Media Bias Starts At The Top

This is a must read: “Media’s Presidential Bias and Decline,” a column by Michael S. Malone for ABC News. There is a lot of truth to what he writes but it misses how high in the industry the problem goes. In addition to the guilty editors Malone blames, publishers and boards of directors are also responsible for the media’s betrayal of the public trust. Without their awareness and consent if not approval, the media could not have pursued the agenda of promoting Obama’s candidacy.

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MORE Magazine in Tank for Obama

MORE magazine featured Michelle Obama on the cover of its October edition but has the chutzpah to claim the choice was not a political statement. Apparently more than a few readers disagreed prompting a fast response on the MORE website including this remark:

…some felt we weren’t giving equal billing to both sides of the political equation.”

It is unimaginable that the Obama cover wasn’t carefully considered before justifying this plunge into the political arena. How can this not be a blatant attempt to influence voters? It will be featured on newsstands nationwide for the next month where not only women of MORE’s target demographic (women in their 40s and 50s) but voters of all stripes will be encouraged to envision Mrs. Obama in the White House.

MORE insulted all of its readers and would have done so even if it had selected Sarah Palin or Cindy McCain for its cover in this crucial final few weeks. Will subscription cancellations be the result? US Weekly learned the hard way and it could well be the case for MORE, too.

Parent company, The Meredith Publishing Group publishes Better Homes and Gardens, Family Circle, Ladies’ Home Journal, Parents, Fitness, and American Baby amongst other magazines and appears strong. Still if you are so inclined, make your views known via email to more@meredith.com.

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MSM Evolves Into NMM (Niche Market Media)

Kathleen made this comment to The MSM’s Headlong Slide into Irrelevancy post:

The public has always known to a point that mainstream media is biased, but I don’t think ever in history has it come out in this kind of blatant fashion.

The MSM has been in the tank for Obama from the get-go but to give credit where it is due, the media have been greatly enabled by the vitriolic blogosphere as well as celebrity endorsements. All that love and support just goes to the head and makes one feel invincible. Errors in judgment are bound to follow. Just ask any teenager or even former teenager on that score.

History may judge the press harshly for abandonment of principles or it may declare the current state an evolutionary step. Indeed, catering to a niche market may be the only way the MSM can survive. Call it NMM for Niche Market Media. That is our likely future.

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The MSM’s Headlong Slide Into Irrelevancy

Despite the MSM-Olbermann-Matthews-lefty blogosphere hissy fit, Sarah Palin is here to stay. Of course, the longer coverage is on the is-she-ready-to-lead issue the better for Republicans from the top of the ticket to the candidates running for Congress. Any Democrat whipped into a frenzy over McCain/Palin is on board the Dem wagon already but if the media want to alienate the undecided voters, hey, go right ahead with the current game plan since it’s working so well for you.

Is anyone else finding it challenging to find coverage of the real issues? Hint to the media: Sarah Palin is not THE issue or even AN issue. Energy, jobs and the economy, terrorism, border security, pork, the list goes on, are issues. The candidates probably cover many of these subjects daily in speeches, press releases, ads, and interviews but unless one is addicted to reading dozens of websites per day, it’s frigging hard to find out what the candidates are saying though it is easy to find out what the pundits are saying/spewing/regurgitating.

To complicate matters further, readers have to overcome media bias to get to the too oft-obscured facts. Life was a whole lot easier when you could read the local newspaper or the Sunday edition of the NY Times and get a fair sense of all the news. You know, back in the day when revenues weren’t declining and “We report-You decide” was the unspoken mantra of the press rather than just a slogan for a single outlet.

Frankly, reading the candidates’ websites would be a more accurate way to learn what each believes and would do if elected. What a sorry reflection on the state of the media that is!

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The media thought Palin was toast. Oops!

I love a dog. He does nothing for political reasons.” Will Rogers (1879-1935)

People confuse what they read in newspapers with news.” A. J. Liebling (1904-1963)

Dropping any illusion of impartiality, this past week the mainstream media, from pundit to anchor to reporter to editor, was on a mission to discredit Sarah Palin. Luckily for us the media overplayed its hand.

One of the more egregious examples of media meddling was the Us Weekly scandal that came to light as the Republican Convention swung into motion. The publication’s latest edition carries the cover headline “Babies, Lies and Scandal” over a photo of Governor Palin holding baby Trig. It has drawn not only widespread criticism but thousands of subscription cancellations as well.

Courtney Hazlett of The Scoop at MSNBC got the goods on the real story as covered by Warner Todd Huston at NewsBusters.

Hazlett is hearing that the editorial board of “Us Weekly” had thought they pegged it right that media pressure and attacks would see Palin pulled from the McCain ticket even before her debut speech. Because the media had so quickly swarmed to destroy her, they thought she was toast before she even had the chance to accept the nomination.

Queried by FoxNews, Us Weekly came up with this lame excuse.

We didn’t have time to get into everything that you have mentioned.” Us Weekly Senior Editor Bradley Jacobs to Megyn Kelly, co-host of “America’s Election HQ,” September 2, 2008.

No longer content to just report the facts of a presidential race, media outlets have staked claim to  the role of makers and shapers of it. Falling revenues should have been sufficient warning but en masse subscription cancellations ought to strike fear in the hearts of editors, publishers, owners and stock holders. Readership is not a given and loyalty to a media outlet has its limits.

Hey, but when those pink slips start to arrive, former news folk might want to consider retraining at the local community college. Or better yet, head to Hollywood where the truth is entirely irrelevant.

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