Sandy Hook

Sandy Hook

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Main Stream Media Can't Do Their Job Wearing Blinders

The only difference between the massacre in Tucson and previous acts of terrorism is that for the most part we now have a lazy, spineless, good-for-nothing corporate media. The main stream media, to a certain extent, has become synonymous with the right-wing media and is just as dedicated to brainwashing the public. Unlike Fox News they haven’t quite become the propaganda arm of the Republican Party but they’re uncomfortably close. . . . Misdirected Anger Redirected

Conservatives are always complaining about media bias. For once they’re right in theory but wrong in assuming that it tilts to the left. The Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism compared the amount of coverage for the top ten candidates in the 2010 mid-term election. Only two Democrats received enough coverage to even make the cut.

Media bias includes misleading headlines, what gets covered, what’s neglected, word choices, how stories are framed, what sources are used, time limits on programming, where stories are placed, and how many column inches they get assigned.


AOL’s Relegence team, which tracks more than 30,000 news sites on the Web, analyzed coverage of comparable liberals and conservatives over a 12 months period ending in early December 2010. They found that there were about 62,000 stories in which Sarah Palin figured prominently, almost three times the number that featured Joe Biden, the man who actually won the vice presidency.

Friend BJ of DemWit informed me she sent an email to CNN asking: “Did you realize that over the last year the “Ticker” headline under “Latest News” has concerned Sarah Palin about 90 percent of the time?” CNN hasn’t bothered to respond.

One of the most glaring examples of the MSM manipulating the news by ignoring it was the One Nation Working Together rally, held just weeks after Glenn Beck’s Restoring Honor event. Just the amount of free pre-publicity for this Tea Party dog and pony show should make the most aggressive event organizer envious. While grossly exaggerating the size of the crowd at being in the hundreds of thousands, the MSM overlooked the fact that thousands of participants had their transportation, food and hotel tabs picked up by Fox News and big-money Tea Party supporters.

Meanwhile, the TV and cable media, including MSNBC, mostly ignored the tens of thousands attendees at the One Nation rally.

Politicususa further states:
According to a 2009 story in Digital Journal, “A group by the name of Media Tenor conducted a study for FAIR, studying ABC, CBS and NBC nightly news programs. Results of the study made last year showed that 92 percent of all U.S. sources interviewed on matters of race and politics were white, 85 percent were male and, where party affiliation was identifiable, 75 percent were Republican. Media Tenor found specifically one third of the US public is portrayed negatively, and these are immigrants, blacks and other minorities.
For the past two years, the MSM has focused attention almost exclusively on Sarah Palin and The Tea Party. They never bothered to fact-check, much less dispute, myths such as how the passage of Health Care would mean death panels for granny and a government takeover of HC, the biggest lie of 2010 according to PolitiFact. Obviously the media was more interested in covering the slug-fests and shout-outs at town hall meetings organized by Democrats.

The MSM seem to be fixated on Palin’s tweets but rarely, if ever, question her lack of knowledge of international affairs, history or the Constitution. They shamelessly promoted her first book as if it were The Great All-American Novel. While the book contains plenty of fiction, it is hardly worth all the hoopla it received.


Echoing the right, the MSM refuses to recognize the connection between words and their consequences, or even that there have been calls for violence, implicit or explicit. They refuse to acknowledge that while Jared Lee Loughner is indeed mentally unstable, it doesn’t preclude him from being influenced by political hate speech. They consistently overlook the fact that he had collected documents on Gabrille Giffords for years and that a former girlfriend has described how “things about politics and the government would set him off” (starting at about 1.45).

Paul Krugman describes a report from the Department of Homeland Security in 2009 that warned “right-wing extremism was on the rise, with a growing potential for violence.” Near the end of his column Krugman comments, “the purveyors of hate have been treated with respect, even deference, by the G.O.P. establishment.” True, but I would include the main stream media in the equation.

And the media has about split a gasket defending the indefensible - Sarah Palin’s statements since the tragedy. Today a guest on NPR’s Talk of the Nation said the comments about Palin were “libelous.”

Krugman gets it, but not his colleagues. They are too busy tripping all over themselves in a self-deluded notion to prove that they are being fair and balanced, but their balance is false and based on false premises.


Not by elected officials or other public figures. Not by so-called talk-show propagandists such as Beck & Co.
. . . It’s hard to imagine a Democratic member of Congress urging constituents to be “armed and dangerous” without being ostracized; but Representative Michele Bachmann, who did just that, is a rising star in the G.O.P.

And there’s a huge contrast in the media. Listen to Rachel Maddow or Keith Olbermann, and you’ll hear a lot of caustic remarks and mockery aimed at Republicans. But you won’t hear jokes about shooting government officials or beheading a journalist at The Washington Post. Listen to Glenn Beck or Bill O’Reilly, and you will.

I didn’t bookmark it, but I heard Tom Brokaw on Morning Joe say during a discussion about guns used in campaign ads that the “Democrats do it too.” When asked who done it, Brokaw named Joe Manchin (D-WVA). Yes he did but, as I’m sure Brokaw knows, Manchin is a DINO – maybe even a closeted Republican - and the ad, sponsored by the National Rifle Association, is or should be reprehensible to most Democrats. In fact the DNC objected to it and Democratic colleagues distanced themselves from it.

I’ve spent literally hours researching guns and gun metaphors in speech and political campaign ads. There may have been some way back when but I couldn’t find any, at least not on the Internet, by a candidate from any political party until the last couple of years.

Joe Manchin and Jim Piccillo (FL) are two Democrats who have engaged in such reprehensible ads.

Amongst the Republicans we have: Robert Lowry (FL); Dean Allen (SC); Pamela Gorman (AZ); Jesse Kelly (AZ); Stephen Broden (TX); Dale Peterson (AL); Rick Barber (AL); Richard Behney (AL); Sharon Angle (NV); Michele Bachmann (MN); Gregg Harper (MS).

To claim that Democrats “do it too” is to imply that they actively participate in these kinds of ads on at least a semi-regular basis, which is misleading at best and erroneous at worst.


The main stream media and right-wing bloggers love to chant: “the extremes on the left do it too.”

I submit the same challenges to the MSM that I have offered up to bloggers on the right:

-- Name a liberal, leftist or progressive person or organization named on an authoritative non-partisan hate group list.
-- Name a liberal, leftist or progressive who has advocated physically harming another person.
-- Name a liberal, leftist or progressive who has physically or verbally abused another just because of a difference of opinion.
-- Name a liberal who has written or commented with vicious and derogatory language when a member of the opposition died – such as in the cases of Edward Kennedy and Robert Byrd.
-- Lastly, provide examples of liberals spewing hate and racism against a person simply because of the color of their skin.

Right-wing bloggers never rise to the challenge and the main stream media is too lazy or deliberately fails to provide any documented evidence.

When Joe Wilson yelled “You lie” during President Obama’s Health Care speech to Congress in 2009, he not only violated House protocol, he sent a message across the nation – at least to conservatives – that it was acceptable to use bad manners and act like goons. A rude comment on his part has steamrolled into an avalanche of hate, racism, violence and just plain old-fashioned vitriol.

I would like to know of one liberal, leftist, progressive or Democrat who has resorted to the kind of rhetoric or abusive behavior featured below. The MSM hasn't covered much of it, so maybe that's why they have a problem substantiating that the "democrats do it too."


“Tea Party Focuses on Obama and Hate Not Health Care” says otherwise in text and images.

Review of racial slurs used against Obama during his first year. Most are Republican public officials but there are a few comments made by Democrats as well.

An “Obama chimp” email is sent by a Tennessee CEO.


Right-wing bumper stickers and Internet sites quote Psalm 109:8, “Let his days be few; and let another take his office.” Another verse follows: “Let his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow.” I pulled this from Liberal Values but it originated with The Christian Science Monitor.


Tea Partier Out of Control. Thank God this man didn’t have a weapon.

Political Road Rage right here in Tennessee.

A handicapped man is shouted at, mocked, and ridiculed as the anti-health care protesters standing over him dismissively throw money at his face. The man doing most of the kicking later apologized and I feel he was sincere but the incident points out how heated rhetoric can generate mob rule.

Sharon Angle supporter, a man, punches woman at debate.

Woman stomped in the head at Rand Paul rally.


Gov. Chris Christie in California beats up on a voter at a Meg Whitman town hall meeting. From Hello Mr. President.

N.Y. gubernatorial candidate Carl Palodino threatens reporter, “I’ll take you out.”

- - - - -

Krugman began his article:
When you heard the terrible news from Arizona, were you completely surprised? Or were you, at some level, expecting something like this atrocity to happen?

Put me in the latter category. I’ve had a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach ever since the final stages of the 2008 campaign. I remembered the upsurge in political hatred after Bill Clinton’s election in 1992 — an upsurge that culminated in the Oklahoma City bombing. And you could see, just by watching the crowds at McCain-Palin rallies, that it was ready to happen again.
Krugman said that conservatives denounced the Homeland Security report mentioned above.
But there has, in fact, been a rising tide of threats and vandalism aimed at elected officials, including both Judge John Roll, who was killed Saturday, and Representative Gabrielle Giffords. One of these days, someone was bound to take it to the next level. And now someone has.
What Krugman doesn't say is that the mainstream media has not met the challenge to present facts in as fair and balanced and informative a format as possible. This is not to say that Democrats haven't crossed the line with angry rhetoric or unacceptable campaign ads from time to time, but if one were to stack plates with each plate representing an incident involving guns or gun imagery, the advocacy of violence, hate speech, racism or physical assault, the stack on the right would very quickly crash from it's on weight.  If the media even bothers to cover it, most likely they will ignore the small stack on the left and report that the Democrats are cracking too..


  1. GREAT research and article,Leslie.

    It's an ongoing source of frustration,trying to point this out to the "reasoning with me is like reasoning with an overflowing toilet" class of Republican.

    Simple logic would dictate that were the MSM liberal they would take liberal positions, ie oppose war and privatization, support unions and affordable health care. Pointing out this fact clashes with Rightist ideology, however - due to the "overflowing toilet" conundrum mentioned above.

    Got your back all the way on this one lady.

  2. What Liberal Media?

    John McCain's appearances on MTP? It's probably well near or into 60 times. Anyone know what it is for John Kerry?

    That's just one other example.

    Anyone with a working brain knows this "Liberal Media" meme is bs.

    Thanks for posting this. Good work. Again.

  3. Wow Leslie! What a posting on media coverage. Frankly I dont know much about a thing as far as how media's choose and who's who ... but ... yep ... I go around to alot of mainstream media's, and love media's for gathering info I may need, etc, however I suspect this too. Interesting too, was this part about how much was paid out as far as expense's for these Tea Bag folk's ... I know damn well that there has been alot of anonymous money being pumped into that bunch especially ... but room boarding accomodation's? Anywayz ... it was a worthwhile read. Heh, heh, heh, heh, heh ... so many race issue's covered by white folk's? that's hilarious too ... man oh man. I'll shut up. :)

    Thanx Leslie!

  4. you are the master when it comes to research and writing, Leslie!

    It must be about the shock value and plain 'ole curiosity why the wingnuts get more exposure on TV. They make us laugh out loud too!

    (sorry lame comment)

  5. Oso: Even were a conservative to visit, I seriously doubt that they would see what should be perfectly clear.

    Shaw: I don't watch the talk shows anymore, just for that reason. I should have mentioned this but already felt this thing was a bit too long. I'm glad you pointed it out.

    Jerry: A bow.

    RC: The MSM is just another big corporation.

    Sue: Shock seems to sell but what happens after the shock wears off?

  6. Well done, Leslie!!! It explains why I don't really have any use for either party and rarely watch television.

  7. The same day that the teabagger stood outside the capital while United States congressman exhorted them into such a paroxysm of rage that they terrorized a hero of the Civil Rights movement, an much larger gathering on the Mall demonstrated peacefully for immigrant rights. It received about 15 seconds of coverage. Rage sells.

  8. Too few control too much of the media in the US, and this is a vicious circle because these groups will then not report critically against their own hegemony.

    Here is an article from 2003 featured in a French publication that may be of interest:

    Quoting from it:

    "Since the 1980s control of the US media has grown ever more concentrated. By 1996 the two largest radio chains owned 115 stations. Today (back in 2003) they own more than 1,400. Meanwhile the number of station owners has dwindled by a third... Three companies own half of the stations in the US"

  9. An example of bias: A NBC/WSJ poll just released a poll saying Obama's approval rating had jumped to 53%. CBS/NYT give him a 49%.

    Kay: I don't think I'll ever be anything but a Democrat.

    K: I remember that incident all too well. I don't think the immigration rally was covered at all except on the Blogosphere.

    Magpie: Thanks for those stats. Wonder what it is by now. It's not a healthy situation at all.

  10. Leslie:

    I know how hard to worked on this in an effort to get it right. You succeeded.

    Once, an old, white-haired, recovering alcoholic of an executive editor told me: “It’s a business. If you don’t want it to be a business, get out. It’s a whore riding a black horse.”

    “It” is journalism and his black horse is newspaper ink.

    As more and more media consolidation occurs (most recently the merger of Comcast and NBC), the control tightens on the free flow of information.

    Joseph Pultizer made a lot of money by telling his staff “give the people what they want.” It’s a sad commentary on our times that the media moguls seem to be doing just that.


  11. Wow Leslie, that was quite an entry, and thanks for all of your painstaking research and work.

    I couldn't agree with you more about the MSM in the aftermath of Tucson....though I agree that guns alone are not the problem, no one is looking at the root causes of gun violence in America, and what can be done.

    Canada is a democracy with a similar heritage as the United States, having a diverse cultures, and is bilingual. It's population is about one tenth of that of the US, about 30 million and it's citizens own an estimated 11 million guns.

    There are 300 million Americans and an estimated 283 million guns.

    Last year 200 Canadians were murdered with guns, and more than 9,400 Americans were shot to death.

    This leads to the logical point of the problem not just being the amount of guns, but the question of why Americans are so likely to use them to kill others as opposed to our Canadian neighbors.

    It's symptom of something bigger, and the MSM remains silent until The Next Big Shooting. It's just lazy journalism, or apathy, and the silence is in itself a form of culpability.

    As for Ms. Palin....Donny Deutsch was on MORNING JOE this past week. He referred to Sarah as a grown of version of Snooki.....and I tend to agree with him.

    That woman KNOWS NOTHING!!!!!!

  12. An honest-to-God true friend is one who gives a "writer" a heads-up when he screws up. Thank you, BJ, not only for catching the glaring errors in this post but for pointing them out to me. My pride may suffer but it's better to be able to correct them - and that I have tried to do.

    And I love the quote from the executive editor.

    Hugh: We actually have the highest death rate from guns than any other industrialized nation, I think. What people don't understand is that over 50% of these are suicides.

  13. 82 people die every single day, in the United States of America, by the penetration of bullets into the human anatomy.

    Frodo does not have to translate, the facts speak for themselves.

    When the Constitution of the United States and the amending Bill of Rights were adopted, every single firearm on the planet Earth fired a single bullet from a single barrel before reloading. Today, a "Glock" with a "Magazine extender" will launch dozens of bullets in less than two seconds.

    Frodo does not have to comment on the impact of technology on basic human rights.

    Why then, isn't the issue presented and discussed thoughtfully, and with an appreciation for the opinions of those who respectfully disagree?

    The answer is that in the collective, we don't have the time, thinks Frodo, and besides, we've already heard it all before.

  14. Yep, we've heard it time and time again but only after the fact. Just as we've heard discussions about mental health care but only after the same kind of tragedy. They go nowhere.

  15. Wow! This comprehensively nails down what most of us knew in our bones, so to speak. Very well done. It needs saying and repeating.

    I'll add one bit of trivia on guns and candidates. One of Pat Buchanan's signature lines when he ran for president in 1992, 1996 and 2000 was "Ride to the sound of the guns." He also had a line about the peasants coming with pitchforks to take back their country.

    How inspiring.

    My quick index of the state of the network news operations for years has been the Sunday morning political talk shows. They have been so heavily, glaringly tilted to right-wing Republicans for the past 20 years that I almost never watch them. My gag reflex can only take so many exposures to Lindsey Graham, John McCain, Newt Gingrich, Dick Armey, Jon Kyl and Joe Lieberman. Especially so since one doesn't have to be a mind reader to know what they're going to say before they even open their mouths.

  16. Leslie, you are da bomb, woman :)

    I love it when we don't bother to include democrats or liberals in the talk about vitriol and self-righteous indignation, we get told "Democrats do it too!" One: They don't, clearly. Two: And that makes it right the the Right to do it?

  17. Excellent post, TnLib. Apropos of this subject, I thought you might also be interested in this:

    From Mark Karlin (Buzzflash Editor for TruthOut:

    Comcast is a right-leaning, big media entertainment corporation that is about to control content, television, telephone and Internet service, all through one giant portal. Its interests are in dictating what consumers pay, see and hear by owning the delivery system and what it delivers.

    Its acquisition of NBC Universal will accelerate an already-monopolized big media presence on television to include content control that extends even to the Internet.

    Anybody who thinks that a company that is the epitome of Pac-Man corporate growth is going to tolerate liberal programming on MSNBC that is critical of corporate governance - well, you're floating down the river of "de-Nile."

    When Olbermann was suspended for a couple of personal political donations, even though it is hardly an uncommon practice among millionaire broadcasters -especially on FOX - there was a lot of Internet chatter about the role of Philip Anschutz, a billionaire Christian financier of fundamentalist causes, who is allegedly a big shareholder of Comcast.

    But whether or not Anschutz is a big shareholder, his Anschutz Entertainment Group (and other large holdings) could be considered, like Comcast, a kindred spirit to the Koch brothers brand of tilting America to the right
    [my bold]

  18. SW: I think that most libs, at least on the Blogosphere and in a few notable exceptions in the MSM, have been predicting that something tragic was bound to happen as a result of all the vitriol, hate speech and calls for violence. But the bulk of the MSM has chosen to ignore the warnings just as they are opting to ignore the realities of today's events.

    Bee: They can't substantiate that the libs do it too simply because there isn't any evidence that they have. And that's because they haven't.

    Octo: Anschutz is not only a major shareholder of Comcast, he's the CEO. His family gave $169,900 to Republican candidates and committees during the 2010 election cycle and I'm willing to bet that a lot more passed under the table. Interestingly we lived near him in Denver for a few years but we were on the other side of the tracks of course. He and the Coors family are big, big buddies.

  19. As you know :) , I have been screaming about this for years. The MSM is absolutely worthless, which is why I don't listen to them, watch them, or even link to them most of the time. It's easier to remember "" than it is to try to go to all those other sites, just to get the same data.

    The average age of a Beck viewer is middle-60s, and that will continue to climb, because... most of us under a certain age are well-aware of the bullshit of the MSM. Let them keep digging their own grave. I won't miss them.

  20. JR: There are a few of us wise old owls around who've picked up on MSMBS. ; )

  21. The local media is terrible also. Every story in my hometown media that has anything to do with government or politics usually takes at least a subtle job at Democrats.

    Headlines like "Democrat Tax Hike..."
    Democrats Move to Take Away Guns."
    "Democratic Job Killing Bill."

    The right seeks validation and the media in it's quest for profit gives it to them.

  22. Oh my, Truth. You are so right. Sometimes I really think there is a big conspiracy that's far larger than all of us poor mortals.

  23. Of course with the Comcast takeover of NBC the MSM is going to become even more liberal. What are the poor conservatives going to do now?


  24. I gave up on the MSM about the time they began attacking President Obama long before he took office.

    I spend time looking thru the tubes

    I agree with your post, which is why in a time of global worst floods, the MSM is either downplaying them or totally ignoring it;

    Floods Australia

    Floods Brazil

    Floods Pakistan

    Floods Sri Lanka

    But barely a peep out of the MSM because it ain't happening in the "real America" and of course the possible cause and results

    Or here;

    Is Wild Weather Evidence of Climate Change?

    Experts say that 2010 was the hottest and wettest year on record.

    and according to some it ain't gonna get any better;

    2011: The Year of Living Dangerously

    But as you point out The MSM is more about what ever verbal diarrhea the Wasilla Hillbilly extrudes or which tea bagger lie is the flavor of the day.

  25. Jerry, sure they are.

    Anon: Thanks for all those great links. I have no doubt they will come in handy at some point in the near future.

    Actually Obama received much more positive coverage than McCain during the campain, according to the Pew Center.

    I was comfortable with the study when I first saw it but I think if they were to do such a study today, the results would be entirely different - starting back from his first day in office.

  26. If they really were the "mainstrean news media", then, no they are not doing their job. However, they are the corporate media, and their job is to insure we have corporate dominated govenment.

  27. Dave: And that's just what they're doing - and accomplishing.

  28. Tnlib,
    Last night, I rewrote a post to reflect Rachel Maddow's latest revelation concerning CNN's airing of Bachmann's Tea Party Express speech. What Dr. Maddow uncovered: Bachmann's speech was a PR placement, not a legitimate news story. The implication points to a fundamental conflict of interest that compromises the integrity of cable news journalism.

    I am bringing this to your attention with hopes that our extended netroots communities might focus on this issue and raise a big stink.

    How can we maintain a viable democracy when propagandists and hacks game the system? There is much at stake here.

  29. Octo: I completely agree with you and have already planned to keep focusing attention on media bias. At the very least, CNN should have had a representative of the left to counter Bachmann - just to keep it "balanced?"

  30. Tnlib,
    Taking your lead, I visited the CNN website and found a John King video that asked, "What do you think of Michelle Bachmann?"

    There were only 6 'defanged' comments under the video followed by this message: Comments have been closed for this article.

    It appears CNN will give our side absolutely no representation whatsoever, not even by posting our comments.

    I am done with CNN. And with Comcast taking over NBC, where will we go from here? Shall I ask Canada for political asylum?

  31. By giving up we give in. I think we have to keep each other informed of exactly this kind of thing and then we need to let them know what we think.

  32. Tnlib,
    I thought you may also be interested in this, the revelation by Rachel Maddow that makes CNN a co-conspirator in the Tea Party Express scam:

    "CNN presented an alternate reality of their own making, one in which their debate partner officially speaks for the Tea Party and in which the Tea Party is a co-equal third party of equal stature to the Democrats and the Republicans. And CNN has a competitive and potential financial interest in selling you that alternate reality as if it is news."

    It should also be point out that Sal Russo, the PR guy heading the TPE, received donations from citizens who believed the TPE was a 501C non-profit charity when in fact all funds went into the coffers of his PR firm ... meaning Russo was fraudulently fleecing contributors to line his own pockets.

    What a slimy stink hole CNN got itself suckered into!

  33. WOW! Good for Rachel. I guess we can expect CNN to become another Fox???