[T]oday's press works to put the worst possible face on the war. ... Hence the endless dwelling on the abuses in the Abu Ghraib prison and the breathless speculation that it would drive Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld from office. Instead, an ABC/Washington Post poll showed the public 69 percent to 20 percent against Rumsfeld's resignation. Hence the much lesser coverage given to the murder of Nick Berg. Hence the microscopic coverage of the finding of the deadly poison sarin in an improvised explosive device -- mustn't give credence to the possibility that Saddam was conducting (as inspector David Kay said) weapons of mass destruction programs.
Taranto also notes that the latest Pew survey of media professionals and the public found:
55% of national journalists say they think the press is "not critical enough" of President Bush; only 24% of the public agrees. Thirty-four percent of the public thinks the press is "too critical," vs. a mere 8% of the national press. Thirty-five percent of both groups characterize coverage of the president as "fair."
After detailing a few more statistics indicating a port-side list in the media, Taranto concludes:
All this suggests that journalists not only are considerably more liberal than the general public but also wish their own coverage were more liberal than it is.
Glenn Reynolds also has some relevant comments and links.
"Call [criticism the media for biased coverage] a fallback strategy: the media lost the war," says Tom Rosenstiel, a former Los Angeles Times correspondent who now runs the non-profit Project for Excellence in Journalism. "It's very convenient politically for an administration that's under fire for its war policy to blame the messenger. [...]"
So if things go badly in Iraq, the theory goes, then "war supporters" will use the media as a scapegoat. This is a straw man constructed to divert attention away from legitimate criticism. Obviously the media could not single-handedly lose (or win) the war. There are many factors. But it's preposterous to dismiss the impact of war coverage that emphasizes negative news instead of objectively reporting the full context.
Posted by Forkum at May 25, 2004 12:01 AM