Thursday, June 29, 2006

Liberal Media Bias? CBS, CNN Reporters Buy Into Conservative Jargon

Reporters for CNN and CBS -- ofted cited by conservative pundits as major sources of "liberal media bias" -- lazily repeated the conservative jargon "cut and run" to describe Democratic proposals for U.S. troop redeployment from Iraq, while failing to use the term to describe a similar proposal being considered by the Bush Administration.

CNN host Paula Zahn and congressional correspondent Dana Bash each adopted the conservative description "cut and run" for the Democratic proposals -- prior to the news that the top American commander in Iraq, Gen. George Casey, had briefed the administration on a similar plan.

Zahn, interviewing Sen. Joseph Biden (D-DE) on June 20, asserted that the Democratic Party is "getting creamed as the party of cut-and-runners, the wobbly, the weak."

The next day, Bash reported: "(W)e've heard it over and over again and we'll hear it many times today, the term 'cut and run.' They will say the Democrats want nothing more than to cut and run from Iraq."

But what excuse does CBS Evening News correspondent Joie Chen have for this report on June 25 -- after it became known that Casey's plan was conceptually similar to one offered by Sens. Carl Levin (D-MI) and Jack Reed (D-RI)?

Here's how Chen describes Casey's proposal:

CHEN: It's not a cut-and-run strategy, but the report suggests the Pentagon is contemplating a sharp change in direction, a way out for some forces. The New York Times says General George Casey, the top man in Iraq, last week laid out a plan that would slash the 14 combat brigades now in Iraq down to five or six by next December.

As media watchdog Media Matters noted: "Chen did not say how she thought Casey's reported plan differs from what the White House and Senate Republicans have labeled the Democrats' 'cut-and-run' proposals."

Why not? Because conservatives can't give a substantive reason why the plans differ. As a result, Chen lazily repeats the conservative spin as fact.

"Liberal media bias?" Hardly.

What makes this worse, of course, is that Senate Majority Whip Mitch McConnell admitted on June 25 -- prior to Chen's report -- that Republican lawmakers were aware of Casey's plan before voting against, and badmouthing, the Levin-Reed proposal.

In other words, even though Republicans knew a similar plan was being hatched by Gen. Casey, they nonetheless took the partisan route by shouting "cut and run" over and over -- enough times, apparently, that it has sunk in with key parts of the supposedly "liberal media."

16 Comments:

Anonymous Dr Fate said...

When is a top Democrat going to call them on it- to their faces?

Sooner rather than later, I hope.

As it is, most Demcorats are largely silent when it comes to discussing media bias. At least they never talk about it when they are on TV or in editiorials.

2:29 PM  
Anonymous rob of wilmington, del. said...

levin knocked a Fox morning host but I haven't seen much more.

2:29 PM  
Anonymous Dr Fate said...

I saw all 5 seconds of that. A late start, and not enough.

I thought he did well- but it needs to be done every single time by every Democrat- until the bias is either reduced or at least becomes common knowledge to the viewers.

2:30 PM  
Anonymous RangerSmith said...

These are hardly even decent examples.

That's just the way the talking heads operate. They throw out the inflamatory buzz words because the people being interviewed are there wanting to address those buzz words specifically.

2:30 PM  
Anonymous rob of wilmington, del. said...

not exactly

Paula Zahn is a talking head, sure. But Bash and Chen are supposedly objective reporters.

The thing is, they use these buzzwords because they know other people -- such as Fox -- are using them, and they don't want to be accused of being liberal. I can almost understand what Bash did -- she framed it as, "the republicans are doing this," which is accurate.

But what Chen did is just lazy and stupid and unnecessary. And the fact that it came after McConnell admitted the GOP knew about Casey's plan during the week, but still badmouthed the Democrats, shows how little effort Chen put into her report.

2:31 PM  
Anonymous Dr Fate said...

Democrat to talking head: "Why do you keep repeating GOP talking points?"

"Wolf- you DO realize that this talking point originated from Karl Rove's desk, dont you?- so why are you repeating it for him, as if you are advancing the phrase on purpose or something- care to explain yourself to your audience as to why?"

That took 5 or so seconds to get that in there. EVERY Democrat on TV should adress talking points in this manner.

2:31 PM  
Anonymous RangerSmith said...

thats just standard political deflection and even though most politicians are very good at it, the public very often wants to see specific points addressed.

2:32 PM  
Anonymous Dr Fate said...

The public needs to see media biased exposed. So that they have a better perspective as to whether the "specific points" are BS or not.

I'm not so sure our Democrats are very good at it at all- I've never seen them adress media bias.

2:32 PM  
Anonymous RangerSmith said...

I think you sell the intelligence of the public a little short... they want people to cut through the BS and actually NOT be a typical deflecting politician and they want them to point out why the rhetoric and talking points are nothing but BS.

2:32 PM  
Anonymous Dr Fate said...

You lost me. "Cut & Run" is indeed BS that needs to be "cut through." And you "cut through it" by exposing it for what it is- a Rove contrived phrase that media talking heads repeat over & over.

Exposing a GOP/media talking point- exactly how is that "typical deflection"?- nothing typical about it- I've never seen it done.

Are you really saying that we should not point out the strange fact that "journalists" constantly parrot GOP talking points?

2:33 PM  
Anonymous RangerSmith said...

In the cases specifically used here? You really are kidding, right?

I mean these programs are all but basically scripted and the person the talking head is sitting across from is there to do nothing other than address the GOP talking point.

In this case it's not a bias, the DNC wants this exact situation and interview to take place and they want that question asked specifically. Everybody.... ok, well most everybody in the "biz" is in on this way things are done.

2:35 PM  
Anonymous rob of wilmington, del. said...

one problem is that you have sites like media matters pointing out use of conservative jargon, but most people only know media matters through the eyes of bill o'reilly and his ilk -- trying to suggest that it's a liberal propaganda site, misrepresenting its purpose.

unless you listen to al franken's show on air america, you probably won't get a fair use of (or even frequent mention of) sites like media matters.

2:35 PM  
Anonymous gratuitous said...

Oh yeah, they all used "cut and run" a phrase helpfully provided by the Pentagon. And while I saw several stories about the 74-page talking points bulletin the Pentagon handed out to its congressional advocates, there was precious little about the startling and unprecedented nature of the Pentagon orchestrating the debate in Congress. Apparently, the Defense Department has adopted the Republican party as its official party, which is sort of against the concept of a nonpartisan military ultimately answerable to civilian authority.

What's next? Loyalty oaths? Oops, got 'em. Will the military decide it's only going to defend Republican strongholds? And who will it view as the "enemy" against which the country needs protection? Terrorists? Democrats? Other threats to its way of life? We need some serious reforms in this country when the organs of government function for only one party and one viewpoint.

2:36 PM  
Anonymous zbdent said...

Any TV personality who uses "Left Coast" is suspect in my book . . .

2:36 PM  
Anonymous sendero said...

I remember when the media did in fact have a liberal bias, and the Republicans bitched incessantly about it. Then they took it over.

Democrats need to muster the courage to call the media what it is, Republican lap-dogs.

2:36 PM  
Blogger thewaronterrible said...

Some day in the not too distant future, this very topic will be one closely studied within college history courses and text books as yet one more example on the fascinating way that the Republicans and their media confidants managed to manipulate power and prolong U.S. involvement in a quagmire war (based on faulty pretenses from the onset).
Again, the Dems must forcibly insert into the upcoming mid-term campaigns how their Iraq plan conferred with that of Gen. Casey's -- a stong message promising a weak rebuttal from Repugs and their media enablers at best.

3:37 PM  

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