freakin’ give.

    Dmac (874677)

  16. Dana,

    NewBusters has the story, with a link to the original. I posted a comment with links to both, but it never showed up.

    [Found it, LG. It’s now comment #12. — DRJ]

    Looking Glass (b8b824)

  17. Thanks for the link. Its funny how nebulous the number has become…all that changiness

    Dana (b4a26c)

  18. Dmac, Rolling Stone used to be so great way back in the day…but maybe it was all the weed that went with it, eh?

    Dana (b4a26c)

  19. …and the copious amounts of acid, heroin, ‘shrooms and hard liquor that was consumed daily during working hours. A good film(released not too long ago) that touched on the RS experience in those halycon days was called “Almost Famous,” and was directed by Cameron Crowe (who worked there as an intern) and starred the relatively unknown Kate Hudson and a hilarious cameo by Philip Seymour Hoffman as the legendary rock critic Lester Bangs.

    Dmac (874677)

  20. If you watch the video it’s obvious that some of the delegates are deliberately hitting the balloons into her face and blocking the camera shot. Since it was NBC and MSNBC News they were getting what they deserved.

    airedale (3a341b)

  21. Every time I see Andrea Mitchell, I hear the “Wicked Witch” theme-music from “The Wizard of Oz” in my head, and imagine her with a little flying monkey perched on her shoulder, cackling “And your little dog, too!” If I were her, I’d definitely watch out for flying houses and random buckets of water.

    Beldar (aec07e)

  22. Looking Glass,

    Thanks for finding a link about the US Weekly cancellations. I’ll retrieve it from the filter.


    I heard it mentioned on Fox News today but I was changing channels so I don’t remember many of the details.

    DRJ (7568a2)

  23. Ah DRJ the only news stories that “conservatives” are going to agree and “unbiased” (conservative certified!) are those that agree with their views. Then of course the “liberals” will start screaming about the “biased” media.

    That charge is just SO easy to spit out, it’s easier than griping that someone is “racist” or “sexist”.

    I’m curious, so 51% of people think the media is biased. Does the study detail which way (biased to the right or left or alternating)?

    EdWood (d72c1f)

  24. Interesting, we have a woman journalist leading the way of rehabilitation…I just heard Sally Quinn on O’Reilly state that she rethought her uh, biased opinion of Palin, which was made before she had even heard her speak, and that after listening to the speech said that Palin is remarkable and gave a great speech and would certainly be a formidable opponent. She. Even. Admitted. She. Was. Wrong.

    “I was wrong.” Sally Quinn.

    She does still believes given Palin’s 5 children, would she be able to put her country first, or her family…

    Dana (084de8)

  25. EdWood, I’m not arguing that the media is ‘left’ or ‘right,’ but I do argue (comfortably) that it IS biased, whether it’s in the slant of the news or even the choice of the news.

    I listen to several radio stations in Seattle – KUOW, KIRO, and KTTH. They are all slanted in various directions, whether it’s in the way they report the news or the way they choose their news stories.

    I hear different stories on KUOW, KIRO, and KTTH. (Frankly, I can’t listen to KTTH much because AM reception is lousy.) The stories aren’t slanted such as “EVIL REPUBLICANS today killed puppies” or “EVIL DEMOCRATS destroyed a chocolate factory today” – just in the choice of stories – KUOW has bleeding-heart stories about oppressed people oppressed by evil Republicans, and KTTH has stories about entrepreneurs harrassed by evil Democrat-bureaucrats, for example. KIRO’s all over the map, but it’s generally left-of-center. (Its main talk show host ran for US HoR as a Democrat a few years ago, for example.)

    The stories aren’t just different at random. They’re different in the general set of stories picked.

    It doesn’t bother me that they’re biased. I have to laugh – out loud – when radio stations such as KUOW insist that they aren’t biased. Let’s talk about Steve Scher then. The man’s car always goes in circles ’cause he can never make a right turn. There’s no matching “on the right” perspective.

    Sure they’re all biased. If they’d admit it, I’d respect them more. (Remember when the NYT finally admitted it was a leftist paper recently? That was news!)

    steve miller (3c2c90)

  26. Dana,

    I’m shocked by Quinn’s revised views. Based on the excerpts I saw and read about, Quinn was so strong in her original opinion about Palin. I wonder if stories like this US News’ blog noting Quinn’s hypocrisy contributed to her change of heart?

    DRJ (7568a2)

  27. DRJ,

    I just tried to see if the clip was accessible yet but apparently not.

    I have to say Quinn was gracious and didn’t undo the admittance by attempting to justify her previous judgement of Palin.

    She didn’t apologize but it didn’t seem necessary. She went up 1/2 notch in my book.

    Dana (084de8)

  28. #25 Steve Miller

    I agree with you. My problem with “biased” is that it implies “dishonest” which is not necessarily true, and it is so easy to throw the charge of “biased” out there that people squawking that the media coverage is “biased” now seems to be to be little more than a manipulative tactic.

    That charge of “biased” journalists seems to often be leveled by “entertainers” who are so successful in ratings that I think there has been incredible pressure on legitimate journalists and news sources to sensationalize the news. How can a journalist, who (in my opinion)is, most of the time, supposed to inform you about the world , especially including things that you don’t want to hear but should, with fun stuff added in occasionally, compete with an “entertainer” who can say almost anything they want, and who will tell you what you want to hear 24/7 … or almost 24/7 with stuff you don[‘t want to hear from time to time?

    I don’t think that “biased” journalists have polarized the citizens of the country, I think it is blatantly partisan “entertainers” who people listen to and mistake for actual factual news, and who commonly accused journalists of “bias” as part of their manipulative bag of tricks.

    EdWood (8ff8fa)

  29. EdWood #28 – So is Keith Olbermann a journalist, or an ‘entertainer’?

    When news shops change online headlines after they’ve posted the story, and the new headline no longer represents the article, but instead represents the opposite conclusion, a charge of dishonesty would be appropriate.

    This is probably the wrong blog to put forward the idea that biased reporting is not dishonest.

    Apogee (366e8b)

  30. Commentary has Sally Quinn’s recanting of her vicious criticisms of Palin,\

    “I thought that she was amazing. in her speech. She was funny and smart and poised and confident. She gave a great speech, beautifully delivered. I think she is going to be a formidable opponent. all of that I think is — I was wrong about her. and I didn’t know anything about her. I probably didn’t know any more than John McCain did a few days before he picked her.

    (Well, perhaps McCain knew plenty and chose her on this basis, but that’s a quibble.) O’Reilly went on to ask her if ”your column and other columns like yours rallied the folks to her side and actually helped the McCain-Palin ticket dramatically.” Quinn answered “I think you’re absolutely right.”

    Ballsy of Sally Quinn. And the right thing to do it publicly. Let’s see if the any others follow her lead…Olbermann, Matthews, etc.

    Dana (084de8)

  31. EdWood, you don’t realize how what you wrote is almost self-parodying, do you?

    SPQR (26be8b)

  32. SPQR #32 If you are suggesting that I am a partisan “entertainer” all I can say is “I wish” especially if it comes with an “entertainer” sized paycheck.

    I don’t think I am partisan, but I am biased to a greater or lesser degree. Depends on the topic of discussion. If you are suggesting I am biased “lib/con” I think those designations are bs.

    Apogee #29 “This is probably the wrong blog to put forward the idea that biased reporting is not dishonest.”

    You’re probably right about that. The whole “blog-v-old school journalism” agenda bakes my noodle. Bloggers can review a story and dig up some truth but they can also make up their own reality on how factual or “biased” a story is. It doesn’t help that bloggers will accuse each other of bias or lying etc.etc. I like Patterico as a sort of third party fact checker for the LA Times though.

    I agree with Rupert Murdoch that “it’s all subjective”. You can comb through just about any article and make up any accusation you want about the wording. Bias isn’t optimal but it also isn’t neccesarily lying and isn’t neccesarily bad. I still think that constant accusations of bias, or maybe accusations by entities like political campaigns, are just attempts to manipulate.

    EdWood (4c0a69)

  33. EdWood…
    To quote/paraphrase the late Sen Moynihan:
    Everyone is entitled to their own opinion;
    but, no one is entitled to their own facts.

    Another Drew (faec8a)

  34. AD #34 – Damn, you beat me to it. Good show.

    EdWood #33 – I like Patterico as a sort of third party fact checker for the LA Times though.

    Yes, but he didn’t begin this because he had nothing else to do. He is not operating under his own subjective group of facts, but has put much hard fought (and well executed) work into researching information and examining the subject matter of the LAT in order to correct factual inaccuracies. He also contacts the paper, which counts for quite a bit. He gives his opponent an opportunity to agree or pick up a sword. Many times we’ve seen them do neither, hoping he’ll go away and not continue to point these ‘fact’ things out to them.

    And he has been rightly noticed for his efforts.

    There was an argument recently (don’t have the link) regarding the dangerous nature of politicians ignoring the press and wanting to transmit their message without any gatekeeping.

    The problem for the press is that they’re right, it is dangerous for politicians to frame their own arguments without challenge. It’s also their fault, as McCain rightly blamed Republicans last night for getting away from the basics of their beliefs, so should the press blame itself for prostituting their allegiance out of party and ideological loyalty.

    Apogee (366e8b)

  35. From the comments to the video:

    What’s the difference between Andrea Mitchell and a balloon?


    Kevin Murphy (0b2493)

  36. #34 I agree, but “bias” is a charge levelled against the interpretation or presentation of those facts. That’s where the subjective part comes in.

    A lot of Patterico’s threads are against articles where the journalists have been lax or lazy or dishonest about their actual facts.

    #35 You said it, no argument here.

    EdWood (721df1)

  37. David Frum asks Who cares?

    A question that shows up a lot in my email box is: Why bother?

    Sarah Palin is the vice presidential nominee of the Republican party. That’s a fact. The ticket can now only win or lose. I want the ticket to win. So why not shut up and get with the program?

    And indeed this topic is in many ways exhausting itself.

    Yet there ways in which it remains intensely relevant – and may well be becoming increasingly relevant.

    Did you happen to see this clip featuring Jay Carney of Time and Nicole Wallace of the McCain campaign? If not, do please click – it’s very short. Carney asks when Palin will take questions from the press. Wallace dismisses the idea. “Who cares?” she answers.

    So here’s why I care.


    McCain’s National Co-Chair: Media Coverage Of Palin Is “Completely Fair,” Not Sexist

    JAR (08f6d2)

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