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Tilting at Windmills

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December 16, 2008

A REVOLVING DOOR?.... With Time's Jay Carney leaving the magazine to become Joe Biden's communications director, some conservatives are using the occasion as proof that the media is liberal. The far-right Newsbusters site put together an interesting list of people who made the transition from a major news outlet to a Democratic campaign:

* CNN reporter Aneesh Raman who signed with the Obama campaign in September

* ABC reporter Linda Douglass who in May signed up as an Obama strategist and spokesman

* Former "Dateline" anchor Jane Pauley who toured the country campaigning on Obama's behalf

* ABC News anchor Carole Simpson who teamed up the Hillary Clinton campaign during the Democratic primaries

* CNN reporter Andrea Koppel who signed up with a left-wing PR firm in February

* Kate Albright-Hanna, a producer with CNN who crafted web video strategy for Obama while working at the network

Newsbusters added that neither McCain nor any other Republican presidential candidate lured "Big Media journalists to go work for them." (I should note that I haven't fact-checked Newsbusters' list or claims, and can't vouch for its accuracy.)

Now, there are a couple of ways to look at this, assuming the information is correct. One could joke, for example, that Republicans don't need journalists to go work for them; they already have Fox News. One might also note that the AP's Ron Fournier considered joining the McCain campaign, but instead became the DC bureau chief for the wire service, repeatedly engaging in questionable journalistic calls that worked in McCain's favor.

But instead, let's consider a different list -- people who made the transition from serving as top Bush administration officials to working for major news outlets:

* Michael Gerson was picked up as a columnist for the Washington Post.

* Sara Taylor, who was integrally involved in the U.S. Attorney Purge scandal and the politicization of federal agencies, became a pundit for MSNBC.

* Karl Rove became a Fox News "analyst," a columnist for Newsweek, and a columnist for the Wall Street Journal.

* Tony Snow went from the White House briefing room to a gig on CNN.

* Frances Fragos Townsend also went from the White House to CNN.

* Nicole Wallace went from Rove's office to CBS News (she left soon after to join the McCain campaign).

* Dan Bartlett is an "analyst" for CBS News.

If six media figures joining Democratic campaigns is proof that reporters are liberal, are seven loyal Bushies joining news outlets proof that major media outlets are conservative?

Steve Benen 1:25 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (30)

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Comments

If you want proof that Jay Carney is no liberal, all you have to do is read anything he's ever written.

Posted by: Brautigan on December 16, 2008 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

What about that whore Fornier at AP? He was offered a job with McCain?

Posted by: POed Lib on December 16, 2008 at 1:31 PM | PERMALINK

Gosh, newsbusters is another nazi site with KGB-level access control. You need to submit a saliva sample, give them all other sites you write for, and promise to kiss Karl Rove's dick to post there.

I am NOT giving them a saliva sample.

Posted by: POed Lib on December 16, 2008 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

And what about media ownership? Conservatives Rupert Murdoch & Sam Zell own some big properties (New Corp., LA Times, Chicago Tribune, Baltimore Sun). GE is the corporate parent of NBC, Viacom owns CBS, Disney owns ABC. "Liberal corporation" is an oxymoron.

Is there nothing conservatives won't whine about?

I wouldn't exactly call Chris Matthews a liberal -- and he's going in the other direction. Looks like he may run for the Senate in PA.

Posted by: pj in jesusland on December 16, 2008 at 1:39 PM | PERMALINK

Does Anderson Cooper wearing a bathing suit on 60 Minutes figure into this in any way at all?

Posted by: Saint Zak on December 16, 2008 at 1:41 PM | PERMALINK

how to create a rightwing article: figure out what the republicans are doing, accuse the democrats of doing it, and use that accusation as proof of their wrongdoing.

repeat.

Posted by: Personal Failure on December 16, 2008 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK

Didn't Snow come from FOX in the first place?

Posted by: wishIwuz2 on December 16, 2008 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK

Tori Clark is a pundit on ABC. Wasn't she Rumsfeld's PR flack?

Posted by: Cal Gal on December 16, 2008 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

>>Tony Snow went from the White House briefing room to a gig on CNN.

after arriving at the WH from FOX...

Posted by: lutton on December 16, 2008 at 1:56 PM | PERMALINK

When they talk about bloggers being fat, jobless schleps who live in their parents' basements, they are talking about the guys who write Newsbusters. I have a very conservative acquaintance (he's a guy who thinks Rush is a moderate) who forwards me posts from Noel Sheppard and Warner Todd Huston on a regular basis. It is bullshit, every last bit of it.

In my view, if Newsbusters makes a claim, the opposite is generally true.

Posted by: DrDave on December 16, 2008 at 2:09 PM | PERMALINK

Don't forget Dan Senor who went from being the CPA's spokesmodel to a contributing gig at Fox News and a full time as Campbell Brown's husband.

Posted by: DrDave on December 16, 2008 at 2:12 PM | PERMALINK

I think Fournier was at one time going to be hired by the Bush White House, no?

Tony Snow was a spokesmodel for Bush 1 before going to Fox and talk radio.

Time magazine hired Mike Murphy at their blog and to write a column. He never blogs. I don't know if he's still published in the deadtree edition.

Going way back, Diane Sawyer worked for Nixon.

Posted by: Jim on December 16, 2008 at 2:14 PM | PERMALINK

The MSM has long been complicit in giving legitimacy to scurrilous and disgraced pols. "Dirty pol"-launderers, if you will.

Posted by: Becca on December 16, 2008 at 2:15 PM | PERMALINK

Fine, let's make laws that require a waiting period before government employees can work for media outlets and before journalists or pundits can work hold a government job.

Let's also break up the behemoth media corporations while we're at it since most of them are owned by ideologues.

Wouldn't mind a little more separation between the fourth estate and the government, personally, since essentially the press is nearly nothing more than a well paid fluffer for the worst excesses of government.

Posted by: doubtful on December 16, 2008 at 2:17 PM | PERMALINK

Anyone mention Bill Kristol? Former Quayle chief of staff, now he promotes the neocon agenda all over the MSM.

Posted by: Allan Snyder on December 16, 2008 at 2:20 PM | PERMALINK

Don't forget right wing lunatic Steven Hayes being hired by CNN.
The Washington Independent Failing Upward Redux: Steve Hayes Joins CNN

Posted by: James on December 16, 2008 at 2:25 PM | PERMALINK

I think Personal Failure has a good take on how the "Conservatives/Republicans" write news: Everything I read that they accuse "liberals/Democrats" of is a direct reflection of what they themselves have done/said, are or will be doing/saying. Criminal corruption, falsely accusing someone of something, lying about anything, not supporting the troops, receiving Wealthcare, and so on and so forth. Hypocrisy is the name of their game. The RNC is the Hypocritical Center of the Universe and Rush is their spokesmodel.

peace,
st john

Posted by: st john on December 16, 2008 at 2:26 PM | PERMALINK

Aw shucks - they just want to be on the winning team

Posted by: John R on December 16, 2008 at 2:54 PM | PERMALINK

Could it be that after spending some time covering politics on both the right and the left, and learning how they work (or don't work), that more reporters may actually favor the left because of the outlandish rightwing dirty tricks they uncover? Just asking.

Posted by: Lynnie on December 16, 2008 at 3:11 PM | PERMALINK

The revolving doors that matter:
* generals to defense contractors (or media consultants)
* legislators to lobbying firms
* white house aids to corporations and back
* industry to agency heads or reverse

Posted by: lou on December 16, 2008 at 3:24 PM | PERMALINK

There is plenty of proof. Polls taken of the Washington press corps indicate they are 99 44/100 % pure liberal, or:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/19113485

Whether you sample your news feed from ABC or CBS (or, yes, even NBC and MSNBC), whether you prefer Fox News Channel or National Public Radio, The Wall Street Journal or The New Yorker, some of the journalists feeding you are also feeding cash to politicians, parties or political action committees.

MSNBC.com identified 143 journalists who made political contributions from 2004 through the start of the 2008 campaign, according to the public records of the Federal Election Commission. Most of the newsroom checkbooks leaned to the left: 125 journalists gave to Democrats and liberal causes. Only 16 gave to Republicans. Two gave to both parties.

Posted by: Luther on December 16, 2008 at 3:35 PM | PERMALINK

Whether you sample your news feed from ABC or CBS (or, yes, even NBC and MSNBC), whether you prefer Fox News Channel or National Public Radio, The Wall Street Journal or The New Yorker, some of the journalists feeding you are also feeding cash to politicians, parties or political action committees.

And your claim is that journalists are so unprofessional that they deliberately bias the news against Republicans by reporting stuff like the fact that Congress just issued a report that all but accuses Bush of war crimes?

Oh, wait, they haven't been reporting that. They've been busy counting how many times Obama shook Blagojevich's hand and how many times they pumped. MUCH more important than war crimes.

Posted by: Mnemosyne on December 16, 2008 at 4:51 PM | PERMALINK

Newsbusters added that neither McCain nor any other Republican presidential candidate lured "Big Media journalists to go work for them." ... If six media figures joining Democratic campaigns is proof that reporters are liberal, are seven loyal Bushies joining news outlets proof that major media outlets are conservative?

Newsbusters is playing a semantics game. They specifically state that neither McCain nor any other Republican CANDIDATE has lured Big Media journalists to work for them - which might be true. What happens after Republicans are elected is of no consequence to their argument. So basically, they go off to prove their point that big media is riddled with liberal bias by presenting half truths and flimsy evidence. The level of BS sophisitication is impressive. This culture is producing pure BS artisans these days.

I've been reading quite a few conservative blogs these days and all I have to say is wow - conservatives are reaching deep. They make their point first, then try to find supporting evidence later - more so than usual.

Posted by: Mick on December 16, 2008 at 4:59 PM | PERMALINK

The obvious explanation for the tendency of the media to be more supportive of liberal politicians is simply that reporters have daily personal contacts with politicians and see them for what they really all. In other words the liberal bias of the press is due to the fact that most (not all of course) conservative politicians are simply defective as human beings. (The line from the McCarthy hearings 'Have you no decency?' is as telling today as it was then.)

Posted by: Bruce Rosner on December 16, 2008 at 5:14 PM | PERMALINK

There is indeed one key difference with the people that you mentioned and the people that have signed onto the Barack Obama White House, all of the GOP'ers you cited are so-called pundits, whereas the people who have switched to work for Obama include anchors and a producer. I'm not saying this totally negates your point, but I do believe it is at the very least, worth mentioning.

Posted by: GregY on December 16, 2008 at 6:45 PM | PERMALINK

Aren't Linda Douglass and Carole Simpson FORMER ABC News people? Linda Douglass was in the Boston area recently as a Shorenstein Fellow and a professor, I do believe. When was the last time they were on the air as reporters or anchors?

Posted by: gmoke on December 16, 2008 at 7:16 PM | PERMALINK

The brother of CBS' Bob Schieffer is W's ambassador to Japan and a former business partner of Mr. Bush.

Posted by: feckless on December 16, 2008 at 7:35 PM | PERMALINK

Well Luther ya poor propaganda victimi, I'll take on your "proof".
Fact:
http://mediamatters.org/items/200609130007

After the Democratic National Convention, ABC & CBS had on a republican and a democrat to evaluate the proceedings.

After the Republican National Convention, ABC & CBS had on a republican to evaluate, no opposing view points were alowed.

And like all republican propagandists Luther leaves out the key passage of the article he cites:

" at least among the donors, who are a tiny fraction of the roughly 100,000 staffers in newsrooms across the nation. "

yup a "tiny fraction" are dyed in the wool liberals, big whoop.

Tell me about the WMD's again? Tell me how the media called Bush the winner of a tie in 2000? Tell me how many follow up questions Mr. Bush has taken in the last 8 years? Tell me about the lies told about Mr. Gore, tell me about the treasonous smear against Mr. Kerry? Tell me about the coverage of Reverend Wright versus Pat "assassin for jesus" Roberts?

Tell me how the "liberal media" lets W and Rice and Cheney and Rove all over the TV lying about "everyone thought there were WMD's" but they never mention the BUSH PULLED THE IAEA (El-Baradei et al) inspectors to bomb the place. Now he wishes he had better intelligence, and the "liberal" Winston Smiths redact the past to fit W's blatant lies.

Better yet, explain to me why aside from PBS, noone on the television has ever commented that their retired military "independent" analysts who sold the war were reaping millions in defense contracts and being fed talking points by the pentagon?

Guess what Luther, the people who run the autocompanies are Republicans, the workers are democrats. The same thing goes for the media.

No Luther, you don't need proof or facts, you have "belief".

Posted by: feckless on December 16, 2008 at 7:56 PM | PERMALINK

To answer your question: Neither six people leaving the news media to support the Democratic candidate nor seven people leaving the Republican administration to join the news media prove a bias one way or another. First of all, neither six nor seven is a significant sample of the number of people in the journalism profession (especially when it's as broadly defined as inculding both print journalism & television broadcasting). Second of all, even if it was a significant proportion of the population that you could use to draw conclusions about the entire media, you would have to assume a correlation between personal belief/preference/politics and on-air or in-print statements that neither you nor the article you are criticizing have demonstrated.

Third of all, don't answer silliness with silliness.

Posted by: Westside Buppie on December 17, 2008 at 9:42 AM | PERMALINK

(I should note that I haven't fact-checked Newsbusters' list or claims, and can't vouch for its accuracy.)

Well, Newsbusters takes this (from the WP):

"An Emmy winner, [Kate Albright-Hanna] joined CNN's political unit in 1999 and met Rospars while filming a documentary on Dean. When she heard that Rospars was working for Obama, Albright-Hanna called and said she wanted to produce a doc on Obama. The campaign planned to develop its own video content, Rospars said. Intrigued, Albright-Hanna sent him a proposal on video strategy. Weeks later, she left CNN and moved with her husband and 3-year-old son to Chicago."

as "evidence" that she worked simultaneously for the network and the campaign.

Sane people will read this as saying that she developed a proposal on spec which then got her a new job -- and there's no reason to assume that she did it on CNN time.

What wankers.

Posted by: Peter Schledorn on December 17, 2008 at 11:43 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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