Media Bias 101

Erick Erickson
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Posted: Apr 07, 2017 12:01 AM
Media Bias 101

After the November election last year, a friend of mine asked how many reporters know people with a pick up truck. It seemed a reasonable question. The pick up truck makes up the top three most popular vehicles in the United States. How many truck owners do political reporters know? You would have thought he had accused the American political press of prostitution. Members of the American political press were livid he would dare ask the question.

The American political press is one of the most insular institutions in America and hate being exposed for their insularity. They are mostly coastal, secular, if not flat out atheist, overwhelmingly liberal, and have nothing in common with nor want to have anything in common with the average American.

This past week has been a case study in that media bias starting with Susan Rice, President Obama's National Security Advisor. I have fond affection for CNN, having gotten my start in television there. Yes, I have seen firsthand liberal bias in their newsroom. But I think it often comes more from worldview and being inside a bubble than it does from aggressive partisanship. I think most of the anchors at CNN, particularly the further in the day one watches, do their absolute best to be objective, fair and cover all sides. If the network would abandon the Democrat Governor of New York's more dimwitted brother for their morning show, the network as a whole would be improved. The people at CNN are some of the best and most professional in the news business.

But CNN did a real disservice this past week. Two weeks ago, Susan Rice denied unmasking any Trump transition team members. Her denial came as Republicans found more evidence that Obama Administration officials did seek the names of Trump transition team officials talking to foreign governments.

But just this past week, she reversed course but claimed it was not illegal and said she was not the leaker. Rice, however, has a sordid history with truth. She is the one who blamed the Benghazi terrorist attack on a YouTube video, which we all know was not true.

This brings me back to CNN. The network's national security reporter is Jim Sciutto. After reports circulated Rice was behind the unmasking, Sciutto claimed sources close to Rice told him, "The idea that Ambassador Rice improperly sought the identities of Americans is false." He was personally dismissive of the allegations. Remember, though, Susan Rice subsequently admitted she had names unmasked.

Jim Sciutto used to be an Obama Administration official who left the Administration for a job at ABC News working with Susan Rice's husband. Sciutto is one of many Obama appointees who went back into the media with the veneer of objectivity. Sciutto should have been conflicted out of coverage on this story, but he was not.

The Rice story comes as Republicans in Washington blow up the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees. On this story, CNN has been intellectually honest and one of the few to be honest. Read most any major newspaper or any news network other than CNN and Fox and you would never know Democrats actually scrapped the filibuster for Barack Obama's nominees. All the GOP is doing is finishing the Democrats' job.

Reporters who, when Democrats scuttled the filibuster for nominees, said it was no big deal, now argue that the Republicans are fundamentally destroying what makes the Senate unique. Of course, it is not just them. Senator Elizabeth Warren, who campaigned on destroying the filibuster to advance her liberal agenda, now claims destroying the filibuster is a national travesty. The intellectual dishonesty is amazing. That the media is as intellectually dishonest on this issue as partisan Democrats is not surprising, but should be disturbing.

If the American media wants to restore its reputation, perhaps it could both relate better to the American people and stop giving partisan political appointees the veneer of objectivity. The American people need a media they can trust and instead have a political press that not only does not relate to them, but holds the people in contempt.