Wednesday, October 01, 2008

MSM to public: "Sure we're in the tank for Obama, whatcha' gonna do about it?"

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See updates at bottom of post.

Patterico and Michelle Malkin have details on the latest outrage:

Moderator of Palin Debate Has Pro-Obama Book Coming Out on Inauguration Day

A debate “moderator” in the tank for Obama; Update: McCain campaign didn’t know about book

This is nothing new. David Gelernter has this story from 1996 in his Book Drawing Life:

Today's elite loathes the public. Nothing personal, just a fundamental difference in world view, but the hatred is unmistakable. Occasionally it escapes in scorching geysers. Michael Lewis reports in the New Republic on the '96 Dole presidential campaign: 'The crowd flips the finger at the busloads of journalists and chant rude things at them as they enter each arena. The journalists, for their part, wear buttons that say 'yeah, i'm the Media. Screw You.' The crowd hates the reporters, the reporters hate the crowd-- an even matchup, except that the reporters wield power and the crowed (in effect) wields none.

Their power might be waning, but they still seem to have enough to keep pushing their agenda. (At least the ones who still have jobs.)

This old post has a hypothesis for why this is so:

MSM: Shrinking Audience, Leftward Drift

UPDATE: Howard "Howie the Wesel" Kurtz defends Ifill here.

It really is a perfect case study for the corralled rebellion school of media criticism.

Kurtz makes race an issue ("In The Post interview, Ifill said that as the daughter of a minister who marched in civil rights demonstrations") and then let's Ifill level a bogus racism charge against her critics ("She added: "No one's ever assumed a white reporter can't cover a white candidate."). He touts her MSM credentials ("Ifill, who has worked for NBC News, the New York Times and The Washington Post") as though that proves she is not biased. He goes out his way to slam the first website to point out the conflict of interest even though they had their facts right.

UPDATE 2: As if to prove the point, a whole lot of "media critics" flack for Ifill:

MSM starts throwing its ethics under the bus to cover for Gwen Ifill

UPDATE 3: This transcript from Washington Week right after the GOP convention shows Ifill's attitude toward any conservative who questions anything she and her friends do:

MS. IFILL: Speaking of fired up, ready to go, right? Okay, since we are representatives of the eastern media elite - (laughter) - we have to address the question - speak for myself, yes - we have to address the question that was raised at this convention and was used with great effect by not only Sarah Palin, but many of the other speakers, which is we're at fault essentially.


MS. IFILL: We've got tough, tough hides up here on this stage, so - (laughter) - hack away at us. Plus, when we get some sleep, we'll even be able to give it back to you.

UPDATE 4: Powerline believes that Ifill has "a shocking conflict of interest. I think that is true and it has nothing to do with left vs. right.

During the 1960 campaign, T. H. White considered writing a book that looked at presidential politics from the inside. When he broached the subject to his wife, she told him, "It's probably a good book if Kennedy wins. But if Nixon wins, it's a dog." JFK did win, and The Making of the President became a classic book. His wife may have been onto something because his later election books never had the same sizzle.

White, unlike Ifill, had played no journalistic role duing the campaign. He certainly did not pretend to be an impartial moderator during one of the debates.

A similar conflict of interest permeates Truman Capote's In Cold Blood. Every one knew that the best ending for the book included a description of the hanging of the two killers. It could no be finished until the appeals finished. Yet, Capote had befriended Smith and Hickock during their incarceration and they looked to him to help them fight the death sentence. Both recent movies on the matter (Capote and Infamous) recognize that this put the author in a morally compromised position.

Nonetheless, many members of the MSM "defend" Ifill by treating the whole matter as "right wing talking points."

Others resort to aristocratic disdain:

(A personal note: we've met Ifill and she's a terrific person and journalist.)
Really? So people in the guild get a pass because other members of the guild think they are "terrific". That recalls a defense of Jamie Gorelick during the 9-11 Commission hearings.

This guild mentality lies at the heart of many of journalisms problems. As Power Line noted a few days ago:

We live in a political system that has not yet been adequately described, but one might call it a "mediated democracy." Mediated by a self-appointed, generally ignorant but highly opinionated "elite" that is not elite by any conventional measure--income, intelligence, education, social position--but that successfully dictates the terms of political discourse even though it no longer controls (exclusively, anyway) the means of production of the news. Someday, social scientists may be able to explain this. For now, we appear to be stuck with it.

UPDATE 5: Howie the Weasel likes flacking for Ifill so much, he did twice. This time in his regular column.

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