Letter: They failed that responsibility miserably
I found Gary LaMaster's response to my piece on media bias interesting and would like to respond to the points he made.
1. The two studies, both from respected organizations, only reported their findings of bias, not on the news worthiness of articles. One study's angle was negative stories and the other was positive stories. It is of note that, until he secured the Republican nomination, McCain was still the "fair-haired maverick" the mainstream media had come to love. Once Obama secured the Democrat nomination, the same media could hardly find anything positive to say about McCain.
2. "....news coverage is dictated by the news itself.." Not in this world. The editor decides what is news, what isn't news and whether it will be disseminated to the unwashed masses. Concerning the many, and varied, stories that did not get attention, Mr. McMaster, himself, states "I can't speak for the editorial boards, but it's likely that they decided that 'there is no (story) there."
3. "Senator McCain ran a very negative campaign." "Obama ... ran a campaign based mostly on the issues, relative aspects of his opponent's record and hope." There were negative ads on both sides but with more than a $750 million bankroll Obama's appeared many times over those of McCain's. Senator Obama's main issue was that McCain shared the same party with George Bush. In articulating their agenda's, Obama was clearly superior during the debates.
4. "The only way for a news organization to be truly balanced is to invite the candidates...to discuss the issues.." The only way..???? How about anchors so openly biased as the report that just hearing Obama speak "sent shivers down my leg." Chris Mathews recently went so far as to say that "It's my job (as a journalist) to make sure this presidency goes well." His interviewer was as amazed as I, saying "That's YOUR job???" to which Mathews responded "Yes, it's my job." Really? I thought that was for the opinion writers, that journalists are supposed to report the facts so we can decide who is doing well- or not.
We have just elected an executive officer of the most powerful nation on earth and we know more about "Joe the plumber" than we do about him. Why? Because Joe asked a question the media didn't' like. He was smeared, ridiculed and lied about. That was news but Senator Obams's associations were not, per the editors of the mainstream media. Coming from near obscurity, and with no real record of accomplishments, we have elected an unknown (but articulate) quantity. Mr. LaMaster said "It's the responsibility of the media to cut through the spin to get to some sort of news or truth." They failed that responsibility miserably.