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Monday, January 1st, 2007

Time Event
12:16p
A very good book ...
O.K., so I know that my Liberal readers are already feeling their panties knot up, so let me at least throw them a bone before getting into looking at this book. It is possible to lay the blame for everything that has gone bad with the media over the past 30-some years at the feet of the "evil corporate executives" running the companies that own CBS, NBC, ABC, etc. ... one of the first things I bookmarked in this was a story from the early 70's where a "good news/bad news" report was being made at a staff meeting at CBS ... both of which were that the CBS News division had made a profit for the first quarter in its history, and everybody in the room knew that once that happened, it would be expected to continue to happen.

In times of fast-breaking events, even the most slanted news vehicles can rise to the occasion and actually report the news as it happens, but in a profit-driven corporate culture, the "if it bleeds, it leads" school takes over, sensationalizing and "spinning" every story. What long-time CBS News reporter Bernard Goldberg points out in Bias: A CBS Insider Exposes How the Media Distort the News is that the people managing what shows up on the air (and, to a large extent, in the newspapers) are not only "sensationalism" driven, but live in a "liberal bubble" world where middle-American conservatism is never seriously considered (a great quote in there was from a New York reporter who was shocked by Nixon's election, carrying 49 states, saying "nobody I know voted for him!").

Goldberg touches on a lot of very "dangerous" topics in the course of this book, from looking at "racial quotas" on what sort of faces get on videotape (not showing videotapes of looting in Haiti because there were no White looters to show in a 98% Black country!), to demands of "minority" voices being sources for every story run by many newspapers (with the frustration of reporters to find a black Jew to interview for a Hanuka story in Oklahoma, or this one Asian lady who was interviewed numerous times a month on widely divergent topics, just because she was a "non-white" in her community). On this level, Goldberg is almost more "sad" than angry ... but it borders on the bizarre when the producers demand "attractive white middle class faces" when dealing with stories about Alabama chain gangs, crack houses, and homeless families.

This last topic is of particular interest, as Goldberg shows how a "social issue" can pretty much disappear over-night depending on who is in the White House. From standard studies showing head counts of a few hundred thousand homeless, the media drove up these figures to as high as 19 million (in a Charles Osgood feature, no less). Then, suddenly, the "homeless problem" seemingly ceased to exist ... for eight years it dropped off the radar of the major media. What happened? Did homelessness simply go away? Not exactly, but the answer lies in the chapter "How Bill Clinton Cured Homelessness" ... simply by not having a Republican in office to bash with whatever issue was at hand, the question of homelessness was suddenly not a "useful story", until about three weeks into G.W.B.'s Presidency, when suddenly, all these homeless were back in the news. Tied into this is a look at how the Mainstream Media will print virtually any press release from extreme Left "activist" groups (no doubt where that 19,000,000 figure came from) without even a gesture of fact-checking {Earth calling Dan Rather}, but will blatantly disregard anything coming from a source more to the Right than their own insular opinions.

Goldberg is, if anything, easy on his old colleagues, he understands "where they're coming from", and had been a long-time Liberal stalwart himself. In fact the entire trigger for the events detailed in Bias come from an opinion piece he wrote about a story on CBS when Steve Forbes was running for the Republican nomination. The news story was sneering, nasty, and belittling of Forbes' (very good) Flat-Tax platform, and Goldberg wrote his piece chastising his fellow CBS employees for providing a serious disservice to their viewers in simply slamming the man an his ideas, rather than examining them. It is amazing to see how quickly he was being painted as being somewhere to the right of Rush Limbaugh!

Of course, Goldberg runs the risk of being compared to Ann Coulter when he starts quoting Lexis/Nexis figures for news coverage. The Left always screams bloody murder when Ann points out the hefty Liberal slant on stories appearing the media, and I'm sure this is likely to rub off on anybody else pointing out the transparency of the emperors' suit. However, Goldberg backs up his assertions with solid facts and figures, and I can only imagine the lefties sticking their fingers in their ears and going "nah, nah, nah, nah, I can't hear you" to avoid these uncomfortable truths.

Needless to say, I highly recommend picking up a copy of Bernard Goldberg's Bias! It is still in print (in both hardcover and paperback), so should be available through your local store, but it can also be had via the Amazon new/used vendors for as little as a penny (I picked up a virtually pristine copy of the hardcover for 1¢!), with "new" copies starting just under a buck!

Again, this is one that I think everybody should read ... even the Liberals, who might get some sense of why when they open their mouths the rest of us look at them like they need to put in a rubber room!


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