Media Matters

Media Matters

Bruce Bartlett Brainwashed?

By 5.28.15

I’ve always liked Bruce Bartlett, and I still do.

In addition to his service in the Reagan administration, he later wrote a superb book that I have referred to many times: Wrong on Race: The Democratic Party’s Buried Past.

But I have to say when I learned that Mr. Bartlett had appeared on CNN to say that conservatives were “self-brainwashing”? Well, I laughed.  Here’s what he said

Many conservatives live in a bubble where they watch only Fox News on television, they listen only to conservative talk radio — Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, many of the same people. When they go onto the Internet, they look at conservative websites like National Review, Newsmax, World Net Daily.

And so, they are completely in a universe in which they are hearing the same exact ideas, the same arguments, the same limited amount of data repeated over and over and over again. And that’s brainwashing.

Media Matters

The Myth of Objectivity

By 5.20.15

The self-appointed guardians of journalism often deny the existence of liberal media bias. The problem is wildly exaggerated, they have long said, even as Democratic aides like George Stephanopoulos have become reporters and reporters like Jay Carney have become Democratic aides.

The scandal of George Stephanopoulos donating to the Clinton Foundation while covering it is one more confirmation that conservatives have not overstated the problem of media bias. An equivalent offense by a Republican aide turned reporter would result in a hasty firing. But Stephanopoulos can count on his bosses to defend him to the hilt.

He has now apologized for making the donation, but the apology’s emphasis on his failure to go the “extra mile” in disclosing it indicates that he considers the matter minor. By putting his apology in those terms, he is suggesting that the real problem lies in the quickness of conservatives to perceive bias. In other words, he should have gone the “extra mile” in anticipation of that criticism but in a better world, a disclosure about donations to such a worthy “charity” wouldn’t be necessary.

Media Matters

Study Says: You Can’t Argue With a Feminist

By 5.1.15

Another day, another “study” utterly loaded with ideological baggage somehow being defined as a carry-on; i.e. actually newsworthy.

This time it hails from the innocuous-sounding PsyPost, whose editor, Eric Dolan, also heads up the very progressive Raw Story. The research, published in the feminist journal Affilia, examined attitudes toward abortion from students of both sexes across six universities, and was launched on the premise of so-called “Ambivalent Sexism Theory.”

And in the parlance of modern day Clickbaitese, what it found will shock you. Why? Because while everyone knows of the hostile sexism of the Andrew Dice Clay variety, far fewer are privy to the “benevolent” sexism that acts a mind virus for so many well-intentioned people. Indeed, well-intentioned women.

Here, let Dolan explain:

Media Matters

The Media’s Litmus Tests

By 4.22.15

The media’s dissection of political arguments is primarily demagogic, turning not upon their intrinsic merits but upon whether or not they conform to “mainstream” expectations as defined by the media. Any position outside what it deems the mainstream is automatically invalid. In this mindless atmosphere, politics grows more and more narrow and dangerous. Objective reality becomes irrelevant to any discussion and politics is reduced to a chase for the latest poll and strategic deception.

In this atmosphere, even the mildest moments of conservative truth-telling become occasions for the media to hurl accusations of sexism, racism, and homophobia. Of course, the media’s definition of what’s mainstream is conveniently elastic. It would never declare Hillary Clinton’s support for late-term abortions “outside the mainstream.” Nor would it describe Democrats who now want the military to champion transgender soldiers extreme. But it will routinely describe even the most toothless Republicans as aliens to mainstream opinion.

Media Matters

‘Hitler Made a Difference’: The Liberal Gang Rape of Journalism

By 4.6.15

Rolling Stone magazine perpetrated a hoax against the University of Virginia, doing “journalism” about an alleged gang rape that evidently never happened. The source of the dramatic tale Rolling Stone published last November, “A Rape on Campus,” was a UVA student named Jackie who has been proven to be a liar. Her freshman year at UVA, Jackie invented a make-believe boyfriend she called “Haven Monahan” as part of an unsuccessful attempt to inspire the jealousy of her friend Ryan Duffin, on whom she had a romantic crush. This deceptive scheme apparently led to Jackie’s subsequent claim that she was gang-raped at the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house during a date with this non-existent boyfriend on the night of Sept. 28, 2012.

Media Matters

National Religious Broadcasters Holds Firm

By 4.1.15

As many Evangelical elites and institutions squishily accommodate liberal trends, the National Religious Broadcasters group remains defiantly conservative, as its recent convention of over 4,000 ministry leaders abundantly confirmed, focusing on pro-life, pro-marriage, pro-Israel, and pro-religious liberty advocacy.

Partly the defiance owes to NRB’s inherently populist character. Its membership includes thousands of Evangelical communicators, rooted heavily in Christian radio, with traditionalist constituencies of millions.

And partly the defiance is credited to its president since 2013, former Criswell College president Jerry Johnson, who offers no apologies for his unabashedly conservative convictions. In his inaugural speech last year, he promised NRB would be for religious liberty what the NRA is for gun rights.

“Our content is not always popular,” Johnson told this year’s NRB audience in Nashville. “Our content is not always politically correct.” Yet religious broadcasters “should speak the truth in love, winsomely, convincingly, and passionately.”

Media Matters

Cruz Control

By 3.27.15

Dear journalists: May I have a public word with you, especially if you edit the Raleigh News and Observer? You probably take a dim view of unsolicited advice from a junior member of the guild, but I think I can save you some grief in the run-up to next year’s presidential election, with an assist from the first official candidate for the Republican nomination. That candidate would, of course, be Senator Ted Cruz. Many of the stories about him are written with the same “Get a load of this guy!” tone regardless of where they come from, but I thought a letter like mine ought first to be addressed to the media people in my own backyard.

Media Matters

National Geographic, Supermarket Tabloid?

By 3.19.15

Move over National Enquirer, here comes the National Geographic to supermarket checkouts. At least that’s the way it looks judging from the cover of its March issue.

A big headline proclaims, “The War on Science,” over of a photo of a workman constructing a setting for a Moonwalk. All this is accompanied by a list of five things, ranging from one about which there is much serious skepticism (“Climate Change”) to the very far-fetched (“The Moon Landing Was Fake”). It appears the NG left out those favorites that Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld delivered the explosives that brought down the World Trade Center towers and that Barack Obama was born in Kenya.

Another clue that the venerable Geographic may be planning to go head-to-head with the National Enquirer is that the story behind the sensational headline is a nothing burger, like such supermarket tabloid favorites as “Octogenarian Queen Pregnant” and “Film Star Charges, ‘My Father-in-Law Sired My Child.’” It turns out there is nothing to those stories either.

Media Matters

Eric Burns and the Cult of Liberal Media

By 3.10.15

It always amazes to see.

As reported in Politico, Quinnipiac University released a poll on Monday that Politico correctly headlined as follows:

Poll: Fox News most trusted network

The story begins:

Fox News has the most trusted network and cable news coverage in the United States, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll released Monday. But network TV is much less trustworthy than it was in the days of Walter Cronkite, American voters say.

In comparison rankings, 29 percent responded that they trust Fox News the most. CNN follows with 22 percent, CBS News and NBC News are at 10 percent, ABC News at 8 percent and MSNBC at 7 percent.

Bear this in mind as one considers the latest bit of liberal irrationality over in Mediaite this weekend was ex-Fox host Eric Burns, headlined in a story this way:

Media Matters

The Semi-Spin Zone: Bill O’Reilly and His Critics

By 2.25.15

Fox news host Bill O’Reilly’s critics are eager to turn him into the next Brian Williams but they lack the damning evidence to do so. Their scrutiny of his coverage from Argentina during the Falklands war suggests imprecision on his part but fails to establish that he committed a Brian Williams-level whopper.

Williams told a bizarre and verifiable falsehood, which any reasonable observer would conclude wasn’t a good-faith mistake but a deliberate lie. O’Reilly’s claims about his coverage are far more murky and don’t fall neatly into the category of a deliberate lie.