Sunday, January 16, 2005

Conservative Broadcast Systems

Something missing from most (all) coverage of the Dan Rather 'memogate' story is a very obvious point: CBS's sloppy reporting benefitted George W Bush. If it was an example of bias, then it was an example of conservative bias. [Click permalink to read more...]

Bush's National Guard record was already being re-examined by several major media outlets. The Associated Press, Boston Globe and USN&WR all had concurrent stories with new revelations about Bush's special treatment in the National Guard. And it has been widely reported that one of the reasons for CBS's rush and sloppiness was that other news shows were getting ready to run a similar report. If CBS had given the memos the scrutiny they should have, we would all be talking about NBC's or ABC's or even CBS's expose of Bush's irresponsibility and pampered treatment--instead of CBS's "discredited" report. By including obviously forged documents, CBS not only discredited its own report but effectively poisoned the waters for that entire line of investigation.

This is a repeating pattern. The media does something that benefits the Republicans. Other elements of the media claim that this benefitted the Democrats--or was intended to--and this proves their liberal bias. Most people believe this, because the media has established a reputation for liberal bias, and because no one is telling them otherwise. The ones who made the mistake in the first place say "it wasn't intentional," but they don't really support this claim. This reinforces their reputation for liberal bias, and makes the whole trick even easier to pull the next time.

Another good example of this was the early call of Florida in 2000. The only statistical analysis of it, that I know of, found it slightly more likely that it benefitted Bush than Gore. How many people know that?


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