*Gobsmacked" is Kiwi for speechless.
Well we were! It came as a complete surprise! Right there in the middle of the news, a reporter actually admitted "the media had been treating Al Gore badly." And it wasn't just on CNN; we heard the same thing on a couple of network news programs. While they didn't come right out and say that THEY had been UNFAIR in THEIR reporting, the inference was there.
This self-revelation came about during the replacement of Gore's campaign chair. Bill Daley is in charge now that Tony Coelho has been forced to resign for medical reasons. Is this new attitude the media's way of kissing up to the new chairman? Whatever the reason, this candor on the part of at least some of the media was as refreshing as it was totally surprising -- took us some time to get our voices back.
Like many of you, we find the media's "holier than thou" and viciously judgmental attitude disgusting. Certainly THEY do not lead exemplary lives, yet they revel in picking off any scandalous scab, real or imaginary that they assume clings to some candidates. They ARE BIASED since some candidates, like John McCain, always gets preferential treatment.
It would be one thing if reporters just reported the news. What gets us catatonic is when they take on such a rychus indignation attitude, and also when they continually "carry the water" of a candidate by repeating her or his mantra.
We find the most egregiously unfair treatment in the way the two major campaign agendas are commented on. If you've listened at all you have noted that the media always refers to Gore as "reinventing himself again" (a direct quote from Dubya). This is spoken with a smile or a chuckle BY REPORTERS! But for the same sort of announcement from the Republican camp, they say that Dubya has started "a new phase" in his campaign.
Why does this matter? It matters because we the voters get the impression that Gore is bumbling around aimlessly while Dubya is in control. The media is shaping our assessment of these two men and we should not let them get away with it. Note how differently it comes out when you frame one man's announcement as "reinventing himself again" and the other man's as "entering another phase of his campaign."
This in a nutshell is how very badly the media has been treating Gore and some polls show Dubya leads Gore by 10 points (up from 5 last week.)
Both of these candidates are working hard and talking to people around the country and both are mostly enthusiastically received by the crowds. During the week that T.V. news programs were salivating over the 10 point spread, 2 other polls showed the candidates dead even. A few newspapers carried these polls but not T.V. news.
Instilling a perception of a failed or failing Gore campaign is a media red herring. Commenting derisively on his choice of apparel while not doing the same for Dubya is selective harassment and biased reporting. If it's just nasty stuff the media want there's plenty in the many clouds hanging over Dubya's National Guard service. The latest is where was he?
"The (Bush) campaign was surprised in late May when retired Gen. William Turnipseed said Bush did not report to him, although the young airman was required to do so.
His orders, dated Sept. 15, 1972, said: "Lieutenant Bush should report to Lt. Col. William Turnipseed, DCO, to perform equivalent training."
"To my knowledge, he never showed up," Turnipseed said last month.
-- Paul M. Rodriguez email@example.com
He never showed up for his drug test either. Dubya avoided taking his drug detection physical while he was in the National Guard. In addition there is all the information still coming out about the Texas judicial system and Bush's defense of it.
Why should it take a man condemned to death on the word of one eyewitness, and group of people protesting the death penalty, to force the media into showing scenes unfavorable to the Bush campaign? Why did most media sources ignore way Dubya smirked when challenged on his death penalty views during the primaries?
Reporters on CNN's Reliable Sources agreed that Dubya had a better relationship with reporters than Gore because he is always available for questions and because he banters with them using nicknames he has given to them. The question then became, "Did this give Bush better treatment by the reporters?"
"POSSIBLY", was the consensus. Jake Tapper of Salon.com suggested that any advantage that Dubya might have could be modified because reporters had frequent access to him. "THEY (the reporters) ARE CONSTANTLY REMINDED OF HOW VERY SHALLOW DUBYA'S INTELLECT IS, AND HOW MUCH HE LACKS IN BOTH GOVERNMENTAL AND FOREIGN AFFAIRS EXPERIENCE."
Then why don't they put all THAT information forth to us, the voting public? Surely this is UNREPORTED NEWS. This is information that the American public needs to make a presidential choice. Why hide Dubya's dim bulb under the barrel of reporter's good will? We can take it. Good, honest, UNBIASED reporting.
YEAH, right! If that happened, we'd not only be gobsmacked, we'd be twandized!!!
Copyright 2000 Renee T. Louise and Ruth M. Sprague, Ph.D. These articles may be republished for noncommercial use only, provided that they are copied intact, and that this copyright notice is attached. Address all queries to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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