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Thursday, February 3, 2011

ALL Media Are Wrong Sometimes

It’s not unusual to find a story about how Fox News needs a Geography lesson. There are many on the Left who live to bash Fox News for just about-- everything. What IS odd is that the story is from 2009.

Fox News misrepresented Egypt on the World Map, showing it to be where Iraq actually sits. Now, this IS a problem, considering most Americans probably don’t even know what states make up the Midwest and have been hit with the latest winter blizzard. It’s sad, quite frankly, that there are adults who can barely name all 50 states, let alone tell you the location of Egypt or Pakistan. So, yes, Fox was wrong, but what’s even MORE appalling is there were probably very few viewers that even noticed! (Hey Rasmussen do a poll on THAT!)

Okay, Fox was wrong-- can’t defend them. Now to be “fair and balanced”, I’ll admit that it must be challenging to be 100% accurate with 24/7/365 day a year coverage, after all, it IS performed by HUMANS, and people AREN’T perfect. So, while I'm pointing out that Fox was wrong, I can also point out that MSNBC is guilty of mistakes, too.

While discussing the situation in Egypt, Chris Matthews, on his Hardball show, said, “…It’s so strategically located. It has, of course, the Nile River. It has, of course, the Panama Canal.” Now, to be fair, he corrected himself and later said the Suez Canal, but how is it that HE can slip up, assuming that’s what it was, but according to him, Bachmann and Palin can NOT? They are balloon heads, mail-order brides, or exotic dancing spies. No leeway for THEM, but he, Chris Matthews, just had a slip of the tongue. Or did he? We don’t know for sure. All we DO know is that he corrected himself. So, did he catch his OWN mistake, or did someone whisper into his ear piece? I’ll assume he caught himself, because I have dignity. I just wish Matthews would show a little to others who don’t “think” along the same political lines as he does. But I won’t hold my breath.

Then there’s the Rachel Maddow show where she was talking about the state of Indiana but her visual map had Indiana where Illinois should have been. How many Americans noticed THAT oopsie? And how many Left-leaning blogs wrote that MSNBC needed a Geography lesson or misinformed its audience? I’m guessing a big fat zero. I’ll bet the citizens of Illinois and Indiana caught the err right away, but did Maddow notice while reporting? Guess not, or she would’ve said something, right? Is she a balloon-head? Or was she so engrossed in her reporting that she just didn’t notice? I’m going to give her the benefit of the doubt and go with the latter.

Again with Maddow, but this time on her December 9, 2010, Debunktion Junction show, where she verifies the authenticity of rumors. Ms. Maddow confirmed her own prediction from her appearance on Meet the Press that Christine O’Donnell would end up on Fox News, “…it takes precisely zero genius to predict O’Donnell would host TV on Fox News but it has now gone from prediction and rumor to true.” Maddow went on to praise her brilliant prophecy because she had it on good authority that Christine O’Donnell was the new guest host for Fox & Friends. Oops, turns out Maddow wasn’t so brilliant, and seems she may need a crystal ball, because O’Donnell is NOT a guest host on Fox anything. So, Maddow was wrong, but has yet to come out on her show to “debunk” herself. The Left hasn’t demanded that Maddow correct her false claim, you know, like they do when the Right “lies” but “never” retracts. Oh, and we haven't had any head-lines that read MSNBC is misinforming the public by the Left, either. Hmm, maybe they’re still in the works…I won’t hold my breath though.

Fox News makes a mistake and they are Faux News, Fixed News, Fog News, and Fascist News, to name a few. MSNBC errs and it’s no big deal. I don’t like the double standard. If one news source screws up a map and is called ill-informed, stupid and every other conceived name in the book, then every other news source that screws up should be stupid, ill-informed and every other conceived name in the book, too. EVERY news medium SHOULD be held to the SAME standards.

I hear and read that there isn’t bias in the media, but that’s simply not true. It’s sometimes difficult to SEE the bias when the side you’re on is doing the slanting, because it appears normal, therefore you don’t SEE it. We need to look at our media WITHOUT our political lenses. It’s challenging because we tend to see issues from our OWN perspective. But our media is TOO important and MUST be held to different and higher standards. They are supposed to be our watchdogs; therefore we need them to use FACTS, not opinions or prejudices, and they must NOT wear political lenses. They MUST NOT omit facts, even if those facts could harm someone with the same political leanings.

I would really like a reliable, honest news source. One that reports FACTS and omits the slanting and bias. I truly believe it would be the most popular venue that would pull in the highest ratings because it would receive viewership from both sides of the political aisle for reporting FACTS, not opinions. (We have enough of those!) The public wants information, and it deserves the truth.

But hey, I won’t hold my breath.


  1. Pamela - Great post and insight. s well as honesty.

    I shall not hold my breathe either as I value my life too much.

    And by the way I am considering changing my shtick from "Birthplace of Independent Conservatism" to.... "The Birthplace of Cynical Independent Conservatism."

    What do you think?

  2. I tried... all I did was turn blue... Good post, and points. One of the issues is the constant news cycle, and fact checkers that have minutes not hours to fact check/correct graphics. As far as the bias, it's getting worse instead of better. It's almost impossible to find a true hard news program these days.

  3. Pam. Fox news used this same map the first time in 2009. They were hardly under the pressures of a deadline.

  4. Les: I understand your cynicism and I admit I am sometimes prone to it myself. I try, though, to see the good in people, even if they let me down more times than not. I’ll keep hoping that one of these days mankind will get it right! :-)

    NFO: If you happen upon a reliable “true hard news program”, please let me know. I get tired of doing my own research and fact-checking of the sources that I do watch/listen to.

    Leslie: Yes, the map is originally from 2009 but was being tweeted about just a few days ago, according to Huffington Post (my link). I don’t know how long they had to get the graphics together for their “show”, and like I said I’m sure it’s challenging, but there’s still no excuse for not telling your audience about a mistake. I think EVERY news source should be responsible enough to tell its viewers when they err.

  5. Ah Pamela my wise sister. More people choose Fox or MSNBC not for information, but for affirmation and validation of their views.

    I don't need Paul Begala and Alex Castellanos to provide spin on every story in the name of "balance." But partisanship apparently sells.

    I like Les and his Rational Nation website. But as nice as Les has treated me since he joined our community, even he has taken a harder right leaning on his posts.

    You gotta pander to your base to stay in business.

  6. People do like their biases confirmed, which explains why CNN is getting killed as it tries to play it down the middle.

    Why is Fox crushing MSNBC? Because there are more conservatives than liberals in this country.

    FOX also offers a wider range of views. Judge Napolitano is very libertarian and often rankles traditional conservatives.

    Also, Fox has some really smart and articulate liberals on who know how to argue their case. At Fox, you get a real debate.

  7. Oh, and we'll never have unbiased news. Human nature is what it is. This is why I am against any government control of speech, radio, tv, internet. We're smart enough to sort it out.

    CBS Grandfather Walter Krankenhaus was biased, because he was human.

  8. "Why is Fox crushing MSNBC? Because there are more conservatives than liberals in this country."--SF

    I don't think that's correct.

    Crushing? there are 300+ million people in this country. FOX has a viewership of about 2+ million, more than MSNBC, for sure. Hardly a "crushing" audience, since the network news stations bury FOX and its competitors.

    It has also been reported that FOX News' parent News Corp. waives their cable fees for certain entities to carry them--airports, workout clubs, etc.--there's a reason ($) that those places always has FOX on.

    BTW, the Jersey Shore has 8 million viewers, and it is the #1 rated cable show.

    No accounting for taste, is ther

  9. I think fox generally draws about three times the audience of MSNBC. We can quibble over how "crushing" that is, but it is not insignificant.

  10. Truth: I do think that the most popular sites, sources, etc., pander to their bases and that’s why I’ll probably never be popular. But hey, I’m okay with that. I’d rather be true to ME than pander.

    Silverfiddle: Don’t get me wrong, there are some from both sides that I like on Fox. Then there are others I could kick to the curb. And I get the biases, it’s human nature, but it would just be nice to have a source that’s strictly FACTS. I can dream, can’t I?

  11. To think that CNN is unbiased is absurd. CNN is almost as left slanting as MSNBC.

    As far as Fox News goes they are conservative leaning, do make mistakes but they are by far a network which tries to be fair and balanced and is fair and balanced compared to the rest of the networks.

  12. If you have spent time in a video production studio, you would know that there is a crew of specialists who bring you the news: Not just the talking heads but the sound technicians, electronic graphic artists, Chiron operators, editors, switchers, etc. Typographical errors happen, and these are not necessarily the fault of news anchors but anyone in the production chain. What concerns me more is the editorial policy of the news bureau.

    Glenn Beck, Self-Proclaimed Progressive Hunter. Partisan bullying and conspiratorial fear mongering on national TV are not harmless. Beck pitches his twisted messages to unhinged misfits who are most likely to act on impulse, and events have shown that violent rhetoric leads to violent acts. There is no plausible deniability that can remove this blood from Beck’s hands:

    Man Shoots Two California Highway Patrol Officers
    Accused Gunman Acknowledges Influence of Glenn Beck

    Three Pittsburgh Police Officers Ambushed and Killed
    Gunman Posted Glenn Beck Video on White Supremacist Website

    Federal Prison for Man Who Threatened Senator Murray
    Glenn Beck Cast Spell on Accused Man, Says Family

    Federal Prison for Man Who Threatened House Speaker Pelosi
    Mother of Accused Man Blames Fox News

    (Continued …)

  13. Fans Issue Death Threats after Glenn Beck Targets Legendary Scholar

    Death Threats Against League of Women Voters Linked to Glenn Beck

    Three dead police officers in Pittsburgh, two injured police officers in California, death threats against public officials, terrorized private citizens, infamous incitements and provocations broadcast on national television … THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE! Toxic television is no longer a partisan concern. There are prominent Republicans who are also alarmed, including:

    Former Bush Press Secretary Ari Fleischer:
    I find Glenn Beck to be a little weird and a little creepy

    Former Bush speechwriter David Frum:
    [Glenn Beck] such people do terrible damage

    Former Bush speechwriter Peter Wehner:
    the role Glenn Beck is playing is harmful in its totality

    National correspondent for The Atlantic, Jeffrey Goldberg:
    [Glenn Beck] is a classic case of anti-Semitic dog-whistling

    To focus on typographical errors is to miss the point. This kind of partisan hate speech has no place in a free society.

    How quickly we forget the lessons of history. The bogeymen of 1930s anti-Semitism that morphed into the bogeymen of 1950s McCarthyism has morphed again into the mainstreaming of Glenn Beck Militia Theater. What shocks me most about Glenn Beck: I no longer feel safe in my own country … given the fevered hysteria and poisoned atmosphere unleashed by Glenn Beck and Fox News. When I hear crap like this, I feel targeted for persecution.

    That is the difference!

  14. "I no longer feel safe in my own country …"

    Talk about fevered hysteria...

  15. Discussion of bad/mistaken news can't be complete without mentioning Dan Rather and the "Bush went AWOL" hoax.

    Didn't CBS actually keep Rather on for a couple of weeks after it was found that this claim was based on forged early-1970s documents actually made using Microsoft Word decades later?

    It's like Fox News insisting that its Egypt map blunder was an accurate reflection of the world for weeks.


    And Octo, as long as you are on a tear about Glenn Beck and death threats, we can't help but remember his clear and empassioned call for the murder of Michael Moore.


  16. Dmarks, thank you for reminding me of the Michael Moore rant. Here is the actual quote:

    BECK: Hang on, let me just tell you what I'm thinking. I'm thinking about killing Michael Moore, and I'm wondering if I could kill him myself, or if I would need to hire somebody to do it. No, I think I could. I think he could be looking me in the eye, you know, and I could just be choking the life out -- is this wrong? I stopped wearing my What-Would Jesus-band-Do … (May 17, 2005).

    What concerns me most about Glenn Beck is that he has successfully invented a new kind of bigotry, partisan bigotry, under cloak of free speech and a novel approach to persecution that goes far beyond demonizing.

    Consider the links in my comment above: A highly respected 78 year old scholar, now retired, receives thousands of death threat after a series of Glenn Beck broadcasts. News accounts of murders, shooting sprees, and terrorized citizens … all attributed to Glenn Beck. I find it unbelievable that this kind of inflammatory behavior is tolerated on national television. Far more dangerous, in my opinion, than a simple typo on a map.

  17. "To think that CNN is unbiased is absurd. CNN is almost as left slanting as MSNBC. "

    True. CNN is a pillar of the left-wing media establishment. They just do a better job of denying it.

  18. and Octo said:

    "What concerns me most about Glenn Beck is that he has successfully invented a new kind of bigotry, partisan bigotry"

    This predates Beck's fake.

    There are so many examples. Howard Dean's "I hate Republicans and everything they stand for".

    ...the politics of hate directed at roughly 50% of the American electorate.

  19. Dmarks,
    A minor course correction with respect to CNN. Recently, CNN has entered into some kind of PR relationship with the Tea Party Express. CNN was the only cable news outlet to broadcast Michelle Bachmann's SOTU response; not even Fox accorded her the same primetime opportunity.

    Let me focus on your statement: "the politics of hate directed at roughly 50% of the American electorate." The same holds true in reverse, which is precisely my point: How can we remain a civil society that values reasoned discourse when partisan bullying and intimidation enters the mainstream! Look, it has already cost lives. When the unthinkable becomes not only thinkable but also doable, do we really want to open this door?

    My point: We need to pull away from the brink before more people get hurt ... or killed.

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