Monday, April 13, 2009

The Objective Media

Update: I do realize that "blaming Bush" won't forever be a reason to ignore the GOP. When will I take the right seriously again? I'm not sure how to answer that, but I do know what will make me continue to ignore the right: Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh, Jerry Falwell, Michael Steel, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, and "Tea Party Protests". While the left wing also has its fringe extremists, the Democrats are not dominated by them.


I was folding clothes tonight and so watched a little bit of cable news. I ended up flipping between two shows that might as well be mirror images. MSNBC's Countdown, with Keith Olbermann, features plenty of Bush bashing and Obama praising. Fox News has the OReilly Factor, which true to the network motto was going to extraordinary lengths to make Obama look bad. The thought occurred to me that a reasonable, objective person might almost be tempted to think that the current setup is fair. After all, the GOP has their channel - Fox News. Nobody is deceived by the "Fair and Balanced" slogan; Fox News was the last administration's Pravda. Meanwhile, the Democrats have their stations too - CNN and MSNBC. However, I actually don't think the current status quo is reasonable in the slightest.

Presumably (and whether or not this happens in reality is obviously a subject of considerable debate) the purpose of the media is to find out the objective truth, insofar as it is visible, and report on it. Furthermore, it is absurd to think that the careers of political leaders are entirely subjective. There is of course some subjectivity. Democrats will be tempted to see their leaders as great, Republicans will disagree, and vice versa. Bill Clinton is a striking example, adored by Democrats but generally not well liked among Republicans; Reagan being an opposite example. As I said, though, things are not entirely subjective. At some point, there is truth as to whether or not a political career was a success. I don't know of any reasonable Democrats who would call Reagan a failure. Its also relatively difficult to call Bill Clinton a failure (although one can attribute the successes in the 90s to other factors).

Here is the clincher, and the relevance to current issues. The Presidency of George W. Bush was an objective failure. A response will inevitably be made about Iraq, but to call Iraq a success is to completely ignore the original intentions, plans, and purposes that Bush had in mind when he invaded, not to mention the precarious nature of the fledgling democracy at the present time. Bush was a failure, in all but the most partisan of minds: so doesn't it make sense that the media is coming after him? If the purpose of the MSM is to report the truth, then when the media slammed Bush all of those years, it was doing its job - reporting the facts, not acting out of some sort of vindictive liberal bias.

Keep in mind, I am not saying that the media does NOT have a slight liberal bias. Overall, it probably does. But when the president was such a dismal failure for 8 years, instead of screaming liberal bias, conservatives should be seriously introspecting the party's decisions and positions and changing things accordingly. They've done nothing like that of course for the last 8 years, which is why the party is in an intellectually bankrupt, tantrum throwing, leaderless funk. On the other side of the coin, many major news networks have been friendly to Obama. Rightfully so; Barack Obama has barely been in office 100 days. That is not a liberal bias. That is called giving the winner of our democratic election the benefit of the doubt; perfectly appropriate. Interestingly enough, Fox News and a host of supporting conservative "intellectuals" were after Obama from day 1, and did not give him a fair chance. That is conservative bias. Towards the end of his term, many in the media wouldn't give Bush his due when he did manage to do things right; that was liberal bias.

At the end of the day, people should remember this. If the media was anti-Bush 99% of the time, and Bush failed 90% of the time, the problem isn't liberal bias.

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