Sunday, May 06, 2007

There was an AP article linked to by a headline on Huffington Post to-day about the Rudy Giuliani campaign's complaint to NBC about Keith Olbermann. This comes after one of Olbermann's "Special Comments", an editorial that occasionally comes at the end of Olbermann's show, in this case it was a commentary on Giuliani's assertion that the country would be less safe under Democrats than Republicans (you can see the Special Comment here).

What strikes me most about the AP article is its assumption that we can all see that Olbermann's commentary is corrupted by bias. "Clearly there's a taste in America for both a partisan and nonpartisan press." And yet it doesn't spend one sentence attempting to debunk Olbermann's commentary. Anyone unfamiliar with the pundits and journalists mentioned in the article would have a hard time figuring out what the article's getting at, what precisely it means by "Olbermann's popularity and evolving image as an idealogue has led NBC News to stretch traditional notions of journalistic objectivity." Whether the AP writer, David Bauer, realises it or not, the AP article is itself an opinion piece.

I think this is indicative of the general trend in the media to assume that "balance" is the same thing as "objective". This is what caused Jon Stewart's meltdown on Crossfire years ago. I actually don't think Stewart was very articulate in the encounter, but I think so many people responded strongly to it because we all sensed what Stewart was getting at--that in the mainstream media, giving equal credence to right wing and left wing positions is more important than the truth.

When Rudy Giuliani claimed that there would be more casualties under a Democratic president, he was using terror as a tool. That's simply the truth.

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