Can you guess which news channel mentioned it? Let’s see.
Here is how the Sunday shows covered the issue:
NBC: Meet the Press with David Gregory
The Benghazi issue was not raised at all, save by panelist Carly Fiorina, who was interrupted by Gregory. He promised, “We’ll get to that a little bit later,” but did not return to the issue before the show’s end. (The show was interrupted in some markets, in the final minute, with breaking news about Hurricane Sandy.)
ABC: This Week with George Stephanopoulos
The Benghazi issue was raised by Newt Gingrich, in response to a question about the Romney campaign’s prospects in Ohio. Stephanopoulos failed to ask a follow-up and steered the conversation back to polls.
CNN: State of the Union with Candy Crowley
The Benghazi issue was raised twice, once by Republican National Committee chair Reince Priebus in response to a question about U.S. Senate candidate Richard Mourdock’s views on abortion, and once by Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell in response to a question about whether Romney would win the state in November. Crowley did not raise the issue independently in a show largely focused on polls and voting.
CBS: Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer
The Benghazi issue was raised in an exchange between Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s former chief of staff. After McCain brought up the issue, Schieffer asked a follow-up question about whether the administration had engaged in a “deliberate cover-up.” McCain said it had either been a cover-up or “the worst kind of incompetence.” Schieffer responded with another question about whether drones had produced images of the attacks. Emanuel responded with the Obama campaign’s standard talking points, and Schieffer followed up with a question about what he would have done in the White House. Emanuel ducked the question, instead praising Obama’s foreign policy record in general.
FOX: Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace
The Benghazi issue was first raised by Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) in describing issues of concern to Wisconsin voters. Wallace replied that he had planned to address the issue later, which he did, addressing questions to Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) about recent revelations. Warner responded by expressing sympathy with the families of the dead and wounded and promised: “We’re going to get to the bottom of this. The intelligence is going to hold hearings when we return, right after the election.” He added that the situation had “been politicized,” criticizing Romney in particular. Wallace countered that the issue was a legitimate topic of political discussion. He followed up with questions about whether drones flying over Benghazi were armed, and Sen. Udall repeatedly refused to answer directly, saying that he could not comment further. Wallace also later made the issue the primary focus of the show’s subsequent panel discussion.
When conservatives say that they prefer to watch Fox News, it’s not because Fox News is conservative. It’s because Fox News is news. They actually act like journalists and report the news, and they always have multiple viewpoints – conservative and liberal. Liberals want to see a debate between Rachel Maddow and Chris Matthews to see which one is more of a radical leftist. Conservatives want to see a debate between Brit Hume and Juan Williams. We want both sides, because the adversarial system is the best way of getting at the truth. People tune into to non-Fox news channels to hear what they believe echoed back to them, and to avoid hearing anything that makes them feel stupid or wrong or different. It’s like church for lazy brained leftists.
Understanding media bias
Every once in a while, I like to post the academic studies of media bias, so that everyone is clear about who is biased. It’s always important to look at the evidence when trying to decide what is the truth about something. So let’s look at the evidence of media bias.
Here’s a UCLA study on media bias.
Of the 20 major media outlets studied, 18 scored left of center, with CBS’ “Evening News,” The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times ranking second, third and fourth most liberal behind the news pages of The Wall Street Journal.
Only Fox News’ “Special Report With Brit Hume” and The Washington Times scored right of the average U.S. voter.
The most centrist outlet proved to be the “NewsHour With Jim Lehrer.” CNN’s “NewsNight With Aaron Brown” and ABC’s “Good Morning America” were a close second and third.
“Our estimates for these outlets, we feel, give particular credibility to our efforts, as three of the four moderators for the 2004 presidential and vice-presidential debates came from these three news outlets — Jim Lehrer, Charlie Gibson and Gwen Ifill,” Groseclose said. “If these newscasters weren’t centrist, staffers for one of the campaign teams would have objected and insisted on other moderators.”
The fourth most centrist outlet was “Special Report With Brit Hume” on Fox News, which often is cited by liberals as an egregious example of a right-wing outlet. While this news program proved to be right of center, the study found ABC’s “World News Tonight” and NBC’s “Nightly News” to be left of center. All three outlets were approximately equidistant from the center, the report found.
“If viewers spent an equal amount of time watching Fox’s ‘Special Report’ as ABC’s ‘World News’ and NBC’s ‘Nightly News,’ then they would receive a nearly perfectly balanced version of the news,” said Milyo, an associate professor of economics and public affairs at the University of Missouri at Columbia.”
Here’s a Harvard University study on media bias.
The programming studied on Fox News offered a somewhat more positive picture… of Republicans and more negative one of Democrats compared with other media outlets. Fox News stories about a Republican candidate were most likely to be neutral (47%), with the remainder more positive than negative (32% vs. 21% negative). The bulk of that positive coverage went to Giuliani (44% positive), while McCain still suffered from unflattering coverage (20% positive vs. 35% negative).
When it came to Democratic candidates, the picture was more negative. Again, neutral stories had a slight edge (39%), followed by 37% negative and 24% positive. And, in marked contrast from the rest of the media, coverage of Obama was twice as negative as positive: 32% negative vs. 16% positive and 52% neutral.
But any sense here that the news channel was uniformly positive about Republicans or negative about Democrats is not manifest in the data.”
From the Washington Examiner, a study of the political contributions made by the mainstream media.
Senior executives, on-air personalities, producers, reporters, editors, writers and other self-identifying employees of ABC, CBS and NBC contributed more than $1 million to Democratic candidates and campaign committees in 2008, according to an analysis by The Examiner of data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics.
The Democratic total of $1,020,816 was given by 1,160 employees of the three major broadcast television networks, with an average contribution of $880.
By contrast, only 193 of the employees contributed to Republican candidates and campaign committees, for a total of $142,863. The average Republican contribution was $744.
[...]The data on contributions by broadcast network employees was compiled by CRP at the request of The Examiner and included all 2008 contributions by individuals who identified their employer as one of the three networks or subsidiaries. The data does not include contributions by employees of the three networks who did not identify their employer.
The CRP is the organization behind OpenSecrets.org, the web site that for more than a decade has put campaign finance data within reach of anybody with an Internet connection.
President Obama received 710 such contributions worth a total of $461,898, for an average contribution of $651 from the network employees. Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain received only 39 contributions totaling $26,926, for an average donation of $709.
And more from a study done by the radically leftist MSNBC.
MSNBC.com identified 143 journalists who made political contributions from 2004 through the start of the 2008 campaign, according to the public records of the Federal Election Commission. Most of the newsroom checkbooks leaned to the left: 125 journalists gave to Democrats and liberal causes. Only 16 gave to Republicans. Two gave to both parties.
The donors include CNN’s Guy Raz, now covering the Pentagon for NPR, who gave to Kerry the same month he was embedded with U.S. troops in Iraq; New Yorker war correspondent George Packer; a producer for Bill O’Reilly at Fox; MSNBC TV host Joe Scarborough; political writers at Vanity Fair; the editor of The Wall Street Journal’s weekend edition; local TV anchors in Washington, Minneapolis, Memphis and Wichita; the ethics columnist at The New York Times; and even MTV’s former presidential campaign correspondent.
And here’s a bit from that same article about The New Yorker:
The last bulwark against bias’s slipping into The New Yorker is the copy department, whose chief editor, Ann Goldstein, gave $500 in October to MoveOn.org, which campaigns for Democrats and against President Bush. “That’s just me as a private citizen,” she said. As for whether donations are allowed, Goldstein said she hadn’t considered it. “I’ve never thought of myself as working for a news organization.”
Those are the facts.
Now consider this column from Brent Bozell, which explains the difference media bias makes to political intelligence.
The Republican presidential contest is picking up steam. Obama is consistently polling under 50 percent. This one’s a toss-up, and in the thick of it is the Fox News Channel. It’s not just their role in hosting and vetting the candidates. It’s their role as the chief villain in the eyes of liberal Democrats struggling to push their version of the “truth” about Obama.
Jon Stewart rhetorically asked Chris Wallace about Fox on “Fox News Sunday, because he thought he knew the answer: ”Who are the most consistently misinformed media viewers? The most consistently misinformed? Fox, Fox viewers, consistently, every poll.”
In the real world – outside Stewart’s smug bubble – this is garbage. A 2008 survey by the Pew Research Center asked media consumers three questions: which party was in control of Congress (Democrats), who was the secretary of state (Condi Rice) and who was the prime minister of Britain (Gordon Brown).
Let’s document how the viewers of “Hannity &Colmes” were better informed than Stewart’s “Daily Show” gigglers on basic political facts. Hannity viewers beat Stewart’s on the Democratic majority (84 percent to 65 percent correct answers), Condi Rice (a dramatic 73 percent to 48 percent gap) and Gordon Brown (49 percent to 36). Overall, as a percentage getting all three questions right, Hannity won 42-30.
Just keep that in mind when you are watching the mainstream media news shows. A very good site to bookmark and read is Newsbusters, which documents mainstream media bias daily. I even have an RSS feed of their latest stories on the front page on this blog.
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