My friend Dean “Dino” Russell is a roofer in the middle Keys. Dancing about on roofs all his life has made him the most physically fit man in the Home Depot; it also gives him an overview of life. He is the third-most conservative man I know.
This morning, Dino emailed me a copy of the CyberAlert compilation of news items reported in the daily BiasAlert. Calling itself “America’s Media Watchdog,” the Media Research Center News Analysis Division “document(s), expose(s) and neutralize(s) liberal media bias.”
The following examples aren’t very exciting but they lead to an important discovery about the “news.”
1. Matthews to Democrat: What Percentage of Republicans Would You Put In the ‘Nut Bag’?
Chris Matthews, on Monday’s Hardball, brought on his own personal Congressman, Maryland Democrat Chris Van Hollen, to review how his party was going to distinguish themselves from the GOP in the midterms with Matthews asking the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee head if they were focusing on all the “crazy” Republicans, or in other words “nut collecting.” Matthews, after playing a clip of Barack Obama singling out Republicans Joe Barton, John Boehner and Roy Blunt, also reminded Van Hollen the President missed another “crazy” person with “B” name as he proclaimed: “If you’re going out looking for nuts, it would seem like you’d put [Michele Bachmann] in your basket.” Matthews even tried to pin down Van Hollen by demanding: “What percentage of the Republican Party would you put in the nut bag right now?”
Yawn. Chris Matthews is a syndicated “commentator,” not a reporter. Beck probably asked a guest “What percentage of Dumbocrats would you put in the ‘nut bag’?” yesterday, too.
2. CBS’s Schieffer Interviews Eric Holder, Ignores Black Panther Case
While devoting all of Sunday’s Face the Nation to an interview with Attorney General Eric Holder, CBS host Bob Schieffer failed to ask a single question about the Obama Justice Department dropping a voter intimidation case against the Black Panthers or allegations that the department has adopted a policy of ignoring such cases. At the end of the interview, Schieffer even asked about Holder’s infamous comment that the United States was a “nation of cowards” when it came to discussing race. However, the Face the Nation host failed to use that comment as a transition to the Black Panthers case, despite the fact that former DOJ attorney Christian Adams recently testified before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, accusing the department of adopting a policy of refusing to pursue voter intimidation cases that involved black defendants and white victims.
Yawn again. I watched FTN and included some of it in Sunday’s commentary. Bob Schieffer didn’t ask General Holder about a lot of things. He didn’t ask about U.S. v. Microsoft. He didn’t ask about Goldman Sachs. He didn’t ask about ACORN. He didn’t ask about the voter intimidation accusation made by Christian Adams.
Some of his questions were softish but they weren’t bad.
3. No Balance Required? MSNBC Features Only Pro-Gay Side of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Debate
MSNBC’s Contessa Brewer on Monday appeared baffled as to why more U.S. politicians weren’t ‘standing up’ to demand the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” touting it as “a civil rights issue.” In the span of two hours, the cable network featured a gay member of the military and a conservative to discuss the issue. However, both guests favored allowing homosexuals to serve openly.
That is the most troubling of these examples, although not surprising. Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH) criticized Brewer live on the air; he said she was “absurd”, “fundamentally dishonest”, “irresponsible” and lacked “integrity” for her handling of interviews. She’s allegedly a news anchor, not a commentator and did her time as general assignment reporter. We should expect better.
None of this should worry us but for one terrible truth: the American news audience — including Dino and Rufus — has come to believe that Brewer and Colbert and Matthews and Beck and Limbaugh and O’Reilly are reporters and what they do is news.