Tag Archives: Main Stream Media

MSNBC In Denial

Keith Olbermann in a saner momentApparently MSNBC thinks it is still an unbaised, balanced news organization. This comes as a surprise to me, and based on the latest evidence, it probably comes as a surprise to some of its more prominent staff.

Keith Olbermann has been suspended indefinitely without pay by MSNBC after Politico reported he’d donated to three candidates in the recent elections.

MSNBC appears to be surprised by this, and there is a policy against such private donations.

MSNBC president Phil Griffin said in a statement Friday: “I became aware of Keith’s political contributions late last night. Mindful of NBC News policy and standards, I have suspended him indefinitely without pay.”

According to a 2007 summary on MSNBC.com, parent company NBC warns each staff member to avoid activities that “could jeopardize his or her standing as an impartial journalist because they may create the appearance of a conflict of interest.”

Fox News talking heads give money to candidates and are allowed to by policy so long as they use personal funds and not corporate funds.

This highlights a major issue I have with the main stream media.

Friends of mine had a banner in their school room that read to the affect Nothing is unbiased.” A good rule to live by, especially for me as I tend to err on the side of trust and amicability. A necessary, but not negative, level of shrewdness is a primary part of what we’d call wisdom. Being aware of and searching out the biases of those we are involved with personally and professionally will tend to enable better relations as there is less chance of being surprised or manipulated.

The main stream media still seems to think they can be unbiased in their reporting of the news when significant percentages of the rest of the world are aware of their 80-90% support of leftist or Democrat ideas.

The goal of a news organization ought not to be a lack of bias but a pursuit of trustworthiness. To be trustworthy that organization must first be self-aware enough to realize their own biases, then be honest about those biases.

If I know where an idea or report or thought is coming from, what perspective it is giving to the story it is reporting, I can form a more accurate picture of the actual event they wish to inform me about.

But even my being aware of their bias isn’t sufficient. They must be aware and honest about their bias so that their bias can inform their reporting rather than detract from it.

True accuracy in reporting comes from being trustworthy and honest more than from claiming to be unbiased.

The Philadelphia Inquirer, whose story on this I linked above, notes that bloggers have been critical of this. I’d say the blogger they’ve quoted was ignorant:

Many media blogs were critical of the MSNBC move, on a variety of grounds. Derek Thompson of the Atlantic wrote that news of Olbermann’s contributions “reaffirms the biases we all knew he had. But does it jeopardize his standing as impartial?”
Keith Olbermann is not impartial. He never had standing as impartial, except possibly in his own mind and those of his employers. His biases were evident every time he opened his mouth, which is part of why his time anchoring for football games was so short. Olbermann is a man particularly and completely engaged in the political side of American life.

And so Fox News’ policy allowing their staff, as private citizens, to support candidates of their choice, allows me to trust their reporting more than I’d trust MSNBC’s reporting for their own policy against such private action.

Perhaps the Inquirers ignorance comes from their own policies, which they are honest enough to post as part of the article:

Inquirer policies and procedures make clear that “staff members may not make contributions of money or time to candidates, parties or groups taking a partisan stance.” Staff members also are instructed to “avoid activity that could create the appearance of a conflict” with their professional duties.

Roy Peter Clark, vice president and senior scholar at the Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, Fla., says that while the NBC policy is “pretty clear,” it is also likely to have been “formulated in an earlier time.”

“No one should expect journalists to be civic celibates,” Clark says, “but you can’t put a campaign sign on your lawn or bumper sticker on your car. If I’m supposedly nonpartisan, I shouldn’t wrap myself in public in the flags of partisanship.”

This suspension has put MSNBC in a bit of a bind:

In a bizarre turn of events yesterday, the network gave Olbermann’s slot to Chris Hayes, editor of the liberal Nation magazine — only to withdraw the decision after it was reported that Hayes also had doled out campaign contributions.

Hayes gave $2,000 to Democratic office seekers in Alabama and Illinois in 2008 and 2009.

Olbermann is MSNBC’s cash cow. His ratings are far and above the best on that channel, though they lag far behind his nightmare, Bill O’Reilly of the Fox News Channel. However, MSNBC’s ideas of their own impartiality are so ingrained, they have not considered simply amending the policies to be more in line with our modern reality.

They are focused on the external evidence of an internal fact: Olbermann couldn’t be impartial even if he gave no money at all. And his giving money serves no purpose except to bolster those he supports. His own words and actions speak volumes louder, and combined with his microphone, completely eclipse any need for the confirmation money would’ve provided.

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The Ugly Head Of Good Intentions

Henry Waxman and... his brother?

Pro-Abortion Democrat Bart Stupak joined Henry Waxman in chiding AT&T, Caterpillar, and several other large corporations who have adjusted their balance sheets in response to some of the first changes of the Health Care Socialization bill to take affect.

These large corporations have been enjoying a substantial tax deduction in return for their paying for their retirees prescription drugs. Because they had built their budgets around the savings this program gave them, as this program ends, they have to report the loss of this expected revenue.

And it’s significant amounts we’re talking here. After all, several hundred million here, a billion there, and pretty soon we’re talking real cash.

So Henry Waxman, from California (“sorry folks” says this former Californian)…

…sent AT&T, Caterpillar and Deere a sharp letter, questioning the charges and saying he wanted top officials from those companies to testify at an April 21 hearing he has scheduled on the issue.

What, he didn’t get enough validation of his supposed superiority after grilling Mr Toyoda of Toyota motors?

Congress is on a power trip the likes of which I haven’t seen before.

Bart Stupak joined in sending the letter which, among other things presumably, said:

The new law is designed to expand coverage and bring down costs, so your assertions are a matter of concern.

Ah, the ugly head of good intentions.

Some studies (which no doubt the Congress-people held to savagely in order to assuage their own consciences for this dastardly deed) projects savings of $3000/employee for employers under this bill.

Unlike the government, though, businesses have to abide by what are called Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, or GAAP (pronounced “gap”) which requires, among other things, that expenses be reported in the financial quarter in which they are incurred. A significant loss of revenue cannot be offset, on the books, with a hoped for or expected long term savings. The company can report that expected savings in their reports to shareholders in order to rally them up and encourage them to keep their investments. But to use a hoped-for (not even really expected) long term savings to offset a current expense is a serious No-No. And if the government were held accountable for it’s accounting, it might actually know that.

So AT&T and these other companies did what they were supposed to do.

Even the AFL-CIO isn’t very enthusiastic about this particular provision:

Gerry Shea, the A.F.L.-C.I.O.’s chief strategist on health care, stopped short of calling for a repeal of the provision. “We’re very concerned about the disruption that could be caused because of this, with people being pushed out of employer plans,” he said. “With all the changes we’re looking at because of the new health legislation, we feel you don’t need this.”

And the President’s response?

White House officials said the provision would not affect job creation because it does not take effect for three years and any charge for a given year would not be large.

They’re reflecting the reality of the situation reflected, in turn, badly on those who jammed this travesty of a Health Care bill through. And one thing we can be sure about, people on power kicks don’t like being shown to be liars and cheats. And since their on a power kick, in all likelihood they’ll use that power kick to try and arm-twist until they get what they please.

So, word of advice to AT&T and Caterpillar and all those other companies writing down significant losses: Don’t go to Washington. They’re out for your head and they’ll stage a show and the MSM will go along because they don’t like you either. You’ll not get a fair shake.

Instead, take your message to the masses. Use that advertising budget to do PSAs on TV, radio, newspapers, and internet. Go viral with your message on Youtube and the like. I’ll even post it here if you do it.

Show the hollow nature of these good intentions. Show how blinded the Congress was by their own ambition and greed that they crafted this nightmare. Show that it’s not just a nightmare for you and others with large pocketbooks, show that it’ll be a nightmare for us as you have to cut benefits and trim payroll.

Good intentions have once again reared their ugly head. Lets cut it off this time.

Quotes from NYTimes article “Companies Push To Repeal Provision Of Health Law”.