Sure, this is partly because Republicans would be more likely to watch the convention, Democrats less so -- but the spread is so massive that it cannot be attributed only to preexisting political affiliations. Here are the numbers: Among convention watchers, 67% give a more favorable rating, 33% a less favorable rating; among nightly news watchers, only 28% give a more favorable rating, while 72% give a less favorable.
These results are staggering, and ought to precipitate a little bit of soul-searching among the MSM. Yet it appears its members are completely unreflective. The day that a Yahoo! editor is fired for an anti-Romney smear (characterized as a "joke," but in truth anything but), PBS fixture Gwen Ifill defends him as "God's gift to political journalism" (and yet is "livid" that she isn't chosen to moderate a debate!?).
It is time for a discussion of what the role of the media actually is. My understanding was that any good reporter's first responsibility was to give readers the facts, without fear or favor. In other words, there should be no bias -- and to the extent it exists, a reporter should work scrupulously to keep it from sinking into his/her coverage.
Indeed, that still seems to be the prevailing standard at least in the abstract, which is why many journalists decline to vote. Yet in practice, it is generally known that the press now leans to the left, and has for some time. In fact, as Professor Tim Groseclose recently found after studying the subject, "Media bias aids Democratic candidates by about 8 to 10 percentage points in a typical election." That statistic should be a source of profound shame to the media . . . but there's no evidence that it is.
Indeed, the bias seeps into the coverage, in often insidious ways. The choice of what not to cover can be as telling as the topics chosen for coverage. An excellent example was the AP piece this week by Beth Fouhy, naming the nettlesome issues the GOP wasn't discussing from the stage. What a convenient frame for every anti-Republican topic out there . . . all under the guise of news "analysis"!
Or take the WaPo "fact-checker." It's not enough to claim Republicans are "lying" for stating facts he doesn't like; now he's preemptively declaring false some statements Mitt Romney hasn't even made yet! (H/T Breitbart's John Nolte). And no sane person actually believes the President will be subjected to the same treatment in the same way next week.
Similarly,Brian Williams chastised Ann Romney for saying her husband would "save America," using unnamed sources ("someone who knows you") to do so. Does anyone think he would treat Michelle Obama the same way? Pleeeeze.
The problem is that the press -- with some honorable exceptions like Jake Tapper -- has completely lost its reputation for fairness and objectivity. As a result, neither side gives it credence when it tries to "fact check" or play referee. That's because being an umpire requires trust on both sides that the umpire is, for the most part, trying to get it right -- rather than rigging the game for a favored team.
Want to know a big reason why discourse in this country has degraded so much? Because there is no longer any impartial journalistic institution that can hold anyone to account. It's just one big food fight. Like Dan Rather (just not as flamboyantly), most journalists long ago sold their souls to the liberal cause, and there is nowhere they can go to get their reputations back.
That is their shame, and to America's detriment.