What the Old News Media Risks From Its Bias

Kyle-Anne Shiver & Lee Cary
Somewhere during this campaign the old news media reached the tipping point and their bias meter slid into the red zone. Have their owners considered the possible unintended consequences of this?

Somewhere, perhaps with the now famous Saturday Night Live skit that lampooned the softball questions asked of Senator Obama during the primary debates, the old news media was outed as unequivocally favoring Obama. Since then, their bias has become even more prevalent and obvious.  Today, they make no attempt to hide it, and the public is noticing.

On Monday, July 21, 2008, Rasmussen Reports stated that,

The belief that reporters are trying to help Barack Obama win the fall campaign has grown by five percentage points over the past month. The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey found that 49% of voters believe most reporters will try to help Obama with their coverage, up from 44% a month ago.

Americans are not stupid, and most believe in fairness. We’re watching this bias unfold, and we won’t forget it.

Here’s just one example of what bias looks like. The July 21 cover of USA Today features an above-the-fold, color photo of Senator Obama with Afghan President Karzai.  Page 2 features three black & white photos. One of Senator McCain and Rudy Giuliani at a baseball game. Beneath that photo but above-the-fold is a photo of Obama greeting U.S. troops in Afghanistan.  Then, below that Obama photo is yet another one of Obama with Senators Chuck Hagel and Jack Reid, along with Gen. James Lovelace in Kuwait last Friday. In the first two pages of the paper - three Obama photos and one of McCain.

About the only way McCain will be able to match Obama’s media coverage is if he robs a convenience store, gets caught, and does a public perp walk.

Meanwhile, Drudge reports that, after printing an op-ed piece that Obama submitted, the New York Times editors threw one submitted by McCain back at him saying that it needed to “mirror” Obama’s.  (And all this time many of us were thinking elections should be competitive events.)

You know that the bias has become undeniable when an Associated Press television reporter writes a piece entitled “Is media playing fair in campaign coverage.” Now there’s a rhetorical question!

So what’s the risk to the old news media? What are the long-term unintended consequences from its obvious bias? 

If Obama is elected, those news outlets most openly biased toward his candidacy will inherit partial responsibility for his performance as POTUS. Their ad revenues and Nielsen ratings could initially bump-up after January.  But, if things turn ugly for an Obama administration due to circumstances within or outside their control, the old news media will be looking for someplace to hide.

And there will be no such place, because Americans have memories.

Update: Cliff Thier notes this just published by AP:

"McCain's Peers Click With The Internet: More Senior Citizens Are Using The Web To Keep In Touch With Family And Access Information" Associated Press 3:20 PM
Somewhere during this campaign the old news media reached the tipping point and their bias meter slid into the red zone. Have their owners considered the possible unintended consequences of this?

Somewhere, perhaps with the now famous Saturday Night Live skit that lampooned the softball questions asked of Senator Obama during the primary debates, the old news media was outed as unequivocally favoring Obama. Since then, their bias has become even more prevalent and obvious.  Today, they make no attempt to hide it, and the public is noticing.

On Monday, July 21, 2008, Rasmussen Reports stated that,

The belief that reporters are trying to help Barack Obama win the fall campaign has grown by five percentage points over the past month. The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey found that 49% of voters believe most reporters will try to help Obama with their coverage, up from 44% a month ago.

Americans are not stupid, and most believe in fairness. We’re watching this bias unfold, and we won’t forget it.

Here’s just one example of what bias looks like. The July 21 cover of USA Today features an above-the-fold, color photo of Senator Obama with Afghan President Karzai.  Page 2 features three black & white photos. One of Senator McCain and Rudy Giuliani at a baseball game. Beneath that photo but above-the-fold is a photo of Obama greeting U.S. troops in Afghanistan.  Then, below that Obama photo is yet another one of Obama with Senators Chuck Hagel and Jack Reid, along with Gen. James Lovelace in Kuwait last Friday. In the first two pages of the paper - three Obama photos and one of McCain.

About the only way McCain will be able to match Obama’s media coverage is if he robs a convenience store, gets caught, and does a public perp walk.

Meanwhile, Drudge reports that, after printing an op-ed piece that Obama submitted, the New York Times editors threw one submitted by McCain back at him saying that it needed to “mirror” Obama’s.  (And all this time many of us were thinking elections should be competitive events.)

You know that the bias has become undeniable when an Associated Press television reporter writes a piece entitled “Is media playing fair in campaign coverage.” Now there’s a rhetorical question!

So what’s the risk to the old news media? What are the long-term unintended consequences from its obvious bias? 

If Obama is elected, those news outlets most openly biased toward his candidacy will inherit partial responsibility for his performance as POTUS. Their ad revenues and Nielsen ratings could initially bump-up after January.  But, if things turn ugly for an Obama administration due to circumstances within or outside their control, the old news media will be looking for someplace to hide.

And there will be no such place, because Americans have memories.

Update: Cliff Thier notes this just published by AP:

"McCain's Peers Click With The Internet: More Senior Citizens Are Using The Web To Keep In Touch With Family And Access Information" Associated Press 3:20 PM