The CW Thinking of the MSM: A Classic Example
My friend Greg and I often chat about Morning Joe. It’s become an addiction, partly because it’s good TV, but also because it’s substantively a train-wreck that’s impossible to turn away from. While the breezy nature of Morning Joe is original and entertaining, on the substance of politics the show does nothing but to reinforce the most infantile, base, conventional wisdom. I’m sure this is a topic I’ll return to in the future, but for now, let’s take a case-in-point: today’s New York Times article describing the imbalance in media coverage towards Obama, particularly as illuminated by his Iraq trip:
The extraordinary coverage planned for Mr. Obama’s trip, though in part solicited by aides, reflects how the candidate remains an object of fascination in the news media, a built-in feature of being the first black presidential nominee for a major political party and a relative newcomer to the national stage.
Okay, so what does the article essentially say? That the media is more fascinated with Obama than McCain and is devoting more time and resources to their coverage of him. Okay, fine, hard to dispute that point (especially when the networks themselves admit this).
Enter Joe Scarborough and his team on Morning Joe, bringing up the notion that, once again, this “proves media bias” on behalf of the press, and trying to raise this issue at every opportunity. Now, Joe is a Republican, let’s not forget this fact. But he and his crew are, even more odiously, completed grounded in conventional thinking and have shown an inability to break out of that mold. Thinking critically about this New York Times article, it’s impossible to say in any way that this shows any sort of media bias towards Obama. What it does show is a media bias towards covering Obama. Critical difference.
Following on the theme that Slinkerwink has written about regarding the Obama team’s lack of offense, one major reason this is so glaringly obvious is that the media has completely fallen down on the job when it comes to any scrutiny of John McCain. I mean, the man has said some whoppers, statements that would literally be campaign-ending for Barack Obama. And then let’s look at Obama: he says the word “refine” regarding his Iraq plans and the press has a week-long feeding frenzy (again, enter Morning Joe, the crew that continues to say he’s changed positions on Iraq).
So, in the end, yes Obama is getting more attention. Is that a bottom-line positive for him? I don’t know, but I do know that one negative consequence of this attention is a degree of scrutiny over every word that John McCain can thank his lucky stars he’s not receiving.
This isn’t a ground-breaking theory on my part, it’s fairly obvious to deduce. But when you’re a slave to conventional wisdom, you see an article about the imbalance of media coverage and your instinctive reaction is to shout “liberal bias!” Not exactly, guys, not exactly.