JMS on Usenet


Subject: Re: And So It Begins...
Date: 27 May 2003 23:45:20 GMT
From: (Jms at B5)

>For his new book, Feeding the Beast: The White House Versus the Press, U.S. 
>News &  World Report White House correspondent Kenneth Walsh personally
>28 of his White House colleagues. 

There's several problems with this.

First, the sampling is both small and highly anecdotal.  

Second, the original note to which I was responding --

>>>I may be generalizing a bit but when a poll showed that over 90% of News
>>>voted for Bill Clinton
>>Cite your source, please.

-- did not specify that very small subset which is Washington bureau chiefs and
their immediate subordinates, which seems to be the main focus of this.  It was
an across the board statement about ALL journalists, and that statement is
still awaiting corroboration.

Third, the original statement implies that if one voted for a given person, one
is thereafter incapable of reporting accurately or fairly on said subject.  

If that were true, then why is it that Clinton was a constant target from the
media during his last few years in office, whereas Bush has, for the most part,
gotten off easily.  
You rarely hear anyone contrasting his landing on the aircraft carrier with his
going AWOL for most of his National Guard service, and the criticism of the
Patriot Act and the lack of WMD evidence is treated with kid gloves, on and on.

If it were true that the voting habits invalidated objectivity, then perforce
Clinton would not have been pilloried for his actions.  He was.  Allegations
that later ended up being groundless were reported with near circus-like
ferocity by the media.  

Thus it seems that the premise is faulty...and if so, then there's really no
point to the voting record.

Further to the point, where the reporters may or may not vote one way or
another, the people who *control* those publishing and TV companies are highly
conservative.  Witness the lack of liberal news commentators/talk shows and the
propensity of conservative ones.

Doesn't matter if the reporter votes one way or the other if the stories he
wants to write never make it past the bullpen.  And the White House has
repeatedly played the card of simply not callling on reporters who ask annoying
questions during press conferences, further pressuring people to use

So bottom's a dubious statistic, from a tiny sub-set, which does not
have any provable associated bias in past situations, and is thus for the most
part fairly meaningless...nor does it in any way support the original statment
about journalists as a group, which still seems to have been made in either
error or deliberate distortion.

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