No matter how angry the media’s biased coverage of last year’s presidential election made you, expect to get even angrier after watching the new film from radio talk show host John Ziegler.
“Media Malpractice: How Obama Got Elected and Palin Got Targeted,” now available on DVD, assembles virtually every unfair and imbalanced news report from the last year and weaves them together into one jaw-dropping narrative.
The lies. The spin. The cover ups. Media outlets working in veritable lockstep to ensure the election of Sen. Barack Obama.
If mainstream reporters had an ounce of shame they’d watch “Media Malpractice” and shake their heads.
Ziegler doesn’t fall back on any talking heads to buttress his thesis. He doesn’t have to. The parade of sound bytes, news clips and interviews tell the story better than any journalism expert might.
Ziegler starts at the beginning of the 2008 presidential race, when it seemed a fait accompli that Sen. Hillary Clinton would be the Democratic party’s best chance to retake the White House.
But young, charismatic Sen. Barack Obama from Illinois represented a great storyline to spice up Clinton’s inevitable ascent. It’s only when Obama started making inroads into his party’s presidential plans that the media rolled up its collective sleeves and got to work.
Reporters fell, and fell hard, for the charming junior Senator. Once that happened, it became paramount than any news that could derail Obama’s presidential hopes be squashed.
So the press did its best to ignore the Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s many outrageous statements, Obama’s ties to Weather Underground terrorist Bill Ayers and anything Obama said which could distract voters from pulling the lever for him.
When Ayers rose up as a possibly poisonous connection to Obama, the media couldn’t muster the strength to investigate. CNN even contradicted its own reporting about Obama’s ties to Ayers within the same day, but no other outlet followed up on their more alarming findings.
Compare that to how press outlets dug up every scrap of news concerning Joe the Plumber during his 15 minutes of fame.
As for Rev. Wright, that story bubbled under the MSM surface for weeks before reporters had no choice but to cover it. They did so without much passion, with one CNN reporter prefacing an interview with Obama by saying it would be a “Rev. Wright free” chat – if the senator would be OK with those parameters.
How nice of him to even ask.
Time after time after time, the media deflected attacks on Obama, renewed assaults on the GOP ticket and failed to treat the candidates the same way.
And when Gov. Sarah Palin, the GOP’s vice presidential candidate, tried to bring up some of the aforementioned issues, the media transformed the negative news into fresh attacks on Palin and McCain.
Ziegler gets exclusive interview footage with Palin for the movie, but her commentary isn’t nearly as biting as the assembled news bits. She’s too much of a politician to fully unload on the media, so her segments feel like a tug of war between her true feelings and what she probably should say so as not to appear like a petulant loser.
Palin does get to correct the record on some of the more shocking journalistic attacks.
What’s fascinating about media bias is how tone can be just as damning as incorrect reportage. It isn’t just that ABC’s Charlie Gibson asked tougher questions to Palin than he did to Obama, it’s also how he asked those questions.
Gibson comes across as condescending to Palin, peering down at her from behind his spectacles. Gibson even misquotes Palin, and then nails her for the misquote like a teacher scolding an errant student.
That’s hardly the tone Gibson or his colleagues use when Obama is under the microscope.
"Media Malpractice" isn’t a complete success. The film should have done a better job of separating the liberal pundits like Keith Olbermann from the allegedly unbiased reporters. And when the film bemoans how crazy rumors concerning Gov. Palin leaked into the mainstream press coverage, the film doesn’t follow up on which outlets danced to the tune the Daily Kos and other far left outlets sung.
Perhaps the most damning assault on Sen. John McCain’s campaign arrived in the final weeks, as the media claimed his rallies were becoming veritable hate fests. Their proof? A few reckless attendees shouted a few ugly comments, and the most demonizing comment was later proven to be false.
But by then, the media template regarding McCain‘s followers was set.
The saddest part of “Media Malpractice” comes in the film’s waning moments. The election is over. History has been made, in some part thanks to the media. Only then does the media start reporting the stories it did its best to avoid just weeks earlier.
Suddenly, unrepentant terrorist Ayers is all chatty about his ties to the president-elect. And Obama’s Muslim roots, which no one was allowed to so much as bring up during the campaign lest the media attack them, began appearing in news stories as a positive note.
“Media Malpractice” should be required viewing for anyone planning to cover the 2012 elections. It’s a shame the chances of that happening are about the same as the media admitting its mistakes and giving the American public responsible coverage next time around.