Patterico's Pontifications

5/11/2012

MSNBC’s Tamron Hall goes nuts on Tim Carney over the “Mitt Bully” story

Filed under: 2012 Election,Media Bias — Karl @ 12:47 pm

[Posted by Karl]

You see, the Washington Examiner columnist had the gall to not only suggest that Americans care more about the economy than whether Mitt Romney gave someone a haircut 47 years ago, but also to suggest that Tamron Hall was pandering to her audience of dozens by dragging out the story on the pretense of doing the meta-story of how the Romney campaign is reacting to the story which most people do not care about. Actually, Carney was far more polite than that, which did not stop MSNBC from cutting Carney’s mic while Hall yelled at him:

WFB has the full video. Apparently, Hall’s support staff thinks Hall was unequipped to have that discussion with Carney — or that MSNBC is ill-equipped when someone pulls back the curtain on how the establishment media drags out nonstories to suit their biases.

Update: Carney tweets: “The question I was sent for the Romney bullying segment was ‘Does the story matter?’ So I was answering it, not dodging.”

–Karl

5/2/2012

Zombie Journalism: Rerunning the 2004 campaign

Filed under: 2004 Election,2012 Election,Media Bias — Karl @ 1:35 pm

[Posted by Karl]

Given the number of stories I expect to see making these errors, I almost hate to single out the WaPo’s Chris Cillizza. But here he is, predicting that Pres. Obama will go even more negative in his reelect campaign — almost advising that he do so — based on Pres. Bush’s 2004 reelect campaign:

Why? Because Bush whose popularity was sliding amid rising questions about the war in Iraq — among other things — knew that there was no path to victory against Kerry by spending any substantial time touting his accomplishments during his first four years in office.

Partisans on both sides were already lined up either for or against Bush and no amount of positive (or negative) advertising would move them off of how they intended to vote. Undecided voters didn’t like Bush so positive ads amounted to a waste of time. The only way to win was to make Kerry even less palatable.

Obama is in a somewhat similar — albeit it slightly stronger — position that Bush found himself at this time in 2004. The struggling economy has dragged down the current incumbent’s numbers and two of his main legislative achievements — health care and the economic stimulus — are not popular with the American public. (They are popular with the Democratic base, however, which is why Obama is touting some of those accomplishments in web ads — a means of communication that helps gin up energy in the base.)

Mind you, Jay Cost has looked in depth at the 2004 campaign and found essentially the opposite result:

The election that year was a referendum on Bush: people who disapproved of him voted overwhelmingly for Kerry; people who approved of him voted overwhelmingly for Bush. In fact, the Bush approvers/Kerry voters were more numerous than the Bush disapprovers/Bush voters.

As Jay noted: “If anything, Kerry did a better job at peeling away voters from the “other” side than Bush did.”

Cillizza’s sloppy thinking is most evident in his final paragraph quoted above.  I doubt he missed the day in writing class about paragraph structure and how topic sentences are supposed to be supported by and flow from the topic sentence.  Here, we are told Obama is in a slightly stronger position than Bush, but the rest of the paragraph actually suggests why Obama is in a weak position. [My theory is that Cillizza believes this because Bush's approval was trending downward in May 2004, while Obama's has generally trended upward since Autumn 2011.  However, I would note Bush's downward trend broke over the summer of 2004 -- and it's entirely possible the converse could happen here, based on the natural rhythms of a presidential election year and the state of the economy. The main point here is that Cillizza could not be bothered to support his assertion with data or argument.]

Cillizza spells out his bedrock premise near the end of his piece:

Remember: Campaigns run negative ads because they work.

However, political scientists like John Sides will tell you that we haven’t remotely arrived at a place where research suggests that negative ads “work.”  This is not to say that negative ads never work; it is merely to say that at best, Cillizza can only claim that campaigns run negative ads because they believe negative ads work.  Sides calls the idea that negative ads work a “zombie,” because it refuses to die, despite the general lack of data supporting it.

Conservatives will be inclined to attribute the sloppy thinking of such stories entirely to political bias by journalists who would prefer Obama’s reelection.  However, without excluding bias as a factor, the problem runs deeper than that.

The 2012 election will be mostly a referendum on the incumbent and the economy, as such elections almost always are.  Yet coverage of the campaign to date has overwhelmingly focused on the horse race, tactics, strategy, money and advertising, absolutely dwarfing coverage of policy, the candidates’ public records and even their personal issues.  The same was true of the 2008 general election coverage, despite a financial panic and two war theaters.  Indeed, two of the world’s easiest predictions are: (1) after the 2012 elections, journalists will hold conferences where they decry the fact that they disserved the public with too much horse race coverage; (2) they will do it again in 2016.

The establishment media’s enormous bias toward horse race coverage is fundamentally self-serving.  If campaign strategists and pollsters are the puppet-masters who determine election outcomes, then the reporters who relay their plans to the unwashed masses have status.  But if people think that the event of the moment may not matter all that much, fewer people read the Washington Post.  And even zombies gotta eat.

–Karl

8/29/2011

Bill Keller’s Beclowning Achievement

Filed under: 2012 Election,General,Media Bias,Religion — Karl @ 10:43 am

[Posted by Karl]

Plenty of people — Ed Morrissey and Mollie Hemingway anomg them — have neatly dissected New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller’s perfect storm of ignorance and bias when it comes to the religious beliefs of those running for the GOP presidential nominee.  Keller identified Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum as “all affiliated with fervid subsets of evangelical Christianity,” when Santorum is Catholic, Bachmann is Lutheran, and Perry is a Methodist.  Keller hauls out the boogeyman of “dominionism,” when none of his targets are dominionists, and so on.  The response (such as it is) to this criticism by Keller and the rest of the establishment media is nearly as telling as the original smears.

On Twitter, Keller had two responses to his critics.  First, Keller noted that he was not seeing any quarrel with the basic point that we should ask candidates about their faith. I certainly have no quarrel with that point.  In 2008, I wrote about Barack Obama’s decades-long membership in a church based on black liberation theology and his decades-long relationship with Rev. Jeremiah Wright, and criticized the establishment media for not treating Obama the way JFK or Mitt Romney were treated on faith issues.

However, this merely underscores the major criticism lodged against Keller, which was that the New York Times avoided giving Obama scrutiny on faith issues.  Keller’s second response was that the NYT was “late to Rev. Wright in ’08, but we got there, and did it well.”  This response is dishonest or delusional, possibly both.  When a political controversy erupts in March 2008 and the NYT does not give it proper news coverage until September 2008, getting there late is bad coverage.  Would Keller defend covering a hurricane six months late? Please.  Nor was the quality of the NYT coverage good, by the standards Keller now thinks should be applied, asking none of the sort of questions Keller now thinks should be asked.  Indeed, Keller’s response on this point is particularly embarrassing once you learn that the NYT actually covered Obama’s relationship with Rev. Wright in April 2007, reporting:

It is hard to imagine, though, how Mr. Obama can truly distance himself from Mr. Wright. The Christianity that Mr. Obama adopted at Trinity has infused not only his life, but also his campaign. He began his presidential announcement with the phrase “Giving all praise and honor to God,” a salutation common in the black church. He titled his second book, “The Audacity of Hope,” after one of Mr. Wright’s sermons, and often talks about biblical underdogs, the mutual interests of religious and secular America, and the centrality of faith in public life.

With hindsight, it is easy to imagine how Obama could distance himself: by relying on the establishment media generally, and the NYT in particular, to mostly look the other way at the crucial moment.

It is worth noting — as Ed Morrissey and Lisa Miller did — that the NYT’s Keller is hardly alone in falsely playing the “Crazy Christian” card.  Similarly erroneous, x-degrees-of-separation journalism has been committed by Rachel Maddow on MSNBC, NPR’s Fresh Air, Ryan Lizza at the New Yorker and Michelle Goldberg, a senior contributing writer for Newsweek/The Daily Beast.  From there, the bogus story gets treated as a serious topic of discussion at forums including the WaPo, CNN and USA Today.

Thus does the establishment media function the way Hillary Clinton once claimed the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy operated.  Thus does the establishment media again operate with the sort of “epistemic closure” that the Julian Sanchezes, Conor Friedersdorfs and Andrew Sullivans of the world are so quick to condemn in the conservative media (when they aren’t busy ignoring Sullivan’s obsession with the status of Sarah Palin’s uterus).  Ironically, Sullivan has been foaming at the mouth about “Christianism” for years.

Indeed, almost all of those soooo concerned about bogus memes circulating in a conservative echo chamber will never treat Rachel Maddow the way they treat Glenn Beck.  (Indeed, they won’t blink over the fact that a religious left activist — the Rev. Al Sharpton — now hosts a show on MSNBC.)  They will never view NewsBeast the way they view WorldNetDaily.  They will never compare Bill Keller to Sean Hannity — and rightly so.  After all, Hannity correctly identified the theology of Obama’s longtime church and interviewed Rev. Wright.  Hannity committed more actual journalism on this subject than Keller did.  More self-aware lefties in the media, like TNR’s Jonathan Chait, should take note that this is another example of the magical thinking of liberals.

–Karl

3/31/2011

Three Short Films About Media Matters

Filed under: Abortion,Media Bias — Stranahan @ 6:07 am

[Guest Post by Lee Stranahan]

(Thanks to Hot Air for the link. Also — Media Matters is on the attack against me — read their response here.)

Media Matters for America is a well funded, well organized and effective truth killing machine. Here are three short films I’ve made in the past few days to expose their techniques.

Yesterday, I did a film showing how Media Matters used deceptive editing techniques on the Fox / Bill Sammon story. This story has been all over the left wing blogosphere – if you haven’t seen the original piece that MMfA did, it’s here. Gotcha journalism at its worst. Here’s my video on it.

The next video shows how Media Matters used the ‘straw man’ fallacy to attempt to discredit the piece published by Lila Rose yesterday on the Mammosham story. As I say in the video, your position on the controversial issue of abortion doesn’t really matter here – Media Matters are contemptible news twisters.

But – who cares? So Media Matters lies. You know that so why does it matter? That’s what my second video is about. It matter because they have influence on the media narrative today and through the effective use of SEO techniques, they are also writing tomorrow’s ‘history book’. Watch and see what I mean.

- Lee Stranahan

10/15/2010

Dog Whistling in New Mexico: “No Tejana Susana.”

Filed under: 2010 Election,General,Media Bias,Race — Aaron Worthing @ 10:34 am

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing (a.k.a. "Aaronico").  This is adapted from a post at my blog.]

If there is one thing I am truly sick of in the last two years is the constant accusations of racism and other forms of bigotry against people who merely disagree on policies—indeed, often on policies having nothing to do with race.  I have speculated in the past that some of this is based on honest misunderstandings.  But then other times it is clear that they are using it for political reasons, and almost always against Republicans or conservatives.  Especially pernicious is the claim that the right uses code words and racist “dog whistles.”

So it’s interesting that in New Mexico we have a pretty clear example of a “dog whistle,” and yet it’s done by a Democrat, so I guess it is alright to everyone (with one partial exception).  Democrat Diane Denish is running against Republican Susana Martinez in the race for governor.  And now suddenly they are all saying “No Tejana Susana.”  A Tejana (pronounced like “TAY-han-ah”) is literally a “Texan woman” in Spanish.  See the truth is that in Spanish, the X in Texas is supposed to be pronounced more like an H.  As I joke (with affection), Texans don’t even pronounce the name of their state correctly.  And if you are calling her that in Spanish, then that is all it means: Texas woman.

But if you are otherwise speaking in English, such as, “You should not vote for that Tejana,” then there is a secondary meaning.  A Tejano/Tejana also means a Hispanic Texan.  Now its lame enough that they are resorting to this silly regionalism (she has lived in New Mexico since the mid-80’s).  But what possible relevance is it to highlight that she is Hispanic, too?  And a quick google search reveals that this phrase is getting very common on the left.

I mean imagine if during the 2008 campaign, McCain said, “Do not vote for the black man, Obama.”  Everyone would rightly denounce that as racist, because it was unnecessarily dragging his race into the issue.

And mind you this is not a subtle code that a lot of people might miss and innocently invoke.  I have said we have a whole generation of children who don’t understand why it is racially offensive to depict Obama as a monkey, or eating fried chicken and watermelons; they are so beyond race, they don’t even understand these stereotypes.  So you might imagine a young child drawing Obama as a monkey and having no idea of the ugly history he or she is invoking.  But although I probably have to explain it to people outside of that region, I think it is safe to say that everyone in that region knows what Tejano/Tejana means.

And if you don’t agree with me, then clearly you are a disabilityphobe.  (With apologies to Greg Gutfeld for borrowing his joke.)

Oh, and on a related point, the WaPo recently published a story saying that it turns out that most Tea Party signs are not even arguably racist anyway.  I mean there is that.  And given reports of “Moby” ringers who infiltrate the protests to discredit the Tea Party, that study might mean even less than you think.

On the other hand, the WaPo offered no opinion on the propriety of this Tea Party video.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

Is Charlie Wilson a Wife Beater?

Filed under: 2010 Election,General,Media Bias — Aaron Worthing @ 8:50 am

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; this is adapted from a couple posts at The Blog that Cannot Be Named (aka Allergic to Bull****)]

Now, first, this is not the man made famous with the movie Charlie Wilson’s War, but a Congressman running for reelection in Ohio.  And so far it does not look good.  A few days ago, Big Government produced a copy of the trial brief filed in his divorce and it states that Wilson actually admitted to beating his wife in depositions.  Now you might say, “well, yeah, that is the word of a lawyer.”  And while lawyers are not typically more honest (or more dishonest, for that matter) than anyone else, the thing is most bar associations would seriously discipline any lawyer who made such a claim without factual basis, and it might even justify sanctions before the court.  If a lawyer says that a person admitted to unlawful conduct, and cites a specific page in a transcript, it had better be true.  So it gains credibility if only because he could get in trouble if he is lying.  But you can decide for yourself and hopefully Wilson will be asked about it very soon.

Jim Geraghty wonders why there is so little coverage of the story so far.  Frankly, one purpose in writing this post is to hopefully raise the story’s profile so we can get to the bottom of things.  As of this writing, a google news search gets a pitiful number of hits, and most of them involve the more famous Charlie Wilson.  But there is a defensible reason for the media being reluctant to report it.  If they are doing their job (I know, big “if”), then they might want to verify the account.  This might especially be the case if these non-lawyers do not realize that the allegation is credible, because the lawyer would get in such trouble if it was false.  So they might be trying to get old records to verify, and given that the case is around two decades old, you have to assume it is in off-site storage.  So I would excuse up to one week of delay.  But anything beyond that, and they are clearly not pursuing the story.

Of course that begs the question of whether it should be pursued.  Is this relevant?  Well, here I have to confess potential bias.  I have had someone close in my life whom I helped to escape an abusive marriage.  I won’t name this woman out of a respect for her privacy, but I will tell you she and her daughter had a basically happy ending.  So you might think this means I have a biased hatred toward wife beaters.  Or you might say I have an appropriate sense of outrage on the subject.  It’s all a matter of perspective.  I believe it’s the latter, but that is your call, not mine.  Myself, I think there is no place for such a man in Congress unless there is powerful evidence of reform and redemption.  Besides the fact that we are depending on this man, Wilson, not to discriminate based on sex, I believe that people who hit their wives also have poor impulse control making them generally unfit for offices of high trust.  But as Dennis Miller says, that is just my opinion, I could be wrong.

And if I learn more, I will keep you posted.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

7/29/2010

Journolist Included Political Operatives

Filed under: Media Bias — DRJ @ 1:45 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Ho, hum. Another day, another Daily Caller story about how Journolist members — including political operatives — worked to shape the news to fit the liberal narrative.

And to think these elite journalists are the future of America.

– DRJ

7/25/2010

Shirley Sherrod, Silenced

Filed under: Media Bias — DRJ @ 5:14 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The hottest story of the week was Shirley Sherrod. Alexander Marlow at BigGovernment looks at why Sherrod was silenced by the Sunday media shows.

– DRJ

7/23/2010

Obama and the Journolist

Filed under: Media Bias,Obama — DRJ @ 2:08 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Prof. William A. Jacobson at Legal Insurrection explores the connection between Journolist and the Obama campaign/administration:

“So… An Obama campaign operative interacted on the Journolist with sympathetic media types in the run-up to the election, and then rewarded favored Journolistas with a visit to the White House.”

On the plus side, some Journolist members don’t care for Keith Olbermann. Apparently they don’t like the way he treated Hillary Clinton and other women like Carrie Prejean.

I’m curious about the Obama-Journolist connections. I always assumed Obama campaign and Administration sources talked to Journolist members, who shared Obama’s ideas and positions with their fellow Journolistas. Now I wonder if it wasn’t more of a two-way street where Journolistas batted around PR ideas and came up with storylines and recommendations they funneled to Obama sources. Is it possible that losing its Journolist sounding board explains why the Administration was initially so clueless and panicked on the Sherrod story?

– DRJ

7/21/2010

The Truth About Bias and the News, Revised Edition

Filed under: Media Bias — DRJ @ 6:39 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Via the Instapundit, can media hypocrisy get any better than this?

“MORE FROM JOURNOLIST: Obama wins! And Journolisters rejoice. They seem to be planning for “epistemic closure.”
***
And Eric Alterman adds his own incisive analysis: “Fucking Nascar retards…”

Didn’t the “best and the brightest” used to be, I dunno, better and brighter?

UPDATE: Reader Elliott Davis emails: “The best part about Eric Alterman’s participation in Journolist is his authorship of What Liberal Media?: The Truth About Bias and the News.”

Heh. Indeed. You gotta love this. Thanks again, Ezra!”

And it’s only Day 2 of the Journolist story.

– DRJ

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