Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Media bias borders on mental illness

Via Media Matters, Craig Crawford, columnist for Congressional Quarterly, answered Joe Scarborough's "assertion that former President Bill Clinton is 'divisive' " during the Jan. 26 MSNBC's Morning Joe. Snip (with emphasis):

CRAWFORD: You know, I have sat down here in Florida for the last month. And I have watched the coverage, and I really think the evidence-free bias against the Clintons in the media borders on mental illness. I mean, I think when Dr. Phil gets done with Britney [Spears], he ought to go to Washington and stage an intervention at the National Press Club. I mean, we've gotten into a situation where if you try to be fair to the Clintons, if you try to be objective, if you try to say, "Well, where's the evidence of racism in the Clinton campaign?" you're accused of being a naïve shill for the Clintons. I mean, I think if somebody came out today and said that Bill Clinton -- if the town drunk in Columbia [South Carolina] came out and said, "Bill Clinton last night was poisoning the drinking water in Obama precincts," the media would say, "Ah, there goes Clinton again. You can't trust him." I really think it's a problem. You know what? You guys make him stronger with this bashing. This actually is what makes the Clintons stronger.
According to Media Matters, Crawford's remarks followed a video clip cued up by Joe's co-host Mika Brzezinski in which Bill Clinton said (with emphasis):
[T]hey have systematically polarized the country, the right-wing Republican faction has. They first took over the Republican Party. And then they performed reverse plastic surgery on all the Democrats, right? ... And it worked for them every single time, except with me.
Joe then pontificated, "it's amazing how divisive he is compared to [Democratic presidential candidate] Barack Obama, who asks Republicans and independents to vote for him. And here's Bill Clinton fighting the right-wing Republicans. It's just like 1998 all over again, isn't it?"

[Keep reading... more after the jump.]

No, Joe, it's you and your kind that spread falsehoods -- like you did with Margaret Carlson -- and who refuse to hold Republicans accountable for using polarizing tactics. Like you do. How many news consumers have been informed of the unprecedented obstructionism by Senate Republicans? Are media reporting the facts about who's behaving divisively? Hell, no. The dumbed-down script for more than a decade is it's Clinton's fault and Hillary is polarizing.

When media manipulate the narrative into potshots at either Clinton and the Democrats, they keep the heat off the culprits responsible for the damage. It was the GOP that injected divisive issues such as the racially-exploitive southern strategy, attacks on abortion, gay marriage, and "amnesty" for illegal aliens, to name a few. They continue to misuse the Iraq war to taint Democrats as defeatists waving the white flag of surrender for advocating troop withdrawals. Forget that a majority of the nation supports leaving Iraq. That's an inconvenient fact the mainstream press corps readily dismisses when given a chance to bash Democrats.

That's how Big Media plays the game -- distorting and fabricating "evidence" -- and some foolish dupes fall for this crap. As Bob Somerby and Media Matters have documented for years, our mainstream press corps has unfairly attacked Al Gore and the Clintons sometimes with little proof other than innuendo, worthless trivia, and sometimes with blatant lies. And still do.

If Obama wins the Democratic nomination, expect to read and hear how divisive Barack is. Think it won't happen? Pat Buchanan has already floated a trial balloon raising the alleged rift between Hispanics and African-Americans. Earlier on Hardball, he insidiously alluded to Obama's campaign phrase -- "Yes, we can" translated "Sí, se puede" -- as "the cause of the illegal immigration movement and the amnesty movement." If you read of Buchanan's views on the invasion of America, his remarks weren't intended to flatter Obama's can-do message. At Faux News, Ted Kennedy's endorsement of Obama provided E.D. Hill with the opportunity to spout (with emphasis):
...Barack Obama, who has -- I mean, on his website, you look at it and sort of the whole thing is devoted to "I'm a man of change because I want to get away from all that -- the hate speech and the partisanship that you've seen in Washington." Ted Kennedy, you know, is that. You know, if you talk about the people of have sort of gone to the farthest wings, Kennedy certainly represents that. So it seems like an odd coming together, unless that's the direction Barack Obama is headed.
Par for the course, you know, of the scurrilous GOP-dedicated network.

Watch for how media begin to transform Obama's anthem of "change" into change for the worse. It won't matter if it's false. Not to them. You can count on our fetid press corps to "swift-boat" the nominated Democratic WH contender as they did in 2004. Using a tested strategy, when they're not yapping at shadows, media lapdogs will idly sit, giving air time to dubious claims without challenging the GOP surrogate or politician smearing the Democratic candidate.

That's the way they sell crazy.