Monday, October 04, 2004

We had Rather-gate. But Did the "Liberal Media" Pass on Cameron-Gate?

Compare the following:

-- Dan Rather, who conservatives perceive as having a liberal bias while working for a liberal news organization, showed incompetence in reporting a story related to the 2004 presidential campaign. Conservatives loudly protested, and like wildfire, the talk on radio and television was that Rather had shown his true colors. CBS and Rather later apologized.

-- Carl Cameron, who liberals perceive as having a conservative bias while working for a conservative news organization, showed incompetence in fabricating a story related to the 2004 presidential campaign. Liberals loudly protested, but the greater media generally ignored the story. Fox News apologized and said it had "reprimanded" Cameron.

Liberal media bias? Feh.

I learned about the latest Fox News $#*!$ moment on Friday reading Josh Marshall's website, talkingpointsmemo.com. He posted a story Cameron wrote for Fox News' website (the story has since been removed).

Rallying supporters in Tampa Friday, Kerry played up his performance in Thursday night's debate, in which many observers agreed the Massachusetts senator outperformed the president.

"Didn't my nails and cuticles look great? What a good debate!" Kerry said Friday.

With the foreign-policy debate in the history books, Kerry hopes to keep the pressure on and the sense of traction going.

Aides say he will step up attacks on the president in the next few days, and pivot somewhat to the domestic agenda, with a focus on women and abortion rights.

"It's about the Supreme Court. Women should like me! I do manicures," Kerry said.

Kerry still trails in actual horse-race polls, but aides say his performance was strong enough to rally his base and further appeal to voters ready for a change.

"I'm metrosexual — he's a cowboy," the Democratic candidate said of himself and his opponent.

A "metrosexual" is defined as an urbane male with a strong aesthetic sense who spends a great deal of time and money on his appearance and lifestyle.

***

Marshall later wrote that he called Fox News for an explanation. Spokesman Paul Schur replied: "Carl made a stupid mistake which he regrets. And he has been reprimanded for his lapse in judgment. It was a poor attempt at humor."

Marshall's response: So the Fox reporter covering the Kerry campaign puts together this Kerry-bashing parody right out of the RNC playbook with phony quotes intended to peg him as girlish fool and somehow it found its way on the Fox website as a news item.

***

USA Today ran a small story, as did The New York Times and The Washington Post, and the news made the rounds among bloggers. But a quick scan of the Sunday talk shows -- Tim Russert, Chris Matthews, etc. -- found nothing. I'm waiting to read this week's issue of Newsweek, to see if there's a story about "another black eye for Fox" -- similar to the story they ran about CBS News.

It's not like this should come as any surprise. From the nightly talk show line-up to the Fox News "all-stars," the list of instances of conservative bias at Fox is long. David Brock's website, mediamatters.org, exhaustively covers all the omissions, half-truths, lopsided panels and other examples of bias on the network. And Robert Greenwald's recent documentary, Outfoxed, paints a similar portrait.

And maybe as a result, stories like the one that broke Friday don't make that much of a dent. Maybe the general media is so numb trying to follow the "fair and balanced" charade that is Fox News, it just doesn't pay that much attention when they commit another example of bias.

During the RNC convention, USA Today has a shameless story, in which it interviewed Fox News reporters about their fair-mindedness -- giving several of them a chance to say how "fair and balanced" they were. The story failed to mention Brock's website, although it did mention Outfoxed. I tried to reach someone at USA Today to explain, but my calls were not returned.

***

So what does Fox News do now? Will Cameron continue to serve as a leading political reporter? Will Fox overcompensate in its coverage of Kerry, to try to quell its critics?

Or, more likely, will the issue drift into the ether, like other lame conservative attempts at "humor." I fear it will have as much impact as Education Secretary Rod Paige "humorously" calling the National Education Association a "terrorist organization." Or Rush Limbaugh "humorously" suggesting that President Clinton wanted a quadruple bypass instead of a triple bypass to evoke more sympathy.

Those conservatives can be so funny sometimes ...


7 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

i had not even read this yet but first stopped at the title. i thought "Cameron....hmmm who is cameron, ferris buellers best friend, justin timberlakes girlfriend...." and then i recalled that there is some reporter for Fox that travels with the president etc..... so based on the title i answer the question "Cameron Gate-Who is Cameron anyway?" and why is he even being compared in any fashion to the person most recognize as the face of CBS. Then I read the rest of this. Please. While what Cameron did was stupid and it should not have happened at all, it is not comparable to the CBS fiasco. Rather made a serious charge with full expectations that it would be accepted as truth. He then defended that charge in the face of questions from both liberals and conservatives. He even indicated it was a conspiracy against him by conservatives. Only when it was completely obvious (and even then i am sure he was forced by the powers that be) he came clean. It was on a broadcast that was nationwide, by a nationally recognized figure. Compare to Cameron. Not well known, obviously not too serious, clearly stupid, and on a website. I am not defending what he did and there is no question Fox is conservative (and no question Rather is liberal) but the reason this story gets far less attention is because it deserves far less attention.

I am sure others here will debate Cameron Gate. I know many liberals and they all believe what Rather did was indefensible. What Cameron did was wrong but was Little League to Rather's Major League.

3:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think it's apples to apples, but Cameron was the senior political reporter for Fox, and he was assigned to the Kerry campaign. It's not like he was a summer intern.

I think the broader issue is that this is just the latest example of conservative bias from Fox to go generally unnoticed by MSNBC, CNN, CNBC, etc -- stations that should want to beat up on a rival. And while Rather is bigger (and CBS is bigger, maybe the coverage of Rather's incompetence was too much, and Cameron's incompetence was too little.

3:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is significant is that this Cameron character was apparantely Fox's chief reporter covering the Kerry campaign.
Definitely reflects more Bush bias of the Fox Network, now that we have a window in how their Kerry reporter really thinks. This is the story that should be told.
But I have to admit I did see this Cameron issue get much multimedia coverage over the weekend, enough so that anyone who saw the original story knew it was a big fraud. I don't think it's fair to say the media ignored the story.
Wonder how Fox News' ratings have been holding up following the attention in recent months focused on the network's Republican bias? It appears some steps are being taken to improve that image and report more objectively.

4:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Must admit i didnt watch much news this weekend so i cannot comment on the overage other than to say i dont think it deserved as much coverage as CBS situation. As far as Fox, I believe their ratings are up--probably because they have more engaging personalities. However, sad to say, I believe personally that they have become even more slanted to the right in recent weeks/months. They do often talk about the fact that commentators call them conservative, which means viewers at least know they are "accused" of this. But that said, they are definitely kinder to Bush and the Iraq war and against europe far more than any of the other cable news outlets. Hopefully, Fox will revert more to the center post election. The election brings out the worst in everyone, Fox included. Kerry included. BUsh included. CBS included.

6:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry to go off topic, but as much as I share in David's views, I think there are more important issues right now than this biased Fox moron. (I have heard arguments the reporter had planned all along to post the fabricated Kerry piece should his man perform badly in the debate. The Right's usual tactic involves doing actually ANYTHING to instill doubt about Kerry into the public's mind, with the media all too willing to oblige).
One major criticism of Bush when he ran against Gore four fateful years ago was that he lacked foreign policy experience. His only experience was serving two-terms as Texas governor and overseeing many failed business ventures. It was said if Bush was elected president, the American people would succumb to "on-the-job training" when it came to issues abroad.
The prophesy has proven true.
We now have comments from Paul Bremer, who was the former administrator of the U.S. occupation in Iraq up until the handover of power in late June, adding to the overwhelming evidence Bush charged into Iraq without adequate troop levels and otherwise screwed up the occupation immediately after the ouster of Saddam Hussein. These actions put U.S. troops needlessly in harm's way. They have jeopardized our chances of success in Iraq, and possibly added tens of billions of dollars to the already tremendous cost burden of fighting this War as an anchor dragging down the U.S. economy. These actions must not be taken lightly.
Is this really the man we would want to continue on as president?
We have a president learning foreign policy as he goes along, often with devastating results.
Bush calls Iraq the "central front on the war in terror," but his own actions have created that front.
Why is this bungling fool who stubbornly fails to acknowledge or learn from his mistakes, deemed the more qualified candidate to clean up this mess?
As any major corporation would do, the manager must be thrown out and a demonstratingly more capable body brought in.

*P.S. One other argument that I don't think has received enough air. People would probably not be in support of Iraq War if they were aware of the glaring U.S. hypocrisy in recent relations with that country.
The mass-graves in Iraq Bush frequently references to drum up public opinion in favor of his war are from the Sunni uprising that U.S. fully supported. On top of that, U.S. politicos and Donald Rumsfeld expressed support for Sadaam at the same time they well knew he was gassing the kurds, "gassing his own people" as Bush Jr. now likes to often shudder us.

12:48 PM  
Anonymous morg173 said...

David, thanks for the link over at The Wide Awakes referring me to this post but I must say, there lacks a bit of confirmation.

So you are saying that the most hated Network News Station posted an article that could have surely had them in hot water, yet no one got a screen cap of it?

Kind of hard to swallow, it kind of reminds me of those Downing Street Memos in which the originals were conveniently destroyed.

So like I said over at TWA, you guys are good at believing what you want, proof or no proof.

Good writing though, Cheers!

10:55 PM  
Blogger Morg said...

Your rebuttal is ready sir,

http://thewideawakes.org/archives/2005/09/04/fun-liberal-quotes/

BTW, I see that you have Kn@ppster linked. Knapp and I have a side project starting at http://thecontrarians.blogspot.com .

We need a progressive lib on board. Check it out and shoot me an email if you are interested, so not to disturb this debate.

bmorgan1@cox.net

1:18 AM  

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