Monday, January 04, 2010

A New Year - An Old Media Slant

I watched at least part of most of the Sunday morning talking heads shows yesterday, as is my routine. I drink coffee, glance at the Sunday edition of the Houston Chronicle - hard copy, since I'm old school like that - and noticed the same pattern continuing into this brand new year: All of the panels with multiple guests for multiple opinions on any given topic consist of only one conservative or Republican. The majority of all the panels, with the exception of Fox New Sunday, were heavily tilted to liberal or Democratic talking heads. Fox News consistently does the best at offering a true balance and that is probably why they consistently blow the competition out of the water with the highest ratings.

This morning in my e-mail inbox appeared Rich Galen's cyber column. I have read and greatly enjoyed Galen's cyber column for several years now and he was a guest on a panel on the CNN show yesterday morning. This is an excerpt from his column this morning. It can be read at and it sums the appearance up nicely.

"I was on CNN yesterday with a reporter from the New Yorker magazine, a reporter from the Washington Post, and a Democratic strategist meaning it was three against one."

The topic of the TSA debacle and the foiled terrorist plot to take down a jetliner as it approached Detroit on Christmas Day was discussed. The other panelists where, predictably carrying water for the Obama administration's handling of the whole thing. They also brought up the popular meme of a Democratic talking point - if that Republican senator, Jim DeMint of South Carolina, would just release his hold on the President's nominee to head up the TSA, well, this whole event could have been avoided. It's the Republican's fault, you see. Here's a point conveniently not mentioned by the Democrats on the panel about said nominee, Erroll Southers and brought up by Galen:

"More on Erroll Southers. It turns out he was less than truthful to at least one, and perhaps both Senate Committees about the circumstances surrounding his misuse of a law enforcement computer to spy on his ex-wife's boyfriend.

Southers had told the committee that, while an FBI Agent, he had contacted a friend in law enforcement in California and asked if he would run a background check on the guy.

He got caught and was censured by the Bureau. But, that wasn't the way it happened. What actually happened was Southers ran the background check on his own. The business about asking a friend to do it was, how do I put this … a lie."

You see, Senate Majority Leader Reid wants Southers to be confirmed on a voice vote in the Senate. Just move him on through like all the others who are not of any particular consequence. This nominee, the head of the TSA, is not just any Washington bureaucrat. And, he is said to favor the Democrats idea that the TSA workers - baggage handlers and passenger screeners - should unionize with the privilege of collective bargaining. That is a really bad idea to Republicans and it is a good idea to Democrats - a nice little (huge) payback to the union money that elects Democrats to office in the first place. They paid really big bucks to put Senator Barack Obama into the White House.

I was happy with Rich Galen's appearance. We are starting off a new year the same as all the others - not much changes in the media. The members of the press - on camera and in print - have a huge stake in the success of this President. They were his biggest cheerleaders as he ran for the presidency. They were openly cheering each night on their opinion shows and also by those who pose as serious journalists.

Maybe the upcoming generation of budding journalists will produce a more balanced field of reporting. Maybe they will remember the very basic premise that a journalist is without personal opinion in a story, that they are simply the vehicle to provide the facts to a reader or viewer.

That would be refreshing.

1 comment:

Janelle said...

Ratings and readership provide incentive quite well.