Media Research Center’ Truth project exposes liberal media bias in 2012 campaign.
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By Labor Day the 1960 fall campaign had begun in earnest, the race narrowed to just Nixon and Kennedy.
Or was it just Nixon and Kennedy?
For the first time in a modern presidential campaign, a third contestant was on the playing field.
That would be the elephant in the campaign room. This contestant was, as mentioned, both highly visible every day — yet totally invisible at the same time.
Here is author Theodore H. White’s description of this third contestant in White’s Pulitzer Prize —winning book The Making of the President 1960:
By the last weeks of the campaign, those forty or fifty national correspondents who had followed Kennedy since the beginning of his electoral exertions into the November days had become more than a press corps — they had become friends and, some of them, his most devoted admirers. When the (campaign) bus or the plane rolled or flew through the night, they sang songs of their own composition about Mr. Nixon and the Republicans in chorus with the Kennedy staff and felt that they, too, were marching like soldiers of the Lord to the New Frontier.
The elephant in the room was, of course, the press — as it was called in 1960. The media, as it is known today.
And the press in 1960 was anything but impartial.
The institutions represented and run by these correspondents and their editors of print and television took great care to present themselves as impartial recorders of fact. Their visibility — on television screens for three networks (there were only three — ABC, CBS and NBC — in 1960) and in the pages of such print vehicles as the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Associated Press, or Newsweek magazine (to name but four — there were many, the print press providing both fodder and story cues to the television editors) — was off the charts.
These were the institutions that were supposed to be providing the facts and nothing but the facts about Kennedy and Nixon to the American people.
Alas, as White would write, it simply wasn’t so.
In fact, as White records, these people regarded themselves as “marching like soldiers of the Lord to the New Frontier.” Every political and cultural bias that could be had in 1960 and tilted toward John F. Kennedy was put into play. They weren’t about the truth — they were about advancing the liberal narrative.
And the problem grew worse. Much worse. As the years unspooled, there were sins of omission and a growing list of sins of commission, a number of them discussed here in this space.
All of which made one thing vividly clear to millions of Americans. From zero stories in the day about JFK’s mistresses (one of which was shared by a Mafia mobster — the same Mafia being investigated cautiously by JFK’s Attorney General brother) to zero stories about John Edwards having an affair while touting his loyalty to his wife (the National Enquirer broke that one) — from a media willingness to link Barry Goldwater to Nazis and an unwillingness to report on the left-extremist leanings of Obama administration staffer Van Jones — the situation grew worse. And worse and worse and worse.
Enter Brent Bozell and the Media Research Center. The MRC (which correctly calls itself “the leader in documenting, exposing and neutralizing liberal media bias”) formed its NewsBusters blog in 2005 with some help from Matthew Sheffield of Dialogue New Media.