Death by Politeness

News Media

The article that really got my attention this morning — and not in a good way — is “How MSNBC Became Fox’s Liberal Evil Twin” by Alessandra Stanley. Clueless Wonder Stanley slams MSNBC’s coverage of the convention for its bias, preferring much more polite and even-tempered “coverage” by cardboard cutouts on NBC —

NBC and the other broadcast networks cut their live convention coverage to an hour during prime time this year, which leaves barely time to show the main speeches, let alone analyze them. Yet NBC’s chief anchor, Brian Williams, has conspicuously avoided the most fractious MSNBC discussion panels. Those anchors who do make dutiful appearances, like David Gregory and Tom Brokaw, are badly needed but don’t stay long or join the fray — like piano players in a brothel, they don’t go upstairs.

This is a democracy, sweetheart. We need to know what’s going on upstairs.

And that leaves fewer choices for viewers who like their election coverage with informed commentary without a twist of bias.

Telling the truth isn’t “bias,” dear. Politely refraining from saying that someone running for the presidency is basing his entire campaign on lies is not “impartiality”; it’s journalistic malpractice.

For years, as the Republican Party became more and more extreme, mainstream media have attempted to even things out by filming Republicans with softer and softer focus, and with plenty of gauze on the lenses to make the wrinkles disappear. On the other hand, Democrats are placed under a Kleig light without filters and not allowed to wear makeup. And then the narrative accompanying this is “both parties are just as bad.” The polite political commentators dear Ms. Stanley prefers congratulate themselves for being unbiased, when they are nothing of the sort. They are enablers. They are making excuses for the alcoholic uncle by telling people he’s just been under a lot of stress lately. And this kind of enabling does neither the uncle nor the family a bit of good; it’s just socially expedient.

I can agree that Al Sharpton and Ed Schultz come across as Dem Party cheerleaders sometimes, but Chris Matthews has done more than his share of enabling of Republicans over the years. Ms. Stanley tears into Matthews for his recent “bruising harangue against Reince Priebus” — how impolite to point out that Republicans are dog-whistling racists — and finishes the column with this —

Virginia’s governor, Bob McDonnell, who backed, then rescinded, a state bill that would require women seeking an abortion to first have an invasive ultrasound, is a favorite target. After his convention speech, the MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry said sarcastically that Republicans might be nervous “standing next to a governor who represents a vision of small government that is small enough to put on the end of a transvaginal probe.”

No wonder Brian Williams stays away.

Oh, how crude to bring up Bob McDonnell’s actual record. What do you want to bet that Ms. Stanley really misses David Broder?

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  1. c u n d gulag  •  Sep 1, 2012 @10:40 am

    MSNBC is NOT FOX’s evil Liberal twin!

    Sure, MSNBC has a good portion of its on-air crew (sans, Cup O’ Schmoe and some of his guests) waving pom-poms, cheering for President Obama and the Democrats.

    But there’s NO comparison to FOX!

    FOX’s cheerlearders have dropped their pom-poms somewhere on their way under the bleachers, or to the back seat of the luxury car, where they’re happily giving all of themselves, every which way, to every member of the Republican team – including the waterboys and girls.

    On FOX, if you have an “R” next to your name, there’s no way you won’t get a good feckin’ from them!
    And on FOX, if you have a “D” next to your name, there’s no way you won’t get a good feckin’-over from them!

  2. c u n d gulag  •  Sep 1, 2012 @11:21 am

    OT – Before everyone gets too giddy about the MSM finally pointing out some of Romney and Ryan’s lies, I say, be careful what we wished for.

    The MSM felt like they were forced to acknowedge the Republican parties open lies, because they were too huge and too frequent to remain obscure.
    Believe me, given the chance, most of them would have ‘la-dee-dah’d’ right through the week, and typed their already well-ingrained meme’s about Mitt, the businessman, and Ryan, the wonk.
    But their lies were “Joe Isuzu” egregious!

    The MSM HATED doing that, because it’s against all of the bullsh*t “He-said/she-said” instinct that’s been taught to them, and reinforced, over the decades by righties screaming “LIBERAL MEDIA!!!”

    It’s now so ingrained, that even Pavlov would be envious of how the MSM has been trained to have better and faster instinctive reactions to doing that in every situation, than the reactions he got from his dogs, after he’d trained them to salivate whenever he rang a bell.

    And they’ll take having to actually do their jobs, instead of just mailing-it-in, out on the Democrats.

    Oh yeah, they’ll be tired – and PISSED when the get to Charlotte!

    They’ll parse EVERY syllable from EVERY Democrat, for even a hint of embellishment.

    And then come down with the wrath of the FSM on them!

    And this time, they won’t parse it the same way they did with the Republicans. No, “mis-truths,” “exaggerations,” or ‘mis-speaking.”
    They’ll openly call them “LIERS!” at ANY and EVERY opportunity!

    Remember – the first rule of modern journalism and punditry is, “Thou SHALL Equivocate!”

    So now, after Tampa Bay, it’ll be, “Ok – He lied/BUT SHE’S REALLY LYING!”
    Even if they have to twist themselves up like DNA to do it.

    After all, they’ve been comfortable screaming “LIER!!!” at every Democrat, ever since Gore may or may not have mis-spoken some truths about himself – but certainly DIDN’T OPENLY LIE!

    This could REALLY get ugly!
    After calling Ryan out on his lies, I’m almost afraid of what the MSM will do to Joe Biden.
    Joe better not make a singe mistake, or exaggerate even a smidge, or they’ll be on him like a nightstick on a N*gger’s skull after the sun’s gone down in a rural Southern town 80 years ago.

  3. erinyes  •  Sep 1, 2012 @12:48 pm

  4. moonbat  •  Sep 1, 2012 @1:50 pm

    “Um, forgive me Miss Stanley, but may I be so bold to suggest, that you – and I hope you will forgive my brash impetuousness in letting these words depart from my mouth – are a Republican – perhaps without you even knowing it?

    Anyone who holds up Brian Williams/NBC as the model of what journalism should be about is an idiot. She’s the perfect Villager – reminds me of Effie Trinket in The Hunger Games.

  5. JR  •  Sep 1, 2012 @10:34 pm

    I think viewers understand the difference between news and commentary. I also think they can change the channel if they don’t like what they see. People don’t hate Fox for it’s bias – the country’s full of bias reporting and papers. Bias doesn’t explain all the lying, selective editing and hyprocisy.

  6. maha  •  Sep 1, 2012 @10:57 pm

    JR — yeah, I have absolutely no problem with open partisanship on the cable politics shows. In fact, I’d prefer that the bobbleheads proudly wear their partisan buttons. It’s more honest than shilling for a party while pretending to be “fair and balanced.” What’s hurting us is not partisanship, but lies.

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