Working as an indentured servant for my school newspaper 20 years ago I was awarded the distinction of “Best News Writer of the Year.” What a sham!
No, there wasn’t any Joe Biden-esque plagiarism. It’s just that I never conformed to the role of a true reporter. The practice of gathering and disseminating information while striving for unbiased viewpoints was not a concept I grasped. My opinions have always run deep. I was an editorial-page columnist masquerading as a reporter. Whether covering campus pay phone contracts (hey, this was 20 years ago) or a proposed baseball stadium, my point of view guided how I selected and strung together the facts. Objectivity was for sissies.
Operating under the “it-takes-one-to-know-one” principle, it’s painfully obvious that the majority of the “reporters” working today have that same objectivity-be-damned perception disorder when it comes to covering Barack Obama. During the campaign, the Center for Media and Public Affairs, John McCain and Hillary Clinton all complained that the media fix was in for Obama. Now, a recent study by the respected Pew Research Center gives weight to those allegations.
In reviewing Obama’s first 100 days in office, Pew noted that Obama enjoyed substantially more positive media coverage than either Bill Clinton or George Bush during the same period of time—42 percent of the Obama stories were positive compared to 27 percent for Clinton and 22 percent for Bush. Another 30 percent were neutral.
Rather than blush, the media scoffed at these findings. “The newscasts reflect reality,” said Rick Kaplan, executive producer of the CBS Evening News. “Everyone, including Republicans, would have to say his first 100 days have been great.”
Apparently Kaplan was too busy polishing his “Change We Can Believe In” buttons to note the Rasmussen Reports daily tracking poll from May 3rd, 2009 that found that 43 percent of voters disapprove somewhat with Obama’s performance and 32 percent of the nation’s voters strongly disapprove.
I’m no right winger, and it’s in my best interest as an American if Obama hits a homerun with his agenda, but when I turn on the news I want fair and balanced—and I ain’t getting it.
In his first 100 days Obama slammed in the single largest government expenditure ever--a nearly $820 billion stimulus package--without the transparency and five day online public review period of all legislation he promised during the campaign. His deficit-laden $3.2 trillion budget--the largest ever—also warrants more than a little scrutiny.
Where was the mainstream media on Obama using the stimulus package to undo Clinton’s Welfare Reforms of 1996, or creating a $5.2 billion pot that the scandal-plagued ACORN operation can tap or slipping in highly controversial controls of doctors in private practice?
Perhaps it would help my objectivity-challenged counterparts in the press to pick up a copy of “A Slobbering Love Affair: The True (And Pathetic) Story of the Torrid Romance Between Barack Obama and the Mainstream Media.” Written by Bernard Goldberg, the former CBS newsman, the book bemoans the self-induced collapse of his beloved profession. Less of a slam of Obama than the title implies, Goldberg laments the demise of honest journalism. Even the most strident Obama supporter will wince reading the section in which The Washing Post’s ombudsman Deborah Howell admits to the media bias in her own paper.
But honestly, do you need a book to see that the mainstream media loves Obama to a fault? The Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics requires its members to distinguish between advocacy and news reporting. I, for one, can’t keep my opinion out of my writing. I understand first hand how difficult it is to be a true reporter. But is it too much to suggest that journalists who can’t distinguish between fact and commentary bow out of the newsroom and find their rightful place in the editorial department?