Wednesday, September 10, 2008


It seems that a majority of voters perceive the media is slanted in favor of Barack Obama and the Democratic Party. As a result, we are in the midst of a voter backlash against the media.

The issue has come to the fore over the selection of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as John McCain‘s running mate. In a Rasmussen poll published Sept. 4, 51 percent of respondents said that reporters are trying to damage Mrs. Palin’s reputation with their news coverage. Twenty-four percent said that negative stories about Mrs. Palin made them more likely to vote for John McCain in November.

Us Weekly magazine came under scrutiny for their latest cover story “Babies, Lies and Scandal,” as critics argue it is a gross mischaracterization of Mrs. Palin. This, in contrast to a June 17 cover story headlined “Michelle Obama: Why Barack Loves Her.” Even Oprah Winfrey has been accused of bias for not interviewing Mrs. Palin on her show, even though she has had Mr. Obama on as a guest - prior to his official campaign for the presidency - in 2005 and 2006. Mrs. Winfrey has also campaigned for Mr. Obama.

The national news networks have also come under fire repeatedly for biased reporting with a liberal slant. In June, the former anchor and managing editor of NBC Nightly News Tom Brokaw chastised the press for insisting that Hillary Clinton exit from the Democratic primary. He referred to the news coverage as “inappropriate” and “commentary disguised as reporting.” At a panel in Denver, sponsored by the Joan Shorenstein Center on Press, Politics, and Public Policy, Mr. Brokaw said that MSNBC hosts Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann demonstrated bias in their election reporting: “I think Keith has gone too far. I think Chris has gone too far.”

MSNBC network executives at last responded to the drumbeat of criticism they have received. This week, the network announced that Messrs. Olbermann and Matthews will no longer be co-anchors of political-night coverage; they will be replaced by NBC News correspondent David Gregory. Messrs. Olbermann and Matthews will remain commentators.

The McCain campaign has long criticized media bias. In June, a New York Times report alleging Mr. McCain’s ties with lobbyists was denounced as a hit piece. There was also outrage among McCain supporters when the New York Times published a July 14 op-ed on Iraq written by Mr. Obama but disqualified Mr. McCain’s op-ed for failing to meet its standards. The public was not amused.

One upshot to all this is that many Americans are turning to “new media” - the Internet - for more information without the bias. Once the subject of debate and inquiry: Does liberal media bias really exist? It is now recognized by a majority of Americans as an established fact.

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