Friday, April 13, 2012

More on That Awful NYT Rosen Article

Over at Plum Line today, I'm not at all nice to an awful NYT article about the Hilary Rosen phony controversy, following up on Greg's item about it earlier. His item: the article was misleading about Rosen's connection to the campaign. My post: the article was generally far too gullible about the idea that there was a real controversy between the campaigns.

But wait! There's more!

Greg likes me to keep things short over there, so this didn't fit. But while most of the article bought the Romney spin, there's a detour that, I suspect, conservatives would take as confirmation of serious bias against them at the Times. Michael Shear and Susan Saulny wind up pivoting away from botching the campaign story to covering the supposed “cultural debate.” We get interviews with two “real” women. From both sides of the issue? Nope. One is “not a Mitt Romney supporter” who says that people should leave his wife out of it…and then talks about GOP attacks on contraception and other Democratic talking points. The other is an Obama supporter who brings up Ann Romney’s wealth. Now, of course it’s true that women tilt strongly to Obama in the current campaign, but still, I suspect any Republican reading that part of the article would accuse it of bias.

After which, they return to the campaign story, and give the Romney campaign an unanswered shot at the “Obama economy.”

Generally, complaints about media bias miss the point; there's plenty of bias in the "neutral" press, but it's rarely the product of ideological or partisan bias. And overall, this is the story that the Romney campaign wanted written -- they want to pretend that Democrats in general, and the Obama campaign in particular, have no respect for "stay at home moms," and the article supports that (false) version of the Rosen affair. But the women-on-the-street portion of it winds up putting Democratic talking points in the mouths of ordinary citizens, which is certainly not what the Romney campaign would want.

Just terrible.


  1. Though I'm happy we have 24 hour news stations, this is definitely one of their drawbacks. Non-news becomes news because it helps fill the time with something that fits the 'new' definition of news (while failing the 'significance' part). So now we have fake outrage over piddly remarks. The only thing that holds me back from wishing for real news is that real news is usually bad for someone or a whole lot of people. Sigh--I guess I'll stick with trumped up schlock.

  2. "... but it's rarely the product of... "

    When this number gets below 60% that will be a little more believable.

    When liberals want to deride a claim or argument, their first move is to ask if it came from a "winger."

  3. backyard,

    It is absolutely true that most reporters/correspondents are liberals. Lots of good evidence on that.

    That does not, however, prove that the output of "neutral" newspapers and TV news contains a liberal bias. Two different questions. (Nor does the fact that TV news and most newspapers are owned by large corporations prove that they'll have a conservative bias, for that matter).

    That empirical studies of the "neutral" media tend to show is that their biases are institutional, not ideological or partisan.

    1. I'm a crazed anti-commie, so please call me by the full backyardfoundry:

      Your arguments are reasonable and I've read them before (as well as some of the studies) but consider (broken-record-alert) the Zimmerman/Martin example and your recent post about Drum's ignorant-poll-response-whinging. Most people are rationally ignorant about most politics, so they see that the Reverend civil rights leader Sharpton is on a tear and all these people are calling Zimmerman a murderer and offering bounties for him. Wingers helpfully offer context about his escapades: Brawley, Mangum, Jena 6, etc. which will raise questions about his integrity. Most MSM viewers won't be able to remember his track record (and become suspicious of the whole thing) and the MSM isn't doing much to balance this ignorance and is actively selling the idea of Zimmerman as racist white murderer of defenseless black kid.

      I'm sure that a social-scientist: could develop metrics that would make this story look like straight up reportage, but it doesn't look that way to me. It's impossible to escape one's biases.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Who links to my website?