Mainstream Media Need Rehab For Liberal Overdose

Liberalism is the cream mainstream journalists take with their coffee nowadays and is as much a part of the industry as late-night deadlines.

When Obama aides choose to leak an important story, as they reportedly did on Bush and Obama’s White House tête-à-tête Monday, that story appears as a New York Times exclusive. I can’t think of a more obvious bias unless the Obama camp starts leaking to Chris Matthews (who will be more effective as unofficial press secretary for the Obama administration than anyone Obama names to the official post).

But sometimes, even the MSM fall prey to a prank. A recent one may pose a model that someone (is anyone home at the RNC?) might follow.

The longtime liberal prank group Yes Men reportedly printed fake copies of the Times and distributed copies to New York commuters this morning. The issue featured a virtual “liberal wish list,” reports Brian Montopoli on a CBS News blog (he also has an image of the page). There is also an online version.

Less apparent, but still potent, is the liberal bias that peppers your local media markets, as Bulletin reporter Michael Tremoglie was reminded Nov. 4 in Philadelphia. On Election Day, Tremoglie went to McCain-Palin headquarters to track down information on the New Black Panther sightings at a local Philadelphia polling place. While he was there, Lovida Coleman Jr. — an African-American lawyer in Washington, D.C. and member of the McCain-Palin Honest and Open Election Committee — addressed the Black Panther incident at a press conference. She also mentioned other irregularities that caused concern: credentialed Republicans not being allowed access to the polls and poll watchers being turned away.

Tremoglie said Coleman had been getting some hostile questions from a TV reporter and a print journalist, but the exchange escalated when Coleman referenced her experience working as a poll observer in foreign countries.

Coleman, who is a native of Philadelphia, said she had never seen such blatant disregard for voting laws as she had that day. She drew similarities to soldiers who stand outside polling places in foreign countries and hold machine guns.

The TV reporter — apparently not interested in Coleman’s relevant experience — instead took issue with the machine gun comparison and supposedly snickered. Coleman then pointed out one of the Black Panthers actually had a night stick with him.

At that point, Tremoglie said he had enough and stepped in with a question of his own.

“Isn’t it true that the New Black Panther Party has been designated as a … racist hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (…a very liberal organization)?” Tremoglie recalls asking Coleman. The reporters who had been pressing Coleman suddenly fell silent.

“They’re trying to minimize the events,” Tremoglie said of the reporters’ questioning tactics. Later, a worker at the headquarters came up to Tremoglie and expressed appreciation for what he did.

“They seemed to be playing advocates for the Democrats,” Tremoglie said the worker told him.

Tremoglie also spoke with Coleman afterwards and said she was livid about what had passed.

And rightly so. Hard-nosed reporting is one thing. “Gotcha” interviews are different. They’re usually an excuse to be obnoxious, and they always signal a reporter more focused on an agenda than facts. If you’re going to engage in either form of journalism and keep your integrity intact, you need to get those facts straight. Ironically, one of the local stations didn’t get the simplest fact — the spelling of Coleman’s name — correct in their coverage. The online text article and video identify her as “Lavita Holman, Jr.” a misspelling of both her first and last names. (I got a lead that this was the news station the TV reporter represented at the press conference. When I called to verify this, however, the station checked and indicated they did not have a reporter on the story.)

This bias from the small town markets to the industry’s big guns creates an interesting dichotomy — because the majority of news organizations have swung so far to the left, other news outlets who don’t follow suit appear “right.” Or worse, the rosy glasses of the majority make leftist extremes appear normal. Yet, despite the mainstream media’s best efforts, the majority of Americans remain conservative. If these news organizations were smart, they would start claiming responsibility instead of objectivity (as one journalism professor once taught me). Then your attention is on your readership and not your agenda.

Think about this: the New York Times company’s stock was trading at $52 about six years ago. It was down to $7.98 at one point yesterday. Crime doesn’t pay in civilized society. Apparently, neither does media bias.

Journalists, start drinking your coffee black. It’s healthier for your organization, your readership, and you.