Monday, May 23, 2005

Panel Is Looking for Media Bias And Will Find It, Comrade

First, my apologies to all.....the combination of being severely busy at work last week with a record-breaking heat wave over the weekend that resulted in an unprecedented number of pool party invitations put a significant cramp in my blogging. Starting Wednesday, as I go on vacation for Memorial Day with my family and my partner, there will also be a lull -- so take it as extra time to visit with your loved ones. Life is short; seize the days.

Now, returning to semi-irregular programming:

As John Aravosis breathlessly reports today, he will be a member of a panel that Representative John Conyers, Jr. is convening tomorrow, ostensibly to investigate "media bias".

So who are the other panelists?

Al Franken, the Al Franken Show on Air America Radio, author of Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right

David Brock, founder of Media Matters

Randi Rhodes, the Randi Rhodes Show on Air America Radio

Joe Madison, The Black Eagle Radio Show

Justin Webb, Senior Washington Correspondent of BBC News

Eric Alterman, Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress

Steve Rendall, media watchdog group FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting)

John Aravosis, America Blog

Mark Lloyd, Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress

I hate to ruin what I'm sure will be an auspicious and exciting occasion, but given the list of panelists, I can save Conyers's office the expense and time of holding the meeting and the panelists the flight and lost work time by simply giving you the conclusions they will reach.

General Conclusions

-- Republicans are bad

-- Conservatives are bad

-- Religion is bad

-- Corporate ownership of media is bad

-- No liberal bias exists in the media; the media is biased against liberals


By Specific Individuals

-- Al Franken and Randi Rhodes: "Journalists should be more responsible and check their sources"

subtext: Fortunately, we're entertainers, not journalists, so that doesn't apply to us.

-- David Brock and John Aravosis: "Journalists should do more to expose hypocrisy"

subtext: Except when it comes to Democrats, especially Democrats who support the FMA.

-- Joe Madison: "Corporate ownership of media suppresses the news and twists opinion."

subtext: Unless it's the multibillion-dollar one that pays my salary

I've already linked through on Messrs. Alterman, Lloyd, and Rendall, but to summarize their subtexts....they are indeed watchdogs, but the watchdog is blind in one eye and deaf in one ear. Pass on the right and, no matter your intention, you will be attacked; pass on the left and you can rob the house blind with nary a whimper.

The most interesting one is Mr. Webb, of the BBC. I've read a great deal of his work, and I've been very impressed. A particularly-good piece that I would recommend is his most recent "From Our Own Correspondent" piece about the role of religion in the Deep South. It's an excellent example of digging deep to get to the whole truth -- and something that, I daresay, will be utterly foreign and alien to the other members of the panel.

We shall see.

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