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Tilting at Windmills

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February 13, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

LEANING RIGHT....If you read liberal blogs, you've heard the common complaint that Sunday talk shows consistently showcase a greater number of conservative guests than liberal ones. But is it true? Media Matters took a detailed look at the question and the chart on the right shows the answer: conservatives outnumbered liberals during the Clinton years and they outnumber liberals even more heavily now. It's not your imagination.

And it's worse than that. As Paul Waldman's article in the current issue of the Monthly explains, it goes beyond politicians to include the pundits and journalists who are invited on the shows:

This ideological imbalance isn't only evident in the "official" sources that are interviewed: the elected officials, candidates, and administration officials who make up most of the shows' guests. It is even clearer in the roundtable discussions with featured journalists, [where] it has been a frequent practice for a roundtable to consist of a right-wing columnist or two supposedly "balanced" by journalists from major newspapers.

....The consequence of all this is that in every year since 1997, conservative journalists have dramatically outnumbered liberal journalists, in some years by two-to-one or more. Why would the producers of the shows believe that a William Safire (56 appearances since 1997) or Bob Novak (37 appearances) is somehow "balanced" by a Gwen Ifill (27) or Dan Balz (22)? It suggests that some may have internalized the conservative critique of the media, which assumes that daily journalists are "liberal" almost by definition, and thus can provide a counterpoint to highly partisan conservative pundits.

The result is that genuinely liberal pundits get almost no exposure on these shows. You get conservative guests, super-conservative guests, moderate liberals, and journalists. And though it's not part of this study, they're almost all men. Only 10% of the guests on Sunday talk shows are women.

Some balance.

NOTE: The survey methodology used by Media Matters is described here.

Kevin Drum 1:24 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (191)

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Comments

Yay!

No, I have nothing to say on this so far, but I just want to have the first comment on a thread! :)

Posted by: Brazil Connection on February 13, 2006 at 1:30 PM | PERMALINK

See, the problem is that, again, the facts are biased against the conservatives.

So it's really unfair for you to not account for the inherent media bias that occurs when reporters present the facts. That's really the most pernicious liberal bias--the reporters who just report the facts. Because the facts are biased!

Posted by: theorajones on February 13, 2006 at 1:38 PM | PERMALINK

Not only that, but the "conservative" guests tend, as a whole, to be far more to the right than the "liberal" guests are to the left. It's not just two conservatives versus one liberal -- it's usually two hard-core far-right wingnuts against one moderate and/or liberal centrist. How many times do you see a true left-wing figure such as Noam Chomsky or Howard Zinn or Michael Moore on one of the Sunday shows? These shows do a very good job of not exposing their viewers to any such analysis.

Posted by: Stefan on February 13, 2006 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK

Take Fox News Sunday (please!!). You have Bill Kristol, Fred Barnes, Juan Williams and some NPR babe, I ferget who. Now, Bill Kristol is super super biased - every single sentence he utters is biased. Juan Williams NEVER, EVER counters that with liberal bias.

Listen to Kristol carefully some time. He very frequently puts in shaded and slanted adverbs. "Clinton obviously was a sleazeball"

Williams on the other hand is totally clueless. He thinks that he is there to be a journalist.

He has been emasculated entirely.

Posted by: POed Liberal on February 13, 2006 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK

No way! Spiro Agnew identified the media as liberal and we're sticking to that story! Get those facts out of our faces!

Posted by: shortstop on February 13, 2006 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK

Too funny Brazil. Anyway, more Lawrence O'Donnel!! It's a joy to see him on McLaughlin. He's smart, sharp, w/ square-jawed good looks and he always makes Blakely look like an ass. Eleanor Clift is a good example of the progressives many media outlets put on; kinda unlikeable.

Posted by: Prophet on February 13, 2006 at 1:41 PM | PERMALINK

It's even worse than you point out, Kevin, since "journalists" are supposed to have this great gift of "impartiality." So they provide "balance" by acknowledging both sides of every issue. So you have
- conservative
- half a conservative (balanced journalist)
- half a liberal (balanced journalist)

So conservatives get even more boost. And finally, who is to say that the best representative of a liberal viewpoint is an "unbiased" journalist? How about having some, you know, actual liberal spokespeople to speak for themselves, instead of being filtered through journalistic faux-liberalism.

Good thing nobody watches these shows...

Posted by: craigie on February 13, 2006 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK

conservatives outnumbered liberals during the Clinton years and they outnumber liberals even more heavily now. It's not your imagination.

The Media Matters/Waldman view is of course completely wrong. The Sunday talk shows generally balance liberals and conservatives. Conservatives represents the conservative point of view. Journalists, because they are part of the liberal media, represent the liberal point of view. A Pew Poll show Five Times More Journalists Are
Liberal Than Conservative
.

If conservatives outnumber liberals, it's because polls constantly show more people identify themselves as conservatives than liberals. As reported in this article, "40 percent of the general population" consider themselves to be conservatives, while "20 percent of the general population" consider themselves to be liberals. Since the media should reflect the views of the public in their roundtable, conservatives should outnumber liberals (that is the journalists) in the roundtable.

Posted by: Al on February 13, 2006 at 1:45 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, craigie, you forget: all journalists are liberals who hate America. Therefore to achieve a Fair And Balanced panel, you should have half journalists and half hard-right conservatives to Balance them.

Posted by: Joe Buck on February 13, 2006 at 1:45 PM | PERMALINK

And if you eliminate the programs discussing abortion or Eleanor Roosevelt, women probably only make up 1% of the guests on Sunday shows.

Posted by: Roxanne on February 13, 2006 at 1:46 PM | PERMALINK

Ridiculous. First of all, MM gets to say who's a conservative and who's a liberal (actually, their "method" thing says they classed as "conservative" and "progressive")?? Yea, i'll buy that for a dollar.

Secondly, Journalists are classified as "neutral" now? If you look at a representative sample of journalists at major news outlets and just classified them after who they vote for, during, say, the last 3-4 elections, what Rep/Dem balance do you think we would find? 30/70? 20/80? 10/90?

Puhhh-leeeze.

It really is unbelievable that they even thought this study would be given any credence whatsoever. Who funded it? I want to know who paid for this - they must be both unbelievably stupid and unbelievably rich - I want to know so I can approach them for investment capital with my next business idea. Their IRR's gotta be pretty damn low...

Posted by: ack on February 13, 2006 at 1:48 PM | PERMALINK

The only way to change this imbalance is to pretend to be Bushbots and write in to complain that counterweighting conservatives with journalists is admission of their liberal bias. Then they'll run for the hills.

Posted by: Memekiller on February 13, 2006 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK

Polls also show that Jews are overwhelmingly liberal--as well as highly educated and socially-aware, which is clearly just a coincidence--but does that mean that a Wolfowitz, Goldberg, and Abramoff panel is left-leaning?

Posted by: adam on February 13, 2006 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK

Good point about the gender balance, though.

That one's a bit tougher to fudge. Although, god knows with these people... I don't even believe these results till I see the details.

Posted by: ack on February 13, 2006 at 1:50 PM | PERMALINK

Tim Russert asked Kerry if he still had nightmares about Viet Nam. Tim Russert did not ask Bush if he still craved alcohol. Bush fucked Tim Russert in the mouth because Tim Russert loves the presidential flavor.

Posted by: Hostile on February 13, 2006 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

This is a war. It's been a war for quite a while now. And the Democrats are still fighting bare-knuckled against nuclear orbital death-rays. That is, when they get the cujones to stand up and swing.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on February 13, 2006 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

Osama, your cojones clearly need the orbital death-ray treatment. Just for "genetic hygiene" reasons, I mean.

Posted by: ack on February 13, 2006 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK

If you look at a representative sample of journalists at major news outlets and just classified them after who they vote for, during, say, the last 3-4 elections, what Rep/Dem balance do you think we would find? 30/70? 20/80? 10/90?

I was going to explain why this is retarded, but then I thought, why bother? If you believe this statement makes any sense at all, no amount of factual reasoning can make any difference.

Just keep pulling the covers over yourself. Don't let in any light - the scary monsters might get you.

Posted by: craigie on February 13, 2006 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK

Actualy, the more I think about this, the more sympathetic I am to claim that an organization like Media Matters is wholly unable to capture true biases.

How many of these guests accept evolution? How many think that a murderer is driven by demons? How many think there is only one book worth reading? How many elevate faith above all worldly concerns?

The very notion that you can develop a rational, reality-based scale of political identification is liberal. If 'because God works in mysterious ways' is -not- an appropriate answer on these shows, then they are de facto left-leaning.

Posted by: adam on February 13, 2006 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK

There is one other twist here. Frequently the liberals and Democrats asked on the show are the most hapless - making liberals and Democrats look bad. The Colmes tactic.

For example, Biden and Liebermann always show up on these shows, despite being blowhards, and well-informed democrats almost never do. For journalists, Juan Williams is or Colmes are great examples - twits for hire!

The Fox Democratic isn't just a joke - it's a tactic.

Posted by: Samuel Knight on February 13, 2006 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK

Heh. Hostile's so cute when he gets angry.

Posted by: ack on February 13, 2006 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

Conservativism is on the rise!

Resistance is futile, you will be assimilated.

Posted by: conspiracy nut on February 13, 2006 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

I'd personally rather have a debate between Will and Kristol than have Stephanopolis or any "objective" journalist there acting like rightwing pundits in a futile effort to shirk their undeserved liberal label.

If we can't have progressives, it's better to have 100% conservative punditry. All objective journalists do is legitimize and mainstream rightwing BS.

Posted by: Memekiller on February 13, 2006 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

Tim Russert asked Kerry if he still had nightmares about Viet Nam. Tim Russert did not ask Bush if he still craved alcohol.

He should have asked Bush if he ever had nightmares about chickening out of the war.

Posted by: Stefan on February 13, 2006 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

Al, of course, is just a paid agent, and a pretty funny one at that.

ack, on the other hand, is a moron who has apparently lived in a propaganda bubble all his life.

reality is what it is, despite the best efforts of al and ack to argue otherwise, although, of course, by today's right-wing standards, even bob barr and grover norquist can't be called "conservative" anymore, so maybe ack does have a point: the only "conservatives" are the ones who support whatever today's talking point is....

Posted by: howard on February 13, 2006 at 1:56 PM | PERMALINK

Al-bot trots out the supposed "fact" that journalists identify themselves as liberal.


So?

What if this were true, can Al-bot or any of the other con-trolls point to examples of liberal bias in the media?

Give me say, five examples of bias, and what an unbiased version of these examples would be.

This should be really easy since there ought to be thousands upon thousands of examples. Given that every newspaper, news magazine, news radio, and TV news is liberally biased.

Thousands, no, there should be millions upon millions of examples!


Funny, I've asked for this before and got deafing silence from the trolls.

Posted by: Dr. Morpheus on February 13, 2006 at 1:57 PM | PERMALINK

"There is one other twist here. Frequently the liberals and Democrats asked on the show are the most hapless - making liberals and Democrats look bad. The Colmes tactic."

Dude, I almost fell off my chair, I was laughing so hard. Don't forget to buy some more tinfoil for your hat.

Posted by: ack on February 13, 2006 at 1:58 PM | PERMALINK

A couple things:

First, the fact that the study is called Conservatives & PROGRESSIVES says it all. BS

Second, I actually personally tried to register on Media Matters' (the originator of the story) website forum. I posted a mildly conservative comment, and was told that it wouldn't be posted. Honest to God, there was no cursing, characterizing of others, even strong language! Media Matters are cowards as far as I'm concerned.

Posted by: sportsfan079 on February 13, 2006 at 1:59 PM | PERMALINK

Can't the trolls read MediaMatters methodology before they complain that they can't determine who's liberal or conservative?: "We did not attempt to ascertain whether what a particular guest said on a particular show adhered to his or her ideological profile or was critical or supportive of one party or administration."

The method is pretty straightforward. Someone who works for the Bush Administration, for instance, is a Republican. Republicans are Republicans. Democrats are Democrats.

Posted by: Memekiller on February 13, 2006 at 1:59 PM | PERMALINK

craigie was going to "explain" but then he remembered he has no evidence, no basis for his opinion, no knowledge of the subject.

Posted by: ack on February 13, 2006 at 1:59 PM | PERMALINK

ack's comment above clearly demonstrates one of the tactics the conservatives have used to great effect in their spin: there are no moderates.

To a conservative, it's a bipolar world out there. You voted for Kerry? Liberal. Doesn't matter if you are a bedrock conservative disgusted with Bush personally.

Journalist, and not openly in favor of Bush?
Liberal.

Anyone, and not openly in favor of Bush?
Liberal.

And, as we've seen, the stance works. The media has been duped or instructed into avoiding real liberal voices, and "balancing" conservatives with moderates.

Good article, and good research. Thank God for Media Matters - someone has to provide some truth to counter the constant background noise of lies these people put out.

Posted by: S Ra on February 13, 2006 at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK

"Why would the producers of the shows believe that a William Safire...or Bob Novak...is somehow "balanced" by a Gwen Ifill..."

Indeed & Heh. Isn't Gwen Ifill the head cook and bottle washer for the Condiliar?

Posted by: Hedley Lamarr on February 13, 2006 at 2:01 PM | PERMALINK

A Pew Poll show Five Times More Journalists Are Liberal Than Conservative.

irrelevant. journalists aren't there to represent the liberal side in any debate, they're there to defend their articles, provide objective facts, etc.. and since your idiotic "liberal bias" cloud hangs over everything they say, journalists are likely to explicitly avoid advocating any liberal position.

Posted by: cleek on February 13, 2006 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

Adding my voice to the chorus:

The real problem here is that really effective, true blue progressives are not allowed on. Only weaselly "centrists" (who more often than not accede to the right-wing's framing of the issue at hand).

It's too bad Randi Rhodes doesn't go on tv. She's the sort of person missing from the debate as it is presented on television.

Posted by: pk on February 13, 2006 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

Funny, I've asked for this before and got deafing silence from the trolls.
That could be because a simple Google search would provide. And I personally figure if you're unable to understand Google, you are unable to understand the results. Then there is the additional problem that you won't believe any of it. Your mind is made up.

Making the real question, why the hell bother asking a question that you're going to ignore the answer to?

Posted by: conspiracy nut on February 13, 2006 at 2:03 PM | PERMALINK

irrelevant. journalists aren't there to represent the liberal side in any debate
Dan Rather. Thanks for playing.

Posted by: conspiracy nut on February 13, 2006 at 2:04 PM | PERMALINK

it has been a frequent practice for a roundtable to consist of a right-wing columnist or two supposedly "balanced" by journalists from major newspapers

See, this statement from the study says it all. The conservative is labeled a "right-wing columnist", and the counterpart is called only a "journalist".

They are injecting pre-form bias, and it's obvious.

Posted by: sportsfan079 on February 13, 2006 at 2:05 PM | PERMALINK

Resistance is futile, you will be assimilated. - conspiracy nut

Hehe.

I am Hannitus of the Repuborg. You will be assimilated. Your political distinctiveness will be added to our own, but we will put them in a corner and beat them to death because they make us look like girlie-cyborgs. Resistance is futile and un-patriotic.

Posted by: Brazil Connection on February 13, 2006 at 2:07 PM | PERMALINK

And I meant "put it" and "beat it", because "it" make us look like girlie-cyborgs.

Posted by: Brazil Connection on February 13, 2006 at 2:09 PM | PERMALINK

nice smackdown, conspiracy nut.

All the objective data suggests "unbiased" journalists are lefties, overwhelmingly. The fact that they don't overtly declare their bias on the shows only makes their bias more insidious.

Idiots like craigie have no hard data whatsoever. Just empty slogans. Voting patterns, donations, etc, are real. Media matters deals in make-believe.

Posted by: ack on February 13, 2006 at 2:09 PM | PERMALINK

Occupational hazard, but I tend to look at ads during these shows to guess what demo they're reaching or trying to reach. The Sunday morning shows have alot of ads for large-ass cars. Who buys large-ass cars? What's the demographic make-up of the audiences for these shows? Bet they're older. Bet they're more conservative. Bet the guests are booked to please the current demo or bring in part of a new one.

Posted by: Roxanne on February 13, 2006 at 2:11 PM | PERMALINK

Really, lefties, what happened to your little "reality-based" sandbox? The hard empirical data not interesting to you anymore? Much more comforting to just look at your own biased "studies" where likeminded "researchers" classify people based on their own self-selected criteria.

Posted by: ack on February 13, 2006 at 2:13 PM | PERMALINK

It's too bad Randi Rhodes doesn't go on tv. She's the sort of person missing from the debate as it is presented on television.

True. To really balance out the right-wing pundits you'd need to put on guests such as Rhodes, Al Franken, Duncan Black, Markos Moulitsas Zuniga, Digby, etc. Tough, hardened commenters who aren't going to back down in a fight.


Posted by: Stefan on February 13, 2006 at 2:14 PM | PERMALINK

Interesting thought, Roxanne. Interesting, yet completely irrelevant and totally unrelated.

Posted by: ack on February 13, 2006 at 2:15 PM | PERMALINK

The conservative is labeled a "right-wing columnist", and the counterpart is called only a "journalist".

That's because the right-wing columnists identify themselves as right-wing columnists. Otherwise, please explain how people like Bill Safire or Jonah Goldberg, who are (i) self-identified as conservatives and (ii) columnists are not "right-wing columnists."

Posted by: Stefan on February 13, 2006 at 2:17 PM | PERMALINK

Not unrelated if you accept the findings and move another foot in front of you and ask 'why.'

Posted by: Roxanne on February 13, 2006 at 2:17 PM | PERMALINK

That is the worst chart I have ever seen. If it is really a matter of whether things are 49/51 or 54/46, then this is not an important debate. There are always lots of Conservatives on TV. There are never any Progressives. Calling it 58/42 makes it seem pretty close. It is not 58/42 nor anything near 58/42.

Posted by: reino on February 13, 2006 at 2:18 PM | PERMALINK

such as Rhodes, Al Franken, Duncan Black, Markos Moulitsas Zuniga
Sure, and the right could break out it's crazies too; Robertson, Badnarik... Hell, come to think of it, putting the religious right and the libertarians together and you wouldn't need moonbats.

I' enjoying this complaint of "But they counter the mainstream conservatives with mainstream progressives!" There's a reason they don't invite the crazies: It's because they're crazy.

Posted by: conspiracy nut on February 13, 2006 at 2:18 PM | PERMALINK

Roxanne: Occupational hazard, but I tend to look at ads during these shows to guess what demo they're reaching or trying to reach. The Sunday morning shows have alot of ads for large-ass cars. Who buys large-ass cars? What's the demographic make-up of the audiences for these shows? Bet they're older. Bet they're more conservative. Bet the guests are booked to please the current demo or bring in part of a new one.

Very true. "Follow the money," as they say.

Posted by: Stefan on February 13, 2006 at 2:19 PM | PERMALINK

There's a reason they don't invite the crazies:
Posted by: conspiracy nut on February 13, 2006 at 2:18 PM | PERMALINK

Because on the right - they just give them their own shows.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on February 13, 2006 at 2:23 PM | PERMALINK

Really, lefties, what happened to your little "reality-based" sandbox? . . .
Posted by: ack on February 13, 2006 at 2:13 PM | PERMALINK

I suppose it's smaller and more discriminating than your fantasy-based sandbox where Pew is the ultimate authority on everything.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on February 13, 2006 at 2:25 PM | PERMALINK

Gwen Ifill a liberal? What have you been smoking? If Gwen saw the truth lying about she would stomp it to death, sweep it into a bag and throw the bag in the trash. Apart the occasional Dana Priest mistake, Washington Week has become a meeting of the see nothing, know nothing. More likely she is Condi's lover.

Posted by: ken melvin on February 13, 2006 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK

conspiracy nut: There's a reason they don't invite the crazies: It's because they're crazy.

I guess that's why you've never been invited.

Or maybe its just because you lie too much even for the routinely mendacious conservative talking heads.

Posted by: Advocate for God on February 13, 2006 at 2:28 PM | PERMALINK

"I suppose it's smaller and more discriminating than your fantasy-based sandbox where Pew is the ultimate authority on everything."

Hmmmmm. Pew. Media Matters.

Whom to believe? It's a tough decision really...

Jesus. Incroyable!

Posted by: ack on February 13, 2006 at 2:32 PM | PERMALINK

The Russert show seems to be scripted by the RNC or some hocus pocus from Opus Dei, although I really try to avoid it. It wasn't surprising he was on the call list from rove regarding what the story was supposed to be on Plame. Yassah massa rove suh. I's gwine say jus' what y'all tell me to.

Funny how bushies past and lack of accountability never seem to come up. No hard-hitting questions on the 9 billion missing, wmd, why inspectors kicked out, the environment, no outrage about the deficit. He has Sen Roberts on and you'd think he would have had some tough question about Roberts lying about investigating the WH intelligence manipulation. Sometimes he brings up what should be a Republican scandal, then tries to tie the dems in and then gently lets the question drop, letting the Republican off the hook. "let's move on". The feckless Dems they book never stand up to him and if they do, invariably they will "angry" or "contributing to the negative 'tone' in DC.

Posted by: Chrissy on February 13, 2006 at 2:32 PM | PERMALINK

Can't the trolls read MediaMatters methodology before they complain that they can't determine who's liberal or conservative?

The link Kevin posted wasn't to any actual detailed methodology or description of the rules, and I found nothing so far on the Media Matters site.

I suspect their idea of where the line between liberal and conservative (or "progressive" and conservative, as they'd put it) might be a bit different from mine.

Posted by: tbrosz on February 13, 2006 at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK

"... scripted by the RNC or some hocus pocus from Opus Dei ..."

eieiei the loonies are really out in full force today. must be something in the water.

Posted by: ack on February 13, 2006 at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK

First, the fact that the study is called Conservatives & PROGRESSIVES says it all. BS

You're right, it should have been entitled "REACTIONARIES and Progressives,"
as actual conservatives are scarce these days.

Small government, balanced budget, freedom from foreign entanglements, expectation of freedom from government intrusion into private life - how many self-described "conservatives" support these tried and true conservative principles now?

These days it's all the cult of authority and a desire to return to the halcyon days of nationalism and robber barons, whose pathological excess was exemplified by shooting buffalos, or to use a current example -- pheasants -- by the hundreds.

The knee-jerk desire to dismantle the legacy of FDR is a misplaced desire for a romanticized past. Whatever that is, it's not conservatism.

He should have asked Bush if he ever had nightmares about chickening out of the war.

Dude, you've definitely been taking your funny pills the past two days.

Posted by: Windhorse on February 13, 2006 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

There's a reason they don't invite the crazies: It's because they're crazy.

Yeah, that's why you've never seen Ann "Kill
'Em All" Coulter or Tom "Lesbians in the Bathrooms!" Coburn or Rick "Man on Dog" Santorum or Bill "Loofah" O'Reilly or Bill "Schiavo's Alive! She's Alive, I Tell Ya!" Frist or Pat "9/11 is America's Fault" Robertson or Michelle "Concentration Camp" Malkin or Norquist or Limbaugh or Michael "Weiner" Savage or Johan "Doughboy" Goldberg on any of those shows...oh, wait. Never mind.

Posted by: Stefan on February 13, 2006 at 2:35 PM | PERMALINK

I suspect their idea of where the line between liberal and conservative (or "progressive" and conservative, as they'd put it) might be a bit different from mine. Posted by: tbrosz

No shit. It might be a bit different from most people's idea. And that's leaving aside one of their "methods" which is to classify the average journalist as neutral. Laughable.

Posted by: ack on February 13, 2006 at 2:36 PM | PERMALINK

SIXTY comments already, and not one of the lefties managed to post one that passes the giggle test.

Posted by: ack on February 13, 2006 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK

Chrissy: The Russert show seems to be scripted by the RNC or some hocus pocus from Opus Dei, although I really try to avoid it.

Actually, one of Chris Matthews' former producers was just outed as a Republican operative. Here from "Open Letter to Chris Matthews::

"A top MSNBC producer, who worked on Hardball with Chris Matthews, and now works for MSNBC's Joe Scarborough, is off giving paid-only lectures about how to influence conservative voters. Gee, can you get more partisan than that? We're not just talking influencing conservatives, we're talking influencing VOTERS. That means elections. That means MSNBC staff is actively working to influence elections to help Republicans.

"No right-wing bias there.

"MSNBC senior producer Mike Tirone is speaking on a $279 per listener conference call on Feburary 16. The title of the call is 'How to Reach Masses of Conservative Voters with Your Cause, Policy or Political Message.' Kind of transparent on its face what that call's about."

"But there's more on the Web site of the group hosting the call: 'Millions of conservative voters and the media that serve them wield enormous influence in Americas public debate. Learn how you can reach this powerful political block with your agenda by listening and talking to editors at top moderate-to-conservative media. These influential decision-makers will explain which kinds of stories you need to tell to grab their attention and how you can develop long-term relationships with them.'

Posted by: Stefan on February 13, 2006 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK

Al, as you are fond of saying:

CLICK THE LINK _ ALWAYS CLICK THE LINK.

From the link:

This year they discovered 54% of national journalists described themselves as moderates, down from 64 percent in 1995, as the percentage identifying themselves as liberal has increased from 1995: 34% of national journalists describe themselves as liberals, compared with 22% nine years ago....More striking is the relatively small minority of journalists who think of themselves as politically conservative at just 7 percent amongst national journalists, but thats a surge from an even more piddling 4 percent in 1995."

First, we see that the actual difference between Liberal and Conservative is 26% with a huge majority calling themselves moderate.

As an interesting bit of meaningless information (but since you like statistics) we can see that the number of liberal journalists has increased by 54%, but the conservative journalists have increased by 75%. Thus we can see that the media is tilting towards the right at a rate that is 50% more than the left. See, aren't statistics fun!

Posted by: Yelling in the fog on February 13, 2006 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK

Dan Rather. Thanks for playing

in what world does what Dan Rather does reflect what all other journalists do ?

Posted by: cleek on February 13, 2006 at 2:42 PM | PERMALINK

Al Franken is a crazy?

Well, I guess there's just no point in having this discussion.

And ack, idiots like me don't always need data to refute gibberish. You are saying that
- a journalist votes for democrats
- therefore, the journalist cannot do his job

Or, in other words, there are no moderates and no objective observers. Merely, for example, reporting on facts that are incovienient to Bush, makes you a de facto liberal and fifth columnist and terrorist sympathiser and who knows what else. Just saying the world is round makes you an enemy of the state.

Oh, and Conspiracy Nut - I kind of look forward to the time when all liberal thought has been expunged. Because then, like all cults before you, you can turn inwards and start casting out the apostates in your midst. And that will be fun to watch. No wait, it's already started

Posted by: craigie on February 13, 2006 at 2:44 PM | PERMALINK

tbrosz: I suspect their idea of where the line between liberal and conservative (or "progressive" and conservative, as they'd put it) might be a bit different from mine.

Well, yours will inevitably be self-serving, like all the other misdefinitions of words and concepts you use.

BTW, why is the White House breaking the law, or at least skirting the law, again by having US military personnel (essentially ordering them to) participate in partisan political events?

Have they no shame?

Well, obviously not given past behavior, but using our soldiers in Iraq for partisan political purposes apparently isn't sufficient abuse of their loyalty to their country.

Posted by: Advocate for God on February 13, 2006 at 2:45 PM | PERMALINK

"Dan Rather. Thanks for playing.
Posted by: conspiracy nut"

Come on. That's an argument? "Because Dan Rather exists [I'm sorry, existed, since of course this tactic will be employed by GOP-bots long after his death] no one other than Fox News talent can ever be trusted again."

Please. It's perfectly reasonable to question this survey's methodology, but you can't use one example to paint every journalist who's ever been on TV as a liberal. If that were a reasonable way to argue, then I could express this administration's attitude toward the truth, the media, and gay sex simply by saying, "Jeff Gannon."

Posted by: mmy on February 13, 2006 at 2:46 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin laments: The result is that genuinely liberal pundits get almost no exposure on these shows. You get conservative guests, super-conservative guests, moderate liberals, and journalists.

Seeing as 'true' liberals (aka, progressives) are ~15% of the population, to get 42% of the face-time in 2005 means you're actually doing pretty well :-)

Yes, that's provacative. The point is, simply, the liberal-progressive movement is a distinct minority. The conservatives are a minority as well, but the right + center-right is a (slim) majority. No surprise that the talk shows cater to that.

Whatever the methodology of Media Matters, when you're in the political minority, you get less time and consideration. That's just the way it is.

Posted by: Steve White on February 13, 2006 at 2:48 PM | PERMALINK

in what world does what Dan Rather does reflect what all other journalists do? Posted by: cleek

In the reality-based one where empirical data matters over empty bloviating and biased "studies". Rather is a leftie and dem, about 4.9 times as many journalists classify themselves as liberals than conservatives. Ergo, Rather is rather representative. QED.

Posted by: ack on February 13, 2006 at 2:49 PM | PERMALINK

At one point Chris Matthews admitted voting for Bush. He also shortly after the 2000 election called for Al Gore to do the right thing and just drop out. Between him and Russert, I don't know which is worse. And speaking of female representation, does NBC/MSNBC have any black or Hispanics. Seems Irish Catholic is the in thing there.

Posted by: Chrissy on February 13, 2006 at 2:50 PM | PERMALINK

you get less time and consideration.

Well we certainly get less consideration, I'll grant you that.

Posted by: craigie on February 13, 2006 at 2:51 PM | PERMALINK

In the reality-based one where empirical data matters over empty bloviating and biased "studies".

it's funny how you don't get it. sad, too.

Posted by: cleek on February 13, 2006 at 2:57 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, that's provacative. [sic] The point is, simply, the liberal-progressive movement is a distinct minority. The conservatives are a minority as well, but the right + center-right is a (slim) majority. No surprise that the talk shows cater to that.

By the same standards, since the reactionary-conservative movement is also a distinct minority, then the left + center-left is a (slim) majority, so talk shows should cater to that.

Posted by: Stefan on February 13, 2006 at 2:59 PM | PERMALINK

tbroz - from the tiny bit of info they have on their "method" page, here's one little gem: "active duty military personnel were coded as representing the administration in power at the time of the appearance"

- so, to the extent that there is a difference between the periods up to and starting with 2001, this might explain the entire difference between the two periods.

In addition, if you reclassify journalists according to objective studies that show them leaning more to the left, how much do you want to bet that the corrected data would show an overall leaning to the left of about 60/40 for these shows?

Posted by: ack on February 13, 2006 at 2:59 PM | PERMALINK

tbrosz:

Here's an excerpt from my last response to you on this issue. It starts out:

tbrosz, with all respect:

Bullshit.

First of all, the press is by nature obligated to be adversarial in order to get at the truth of a thing. And this is what you should want, to help you be better informed as a citizen and understand all sides of an issue.

In fact, in a sense the press should be doing a similar thing as you do here; ask adversarial questions to ferret out more information if not the truth. Although they should skip the ad hominems that you sometimes throw out there....

You may refresh your memory and read the rest here . Your fundamental error: you're mistaking the adversarial function of the press and its dictate to hold matters up to scrutiny with its being "liberal."

Well, your fundamental error is probably just that you mistake a compromised sense of epistemological inquiry for a superior and penetrating insight into the nature of things.

Posted by: trex on February 13, 2006 at 3:00 PM | PERMALINK

"your fundamental error is probably just that you mistake a compromised sense of epistemological inquiry for a superior and penetrating insight into the nature of things" (giggles).

trex, your pretentiousness is your most attractive feature. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

Posted by: ack on February 13, 2006 at 3:03 PM | PERMALINK

SIXTY comments already, and not one of the lefties managed to post one that passes the giggle test.
Posted by: ack on February 13, 2006 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK

Well, that does sound like a problem, and if I were you, I'd talk to your doctor about increasing your dosage. Not having seen your MRI's I wouldn't make that kind of call myself. . .

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on February 13, 2006 at 3:05 PM | PERMALINK

Let's see... Al Franken, hires 11 fact checkers to make sure that his entire criticism of the Right is actually true.

O'Reilly, (or, fill-in-the-blank) who simply makes shit up.

Yup, those are directly comparable. You win.

Oh, except that Al doesn't get on these shows. Probably all his facts are just too annoying.

Posted by: craigie on February 13, 2006 at 3:05 PM | PERMALINK

ack: . . . according to objective studies that show them leaning more to the left . . .

Note that "objective" means "conservative", if one uses the "New Dictionary of Conservative Self-Serving Definitions", as ack does.

Translation is always necessary when dealing with conservatives.

You know, like "imminent" has a different meaning in the conservative lexicon than in the real English language lexicon.

Posted by: Advocate for God on February 13, 2006 at 3:08 PM | PERMALINK

Glen Greenwald describes tbrosz and the ilk.

So long as GWB wants it, it's fine with me.

Posted by: lib on February 13, 2006 at 3:09 PM | PERMALINK

ack: . . . your pretentiousness is your most attractive feature.

The bowl calling the basin white.

Posted by: Gods Advocate on February 13, 2006 at 3:09 PM | PERMALINK

Probably all his facts are just too annoying.

i bet if he advocated killing all "conservatives" with baseball bats, he'd be a regular on all the big liberal talk shows.

oh wait, there aren't any such shows.

Posted by: cleek on February 13, 2006 at 3:10 PM | PERMALINK

The following quote is from the article:

During the 90s "This Week" featured George Will and William Kristol double-teaming George Stephanopoulos

Of course, what is omitted is the presence of Sam Donaldson and Cokie Roberts. I find it somewhat amusing the the hosts of the shows are declared neutral or irrelevant by the methodology used. Indeed, would any of you consider Brit Hume neutral? Of the hosts, only Tim Russert routinely exhibits anything approaching real neutrality, in my opinion. I would suggest that the imbalance that Mediamatters reports is a result of the shows themselves recognizing their hosts own biases.

However, with a viewership of only 10 million each Sunday, I would not be too worried if I were a liberal and these statistics were really accurate. These shows have little influence any longer.

Posted by: Yancey Ward on February 13, 2006 at 3:10 PM | PERMALINK

You know, like "imminent" has a different meaning in the conservative lexicon than in the real English language lexicon.
Posted by: Advocate for God on February 13, 2006 at 3:08 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, and "compassionate" too. . .

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on February 13, 2006 at 3:11 PM | PERMALINK

"Al Franken, hires 11 fact checkers to make sure that his entire criticism of the Right is actually true"

If you say that with a Stuart Smiley lisp it's actually really funny.

craigie, it doesn't matter that you're wrong cuz you're good enough, you're smart enough, and doggone it, people like you!

Posted by: peanut on February 13, 2006 at 3:13 PM | PERMALINK

Is it just me or has Drudge gone dark?

Posted by: cld on February 13, 2006 at 3:14 PM | PERMALINK

During the 90s "This Week" featured George Will and William Kristol double-teaming George Stephanopoulos

There's an unpleasant mental image I didn't need....

Posted by: Stefan on February 13, 2006 at 3:20 PM | PERMALINK

craigie, it doesn't matter that you're wrong cuz you're good enough, you're smart enough, and doggone it, people like you!

Deny, deny, deny. Though you're right - people do like me!

cleek and Stefan have the other, darker point in hand. All those media star liberals who routinely call for the death, eviction, or internment of conservatives, are really, really funny. Oh wait, that never happens. It's just the other way around.

Posted by: craigie on February 13, 2006 at 3:20 PM | PERMALINK

I suspect their idea of where the line between liberal and conservative (or "progressive" and conservative, as they'd put it) might be a bit different from mine.

Just because liberals don't think that liberal commentators are liberals doesn't mean that they're not liberals, because conservatives think that they're liberals, and that's what counts, not what liberals think.

Posted by: tbonz on February 13, 2006 at 3:21 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry, that should be Stuart Smalley.

Stuart helps the Bobitts, (Rosie O'Donnel and Mike Myers) release their anger. He makes Lorena tell John's penis "Hello. I was very angry at you. But that doesn't make you a bad penis! I'm sorry I cut you off and threw you in a field. I'm glad they found you and reattached you."

Posted by: peanut on February 13, 2006 at 3:21 PM | PERMALINK

I would like to know if anyone has done a study of the political makeup of people who watch these shows and television generally. It is my guess that conservatives rely on television more than liberals for news and political commentary. If true, the liberal/conservative breakdown is designed to maximize profits by mirroring the breakdown of the television audience.

Posted by: Badger on February 13, 2006 at 3:22 PM | PERMALINK
Eleanor Clift is a good example of the progressives many media outlets put on; kinda unlikeable. Posted by: Prophet
Which is your own prejudice but she only appears on the McLaughlin Group with three right wingers: Buchanan, Blankley, and McLaughlin. The other person often is a moderate or foreign conservative, but always pro-Israeli.

Nation editor Katrina vanden Heuvel is one of the few other progressive spokespersons, and she is also generally surrounded by 3 right wingers on those few shows where she appears.

Larry O'Donnell was suspended from MSNBC for insisting the Swift Boaters were liars. Imagine that.

The Fox Democratic isn't just a joke - it's a tactic. Posted by: Samuel Knight

True. The another part of the tactic is to discourage progressives to make them drop out.
Rather is rather representative. QED. Posted by: ack

Rather doesn't work on any media outlet, nor is he ever on any panel. Therefore he is irrelevant. [During the Kosovo operation, he used to interview Mrs. Milosovec exclusively with no one to counter the disinformation. In that era, he was a Republican hero.]

Posted by: Mike on February 13, 2006 at 3:23 PM | PERMALINK

Here are some quantified statistics from that article that the Bush apologists don't like to mention:

"Over the past few years, a decidedly relevant view has been noticeably absent from the Sunday shows: consistent opposition to the Iraq war. On the most important debate of this period in our nation's history, one sidethe side on which the majority of the American people now find themselveshas been represented by only a tiny number of guests. In the pre-war period, beginning in September 2002, only 18 percent of the members of Congress who appeared as guests ended up voting against the congressional resolution authorizing the war. During the war itself (the period of "major combat operations" ending with Bush's infamous "Mission Accomplished" carrier landing), the figure was a paltry 13 percent. And in the period since then, the anti-war position has been held by 17 percent of congressional guests. By comparison, 30 percent of representatives and senators voted against the resolution for war.

Consequently, debates on the war on Sunday mornings have been mostly between people who supported the war all along, and people who supported the war but have some criticisms of how it has been carried out. Over time, the shows have begun to take on a Groundhog Day quality, with each Sunday bringing yet another tribute by an administration official or friendly Republican to the terrific "progress" being made in Iraq, and yet another sort-of-refutation from Joe Biden reciting the umpteenth version of "As I told the president, we have to do what we're doing, just better."

Obviously, if nearly everyone involved agrees that the war was a good idea, the discussion will range over a fairly narrow field. Few will want to suggest they were dumb enough to be duped by the case the administration madebetter to say the threat was real, and that all the problems have come in the execution. A politician who opposed the war from the beginning and didn't have to worry about her reputation would be more willing to point out the evident problems in the operation. If anything, those voices ought to be given more weight, rather than less. But other than exceptional cases like Jack Murtha (who voted for the war), those calling for withdrawala position favored in one form or another by around half of all Americans, according to recent pollingwill be nowhere to be found, making it relatively easy to dismiss their proposals out of hand."

This is the sort of thing that infuriates progressives. A majority of folks in the US simply don't have their viewpoint even reflected in these discussions. Look at yesterday...Biden and Lieberman, two Democratic hawks, representing a party that is overwhelmingly opposed to the war in Iraq.

I also don't see anyone countering the rather obvious point that the guest lists have been heavily skewed to the GOP during the Bush years, but they were even or skewed to the GOP during the Clinton years. It's much better to grasp at straws, like the bland assertion that journalists are "liberals", so panels of journalists and conservative activists are automatically balanced...

Posted by: Marc on February 13, 2006 at 3:31 PM | PERMALINK

No doubt this happens. How many times do you see Pat Buchanan balanced out by Andrea Mitchell, and Andrea's no liberal.

And how about Chris Matthews Friday Night fools consisting of Scarborough and Tucker Carlson and Rita cosby. I don't know where Cosby stand but the other two are well over to the right.

Posted by: mike on February 13, 2006 at 3:33 PM | PERMALINK

cleek and Stefan have the other, darker point in hand. All those media star liberals who routinely call for the death, eviction, or internment of conservatives, are really, really funny. Oh wait, that never happens. It's just the other way around.

Ann Coulter said that her one regret about Tim McVeigh was that he didn't blow up the New York Times (guess she didn't regret him blowing up that day care center). Now imagine if Al Franken, say, had said that his one regret about the Unabomber was that he hadn't blown up Fox News. Oh, how the wingnuts would have squealed and frothed! They would have trotted that out at every opportunity as proof that they were being persecuted and that liberals were angry, hateful people. But when Coulter calls for the terrorist mass murder of thousands of people in the heart of New York she gets herself on the cover of Time magazine....

Posted by: Stefan on February 13, 2006 at 3:33 PM | PERMALINK

"better to grasp at straws, like the bland assertion that journalists are "liberals","

Except, it's the empirical data that makes this "bland assertion"...

Posted by: peanut on February 13, 2006 at 3:34 PM | PERMALINK

I'd be curious to see what would happen to the ratio if one were to include the political leanings of the hosts as well. For instance, if someone liberal is on the O'Reilly Factor, does that count only as 1 liberal.

I'd count it as one for each side.

Posted by: TWAndrews on February 13, 2006 at 3:36 PM | PERMALINK

There is the old media bias study that so many are fond of using,
Methodology: In 1979 and 1980, S. Robert Lichter and Stanley Rothman interviewed 240 members of America's dominant media for their opinions on various issues. Among other organizations, their subjects came from The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Time, Newsweek, U.S. News and World Report, CBS, NBC, ABC, PBS, and all the major public broadcasting stations. Their subjects represented a cross section of these organizations: reporters, department and bureau heads, syndicated columnists, anchormen, producers, news executives, and correspondents.
Note, it was done in 1979 and 1980 prior to widespread rightwing media outlets like MSNBC and Fox and talk radio, i.e. back in the days of FAIR Also note, it was done with a small sample 240 people and note where they worked: major and large media organizations, not small city or town newspapers, not small broadcast media.
This data is not only out of date; it's pretty much meaningless.

Posted by: Mike on February 13, 2006 at 3:40 PM | PERMALINK

So, you have something better, Mike?

Posted by: lab on February 13, 2006 at 3:43 PM | PERMALINK

The viewership of the Sunday talk shows is so tiny as to barely warrant paying attention to whom they book as guests.

Posted by: Will Allen on February 13, 2006 at 3:43 PM | PERMALINK

The viewership of the Sunday talk shows is so tiny as to barely warrant paying attention to whom they book as guests

what about the prime-time shows ?

Posted by: cleek on February 13, 2006 at 3:49 PM | PERMALINK

The "Sunday talk shows", just like everything else on TV, have one purpose: to get you to subject yourself to brainwashing by commercials so that you will be a good, slavishly obedient, brain-dead "consumer" and buy stuff from corporations (preferably with money that you have borrowed at high interest rates from another corporation).

Beyond that, they serve as a propaganda vehicle for the ultra-rich CEOs and upper management of the handful of giant media corporations that own the broadcast and cable TV networks, radio networks, newspapers, and virtually all of the mass media from which nearly all Americans get nearly all their information, to brainwash viewers into supporting their agenda of deregulating their industry (so they can own more and more of the media), transferring taxation from capital to labor, marginalizing and destroying organized labor, and in general concentrating wealth and power in the hands of the already wealthy and powerful Americn ruling class.

In other words, they serve to propagandize Americans into supporting the right-wing corporatocracy's agenda, which is the Bush administration's agenda.

And they select their guests accordingly.

Religion is no longer the "opiate of the masses". Television now serves that function.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on February 13, 2006 at 3:55 PM | PERMALINK

Boy, this Ann Coulter is surely a messed up girl. I remember a Daily Howler piece where Somerby was telling how she demonized the media by saying that the words "far right wing" were said over and over again, as a way to create a stereotype for the right. Then, when he did a Nexis search, he found out that one of those uses of this expressions was in a baseball game (the ball was hit to the far right wing, or something like that). I laughed my ass off when I read that.

Is this lady really influent enough in the US to merit a Time cover? She can be funny, but she is so over the top that I find it hard to believe that people actually take what she says seriously.

Posted by: Brazil Connection on February 13, 2006 at 3:58 PM | PERMALINK

I haven't read the thread...but it would be nice to add an axis to the graph showing relative ratings?

Do balanced shows generally rate better or worse?

Also, doesn't FOX News Sunday skew this graph? When did it start?

Posted by: justmy2 on February 13, 2006 at 3:58 PM | PERMALINK

Then again, she was one of the stars of that CPAC thing, so maybe my question answers itself.

Posted by: Brazil Connection on February 13, 2006 at 3:59 PM | PERMALINK

Should the guests be allocated 50/50?

If there are more conservatives in the country, shouldn't they be seen proportionately to their numbers?

Posted by: DennisBoz on February 13, 2006 at 4:06 PM | PERMALINK

tbrosz: I suspect their idea of where the line between liberal and conservative (or "progressive" and conservative, as they'd put it) might be a bit different from mine.

Interesting...how about a quick test...?

What are you top 5 characteristics of a conservative and your top 5 characteristics of a liberal?

Posted by: justmy2 on February 13, 2006 at 4:07 PM | PERMALINK

What are you top 5 characteristics of a conservative

1. unwavering allegiance to W
2. "
3. "
4. "
5. "

Posted by: cleek on February 13, 2006 at 4:12 PM | PERMALINK

But when Coulter calls for the terrorist mass murder of thousands of people in the heart of New York she gets herself on the cover of Time magazine....

See, there you go again, with the inconvienient facts... Liberals! Liberals are the enemy! Stay focused!

Posted by: craigie on February 13, 2006 at 4:12 PM | PERMALINK

Mike:

The same link refers to a survey of 3,000 journalists that came to the same conclusion as the smaller one.

Not sure how to respond to a reference that lists Sam Donaldson and Michael Kinsley as "centrists." Most liberals probably do see their own positions as "moderate" or "normal." It's only human.

Like I said, I don't have the real methodology for the Media Matters paper, but I suspect most of the argument has to do with where they draw the line. Putting it two inches to the right of Noam Chomsky isn't helpful.

Two more references (assuming someone hasn't posted them already) are here, and here.

Posted by: tbrosz on February 13, 2006 at 4:13 PM | PERMALINK

pretty funny, cleek

And the top five characteristics of a liberal, by the same token:

1. Keeps pointing out inconvenient truths about Bushco incompetence, deficit spending and personal buttinskyness
2. "
3. "
4. "
5. "

Posted by: shortstop on February 13, 2006 at 4:14 PM | PERMALINK

cleek -

funny! Yet tragically, true...

Posted by: craigie on February 13, 2006 at 4:15 PM | PERMALINK

inconvenient truths, inconvenient facts...obviously we are inconveniently attuned. Bad liberals! Bad!

Posted by: shortstop on February 13, 2006 at 4:15 PM | PERMALINK

personal buttinskyness

It's hard work, hard work being a personal buttinsky of this scale!

Posted by: craigie on February 13, 2006 at 4:17 PM | PERMALINK

not to mention making up luscious words like that! That's hard, too! Except for the "hard" part.

Posted by: shortstop on February 13, 2006 at 4:17 PM | PERMALINK

Liberals lost that chic they had back when a few sharply clad radical women front members decorated the alliance. You need more big beards, big overall, nature loving madmen.

Get back to that early Easy Rider look, you know, what have the liberals got, Al Franken and the shit eating grin?

Kick things up a bit. Get Hillary out dating the younsters.

Make a few outrageous statements, get old Al Sharpton out on the hustings, he is a crowd pleaser.

I'd like to see old Teddy, all 500 pounds of him (no that that Teddy), full length debating Pat Buchanan, that would be a trip.

You liberals have been so wrong about so much, that you are afraid to have a little fun, blow off steam. You are like Hillary, afraid you will do some stupid, knee jerk liberal moan that you are afraid to let the words fly. Each word has to be filtered through the anti-LBJ, post radical, anti-political correctness filter because you want to sound just like normal folks.

Hey, don't sweat it, we know you are a bunch of freaks, go ahead let it hang out.


Posted by: Matt on February 13, 2006 at 4:19 PM | PERMALINK

tbrosz,

I had many commenters on this blog once claim that the New York Times was to the right of center.

I take this as proof that the terms "conservative" and "liberal" are relative. Most people's perception is that "anyone to my right is conservative, and anyone to my left is liberal, and I am centrist.

Posted by: Yancey Ward on February 13, 2006 at 4:25 PM | PERMALINK

Should the guests be allocated 50/50?
If there are more conservatives in the country, shouldn't they be seen proportionately to their numbers?
Posted by: DennisBoz on February 13, 2006 at 4:06 PM | PERMALINK

No, because then you have the problem of objectively defining what constitutes a Liberal, and Conservative, quantifying the relevant proportions in the "real world", and then finding equivalent qualified candidates for the show. It all begins with the failure to objectively define what constitutes "liberal" or "conservative".

In a fair world, newsmedia outlets would simply invite the guests they wanted, and let the market (the viewers) decide what was more profitable for the news channel.
Of course, you'd have to do something about the consolidation of all media ownership under a few very conservative owners (Ted Turner excluded, of course) to give actual competition and a true open marketplace of ideas to work. But the FCC has all but abdicated it's regulatory function here - so that the only people who have any voice in the mainstream media now are very conservative monied interests.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on February 13, 2006 at 4:25 PM | PERMALINK

what a mess.

Posted by: Donkey_Punch on February 13, 2006 at 4:30 PM | PERMALINK

A most excellent comment SecularAnimist. As usual.

Posted by: Hostile on February 13, 2006 at 4:31 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry cleek...

I should have requested 6-10, as I agree that 1-5 are already accounted for... ;-)

Posted by: justmy2 on February 13, 2006 at 4:32 PM | PERMALINK

And the top five characteristics of a liberal, by the same token:

1. Keeps pointing out inconvenient truths about Bushco incompetence, deficit spending and personal buttinskyness
2. "They have sex with Frenchmen"
3. "
4. "
5. "

Posted by: Matt on February 13, 2006 at 4:34 PM | PERMALINK

"They have sex with Frenchmen"

??

Posted by: cleek on February 13, 2006 at 4:38 PM | PERMALINK

WTF?

I don't know about French men, but my recollection was that the women were pretty hot. So I have no problem with that.

Plus, we got to call it "Freedom Fucking", which made me feel all patriotic.

Posted by: craigie on February 13, 2006 at 4:41 PM | PERMALINK

I am always deeply moved whenever the conservative tell us how to comport ourself in order to appeal to the electorate and win them over. Their selfless advice touches the core of the mitochondria in every cell of my heart.

Posted by: lib on February 13, 2006 at 4:41 PM | PERMALINK

justmy2:

What are your top 5 characteristics of a conservative and your top 5 characteristics of a liberal?

That's a good question, and deserves more of an answer than I have time to give. Speaking only for myself, I consider myself a conservative, yet I oppose the War on Some Drugs, have no real problem with gays getting married, and think that real conservatives CUT government spending.

I could call myself a libertarian, but I don't believe isolationism works in today's world, and have no real problem with the government helping the poor based on real limited "safety-net" needs, not using universal entitlement programs.

I contract with a company that takes NASA money, yet would not object to NASA being on a list of spending cuts of non-essential government spending.

I disagree or have disagreed, often strongly, with (among other things) Bush's policies on centralized education, protective trade barriers, lack of serious immigration policy, lack of spending control, the creation of new entitlements, signing McCain-Feingold, Harriet Meirs, and keeping Tenet on.

If this makes things fuzzier rather than clearer, I suspect most people have more complex views than simple party line.

Posted by: tbrosz on February 13, 2006 at 4:45 PM | PERMALINK

"No, because then you have the problem of objectively defining what constitutes a Liberal, and Conservative, quantifying the relevant proportions in the "real world", and then finding equivalent qualified candidates for the show."

Then the whole article is pointless since it is based on defining and quantifying political outlooks.

Posted by: DennisBoz on February 13, 2006 at 4:45 PM | PERMALINK

Tbrosz, you have just verified what I have often thought. You should be a Democrat, but you can't be, because your worldview is informed by lazy stereotypes. But don't feel bad - lots of people have that problem.

Posted by: craigie on February 13, 2006 at 4:48 PM | PERMALINK

Yancey: "anyone to my right is conservative, and anyone to my left is liberal, and I am centrist."

I think this is a fair and critical point.

Many tend to think of the left and right as a linear function in critique, but everyone has heard the popular refrain socially liberal, fiscally conservative. This automatically lends itself to a more multi-dimensional view based on one's social and economic prinicples.

The Political Compass site attempts to square the circle, but I am sure there will be those differ with this methodology as well. But I think it is one of the better attempts that I have seen.

(Take the test, it will tell you a lot about yourself)

But these days, I wonder if it even matters. I have seen many who consider themselves left, right and centrist, who are willing to simply temporarily disavow any principle that doesn't fit their current needs. Left/Right labels in this day and age simply do a poor job of telling a full story.

I wish it were not true, but for the last 12-14 years, it seems like people would be much more accurately labeled "Current Administration Supporter", "Current Administration Opponent", and "Neutral".

Conservative and Liberal principles seem so to have much less to do with where people land these days.

Posted by: justmy2 on February 13, 2006 at 4:53 PM | PERMALINK

2. "They have sex with Frenchmen"

I guess I'm not a liberal. OTOH, most French women are.

Posted by: Indiana Joe on February 13, 2006 at 4:54 PM | PERMALINK

hey man ! just round'em all up , get the ole 10 ga. shoot gun out of the closet and take them quail hunting.

Posted by: PRAIRE DOG on February 13, 2006 at 4:55 PM | PERMALINK

Then the whole article is pointless since it is based on defining and quantifying political outlooks.
Posted by: DennisBoz on February 13, 2006 at 4:45 PM | PERMALINK

Bingo. As are the obsolete studies the wingnuts are trotting out as proof of so-called liberal media bias.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on February 13, 2006 at 4:56 PM | PERMALINK

This is very interesting.

Whenever conservatives attck the media for being liberal, as they liberally do so often, no one questions the 'methodology' and 'definitions' and the procedures they use to come to that conclusion.

Look here for the converse case.

Posted by: lib on February 13, 2006 at 4:57 PM | PERMALINK

This morning on NPR during the morning hour, a piece of news regarding the news that the budget law could be illegal/unconstitutional due to a clerical error.

First, the law is called a 'budget reducing law' which is a bit of a stretch.

Then the people interviewed to give their viewpoint: roy blunt (the majority whip) and some AEI guy, ie. two explicitely partisans conservative. Then two law professors expert es constitutional law affiliated with some universities. No explicite Democrats/liberal.

So they have internalize another critique: journalists are liberal; but academics are liberal too!

Posted by: cedichou on February 13, 2006 at 4:57 PM | PERMALINK

Is there any way to find out who they classified as centrist and who they classified as liberal, etc?

Posted by: Dustin Ridgeway on February 13, 2006 at 5:03 PM | PERMALINK

I'm pretty sure this study counts David Broder as neutral-journalist. If I'm right about that, and I think I am, that skews things even more to the right. Broder may be painfully dull about it, but he's as much a Bush booster as Novak or Safire. Moreso, cause even Safire and to a lesser degre Novak will criticize Bush on civil liberties or taxes. Broder just bemoans that fact that Democrats have made so hard for Bush to be truly bipartisan

Posted by: jim on February 13, 2006 at 5:04 PM | PERMALINK

PS to take up on Kevin's last point about the predominance of men: I'd pay money to watch Molly Ivins debate Kate O'Beirne, on everything from Iraq to the economy to the role of feminism in modern America

Posted by: jim on February 13, 2006 at 5:05 PM | PERMALINK

Some random thoughts about this thread:

(1) Russert should have asked Bush before the 2004 election, "Is the reason you went AWOL in 1972 because you were so coked up you were peeing white flakes, or because you raped and impregnated 15 year old Robin Lowman and her dad wanted to blow your head off?"
(2) Juan Williams is the most flaccid, ineffectual interviewer in history. If this is the best liberal we can put up against the fascists, it's all over. Get your passport to Sweden today...
(3) When the talk shows portray Al Hunt of the WSJ as a "liberal voice", you know the American political spectrum has shifted so far right that Hitler would be portrayed as a "moderate".
(4) When are the Sunday talk shows going to feature someone from the Green or American Communist Party? Then, we may get some real diversity of opinion.

That is all.

Posted by: Stephen Kriz on February 13, 2006 at 5:06 PM | PERMALINK

'Bout time. On Stephanopoulis's show, George Will is on every damned week. Cokie Roberts--is she supposed to be "liberal?" Give me a break--she's another one who parrots the Rethug talking points. Can't remember the actual last "liberal" pundit they had on to counter Will. Fareed Zakaria is a good foil to Will, but from the near right, not left at all.

Posted by: Cal Gal on February 13, 2006 at 5:07 PM | PERMALINK

Think it would it be any different if Dems/Liberals/Progressives just stopped going on the Corporate Cable so-called "news" shows altogether? Prolly a dumb idea, but wtf - why play their game?

This is from "A Review of Eric Alterman's What Liberal Media?"

http://writ.news.findlaw.com/books/reviews/20030620_buchanan.html

Alterman includes in his book quotes from both James Baker and William Kristol happily admitting that there is no meaningful liberal bias in the media. Instead, they and other archconservatives concede, they are simply "working the refs," in order to force the media to bend over backward to compensate for a bias that even they admit is, at the very least, grossly exaggerated.

One might think this kind of concession by the mythmakers would kill the myth. But it turns out that the myth is far too useful, and it continues to be purveyed to television viewers unlikely ever to open Alterman's work and read these concessions of its falsity.

For instance, consider Kristol's comments in late May of this year, when he appeared on Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Stewart started by commenting on how well things are going for conservatives in the U.S., and he asked: "Is there anything else conservatives want?" Kristol, without missing a beat, replied: "Well, the liberals still dominate the media." To his credit, Stewart was incredulous; but Kristol was unfazed...

Posted by: jen on February 13, 2006 at 5:08 PM | PERMALINK

justmy2,

I would have to agree with pretty much all of that.

Posted by: Yancey Ward on February 13, 2006 at 5:16 PM | PERMALINK

"Sure, and the right could break out it's crazies too;" I think with Buchanan, they already have. I think Plastic Melman qualifies as crazy, too. Have you watched his eyes? And what is Tony Blankley except mouthpiece for a cult leader?

Posted by: Cal Gal on February 13, 2006 at 5:19 PM | PERMALINK

Some random thoughts about this thread:

(1) Russert should have asked Bush before the 2004 election, "Is the reason you went AWOL in 1972 because you were so coked up you were peeing white flakes, or because you raped and impregnated 15 year old Robin Lowman and her dad wanted to blow your head off?"
(2) Juan Williams is the most flaccid, ineffectual interviewer in history. If this is the best liberal we can put up against the fascists, it's all over. Get your passport to Sweden today...
(3) When the talk shows portray Al Hunt of the WSJ as a "liberal voice", you know the American political spectrum has shifted so far right that Hitler would be portrayed as a "moderate".
(4) When are the Sunday talk shows going to feature someone from the Green or American Communist Party? Then, we may get some real diversity of opinion.
--Stephen Kriz

Wow, I wonder why your side keeps losing Senate seats?!! Go figure!

Posted by: sportsfan079 on February 13, 2006 at 5:23 PM | PERMALINK

"And how about Chris Matthews Friday Night fools consisting of Scarborough and Tucker Carlson and Rita cosby."

Yeah. I noticed when he talks about the other "MSNBC Anchors" he conveniently leaves off Keith Olberman.

Posted by: Cal Gal on February 13, 2006 at 5:25 PM | PERMALINK

CN, I'm asking for what you think are examples of liberal bias. Not what I think they are. And again, you come up empty handed.

Posted by: Dr. Morpheus on February 13, 2006 at 5:25 PM | PERMALINK

Although, god knows with these people... I don't even believe these results till I see the details. Posted by: ack on February 13, 2006

Because Rush told me not to believe Media Matters no matter what - ack.

Posted by: ckelly on February 13, 2006 at 5:27 PM | PERMALINK

tbrosz: I suspect most people have more complex views than simple party line.

That's a nauseatingly fatuous thing for you to say, given the one-dimensional cartoon comic-book "Red-Baiting for Dummies" stereotypes that you spew about the Democratic Party on just about every thread.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on February 13, 2006 at 5:27 PM | PERMALINK

I'm not aware of any politicians in the REP or DEM parties that can be labeled conservatives.


Now he tells us.

Posted by: lib on February 13, 2006 at 5:28 PM | PERMALINK

Using this definition, 90% of MSM reporters are left of center

care to share your survey data ?

Posted by: cleek on February 13, 2006 at 5:28 PM | PERMALINK

"Someone on the left believes in bigger government, someone on the right, smaller government.' Sorry, Mark. I absolutely REFUSE to let George W. Bush be a lefty.

Posted by: Cal Gal on February 13, 2006 at 5:31 PM | PERMALINK

This state of affairs has been obvious to anyone with a functioning brain for a decade. What is a mystery to me is they Dem leaders don't complain publicly. They don't they express outrage. Why don't they challenge people like Tim Russert ON THE AIR?

Once again we are watching the spinelessness of Dem leaders.

Posted by: Nan on February 13, 2006 at 5:38 PM | PERMALINK

I contract with a company that takes NASA money, yet would not object to NASA being on a list of spending cuts of non-essential government spending.

Convenient conservatism!

Oh the depth of intellectual depravity, and deparavity of all othe kinds, of tbrosz.

Posted by: nut on February 13, 2006 at 5:39 PM | PERMALINK

Will Allen,

"The viewership of the Sunday talk shows is so tiny as to barely warrant paying attention to whom they book as guests."

Ten million viewers is "tiny"? In what universe?

Posted by: Nan on February 13, 2006 at 5:44 PM | PERMALINK

SIXTY comments already, and not one of the lefties managed to post one that passes the giggle test. Posted by: ack on February 13, 2006 at 2:41 PM

Ack, your huffing ether, so I'm sure everything won't pass the giggle test.

Posted by: Dr. Morpheus on February 13, 2006 at 5:47 PM | PERMALINK

Ned Flanders: I contract with a company that takes NASA money, yet would not object to NASA being on a list of spending cuts of non-essential government spending.

Shorter Flanders: I'll sell out my principles for money.

Posted by: Stefan on February 13, 2006 at 5:49 PM | PERMALINK

So, you have something better, Mike? Posted by: lab on February 13, 2006 at 3:43 PM

Out of date, small sample, non-representative survey is WORSE than nothing.

And again, the political beliefs of a journalist mean nothing if they do not influence their reporting.

Show me proof that there is a bias.

Put up or shut up.

Posted by: Dr. Morpheus on February 13, 2006 at 5:54 PM | PERMALINK

Why don't the Dem leaders express outrage..

My pet theory is that there is an inherent dissonance between the interests of the Democratic Party, whose aims mostly cater to the poor and the middle classes, and the interests of the leaders of the Democratic Party, who, by definition, are overwhelmingly rich in comparison to the rank and file. That's why only rarely do we a see a leader of the stature of FDR or JFK who is able to bridge this gap.

Posted by: lib on February 13, 2006 at 5:57 PM | PERMALINK

Show me proof that there is a bias.
Put up or shut up.

Hmmm, still haven't learned about Google, huh? I dunno, I'd recommend searching on, say, Liberal Media Bias. You'll get about 10 million hits, should keep you busy for a while.

Posted by: conspiracy nut on February 13, 2006 at 5:57 PM | PERMALINK

Google:

'Conservative Media Bias' 9.1 milion hits

Liberal Media bais: 10.1 million hits

Top link under Liberal Media Bias:

'What Liberal Media bias?'!

Posted by: nut on February 13, 2006 at 6:03 PM | PERMALINK

Dr. Morpheus
Here's a little snippet that you could find if you were interested in learning anything:

The fourth most centrist outlet was "Special Report With Brit Hume" on Fox News, which often is cited by liberals as an egregious example of a right-wing outlet. While this news program proved to be right of center, the study found ABC's "World News Tonight" and NBC's "Nightly News" to be left of center. All three outlets were approximately equidistant from the center, the report found.
But here's the real gem:
Of the 20 major media outlets studied, 18 scored left of center, with CBS' "Evening News," The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times ranking second, third and fourth most liberal
What liberal media bias?

Posted by: conspiracy nut on February 13, 2006 at 6:09 PM | PERMALINK

CN, I write it again, slowly since your still not getting it.


I want YOUR examples of liberal bias.


NOT GOOGLE, YOU.


I mean, your so sure of it's existence you must have several examples you can rattle off the top of your head.

Posted by: Dr. Morpheus on February 13, 2006 at 6:14 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, the audience for sunday morning shows is teeny-tiny, but thought to be male, older, "influential" and monied. And that tells you everthing you need to know about why they book the guests they do. You don't see ads for videogames, the Army Reserve or the latest Hollywood blockbuster during these shows.

Posted by: Roxanne on February 13, 2006 at 6:16 PM | PERMALINK

Can there really ever be unbiased research/statistics? The only way to do that is to take a census and no one has the time or resources to do that. In a world of skeptics and people who question every statistic cited, except the ones in their favor, why even publish your findings. Is there any truth in any of it? Someone once told me there are three kinds of lies: lies, damn lies, and statistics. We all know this, so then why do we even bother reading or disputing it?

Posted by: Victor on February 13, 2006 at 6:17 PM | PERMALINK

This wasn't in the talking points! Examples were never provided to me! What am I supposed to do?!?

Posted by: embarrassy nut on February 13, 2006 at 6:18 PM | PERMALINK

You don't see ads for videogames, the Army Reserve or the latest Hollywood blockbuster during these shows.

Not to mention Tampax. I'm just sayin'.

Posted by: shortstop on February 13, 2006 at 6:20 PM | PERMALINK

This state of affairs has been obvious to anyone with a functioning brain for a decade. What is a mystery to me is they Dem leaders don't complain publicly. They don't they express outrage. Why don't they challenge people like Tim Russert ON THE AIR? Once again we are watching the spinelessness of Dem leaders. Posted by: Nan

Please please please keep believing that lack of "outrage" is the dems worst problem. Oh, that and "spinelessness".

Ratcheting up the anger and outrage has worked so well for you so far.

Posted by: peanut on February 13, 2006 at 6:23 PM | PERMALINK

I want YOUR examples of liberal bias.
Sure, and that's because you value my opinion so highly. No doubt. Why trust anything else when I'm available to comment, huh?

Posted by: conspiracy nut on February 13, 2006 at 6:24 PM | PERMALINK

And again, the political beliefs of a journalist mean nothing if they do not influence their reporting. Posted by: Dr. Morpheus

Sure. And let's also assume that there is no bias or conflict of interest for investment bankers or accountants either. In fact, let's assume that noone ever lets their own personal biases or conflicts be reflected in their work.

Posted by: peanut on February 13, 2006 at 6:25 PM | PERMALINK

It's been fun watching Dr. M. tear off conspiracy nut's arms and beat him over the head with them, all without benefit of morphine. Pretty funny, Doc.

Posted by: shortstop on February 13, 2006 at 6:31 PM | PERMALINK

Time for revolution, this time with GUNS!

Posted by: Dale Carnegie on February 13, 2006 at 6:35 PM | PERMALINK

It's been fun watching Dr. M. tear off conspiracy nut's arms and beat him over the head with them
I dunno, looks to me like Dr M's stumbling around looking for a clue.

Of course I guess that does it make it kind of fummy.

Posted by: conspiracy nut on February 13, 2006 at 6:41 PM | PERMALINK

My pet theory is that there is an inherent dissonance between the interests of the Democratic Party, ... and the interests of the leaders of the Democratic Party,
Posted by: lib on February 13, 2006 at 5:57 PM | PERMALINK

You may have something there. . .

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on February 13, 2006 at 6:43 PM | PERMALINK

Come back! Come back! I'll bite you to death!

Posted by: embarrassy nut on February 13, 2006 at 6:43 PM | PERMALINK

The proper line is: Come
here and I'll bite your leg off!

Posted by: conspiracy nut on February 13, 2006 at 6:47 PM | PERMALINK

Anyway Dr Morpheus, I've decided to let the news people speak for me:

Theres one other base here: the media. Lets talk a little media bias here. The media, I think, wants Kerry to win. And I think theyre going to portray Kerry and Edwards Im talking about the establishment media, not Fox, but theyre going to portray Kerry and Edwards as being young and dynamic and optimistic and all, theres going to be this glow about them that some, is going to be worth, collectively, the two of them, thats going to be worth maybe 15 points.
Newsweeks Evan Thomas on Inside Washington, July 10, 2004.

Personally, I have a great affection for CBS News....But I stopped watching it some time ago. The unremitting liberal orientation finally became too much for me. I still check in, but less and less frequently. I increasingly drift to NBC News and Fox and MSNBC.
Former CBS News President Van Gordon Sauter in an op-ed published January 13, 2005 in the Los Angeles Times.

What liberal media bias?

Posted by: conspiracy nut on February 13, 2006 at 6:54 PM | PERMALINK

It took me a half-hour of googling to find out what I think, but I did it! Yay! Here are some examples from my very own head!

Posted by: embarrassy nut on February 13, 2006 at 7:01 PM | PERMALINK

Shorter Flanders: I'll sell out my principles for money.

That's the shorthand if not the subtext of every Flanders post.

ack:trex, your pretentiousness is your most attractive feature.

And you have none. Sorry I used big words but that's how adults talk. I think you're looking for the kiddy blog next door.

Posted by: trex on February 13, 2006 at 7:27 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, trex, using long pretentious latin words when short, simple, anglo-saxon words would better fit your meaning is the hallmark of a bad writer.

Posted by: peanut on February 13, 2006 at 8:06 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, trex, using long pretentious latin words when short, simple, anglo-saxon words would better fit your meaning is the hallmark of a bad writer.

Oh, go coitus yourself.

Posted by: Stefan on February 13, 2006 at 8:17 PM | PERMALINK

90% of this thread, from people who agree with it and people who disgaree with it, has been semantics, insults, and unsubstantiated accusations.

The bottom line is that no one even knows how to define a liberal or a conservative anymore, and your opinions about the media's bias are as valuable as your asshole. The liberal media stereotype might or might not have once been true, but has been shredded by real-world developments in the past 15 years. What's left is probably best described as muddled and eager to please. Whomever.

But I agree with the fundamental point that there are no hard lefists anywhere to be found on television and plenty of hard rightists. Conservative crusaders, statistics about the private political biases of journalists are all you have left.

Is Media' Matters' methodolgy vulnerable to self-serving definitions of who is a liberal? Theoretically, sure. But I tell you what would settle it: why don't we don't we cross-reference against Kenneth Tomlinson's report on the supposed liberal bias he compiled while trying to clean house at PBS? Everyone Mr. Republican operative and Media Matters agree is liberal and everyone they agree is conservative must be legit, right?

My private bet is that that form of verification leaves this survey's results unchanged.

Posted by: glasnost on February 13, 2006 at 9:41 PM | PERMALINK

ack is an ass.

and not a tenth as funny as he thinks he is.

Posted by: Joey Giraud on February 13, 2006 at 10:02 PM | PERMALINK

The big change came when the Bush administration took office, and the statistics have been stable since then. that's what you'd expect. It will change back if a Democrat is next president.

To balance this, economic reporting in the major magazines has given much less space to the Bush economic expansion than it gave to the Clinton expansion of the same magintude and duration (we don't know now how long the Bush expansion will last, the comparison is only over 4 years of each.)

Posted by: contentious on February 13, 2006 at 10:15 PM | PERMALINK

I've got to thank Craigie for the glenngreenwald link...and zinging Tbrosz. Didn't think Cheney had it in him, good stuff.

Posted by: opit on February 13, 2006 at 10:18 PM | PERMALINK

Media Matters hardly seems like a reliable source. They have not, as far as I can tell, actually identified who they listed as conservative and "progressive." It seems an exercise designed to give a cheap talking point to liberals, as is much of the rest of the stuff on the site.

But as a matter of commons sense, can three shows led by Russett (former Tip O'Neil aid), Stephanopolis (former Clinton aid) and Bob Schiefer (old CBS liberal) possibly be biased against democrats and liberals?

Posted by: brian on February 13, 2006 at 10:26 PM | PERMALINK

simple, anglo-saxon words would better fit your meaning simple, anglo-saxon words would better fit your meaning

Oh, we're commenting in anglo-saxon [sic] now? Why didn't you say so?

I think this bit does a good job at explaining the underlying motivation of some of the trolls like yourself here:

healrna mst; scop him Heort naman se e his wordes geweald wide hfde.

Swa a drihtguman dreamum lifdon
eadiglice, ot an ongan
fyrene fremman feond on helle.
Ws se grimma gst troll haten,
mre mearcstapa, se e moras heold,
fen ond fsten; fifelcynnes eard

wonsli wer weardode hwile,
sian him scyppend forscrifen hfde
in Caines cynne. one cwealm gewrc
ece drihten, s e he Abel slog;
ne gefeah he re fhe, ac he hine feor forwrc,

metod for y mane, mancynne fram.
anon untydras ealle onwocon,
eotenas ond ylfe ond orcneas,
swylce gigantas, a wi gode wunnon
lange rage; he him s lean forgeald.

That scene is a nice metaphor for describing the troll pathology, the sickness that causes people to spew bile all over these threads while thinking they're being funny or clever when in fact they're neither.

In short: they're the outcasts who just want to spoil a good party at an influential hall.

And what is Washington Monthly if not a modern day Heorot, whose message has "might in many a land?

Here's an Anglo-Saxon-esque translation of my earlier comment that was apparently loaded with words a little too difficult for the aptly-named ack and peanut:

"He doth deem the brightness in his eye to be the beam of his own wit, when in troth --

it is nothing but the blinding reflection of hoarded gold in his clench-ed hand, the cold light of fair tribute ungiven that doth steal good sense for balance."

Posted by: trex on February 13, 2006 at 10:57 PM | PERMALINK

I can recall when the ratio between (relatively) hard-news reportage and commentary was 95%/5%. When the Point/Counterpoint segment on 60 Minutes was a novelty ("...Shana, you ignorant slut..."). When the notion of watching 'celebrity journalists' prattle on and on with their personal opinions of the issues of the day would be considered insane.

Perhaps the real problem is the disappearance of hard news (particularly investigative) reporting, and its gradual replacement with less costly, more provocative - and politically correct - punditification. There's a place for these sorts of gymnastics, just not on the 'news'. Who cares what The Commentariat think of events, if the events themselves are in question?

Posted by: adios on February 13, 2006 at 11:47 PM | PERMALINK

That's a nauseatingly fatuous thing for you to say, given the one-dimensional cartoon comic-book "Red-Baiting for Dummies" stereotypes that you spew about the Democratic Party on just about every thread.

Geez, some of you people ARE the stereotypes. The working and middle-class Democrats look at the people in the Moveon/Moore Left like they came from Mars.

Doesn't really matter how many arguments you make about how the mainstream media isn't biased. People are making their own decisions by abandoning network news and the big newspapers.

Posted by: tbrosz on February 13, 2006 at 11:52 PM | PERMALINK

People are making their own decisions by abandoning network news and the big newspapers.

That's true. But in my case, it's because to me they seem far too Right wing. To each his own, I guess. Just don't call it news.

Posted by: craigie on February 14, 2006 at 12:06 AM | PERMALINK

Geez, some of you people ARE the stereotypes.

Okay, tbrosz, I call. Examples?

[crickets chirping]

Posted by: Gregory on February 14, 2006 at 9:14 AM | PERMALINK

Tbrosz,

Really, tell me- how did you make Gregory appear like that.

I am very impressed.:~)

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