Is the Media Worse Now About Their Left-Wing Bias than Ever?

by SCOTT MCKAY August 31, 2012

I suspect that's a matter of interpretation and "feel," as it would be hard to quantify statistically.

But it feels like the left-wingers in the legacy/elite media have gone off the rails this week at the Republican National Convention.

First there was Juan Williams, who's an exemplar of the legacy media (Washington Post and NPR, which make up his pedigree, suffice nicely even though he works at Fox News now), and his mind-boggling assault on Ann Romney as a pampered corporate wife mere minutes after a speech she gave about conquering adversity. Williams offered an "explanation" of his attack on the GOP nominee's wife which contained an attempt to confine his fire to her speech and not her person - and fell as flat as his initial attack.

And Williams' denigration of Ann Romney was virtually identical to what was going on at MSNBC. That network, already stinging from the unhinged and embarrassing rant Chris Matthews laid on RNC chair Reince Priebus earlier in the week and Newt Gingrich's subsequent verbal beatdown of the connected-but-lacking-in-merit former failed Congressional candidate, has nevertheless plowed ahead with coverage of the convention falling off even its own rails.

For example, on Tuesday - after that network had again and again decried the implicit racism of the GOP - with Matthews serving as only one of its inquisitors - the convention's speaking roster included two very articulate and talented black speakers in Mia Love and Artur Davis as well as three other Hispanic speakers in Luce Fortuno, Brian Sandoval and Ted Cruz. And MSNBC would not televise a single one of those speeches. Not a single one. NBC News wouldn't even list Davis' speech - in which he came out publicly as a Democrat switching to the GOP - as one of the notable speeches at the convention on its website. They would do the same thing to Susana Martinez' speech on Wednesday.

This while Chuck Todd of that network roamed the convention floor and cooked up the narrative that the black people at the convention were strategically placed in the seating arrangements so as to maximize their visibility in front of the cameras.

On Wednesday, Condoleezza Rice gave a stirring speech which articulated black conservatism perhaps better than anyone before her - containing the outstanding line that "a little girl grows up in Jim Crow Birmingham - the most segregated big city in America - her parents can't take her to a movie theater or a restaurant - but they make her believe that even though she can't have a hamburger at the Woolworth's lunch counter - she can be President of the United States and she becomes the Secretary of State. Yes, America has a way of making the impossible seem inevitable in retrospect."

ABC News showed just two minutes of the speech and ate up the rest of the time Rice was talking with babbling from Diane Sawyer and George Stephanopoulos, making them the leader in the clubhouse. At least, until this...

Birtherism? Where does that come from? From this line, apparently:

"In America it doesn't matter where you came from. It matters where you're going."

Also in last night's coverage, this lowlight - in which a thoroughly unremarkable Mitch McConnell speech was filtered and interpreted by Martin Bashir and Lawrence O'Donnell as a sneaky attempt at subtle racism using golf as a racial dog whistle...

MARTIN BASHIR: We have seen an early draft of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's forthcoming oration. Can I quote something from you? "For four years, Barack Obama has been running from the nation's problems, he hasn't been working to earn re-election. He has been working to earn a spot on the PGA Tour." How about that?

LAWRENCE O'DONNELL: Well, we know exactly what he's trying to do there. He is trying to align to Tiger Woods and surely, the - lifestyle of Tiger Woods with Barack Obama. Obviously, nothing could be further from the truth. They find every way they possibly can to -

BASHIR: Lawrence - don't you think - don't you think that what he's really trying to do is to suggest that the president is not paying attention to the central issues that come with the responsibility he has? Is he really - Mitch McConnell really making a connection with Tiger Woods who, of course, has become infamous for chasing various cocktail waitresses around Las Vegas and so on?

O'DONNELL: Martin, there are many, many, many rhetorical choices you can make at any point in any speech to make whatever point up want to make. If he wanted to make the point that you just suggested and I think he does want to make that point, they had a menu of a minimum of ten different kinds of images that they could have raised. And I promise you, the speech writers went through, rejecting three or four before they land order that one. That's the one they want for a very deliberate reason. That - there's - these people reach for every single possible racial double entendre they can find in every one of these speeches.

Meanwhile, the Washington Post's Sally Quinn published a column asking whether Isaac landing in Louisiana wasn't God's way of punishing Republicans. Not a blog post at Democrat Underground or Fire Dog Lake, but a column at the Washington Post.

And at CBS News, Charlie Rose - oblivious to the volume of black and Hispanic speakers at the RNC, apparently - said "...Many people worry that people who are Hispanic, African-American and other minorities don't have a place in this party."

And there was the David Chalian incident. Chalian, Yahoo! News' Washington bureau chief and a former producer at ABC News who won an Emmy for Charlie Gibson's peer-down-the-spectacles-at-Sarah Palin hit-piece interview four years ago, was caught on a hot mic yesterday "jokingly" accusing the Romneys of being happy to have a party while black people are drowning. Chalian was immediately fired by Yahoo!, which apparently still has some journalistic standards, but his peers hardly ran from him in the aftermath of the statement.

PBS' Gwen Ifill...

One mistake does not change this. @davidchalian is God's gift to political journalism. #IStandwithDavid

- gwen ifill (@pbsgwen) August 29, 2012

And the New Yorker's Ryan Lizza...

ryan lizza_tweet

But things really came to a boil as Paul Ryan took to the stage to speak last night. Ryan told the story of a GM plant in his hometown of Janesville, Wisconsin which was going down the tubes and has closed despite Obama's promises to the contrary...

When he talked about change, many people liked the sound of it, especially in Janesville, where we were about to lose a major factory.

A lot of guys I went to high school with worked at that GM plant. Right there at that plant, candidate Obama said: "I believe that if our government is there to support you. this plant will be here for another hundred years."

That's what he said in 2008. Well, as it turned out, that plant didn't last another year. It is locked up and empty to this day. And that's how it is in so many towns today, where the recovery that was promised is nowhere in sight.

Ryan said the plant was in trouble. He said Obama promised that it would stay open. And he said it closed less than a year after Obama promised otherwise.

This, according to the legacy media elites, is a lie.

MNSBC trotted out Ed Schultz and Al Sharpton (!) to call it a lie, then NBC gave Matt Lauer air to do the same. There was more from the horribly left-leaning Politifact...

Did Obama make such a promise as a candidate and break it after becoming president?

Actually, the plant closed before he even took office.

The plant

In 1918, General Motors bought a farm implement manufacturing plant in Janesville, a city of 60,000 near the Illinois border. Production of Chevrolets began there in 1923. Employment peaked at 7,100 in 1978, but a series of five layoffs occurred over the next 30 years.

By December 2008, when President George W. Bush authorized nearly $14 billion in loans to General Motors and Chrysler, both of which were near financial collapse, GM had already warned it might close the Janesville plant because of sagging sport-utility vehicle sales. The plant was effectively shut down on Dec. 23, 2008, when GM ceased production of SUVs there and laid off 1,200 workers. (Several dozen workers stayed on another four months to finish an order of small- to medium-duty trucks for Isuzu Motors.)

So, the plant closed while Bush was still in office, about a month before Obama was inaugurated.

Ryan's evidence

We asked Kevin Seifert, spokesman for Ryan's U.S. House campaign, for evidence that Obama promised to keep the Janesville plant open and failed. (Ryan will be on the November 2012 ballot both for his House seat and as Mitt Romney's running mate.)

Seifert cited this portion of a February 2008 campaign speech then-Sen. Obama gave at the Janesville plant:

"And I believe that if our government is there to support you, and give you the assistance you need to re-tool and make this transition, that this plant will be here for another hundred years.  The question is not whether a clean energy economy is in our future, it's where it will thrive.  I want it to thrive right here in the United States of America; right here in Wisconsin; and that's the future I'll fight for as your president."

That's a statement of belief that, with government help, the Janesville plant could remain open - but not a promise to keep it open.

Seifert also referred us to Brendan Buck, a spokesman for the Romney-Ryan campaign. Buck cited a Detroit News article on the same speech, saying the article made clear that "it was the takeaway from the event that (Obama) was pledging to keep the plant open if he got his bailout."

That might have been Buck's interpretation. But the article reported that Obama, who later provided an $80 billion auto bailout, had pledged to help keep the Janesville plant and others like it "viable." That's not quite the same thing as pledging keep the Janesville plant open. We find nothing in the article that he explicitly promised to keep it open.

Our rating

Ryan said Obama broke his promise to keep a Wisconsin GM plant from closing. But we don't see evidence he explicitly made such a promise - and more importantly, the Janesville plant shut down before he took office.

We rate Ryan's statement False.

National Review's Jim Geraghty tore this to shreds...

A lot of liberal bloggers are insisting that the plant was "shut down" under the Bush administration. There's the point when the orders for new vehicles stopped coming in, and the point when the plant actually completed its orders and stopped making them.One was in the closing months of the Bush administration, the other was in the opening months of the Obama administration: "The Janesville plant stopped production of SUVs in 2008 and was idled in 2009 after it completed production of medium-duty trucks."

The plants are on "standby," and some would dispute whether that means the factory is "lost." But the bottom line is that people aren't working there (other than whatever skeleton crew is sweeping the floors and maintaining the facility), they aren't collecting pay, and they are "locked up and empty": "Since they were shut down in 2009, both the Janesville and Tennessee plants have been on standby status, meaning they were not producing vehicles, but they were not completely shut down."

Some lefties are jumping up and down and saying, "But Romney and Ryan opposed the GM bailout!" Yes, but that's not a fact at issue. Ryan doesn't claim that he and Romney would have, or even get into the bailout.

That section is beautifully constructed because it brings the listener to many conclusions implied but not stated: That the bailout overpromised and underdelivered, that Obama makes promises he can't keep, and that the government is not to be relied upon to "support you." The issue is less the GM bailout than the lack of genuine economic recovery. In the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel story quoted above:

Auto industry observer David Cole, chairman emeritus of the Ann Arbor, Mich.-based Center for Automotive Research, said it would be premature to say the Janesville plant will never reopen.

"If we get back to any kind of a reasonable market, with 15- or 16 million sales, then I think that's going to require Janesville as well," he said.

But the economy is recovering more slowly than people anticipated. "That's really the key factor," Cole said. "You're going to see the company be exceedingly cautious on overcapacity. And they obviously didn't need a commitment for Janesville to get the UAW's support."

The problem for the Janesville plant isn't the GM bailout. The problem is the national economy - the same problem that is preeminent in the minds of most voters this election.

And that's the biggest problem for the Obama campaign with this entire debate and all of their arguments about precisely when the GM plant stopped making cars. Most voters will tune out the back-and-forth charges until the bottom line: "The plant in Janesville is still closed."

That the left-leaning media isn't giving the GOP a fair shake is hardly news. But the volume and intensity has caught the notice of Investors' Business Daily cartoonist Michael Ramirez...

ramirez cartoon_media dog_obama leg

Scott McKay, a sales, marketing and business consultant, is the Publisher/Blogger at TheHayride.com, a news/commentary blog about Louisiana and national politics.  


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