Mar 01 2010

Media Malpractice: lessons learned

Category: Uncategorizedharmonicminer @ 8:42 am

John Ziegler talks about his documentary on the 2008 election, in Media Malpractice: One year later

A year ago today I went head-to-head, live, with Matt Lauer on the Today Show during the coveted 7:30 a.m. slot. The purported occasion for this interview was the release that day of my documentary film on the 2008 election and its aftermath, “Media Malpractice… How Obama Got Elected and Palin Was Targeted.”

Of course, the only real reason the esteemed Today Show agreed to lower itself to have on a relatively unknown conservative filmmaker who was introducing only his second feature film was that I was providing them with fresh interview video of the then seldom heard from Gov. Sarah Palin. Obviously, this is roughly the equivalent to offering crack to a street addict. During the course of multiple interviews I did that day, NBC proved the basis of my film more than I ever could have on my own…

There is much more at the link above, regarding Ziegler’s experiences in the last year, his perceptions of the establishment figures on the left AND the right, and his advice to anyone else who wants to make a conservative film these days.

Ziegler is correct that the media response to him and his film have proved, repeatedly, the fundamental thesis of the film, namely that the major media is

1)  irretrievably left,

2)  gave Obama an incredible send-off into the election, and

3)  did its best to destroy Palin, with a partisan vigor and vengeance seldom seen even in the notoriously left national mainstream media.

I made some predictions about how the media would handle Obama when the honeymoon was over.  It appears that I was optimistic.

The media is still mostly not telling the truth about Obama’s policies.  That doesn’t mean they print only out and out lies (though that certainly happens).  It simply means the media doesn’t tell the whole truth, in context.  It doesn’t do “investigative reporting.”   It rarely mounts any serious challenge to any of Obama’s assertions or quoted “facts.”  Here’s how to spot it.  When Obama says something clearly false, the major media simply quotes a Republican denying it, so that the truth appears to be merely a partisan perspective.  On the other hand, if any Republican makes any factual error, the media is likely to carefully investigate and quote some “trusted authority” to debunk it.  In the other direction, when a Republican says something that is clearly true, instead of quoting a “trusted authority” to verify it, the media is likely to quote a Democrat denying it, so that, again, the truth is disguised as partisan wrangling.  If Obama does say something that’s true (it happens once in a while…), the press is likely to quote a “trusted authority” to cement it in the public mind.  In short, the press performs virtually none of the “adversary” role it would perform if there were a Republican president, as has been amply shown in the past.

This kind of thing (making Democrat lies and Republican truths look merely partisan, but objectively reinforcing Democrat truths and Republican misstatements) is why so many “independents” are apt to say that “both sides lie,” as if it were axiomatic that both sides lie equally, and are equally caught at it by an investigative media.  It’s subtle enough that only the carefully observant are likely to spot it…  and of course, those are the folks who won’t stay “independent” forever.

I thought the press would be embarrassed by its own failures in exploring Obama’s past, his connections, etc.  I thought the press would begin investigating itself.  I was simply wrong, at least so far.  The press has closed ranks almost completely about its abject failures in bringing to light even the most basic aspects of Obama’s past, his statements on various issues, his behavior and performance as a student,  his associations as a “young political organizer,” and his early political career.  The press that derided Bush for not being “curious” has exhibited a near total lack of interest in what life experiences and choices formed their chosen president.  And their acceptance of the attractive (to them) candidate that they see in his books reminds me of the press’s willingness to swallow whole the fiction of John Kennedy’s authorship of his books, which were mostly ghost-written by elite academics on the payroll of his father.

The simplest way to put it is this.  Not since John Kennedy’s campaign and administration has the press so willingly functioned as a political arm of a sitting president, so carefully avoided embarrassing him with facts undoubtedly known to them, and so uniformly protected him from the revelation of compromising facts from his background and associations.  Nearly all of the negative coverage that the major media has (regretfully) provided has been the minimum that they could not avoid in response to stories in the “alternative” media.  Without FOX, Rush, Drudge, the blogs, etc., would we ever have heard the name Jeremiah Wright?  Bill Ayers?  What don’t we know because the major media has buried it to protect “the One”?

I’m guessing rather a lot.

One of the most disappointing aspects of this matter, to me, has been the response of some of the “neo-con” intelligentsia to Sarah Palin.  Criticizing her is one thing.  Failing to spend at least TWICE as much time criticizing her treatment by the major media is quite another.  And I think that may be why Ziegler didn’t get as much help with promoting his film as he might have received.  Too many of the self-anointed conservative gate-keepers are (justifiably) embarrassed that they didn’t make the film, and embarrassed that they didn’t criticize the coverage of Palin more (at the time) than they criticized Palin.  It appears that for some, the loyalty to social class and ivy league connections (with their accompanying invitations to the best cocktail parties) transcends loyalty to political perspectives and fair play in the marketplace of ideas and candidates.

It’s a shame.  But I think that maybe they will not be able to hold her down, in spite of their best efforts.  I don’t know if she will be president, and I don’t know if I really want her to be…  time will tell.  But she has confounded the elites who gleefully pronounced her resignation from her job as governor of Alaska to be a political self-immolation.   I have the feeling she’s just getting started.  And I have the feeling she is learning as she goes.

The elections of 2010 are going to be very interesting.  2012 is still the far future…  but I think that the major media will try to do in 2010 what they did for Obama in 2008…  and will discover that they’ve used up more and more of the meager capital of trust that they had with the independents whom they prize most highly on election day.

One Response to “Media Malpractice: lessons learned”

  1. innermore says:

    The vast majority of the citizenry is too busy fanatically responding to the commercials to be bothered with news interruptions. The instant-gratification media runs this country. News is just an annoying lip-service expense, and government is just a cheap, dumb client. The reality is: the audience must continue to win big on The TV Game Show! So you Congressmen and Presidents had better wake up and start handing out the big prizes: free housing, free groceries, free transportation, free health care, just free everything. Shut up with your boring ethics, principles, idealism, thought, blah blah blah… Just give it to ‘em NOW! The media has succeeded in indoctrinating most of us into intoxicated blithering stampeding consumerists. Anybody with a conscience? You’d better move to Utah and stay the hell out of the way.

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