Friday, October 22, 2010

The NewsBusters Trilogy, Part One: Bias, Bias, Everywhere

NewsBusters is a fun site. They call themselves "the leader in documenting, exposing and neutralizing liberal media bias," and that's hard to argue with.[1] They're good at it, too—they find liberal bias freaking everywhere. Spend a few hours perusing the NewsBusters archives—you'll wind up convinced there's liberal bias hiding under your bed.

Take this recent article, headlined "GOP Strategist Schools Matthews: 'Palin's Had A Lot More Experience Than Obama'":
As a number of GOP candidates of late have sidestepped the issue [of whether Sarah Palin is qualified to be president], Chris Matthews must have expected GOP strategist Ron Christie to do the same on Tuesday's "Hardball."

Much to the MSNBC host's surprise, Christie not only said she was, but also pointed out, "She's certainly had a whole heck of a lot more experience than a particular junior senator from Illinois."
"Huh?," you might be thinking. "That's not bias—that's a GOP strategist using imaginary logic to affirm the rather dubious qualifications of a prominent Republican,[2] which is exactly what a GOP strategist should be expected to do, especially in regard to a politician who generates so many legitimate questions as to the extent to which she's, you know, kind of dumb." Clearly, the liberal media has already gotten to you.

Christie, aware that an assertion is meaningless without evidentiary support, added:
"[C]onsidering the one that we have sitting there now who's been indecisive on the economy? He's been indecisive on the war…He's been indecisive on every single solitary issue."
Matthews had no response to this, but, fortunately, NewsBusters knows what was going through his mind:
Isn't it fascinating the way liberal media members think?

All someone needs to be qualified for office in their view is to have a D next to his or her name. By contrast, there appears to be virtually nothing a Republican can have on his or her resume that is considered appropriate experience.
See! It all makes sense. Chris Matthews, a liberal member of the liberal media, had a conservative guest on his show. The guest said Sarah Palin has "a lot more experience" than Obama, then backed this up by complaining about Obama's presidency.[3] Matthews' response? He abandons ship! He cuts off the conservative and, blatantly ignoring the title of his own show, lobs a softball to his liberal guest.

Matthews did this, of course, because he lacks the intellectual capacity to refute such well-articulated conservative viewpoints, and not at all because the conservative guest was using Matthews' show as a forum for hyperbolic partisanship and off-topic anti-Obama ranting. Right?

Yeah, nevermind, I give up. It makes no sense. This isn't bias; it's punditry, and it's not even very interesting punditry.

And that's the problem with NewsBusters and virtually everyone else who sets out to "expose the liberal media." There's no doubt the media is lousy with liberal bias, and, from time to time, that bias rears its bearded, latte-sipping head. When it does, you can count on NewsBusters to be there—heroically raising a stink. But in the meantime, they're busy alienating everyone who might actually benefit from listening to them. As far as most non-conservatives are concerned, they're the boy who won't stop crying "Wolf!"[4]

Coming up: Part Two, in which NewsBusters takes on its most formidable opponent yet.

1. Meanwhile, NewsBusters' arch-nemesis, Media Matters for America, is "dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media." It's fun to search their respective sites (like so) for articles "exposing" the not-at-all-concealed bias of the other. Maybe we'll eventually reach a point where NewsBusters and Media Matters do nothing but comment on each other, and thus become a self-contained infinite regress of partisan squabbling.
2. Palin: 4 years as city council member, 6 years as mayor, 1 year as chair of a state government agency, and 2.5 years as state governor. Obama: 8 years as state legislator, 4 years as U.S. Senator, and 2 years as President. Obama wins for overall length of public service and significance of offices held; Palin wins for length of service in an executive—rather than legislative—capacity. We all lose for bickering about petty crap like this, and for thinking either one is even remotely qualified to be president.
3. In related news, Brett Favre has been indecisive about retiring for, like, four years in a row now. Therefore, the Knicks are going to be great this year. It's just basic logic!
4. I would've been satisfied with the lame wordplay, really, but holy cow. Here's one part of the Coons-O'Donnell debate that the NewsBusters article chose to highlight (condensed and paraphrased):
— Blitzer: You oppose the government mandating that everyone purchase health insurance. So, what if someone decides not to buy insurance, but gets injured and is taken to the ER? Who pays for their treatment?
— O'Donnell: Well, um, we can make healthcare more affordable if we—
— Blitzer: Right, but if a person voluntarily refuses to buy insurance?
— O'Donnell: Um…[tries to hide the fact that she clearly hasn't thought about this]…illegal immigrants are bad!
    Seriously, read the transcript (or watch the video). That's pretty much how it went. Wolf Blitzer totally out-conservative'd Christine O'Donnell, and NewsBusters still found a way to accuse him of being biased.


  1. Re: Footnote 2
    I think there's a pretty good argument to be made that more than a certain basic amount of experience is bad for politicians in general. The entrenched politician owes too many people favors ect and young people tend to be more dynamic thinkers than old.(pretend i cited a study). I guess alternatively there is a lot to be said for a politician old enough to not care about his political future after his current term.

  2. Yeah, I agree with that, but it's not what you hear from the "Palin is more qualified than Obama" crowd. Maybe I'm missing something, but it seems to me that any standard by which Palin is qualified and Obama isn't has to be complete nonsense.

    As always, Douglas Adams put it best:

    "To summarize: it is a well-known fact that those people who most want to rule people are, ipso facto, those least suited to do it. To summarize the summary: anyone capable of getting themselves made President should by no means be allowed to do the job. To summarize the summary of the summary: people are a problem."

  3. Also why not expose conservative biased media as well?


  4. I just got excised from Newsbusters cause they did not like my comment. Here they are defending gun rights, Davis's rights to shove religion up everyone's colon and diss gay marriage. The are such f..king hypocrites. Conservatives are the scrotum of denial.