November 29, 2004
Writer Says Media is Election's Big Loser: 21 Times
Mega bloggers and syndicated columnists said it. College students and ranting professors said it. Bob Dole said it. The real loser, the big loser in '04 was The Media-- "the famous MSM." I isolate the maneuver and show it to you 21 times, without comment. Well, not totally without comment.
A substantial body of opinion has collected around a single “trick” in media criticism (which I have probably used myself on occasion) whereby it is first said that more than one election was held in the United States in 2004. Therefore there can be more than one loser.
The critic then names the media—or certain players in it—the election’s other loser, real loser, or even “biggest” loser. A very simple example is blogger Brett Rogers:
And, as I mentioned, in the second election—who we choose to trust for news in this country—the media lost. CBS, the biggest loser by far.
I have culled from a far larger file 21 examples of this particular maneuver. I tried to isolate the passage where it happens: Writer Says Media is Election’s Big Loser. By approaching the same “switch” with different trains of thought, we can perhaps understand that substantial body of opinion and what it is really saying— not just about winners and losers but about politics and journalism, party and self, virtue and corruption.
I opted for a mix of voices from big to small, established to upstart, old media and new. At the end I have a few words of commentary. Mostly, I leave interpretation for the comment thread. Here it is, then, the same idea served 21 ways. “Media, you lost big.” We learn what we can from it.
“They fancy themselves thinkers, not mere scribes.”
Stephen F. Hayes, Weekly Standard, Nov. 15th:
The Other Losers Tuesday Night: The failed media effort to oust George W. Bush
For some 16 months, then, journalists at the New York Times and the Washington Post and the television networks saw themselves not as conveyors of facts but as truth-squadders, toiling away on the gray margins of political debate to elucidate the many misstatements, exaggerations, and outright lies of the Bush administration and its campaign affiliates. Sometimes these “fact-check” pieces were labeled “news analysis.” More often, they were splashed on the front page as straight news or presented on the evening news.
Many of these reporters were trained at the best universities in the country. They fancy themselves thinkers, not mere scribes. They go to work every day to tell us not what the Bush administration has said, but what it has left unsaid.
“They have been defeated.”
Diana West, townhall.com, Nov. 8:
Election Day reflection
There is something close to poetic justice in the creaky monolith of Old Media showing its advanced age and crotchety bias in a campaign that now ends in the defeat of John Kerry. That is, in important ways, the mainstream and John Kerry are kindred creatures of the far-away 1960s, both setting their anti-establishment ways during both the Vietnam War and, stateside, the anti-Vietnam War. You might even say that together they helped create and perpetuate the poisonous myth of the Vietnam veteran as enemy of humanity — touchstone of the self-hating American.
And now, with the re-election of George W. Bush, they have been defeated.
“Unpaid adjunct to the Kerry campaign.”
Investor’s Business Daily, editorial, Nov. 2:
By A Landslide
By press time last night, we weren’t sure who would be the winner of the 2004 presidential contest. But we were certain of one big loser: the media.
We’ve watched in slack-jawed amazement over recent weeks as the big media, fearful of another four years for President Bush, have basically become an unpaid adjunct to the Kerry campaign.
“Yeomen of the blogosphere and AM radio and the Internet took them down.”
Peggy Noonan, Opinion Journal, Nov. 4:
So Much to Savor: A big win for America, and a loss for the mainstream media
But I do think the biggest loser was the mainstream media, the famous MSM, the initials that became popular in this election cycle. Every time the big networks and big broadsheet national newspapers tried to pull off a bit of pro-liberal mischief—CBS and the fabricated Bush National Guard documents, the New York Times and bombgate, CBS’s “60 Minutes” attempting to coordinate the breaking of bombgate on the Sunday before the election—the yeomen of the blogosphere and AM radio and the Internet took them down. It was to me a great historical development in the history of politics in America. It was Agincourt. It was the yeomen of King Harry taking down the French aristocracy with new technology and rough guts. God bless the pajama-clad yeomen of America. Some day, when America is hit again, and lines go down, and media are hard to get, these bloggers and site runners and independent Internetters of all sorts will find a way to file, and get their word out, and it will be part of the saving of our country.
“Still angry that they couldn’t deliver their fifteen percent.”
Glenn Reynolds, Instapundit, Nov. 3:
Bitter, Angry Losers
No, not the Democrats, but the real losers in this election — the Old Media, still angry that they couldn’t deliver their fifteen percent. I just heard E.J. Dionne on All Things Considered (audio not posted yet) delivering himself of an astonishing amount of anti-Bush venom. Dan Rather was reportedly dissing bloggers last night. And, of course, there are the rather churlish remarks of ABC’s Mark Halperin, declaring Bush a “lame duck” before his first term has even ended.
They know who the big losers were in this election.
“As each hour passed, the credibility of the Old Media swirled around the bowl.”
Jeff Gannon, A Voice of the New Media, Nov. 10:
Old Media Lost Big In 2004 Election
While Democrats were handed yet another stinging defeat at the ballot box last week, the biggest loser was the Old Media. In the wee hours of Election Night, stunned newsreaders reluctantly called states for President Bush, despite early exit polls that suggested a landslide for Sen. John Kerry. Some networks resisted declaring that Bush had won Ohio and therefore re-election after pleas from Kerry operatives not to project a winner of the state.
In the White House pressroom, dispirited correspondents sheepishly avoided members of the Bush team who wandered through the West Wing expressing growing irritation at the networks’ refusal to admit the inevitable. As each hour passed, the credibility of the Old Media “swirled around the bowl”, perhaps for the last time before finally being flushed by the American viewing public.
“The so-called mainstream media.”
Associated Press, Nov. 6:
Former U.S. senator says parties need to work together
Dole, 81, said he accomplished his most important initiatives in the Senate with bipartisan support.
“Both parties have room for improvement. Both parties have good ideas,” said the Kansas Republican, who served in the Senate from 1968 to 1996.
The biggest loser in the presidential election, he said, was “the so-called mainstream media.”
“It was an abdication of authority.”
Daniel Henninger, Opinion Journal, Nov. 12:
2004’s Biggest Losers: How Dan Rather and the media’s kings lost their crowns
It is often said that the only sure winner in American politics is the media. Amid GOP victory parties or the ruined dreams of the Kerry candidacy, the one constant is that the media marches on.
Maybe not this time. Big Media lost big. But it was more than a loss. It was an abdication of authority.
Large media institutions, such as CBS or the New York Times, have been regarded as nothing if not authoritative. In the Information Age, authority is a priceless franchise. But it is this franchise that Big Media, incredibly, has just thrown away. It did so by choosing to go into overt opposition to one party’s candidate, a sitting president.
“The media was in the tank for Kerry.”
Cori Dauber, Ranting Profs, Nov.3:
Looking Back, Looking Forward
Evan Thomas was just on Hardball and absolutely without hesitation reaffirmed his prior claims that the media was in the tank for Kerry. He’s gotten smarter, he isn’t offering point totals any more (but then, Chris Matthews didn’t ask) but it was clear he thought it absurd to even question the idea of media bias in the election.
Unfortunately, the campaign coverage and the war coverage became intertwined and inseparable because it is presented as “Bush’s war.”
I list these stories — or non-stories — not to pick at healing scabs but to make the point.
The other big losers last night were the media.
“Last gasping breaths of the New York Times and CBS News.”
Vincent Fiore, ChronWatch, Nov. 7:
Winners and Losers of Election 2004
Winner: The Internet. When the first batch of exit polls came out about 1:30 pm, EST, it took about five minutes for bloggers and web masters to spread the word. George W. Bush may owe part of his victory to this part of the new media, as spaces like this one and others quickly debunked the polling data much the same way that Dan Rather and “memogate” was exposed. Kudos to the pajama-wearing blogger brigades.
Loser: The Old Media. Those sounds you hear are the last gasping breaths of the New York Times and CBS News. Staunchly opposed to Bush throughout his first term, the prospect of a second four years in office exposed the deep-seated bias among the old media and forever revealed themselves to the public at large. The question, ”Is there a liberal bias in the main stream media?” has been fully addressed by the very actions of the media themselves during this campaign.
“The established news media were nowhere on public-policy matters.”
Ed Wasserman, Charlotte Observer, Nov. 3:
How the media lost the presidential election
The presidential campaign will be considered a milestone in the history of the U.S. media. Here’s what has changed:
- The mainstream media no longer play a key role in setting the national news agenda. The established news media were nowhere on public-policy matters. Vital issues—such as the adequacy of homeland security or remedies to stanch job losses—were largely untouched.
- Instead, partisans set the agenda, via political ads and freelance efforts. Established media essentially reacted to issues rammed through by outside groups. The anti-Bush film “Fahrenheit 9/11” and the Swift boat anti-Kerry ads all helped forge the debate. One lamentable conclusion: Buying your way onto the national agenda is easy; it just takes money.
- The horse race defeated all comers.
“They threw everything at Bush and still lost.”
Swede Hanson, SMU Daily Campus, Nov. 9:
The real losers who are seeing red
The real losers here are the Democrats and the mainstream media. Tuesday night showed us the true breadth of the divide between the nation’s electoral center and the current Democratic Party emblazoned by the likes of extreme leftism, the mainstream media, Hillary Clinton, Michael Moore, George Soros and any Hollywood celebrity you can think of. They threw everything at Bush and still lost. Look at the numbers: Bush won 2.51 million square miles of the United States as compared to Kerry’s 511,700 square miles.
“The global media lost the U.S. presidential election.”
Ralph Peters, New York Post, Nov. 9:
And if Operation Phantom Fury goes miraculously well, we’ll be criticized for waiting too long to go in, for exaggerating the threat and for knocking over a stop sign with a tank.
The global media lost the U.S. presidential election. They’ll do their best to win the Second Battle of Fallujah for the terrorists.
“The big loser this year may have already been decided.”
Bob Rayner, Richmond Times Dispatch, Oct. 31:
For the media, a political tilt might have some repercussions
It has been an exhausting campaign, even for me, a lifelong political junkie.
Passions are running high, which, for the most part, is probably a good thing.
But no matter who ends up on top Tuesday night or Wednesday morning, the big loser this year may have already been decided: the media.
The argument about liberal bias has been around for years. But for at least a substantial minority of the population - and a majority according to some surveys - the issue has never had as much resonance as it does today.
“Never before have we seen these so-called news sources so blatantly partisan.”
Gordon Sawyer, Access North Georgia, Nov. 3:
The Big Loser In This Election: The Big Media (…’s are in original)
I think it is fair to say the biggest loser in this election has been America’s mainstream media … the BIG media … the three old-line television networks, ABC, CBS and NBC … newspapers like the New York Times and the Washington Post and down to the Atlanta Journal Constitution. We have come to expect them to have a liberal bias in their news columns as well as their editorial pages, but never before have we seen these so-called news sources so blatantly partisan as they have been this year.
The poster child of news bias this election cycle, of course, was Dan Rather.
“The equivalent of The Alamo for the mainstream media”
John McIntyre, Real Clear Politics, Nov. 10:
Mandate? No. Consequential? No doubt about it.
In many ways this is what is so infuriating to the Democrats, because they know President Bush is going to govern and lead as if he has a mandate. That is why the Democrats and their friends in the mainstream media or the “old media” put everything they had into this election to unseat George W. Bush.
This was the equivalent of The Alamo for the mainstream media. CBS News and the New York Times, and to a lesser extent their colleagues at the other major networks and newspapers, exhausted themselves in a near-pathological desire to remove George W. Bush from office. They know the days of the liberal elites in New York and Washington setting the news agenda for the American people are coming to an end. Which is why they fought so hard to eliminate President Bush and restore a Democrat to the White House.
“Media lost. University professors and leftist school teachers lost.”
Joel Johannesen, ConservativeGroundswell.com, Nov. 3:
Bush won, no matter how you count it
Values won. Moral values won, as well as freedom and democracy. Those who will learn from it won as well as those who rely on America. Canada won. The west won, even Europe.
The Dow is up 135 as I write.
Osama bin Laden lost. Saddam Hussein lost. (Terrorism lost). Michael Moore lost. Hollywood lost. The liberal media lost. University professors and leftist school teachers lost. The liberals lost.
“The problem for Old Media is that it no longer has monopoly control.”
Michael Barone, townhall.com, Nov. 15:
A bad election for old media
It was a bad election for Old Media. More than in any other election in the last half-century, Old Media — The New York Times and CBS News, joined often but not always by The Washington Post, other major newspapers, ABC News and NBC News — was an active protagonist in this election, working hard to prevent the re-election of George W. Bush and doing what it could for John Kerry. The problem for Old Media is that it no longer has the kind of monopoly control over political news that it enjoyed a quarter-century ago. And its efforts to help John Kerry proved counterproductive.
“Enabler, if not instigator, of much of the vileness…”
Richard Davis, MichNews.com, Nov. 9:
The Media Lost, But Their Bias Won’t Change
Without doubt the media served as the enabler, if not instigator, of much of the vileness coming from the Democrats and the left, and they deserve a fair share of the defeat. But unlike their Democratic brethren, the media won’t be trying to regain public support by turning to their center. They couldn’t do that even if they still had a center. They’re not that kind of media anymore.
In the past two decades Americans have watched a moderately liberal press become defiantly partisan and openly hostile to majority opinions and values. It is a press willing to forsake ethics and even laws to get its way, and it’s as arrogant as Howard Dean after a good drubbing.
“‘Me first personalities roaming around.”
Tanker, Mostly Cajun.com, Nov. 19:
Armchair quarterbacks and Marines
Time was, you had reporters with the military who were the likes of Ernie Pyle, America First! and that meant American GI’s first! Or Bill Mauldin, poking a little fun at the brass, but publicizing the horrors and hardships faced daily by the combat soldier.
No, today we have a press corps with altogether too many “me first” personalities roaming around looking for the picture or the story that will rocket them into the realms of Woodward and Bernstein, bringing down a president or handing a victory to the enemy. As long as they get the recognition, they care naught about the effect that story might have on America and its soldiers.
Okay, that’s enough… The mainstream media lost the election… And now they’re going to try and show themselves again. They’re trying to be relevant. And I am not buying it.
“Voters made up their minds, media organisations have gone into overdrive.”
Rageh Omaar, The Independent (UK), Oct. 25:
How the US media lost the plot
Travelling through the heartlands of the United States, one comes across many Americans like Piasecki and Cheramie, who rely on websites not just to find opinions that match their own, but also to uncover facts they believe bolster those views. It is a trend that reflects a deeply divided US electorate coming to the end of a bitterly contested presidential campaign. None of the people I interviewed for a half-hour BBC programme on the views of Americans were undecided voters. Whether Republican or Democrat, their views are deeply held, and argued fiercely. And much of their information, whether it concerns President Bush’s arguments on the need for reforming tort law and extending tax cuts, or Senator Kerry’s proposals for reducing the United States’ reliance on Middle Eastern oil, has been obtained online.
Yet although the voters appear to have already made up their minds, media organisations have gone into overdrive, devoting every available resource to coverage of each development in the campaign.
Bonus Selection: a 22nd example. (Came late to my attention.)
“Their power is sapped, their influence is waning.”
Tim Graham, National Review Online, Nov. 4:
Amazing Loss: The media threw everything, including the sink, at Bush.
Yet despite these efforts in behalf of Kerry, George W. Bush has amassed the highest vote total in American history. The media took their defeat graciously, if a little slowly; on these occasions, they put on statesman masks and pretended they didn’t have a horse in the race. But they have been left only with the feeling that their power is sapped, their influence is waning, and their credibility is collapsing.
There are two brakes on the arrogance of liberal media bias: One is declining ratings; the other is liberal politicians’ losing and conservative politicians’ winning. The message of popular resistance to the liberal media has been sent once again.
My commentary: One thing jumps out at me from this song made of samples. While all the writers were, in some way or another, suggesting massive failure by the news media to inform, it was rare for them to discuss any informational need of their own that had not been met.
You arrive at a different place when you ask: what did I not get that I needed? This is what Omaar in The Independent was getting at:
“Yet although the voters appear to have already made up their minds, media organisations have gone into overdrive, devoting every available resource to coverage of each development in the campaign.”
Hear it? Rageh Omaar is raising the possibility that our campaign journalism was, almost in its entirety, premised on an informational need that barely existed. This led to journalism that at its best helped us make a decision that 90 percent or more had already made.
Maybe an extremely “partisan” year should have been called a year when people were extremely passionate about politics, and interested in participating. A reportage to meet and inform those passions is not the same as “news to help in your decision.”
It never came about. The passions went elsewhere. This is one way journalists “lost the plot.” I don’t think Big Media lost an election they were trying to win for Kerry. But I’m curious why some people do.
I believe the political press largely (though not entirely) failed in 2004. It failed to innovate. It failed to move with the times. From what is called the mainstream media, “the famous MSM,” we did not get a reportage suited for the political era we were actually living in. That means Big Journalism failed some ultimate test of currency: to report the truth about our struggles with politics… in time.
Alright, what do you make of the voices in Club 21? And what do you hear? Tell us in comments. Did I miss an example you want to bring to my attention? E-mail PressThink or note it in comments.
After Matter: Notes, reactions & links…
Liberal Media Conspiracies…and other myths by smokefilledoom is an extended reaction to this post by a writer who read all 21 pieces cited here. (Dec. 10)
Editor and Publisher kindly does an article about this post: Erin Olsen, “Biggest Loser on Nov. 2 Was Press, Not John Kerry, Say 21 Columns.”
David Crisp of The Billings Outpost says in comments here: “No doubt most reporters backed Kerry. The Bush administration has been one of the most hostile to open government in memory. Asking reporters to back Bush is like asking CEOs to back Nader.”
Post mortems by members of the press: a sampler
See Campaign Desk (now called CJR Daily) with its Report Card feature on press performance in 2004— a series of evaluations.
Peter Johnson, USA Today: Media soul-searching after Bush’s victory (Nov. 14).
Liz Halloran, Hartford Courant, Are Mainstream Media Ignored And Irrelevant? (Nov. 12)
Jon Friedman, CBS Marketwatch, Why Bush’s America hates the media (Nov. 12) and The passion that burned for Bush (Nov. 5).
Eric Boehlert, Salon, The media gives Bush a mandate. (Nov. 12, sub. or Salon day pass required.)
Howard Kurtz, Washington Post, Let the Explaining Begin! (Nov. 8)
Also see the transcript of CNN’s reliable sources for Nov. 7, with Howard Kurtz, Frank Sesno, formerly of CNN, Karen Tumulty of Time, John Roberts of CBS News.
One of the best analyses of these matters is by Michelle Cottle in the New Republic: Democrats’ Spurned Media Love. (sub. required)
… another, less frequently discussed factor is that Democrats simply like the media more than Republicans do—or, at least, more than the Republicans currently running the show. They respect the profession more, feel more of a kinship with reporters, and generally care more about being liked by the media than do members of Bush World. This relationship is as much about a perceived cultural affinity as any politically based “liberal media bias,” and, contrary to what conservatives would have people believe, it hardly guarantees more sympathetic coverage of Democratic campaigns.
… Democrats say (with some exasperation) that their party still accepts the idea of the media as an unofficial Fourth Estate of government, shaping debate and serving as watchdog for the public interest. As campaign consultant Kenneth Baer put it, “Democrats buy into this high and mighty role that the press has of itself.”
…By contrast, the Bush administration does not regard the media as having a special role but rather as just “one of several constituencies to deal with,” says former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer.
And so on. Hers is a more subtle analysis of the interplay among Democrats, Republicans and journalists and “culture.”
This article, published Nov. 28, leans a lot on PressThink’s Opposition Press and Sinclair pieces, which are mentioned: David Zurawik, Baltimore Sun, Captains of TV weigh the future of the anchor: Personnel changes could open door to newscasts driven by ideology.
On Wednesday, Tom Brokaw will sign off as anchorman and managing editor of the NBC Nightly News, television’s most popular newscast, after 21 years in that job. A report also is expected to be released this week about a 60 Minutes II story focusing on President Bush’s military service that was presented on air by Rather and was based upon documents of questionable authenticity. Rather’s decision to leave his longtime position was seen by many as a way of stepping aside before the report was finalized.
These moves represent what is, in essence, a changing of the guard. Night after night for 20 years, television news has been presented to Americans by the same three men - NBC’s Brokaw, CBS’ Rather and ABC’s Peter Jennings - in virtually the same format. Now Brokaw’s planned retirement and Rather’s abrupt resignation have opened the door to a world of possibilities for TV news.
Doc Searls reflects on a discussion going on (in comments) at PressThink:
What it isn’t. Meanwhile, I think we’re only beginning to understand how blogging, even for Z-listers (who can quickly become A-listers, and at the very least meaningful, which is one big point about The Long Tail) is more than blowing off to bar buddies and less than anchoring an evening newscast — while being extremely other than both.
We understand everything in terms of something else… and we still don’t have the right frame for understanding blogs, seems to me. That’s one reason we’ve been miscrediting and miscalculating it for the duration — overstating and understating its effects and its importance.
Posted by Jay Rosen at November 29, 2004 1:19 AM
Oh for Pete's sake! Can we stop with the right wing/left wing blogger business already? There are plenty of partisan, down-the-party-line bloggers. But there plenty more who are less predictable and more likely to offer new and interesting points of view. Which is one of the most powerful aspects of the 'net and this culture of blogging--it reveals the subtleties, contradictions, and compromises that are involved when real people make political decisions, like who to vote for.
What I think came out this election is the shallowness of coverage by the MSM, both politically and in all areas. The campaigns are a horserace, each turn recorded and analyzed. It became clear this election that news people really don't know anything special, but they can gather up a bunch of comments and observations and string it all into a semi-coherent report-of-the-day. And once viewers realized that newspeople don't really have any special knowledge, then the bloggers start to look really smart. And they often are.
I've started to get into this because once I pitched to some MSM types the idea that real public journalism, in the form of solid, well-documented, understandable information offered to readers about important institutions could help improve those institutions. I was thinking public education, because few understand it well and the technical challenges to delivering teaching to children. But I explained that this type of journalism could be important in lots of areas. The MSM types looked at me as though I had ten heads.
And so the MSM continues to cover education, and other technical issues, like horseraces. Get a quote from one side, from another, sometimes round up an expert and grab a sentence, then file the story. Think about how reporters get the job of covering the environment, or medicine, or education. They get promoted from the City Hall beat. Hey, that's a smart way to make sure the reporter has the kind of specialized knowledge needed to handle technical issues. It explains why every issue gets covered like a horserace, though.
I picked out an education story that came out over the weekend and dissected it on my own blog and went over this.
Also, what about the changes at Columbia's J-school, the addition of the second year that Lee Bollinger wants?
Thanks Jay. This always great.
Jeez, if someone had told me it was the media's job to elect Kerry, maybe I could have helped. I thought we were just out to report the news. I'm having trouble swallowing the argument that a 51 percent vote in favor of one candidate amounts to a repudiation of the media. Just reverse the argument: If Kerry had won 51 percent, would all of those cited above be bellowing that the election was a victory for the media?
No doubt most reporters backed Kerry. The Bush administration has been one of the most hostile to open government in memory. Asking reporters to back Bush is like asking CEOs to back Nader.
But the key shifts in media have almost nothing to do with ideology. It's all about bucks. Here are trends that really matter:
1. National network news continues to lose audience. That's for technological reasons, and it would happen no matter what ideology networks espoused.
2. Corporate media owners can't appreciate the value of news and aren't willing to pay for it. This dilutes the one advantage MSM holds over all its competitors: the power to report. And the more the media consolidate, the more diluted coverage becomes. Even media bosses who know that's bad business in the long run have trouble thinking that far ahead.
3. Political candidates buy their ads on television to reach people who don't pay attention to politics until a couple of weeks before the election. The press, which provides far more detailed and balanced coverage, is stuck for the cost of covering the news, but doesn't get the political ad boost that helps pay the cost. As TV coverage declines, more viewers form their opinions strictly on the basis of partisan appeals.
4. An amazing number of people seem to think that politics bottoms out at the presidential level. They pay almost no attention to legislative, gubernatorial, city council and school board races. The burden of covering those races falls heavily on local and regional newspapers, and there's no money in covering politics at that level.
5. Bloggers have staked out their ground in the commentary portions of political coverage, which is the easiest and cheapest niche to fill. Bloggers allege that MSM ignore reader input, but space for reader contributions is inevitably restricted in newspapers: Someone has to pay for every column inch of that space. The week before the election, we added four pages to our tiny weekly so we could print 45 letters to the editor. Financially, it was a pure loss; we did it as a public service. But the internet has blown the wheels off that technological limitation.
6. It's unclear that bloggers will ever amass the financial clout to provide a real alternative to what the MSM do best: covering wars, staking out the White House, sitting through city council meetings, following bills through Congress, sifting out public records, listening to the police scanner, typing the boxscores, etc. If a mass market for that sort of thing continues to exist, then somebody, presumably, will figure out a way to make a living providing it. But it isn't clear to me who that is or how it will be done.
The Big Loser: The People
Who is the big loser in this election cycle? "The people" and democracy American style. Our era is coming to an end.
Big media lost to the extent people trust them even less because of the right-wing sound bite machine.
The CBS document case is the prime example. But that story was driven by the desire to challenge the powerful and obtain the scoop - not a liberal media attempt to "bring down the president."
Independent journalists producing unedited blogs who drew an audience and generated a revenue stream are winners.
But the very idea that the national newspapers and broadcast networks pulled for Kerry in this election is pure balderdash. There's no evidence for it, and a lot of evidence against it.
Here's one example I know something about directly, since I broke one of the first big Bush AWOL stories.
The NY Times and LA Times both did their own big rehash stories on Bush's guard service in the weeks leading up to the election.
The NY and LA Times stories completely left out the drug issue and bent over backwards to make the stories fair and balanced in their language by citing reports on how Bush was a fine pilot. Look those stories up in Nexis and see what I mean. No content analysis of this coverage would detect a liberal bias. Trust me.
USA Today had a team on the Bush AWOL story all year, but never published the results. They got sidetracked by Abu Graib. I know because they asked me to help at one point, but could not come up with the money.
The Washington Post and Wall Street Journal ignored the story entirely. And of the networks, only CBS attempted to use the story in the final weeks of the campaign – and they got burned.
Interestingly, none of the corporate papers or networks in Alabama did anything on the Bush AWOL story, even though it was right in their backyard.
I wish the big media had gone after Bush harder, because I think the country is in serious trouble because of his reelection. We are headed toward a monarchical system with the divine right of a president-king backed up by the oligopoly of giant corporations. The big media are part of this corporate system, to the detriment of important dissenting voices of wisdom.
It's this simple. The extent to which bloggers provide these dissenting voices, they are good. The extent to which they simply repeat and spread shallow and unsubstantiated information, they are bad. Audiences and advertisers will determine the winners and losers, not media critics, mainstream or otherwise.
I don't think Big Media lost an election they were trying to win for Kerry. But I'm curious why some people do.
Well, try these points on for size:
1. It's an axiom (stereotyped, but an axiom) that the modern-day American journalist is trained as a political liberal. That is, their drive is to be an agent of social change by exposing the problems of contemporary society.
2. When you multiply that onto the national stage, you get the Mainstream Media, which sought to become an agent of social change by setting the agenda of public discussion.
3. In an election year where one of the candidates is an incumbent, the public agenda traditionally (and somewhat logically) turns an election into an evaluation of the incumbent.
4. The incumbent, in this case, won the previous election under less than ideal circumstances, enacted some drastic measures in response to a major terrorist incident and launched a military invasion on grounds that only appeared solid at the time. Because of these actions, the MSM apparently decided that the major theme for the election was that the incumbent had failed as a president.
5. These theme was augmented by commentators on both sides of the political spectrum. On the left were those who were appalled by President Bush's policy decisions (since they clashed with their understanding of the System) and were galvanized into major political action. On the right were those who remembered the rancor of Election 2000 as well as the shock of the Democrats in response to the midterm elections. Their motivation was the fear that the Democrats would pull every trick in the book to defeat the President.
6. The philosophical alignment of the MSM, on a personal level, is more in agreement with the Democrats than the Republicans. That, coupled with the responsibility to document Administration failures, may have led to an unconcious alignment with the Kerry campaign.
The most obvious manifestation of this is Dan Rather and Rathergate. What turned this into a major story was not so much the demonstration that the TANG documents were faked, as the public and vocal reluctance of Rather and CBS News to admit that the documents were faked.
At the same time that Rathergate was unfolding, senior Democrats such as Terry McAuliffe began raising questions about the President's National Guard service -- based on the disputed documents. This action gave the unfortunate impression that the CBS News story was meant to be part of a collaborative campaign with the Democrats.
So you could call the perception of MSM/Democratic alignment a confluence of mutual interests: the MSM pursuing its theme of President-as-unworthy-incumbent, and the Democrats eager to put their candidate in the White House.
From the comments, the "group think" of traditional journalism appears to be comtinuing apace.
In the conclusions to this article, you commented that apparently the MSM *had* done its job, as the commentators were all reasonably well informed about the election after all.
This, I think, is the merest sophistry. Most people in my acquaintance seem to have widened their sources for news dramatically beyond the MSM.
By disparaging bloggers--many journalists simply don't get it...the traditional outlets no longer command the automatic credibility that was true when few were able to question them as reasonably unbiased sources. Today, the press has often been the instrument of its own slide into increasing insignificance.
The events of this campaign and its coverage merely underscore the truth of the claims of bias...Dan Rather and the famous forgeries foremost among the examples.
I read many newspapers and followed many other journalism outlets throughout the campaign, despairing to find any sort of comprehensive coverage of actual *issues*. Everyone dutifully reported each time Kerry announced that "he had a plan"--but only rarely questioned just what these plans entailed. If the journalists are simply reporting on handouts and endless repetitions of the same statements, what possible good are they?
As Fox continues to grow--with more election night viewers than CBS, for instance--all I seem to hear is the other networks and many print journalists complaining about it. This seems to me to be yet another case of "rearranging the deck chairs of the Titanic."
Newspapers have a unique ability to provide needed details about real issues--yet they, too, seem moribund and increasingly moving to be simple headline services. Reporters increasingly seem to believe they should eschew traditional reportage and take a stand on issues depending upon their own beliefs--however naive or ill-formed. As a consumer of news, I first want to be made aware of the facts of the matter--then, perhaps, to entertain opinion about those facts.
The press has been monumentally self-absorbed as long as I have been aware. Too bad it has not matched that with a real commitment to objectivity and professionalism....and for that, other outlets such as the blogs are taking on increasing importance. While you may not like it, many people are fully capable of weighing what is said for reasonableness without the "filter" of a journalist interposing his or her own personal bias.
Unfortunately, though, most journalists have become much too untrusting of the people--who, after all, have the temerity to disagree with the prevailing journalistic biases.
Continue on this path and you will continue to marginalize your profession.
I don't think Big Media lost an election they were trying to win for Kerry. But I'm curious why some people do.
The reason you can't see this is because of your politics. This simple sentence defines you as a liberal. I've never read your post before today. I reached your blog via Drudge and then Editor and Publisher. I haven't read any of your articles previously, though I did skim through the front page where this article was located. Its entirely possible you are a conservative, libertarian, or some other party affiliation. But in reading the quoted sentence above, and unless seeing other posts after I post this, I peg you as a liberal. Why? Because liberals have a blind spot. That's the only conclusion I've been able to come to, unless there is a mass lying or denial conspiracy going on among liberals. You just can't see (or can't admit to?) the bias in favor of Kerry in the MSM. And from the larger article and the quote above, my take is that you don't see liberal bias in general, in the MSM. This is a huge blind spot for liberals. Why? I can't explain it. Maybe someone else can.
Ask yourself this: Can you admit the following observations? New York Times is biased liberal across the board. So is Washington Post, LA Times, NY Daily News, Newsday, CNN, MSNBC, Time, Reuters, AP, BBC, ABC, CBS, NBC, WB, PBS, . NY Post leans conservative. So does Fox, the talk show guy with the dittos (can't remember name right now), the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal, and I'm sure you can name others though I'm sure some are wrongly categorized as conservative because of your own bias. As for USA Today, don't know enough about it to categorize it here.
Individuals are too easy to classify, but for Fox news, you and others I'm sure are wrong on some individuals. O'Reilly isn't a conservative. He isn't a liberal either. He's a populist and a hybrid of other affiliations. Also, Fox is successful in part because instead of letting their biases show through, they play this little game (in the mornings) during analysis and commentary (they did this prior to the election and are still doing it for other hot political issues) where two of the trio state what the facts are, and what the position is of the president or conservative congress members, or other pro-conservative positions. They aren't taking a position, they are reporting the facts. Then one of the trio (usually Edie, but sometimes others, varies, but formula is always the same) takes the opposing position, supporting the liberal side, or the liberal candidate, or liberal position with their own facts.
How the facts get reported, how they are sliced and diced, who they select from think tanks for the pro/con sides, which facts are reported, all contribute to the actual or perceived bias of Fox News. The problem that CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, NBC, and others have is that they can't stomach the thought of reporting facts that undermine their ideological biases, if they even regard the facts as facts, instead of dismissing them outright.
If you can't see or admit that the MSM had to be worth the touted 15 points to Kerry, or that Bush would have won by a landslide if he had been held to the same standard as Clinton was with the economy during Clinton's second run, or similar accountability standards between Bush and Clinton for 911, then you have the liberal blind spot, or are participating in the mass lying or denial conspiracy amongst your liberal friends and associates.
If its lying or denial, then its your loss, and that of the public. If it really is a blind spot, then you need to find out and understand why you can't see the bias, and overcome it (I'm not talking about converting to conservative party. I'm talking about understanding why all the MSM listed above are liberal, understanding why/how/when they sow the bias, and attempting to report facts consistently regardless of who you are reporting on). Because if you can, your readers and the public at large will be better off.
The simplest measure would be to see how the same economic conditions are attributed to conservative and liberal public officials. Seeing who was in power in Congress and the Presidency when spending/tax/crime/military bills were passed, and were they reacting to a bill originally authored or pushed by the opposing party? Were they taking/given credit for economic conditions imposed upon them from a different branch of government? Were they taking/given credit for economic conditions that were inherited from a previous session or administration? Were they taking/given credit for conditions or circumstances that happened just after they entered office but prior to legislation on their part? Were they taking/given credit for conditions or circumstances before their cabinet nominations were confirmed, or had a chance to settle in?
Here's an exercise that can get you started: Take an issue, and reverse the parties. Take Somalia and put Bush in the hot seat. Would the criticisms been stronger? Weaker? Would you have said the same thing? What about Iraq? Put Clinton in the hot seat. Impeachment? Put Bush Sr. there. Military cuts? Reverse Clinton with Bush Sr. Which one went too far? Cut too much? Not far enough? Didn't cut enough?
It may seem more charitable to deem the Main-Stream Media "aligned with" Liberalism and the Democrat Party, rather than "rooting for" them, based on cultural affinity. However, an alternative thesis more neatly explains the MSM's liberal bias apparent to so many keen observers. This alternative thesis has already been quite persuasively discussed among conservatives and learned media veterans for years(for example, by former CBS newsman, and eyewitness to bias, Bernard Goldberg in his book "Bias"), and I'm surprised it hasn't been mentioned yet in this discussion.
I call this explanation of the dominant media's clear left tilt "Ideologically-Genetic Bias". That is, the MSM cannot help but slant their reporting; slanted in the selections of what stories to cover or not cover, in the (often loaded)language used to report those stories, and in the disparate treatment of liberal and conservative experts and arguments.
This is because the dominant media's editors and reporters are wholly consumed by their liberal ideology. It thoroughly informs their daily worldview, as an article of faith. Therefore, their discussion of issues and events, whether small or important, betrays an unconscious (for most) liberal bias which they cannot hide anymore successfully than a Christian preacher can hide his belief in the Resurrection.
Thusly shackled in their philosophical frames of mind, a liberal reporter or editor knows (in his mind) that firearms, for example, are a societal detriment and anti-gun groups are a societal benefit (groups whose press releases should therefore form the basis of news stories).
For consistency, this thesis should argue that the rare conservative journalist's reporting/editing is equally captive to his ideology. This assumes an intellectual equallity between liberals and conservatives (journalists, at least), that must be an argument for another time.
Given the metaphorical prison that journalists' liberal ideology has erected around their minds (a constraint upon all their frames of reference), the solution would appear to lie more in ideological balance in the numbers of journalists and their editorial power, not in maintaining an "ideologically unbiased" artifice for each journalist individually. That is, when the numbers and realative influence of a news organizations' liberal and conservitive journalists nears parity, the balance of their product will likewise near perfection.
Tom Mangan: How good to see you! When are you going to start blogging again?
Tim Graham: My oversight has been rectified. I added you as a bonus link.
John: They were popping in from Drudge, which linked to the Editor and Publisher article about this post. But that storm is over. Maybe you haven't figured it out yet, but I do not believe there is any conversation possible with what I would call hard right bias criticism. There is capitulation to it, or there is nothing. This was the observation Satullo was making through the device of satire. You dismiss it. That is your choice, but the silence in that case is coming from you.
I have also offered you (several times, but here it is again) the subtler analysis of Michelle Cottle. It is not the last word on the subject, it's just smarter than 90 percent of what I see on the subject of bias. Democrats' Spurned Media Love.
I don't think the media bias discourse is meant to spur debate-- or even reply. It's a "case closed" kinda thing. That's why you hear so often phrases like "surely, no serious person can deny," followed by a contested claim. Especially you, John. You are constantly telling me how obvious this or that is.
Thus, I read in this very thread: "If you can't see or admit that the MSM had to be worth the touted 15 points to Kerry... then you have the liberal blind spot, or are participating in the mass lying or denial conspiracy amongst your liberal friends and associates."
(Yes, I know what Evan Thomas said-- famously and idiotically.)
My choices are capitulation to the surreal (the 15 points the press can allegedly "supply"), or I am a lying, denying, conspiracy-plying leftist psychopath. It ain't about dialogue John. So stop with the "why no dialogue?"
Jim, teed off at my phrase, says: "You are drawing too much comfort from your meta-analysis of this as a 'maneuver.'" Actually, Jim, I didn't conduct any analysis of it all-- meta or otherwise. I could have. I mean I usually do.
But this post, besides mentioning a writing maneuver, (which I said I had used myself) simply presented the material, quoting each writer in turn and even using their own words for headlines so as not to introduce an extra layer of editorial comment. I would have thought you'd appreciate that. But publishing is full of surprises.
It does show, however, that scrupulous neutrality is not enough for some because it's not capitulation. Jim knows I don't believe, so even though I presented 20+ Jim-friendly authors in their own words, without comment, it's not good enough; he's still seething. Sorry: he sounds like he's seething. If I converted, that sound would go away.
David Neeley writes: In the conclusions to this article, you commented that apparently the MSM *had* done its job, as the commentators were all reasonably well informed about the election after all. Well, I said no such thing.
I made the simple observation that in condemning Big Media for its sins and failures, most of the writers did not discuss "any informational need of their own that had not been met." I left it to readers to interpret why they did not. And I specifically said the political press had failed, which is the opposite of "did its job."
Cheers everyone and thanks to all for their contributions.
You could try subscribing to the not quite surreal - pick a number less than 15% and accept that the MSM adds that to a Democratic ticket. Insane idea? Provably wrong idea?
Media bias certainly won't lead to a dialogue if it isn't explored. And the issue is far more complex than a conspiracy or whatever. But you're right, a whole lot of Americans, like myself, are convinced that this year, the MSM worked hard to elect John Kerry and eject Bush, and you would have to produce some pretty remarkable evidence to shake that belief, which is based on observation.
It is clear to me that you and I place radically different subjective weights on the value of certain pieces of information, such that my evidence is of little interest to you. Conversations with liberals often reveal radically different weighting functions.
Hence "obvious" to me, not to you (and vice versa). You will either believe that the MSM was in ABB mode or you won't. More blogifying won't change that. Notice that this POV relativism implies nothing about reality, but about how people respond to it. Underneath, reality marches on, uncaring about what we say about it.
But you really did ask for it in this topic. Why do people believe as I do. The answer is that from our point of view, there can be no other conclusion to MSM behavior.
BTW...a comment on bloggers.
Apparently bloggers can be quite influential. But without a change from the guy in pajamas with computer model, they can never replace the journalistic organization. Bloggers rarely produce information (Rathergate was an exception), and hence are news analysts not news gatherers. The information I get mostly comes from the MSM, if not directly, than through someone who got it there.
Jay, I understand full well the import that most of the information ultimately comes from the MSM. I know there are lots of people out there digging up information, doing all sorts of jobs ranging from boring to exciting, to gather the raw data and turn it into product. Bloggers simply don't do most of the steps (except in a few cases).
There is another news distribution channel that is important, probably large scale, but I don't know how to measure it: mailing lists. As a result of my activism, I have ended up on a number of formal and informal veterans' mailing lists. A lot of stuff flows via an invisible mesh of mailing lists connecting all sorts of people for all sorts of reasons - lots of granfalloons. Again, of course, most of the raw data comes from MSM. I would expect you to be on some of these, including probably some you wish you weren't on.
It is possible that a future evolution of new will be a vertical segmentation, where some organizations gather the raw data and others distribute it, with varying degrees of analysis added. I have trouble thinking of business models, but somebody may.
It is also possible that increasing on-line accessibility of information will allow bloggers to do some of the digging that today is the realm of the reporter. We may also end up with people blogging as witnesses to events, putting the raw data on the net.
But I doubt this is going to replace the MSM in the forseeable future.
Finally, I don't view the 15% as evidence, but as insider opinion (or a result of analysis). I think the MSM is worth some amount - at least 5% and probably more, but I couldn't prove it. When one considers how much is spent on ads that run in MSM venues, the political pros must consider those venues to be influential. Likewise the effort spent on "spinning" shows that perceived value.
If those venues are consistently biased, that is the equivalent of a lot of money granted to one candidate - except that MSM news coverage is probably far more influential than an equivalent amount of advertisement.
Probably the factor which most quickly leads to conclusions that the MSM is tilted in favor of (in this case) one candidate is inconsistencies in treatment of subjects. If you live in the world of the right, you constantly hear people complaining about that - you know the form: "If that were about X instead of Y, we would hear about it forever." It is certainly something I notice a lot. I am avoiding specific examples here - you've read them.
People on the right like to hear that number because it indicates someone in the business in some way confirming our observations. In the same way, Bernard Golberg's books do so in much more detail. It isn't that this stuff is evidence, the evidence is already in our faces. Goldberg at least describes mechanisms, and that is interesting.
However, I'm sure people cite these things as evidence. The "15%" *is* information of some sort. Either the guy believes that the press leans one way and this is influential in the election, or he was blowing smoke. In any case, the blogosphere operates in its own way. It has myths that it propagates. So does the MSM, except it sometimes puts a phony stamp of authenticity on it.
If you haven't ever done so, check out some of the really far out sites (rense.com comes to mind). People's ideas extend way past the boundaries of anything asserted so far in this blog or its comments.
Over the last few days I've seen a number of stories that speak to the question of whether the media were losers during this election.
'They hate our policies, not our freedom'
Quietly released Pentagon report contains major criticisms of administration.
by Tom Regan | csmonitor.com
(How can we have an election about the Iraq War when the media have let the administration disinform this story so badly for two years running? We can't. We can't logically be trying to defeat Islamic terrorism AND not care what Islamic Arabs think about us. They are one and the same. Force does not defeat ideology, despite what our latter day Teddy Roosevelts (determined to realize their own suppression of national independence in the name of independence ala T.R. and the Philippine-American War) like to imagine.)
'Muslims do not hate our freedom, but rather they hate our policies [the report says]. The overwhelming majority voice their objections to what they see as one-sided support in favor of Israel and against Palestinian rights, and the long-standing, even increasing, support for what Muslims collectively see as tyrannies, most notably Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Pakistan and the Gulf states. Thus, when American public diplomacy talks about bringing democracy to Islamic societies, this is seen as no more than self-serving hypocrisy.'
Self-censorship is shadowing the new media era
March 3, 2000
(How do we tell people what they don't want to hear if ratings are the final arbiter of media "success"?)
"If liberty means anything at all," George Orwell wrote, "it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear." As immense communications firms increasingly dominate our society, how practical will it be for journalists to tell their bosses -- and the public -- what media tycoons do not want to hear about the concentration of power in few corporate hands?
What Schiller urged many years ago is now more crucial than ever: We need a vibrant political movement that "would aim at reducing private monopoly power over news, TV programs, films, music, data processing, publishing, and advertising. It would encourage the availability, as much as possible, of information as a social and inexpensive good, not, as increasingly the situation, as a salable commodity...The important consideration is to allow for imaginative alternatives. Currently, the fashion is to deny that possibility."
Activists Arrested for Selling Nothing
(This was on Atrios. We do not have free speech rights on private property in most states, yet publicly funded police are actively enforcing these private property preferences in privatized public spaces like malls. Is the privatization of public space like malls an "on the ground" analogue for the Sinclair approach to broadcast media? Once the commons are privatized, public claims to social good can often be ignored with impunity.)
Cover Up. (A documentary on the gaping reality gap between Arab news coverage of the Iraq War and the pro-government cheerleading that passed for news in the US.)
(Again, we can't pretend to democracy when the faintest gesture toward telling the American people the truth is decried as media interventionism. How does killing tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians oppose terrorism? Why are there no bodies in US "news coverage" of this war?)
Noujaim, the daughter of an American mother and Egyptian father, took a film crew to Qatar just before the commencement of the Iraq War and shot endless footage at the Al-Jazeera headquarters.
What emerges is a portrait of a largely Western-educated, English-speaking, moderate Al-Jazeera staff, trying to document an attack on an Arab country that decimated the civilian population. The staff of Al-Jazeera, it quickly becomes clear, is composed of just the kind of open-minded Arabs Bush claims that he wants to cultivate.
Yet, as the war progresses, the Al-Jazeera staff struggles to maintain its journalistic professionalism, even as it becomes clear that the U.S. invasion is killing thousands of Iraqi civilians. One of the key Bush Cartel grudges against Al-Jazeera was that it dared to show civilian casualties, as well as U.S. deaths and injuries. Talk about shooting the messenger. If the staff of Al-Jazeera aren't the kind of Arabs America wants on it side, about the only group left is the corrupt Saudi Royal Family!"
Fascinating article and comment thread, Jay. Your questions, light as feathers, provoke outrage, but I suspect it's because of differing assumptions between you and the right-wingers posting here. You submit that the role of the media is to deliver information that fits some sort of educational gap, filling in the pieces of the puzzle that allow citizens to make informed decisions about this democracy. The frothing commenters believe that the media's role is to reinforce their political dominance. The paradox here is that much of the information they want the media to report on they already have access to, otherwise they would not be able to list the fifty five things CBS was too 'scared' to touch. So what they are demanding is not that the media teach them something different, but that the media teach what they already know to a different group of people while reinforcing their own politics.
Anyway, here are five things that I wanted but did not get from the MSM:
1) An analysis of oil and its role in the last half-century of economic growth, as well as the likely paths America would take under each administration.
2) Kerry's views and Bush's history on Federalism and the role of Congress in the formulation of our laws.
3) Analysis of how this election cycle changed the Democratic Party and the Republican Party, as well as perceptions of both.
4) An analysis of the conservative and liberal intellectual environments, media networks, and laboratories. Where are the ideas coming from that dominated 2004?
5) Historical context for elections going further back than 1992 or 1988 - how have previous elections been conducted, which voters have been fought over in the past, and are there international trends that could help inform the demographic shifts in our polity?
I agree with you that the MSM failed - when I really wanted to know something, I researched it on my own, and assumed the MSM was getting it somewhat wrong or misplacing context. What is less clear to me is who the MSM isn't speaking to that desires to know.
Weldon Berger who authored this piece for PressThink on the "moral values" mini-meme, wrote in with this:
I would challenge anyone who believes the press to have been the big loser in the election to produce some substantive evidence of that.
The damage to the national press as an institution, from years upon years of failures to understand large stories and to report them well and from the tendency to run after the easy (and profitable) narrative—blow jobs, O.J., Laci, Gary Condit and Chandra Levy, that girl in Utah—wasn't particularly exacerbated by this year's election coverage so far as I can tell. None of the networks are complaining about profit margins as a result of it, or an acceleration in the decline of ratings and circulation. And as loyal Democrat and media kingpin Sumner Redstone said prior to the election, a Bush victory was very much in the interest of the people who own the press.
It seems to me that most people who think the press was the loser are people who accept a liberal bias as fact and believe that the press lost because Kerry lost. That would make the press the big loser in seven of the most recent ten presidential elections.
My opinion is that conservatives are the poster children for the victim's mindset; even with three branches of government under their control and the press largely in the tank, they're still whining about liberal bias.
I don't have the links to hand at the moment--I'll dig them up if anyone requires--but studies in the wake of the invasion of Iraq showed that the ratio of news channel commentators or guests representing the anti-invasion side of the debate to those representing the administration's position was something on the order of 1:4, and newspaper editorial boards came down overwhelmingly in support of the invasion. Both the New York Times and the Washington Post admitted afterward to having under-represented opposing views (and facts) and to burying items that tended to discredit the administration's case. And of course there was the Judith Miller stenographic method of reportage.
This was during the period before the invasion when public opinion was pretty much evenly split. So if there was a liberal bias, conservatives and the administration benefitted from it because the press pretzled themselves to avoid displaying it. It's a miracle that public opinion wasn't overwhelmingly in favor of the invasion.
So what did the press lose? In my view, virtually nothing. I don't have any less respect for the institution than I did before the election, and neither do those who were already convinced the press are biased left-ward. I expect that self-disgust within the profession appreciated by a few points (probably for the wrong reasons), but I'll bet that the next "confidence in the media" survey won't be much different than the most recent one.
I think the press barely cracks the top 20, if that, in the list of post-election losers.