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Sunday, June 11, 2006

Seeing bias where it might not be

--posted by Tony Garcia on 6/11/2006

Another blogger recently pointed out an example of media bias. Unfortunately in the zeal to advance pure partisanship he ignored details of the story he reported in the same manner as he claims the biased media does when covering (or not covering) conservativs.

Andy of Residual Forces wrote:
For some reason, the media sure seemed hell bent on providing full and up to the minute coverage of the DFL convention compared to their canned (pre-written) stuff for the GOP’s.

Just look at MPR’s Polinaut. He’s got multiple posts chalk full of photos, audio links, and coverage for the DFL this weekend. Granted he was not there, and he says he was not working on it, but… he still posted on it extensively. hmmmmmmm Last weekend, during the GOP convention, he was waxing his car and what not. Is this a conspiracy? No, but it is evidence of the motivation for reporting.
Now first I have to mention that his writings of late have lacked any objectivity whatsoever and have been pure in partisanship. That's great for him, but people need to understand that partisanship and objectivity are mutually exclusive...and that is the root cause of liberal media bias as well. It is for that partisanship that I skip his blog because partisanship adds very little to honest public discourse.

His post is a prime example of what partisanship does to people and that is one reason I pulled it our for discussion. But in order to understand how that is we must first look at why his statement is wrong in its implication.

There were no publicly contested races for the GOP. The party did its best to fulfill their goal (as they stated back in March) of creating the appearance of unanimity behind their pre-selected candidates. The altered rules for this year, they prevented an opportunity to even vote "Nay" against the endorsement of Pawlenty, they were indirectly involved in shutting Harold Shudlick and John Uldrich out of the campaigning process...there was a concerted effort to prevent any contested races at the state convention. As a result there was nothing on the surface beyond a big-ol' love fest. And everyone knew that was the case before it happened. What really was there to cover?

The DFL had contested races. They actually allowed a contest for the gubernatorial race. They never denied the existance of Ford Bell. There were contested races for Auditor and Secretary of State endorsements. This was news...just like the GOP convention was newsworthy in 2002.

His pap continues...
If they did, their would be a ton of negative spun stories about the DFL candidates, like how the ‘Peace First’ gang of the DFL who supported Ford Bell and Becky Lourey, were silenced. But last weekend, Sue Jeffers got plenty of column inches and air time in a sympathetic way, since the GOP denied her. (So far, only the Fergus Falls Daily Journal has picked up on Bell’s absence, eventhough it was self imposed.)
Silencing seems to have a double standard. On the one hand Andy and his partisan hackery kind were quick to actually justify silencing people who had the audacity to speak out against the to-be-coronated GOP candidates. And Heaven help the people that even TRY to mention the silencing. I saw not mainstream media coverage of how that was done within the GOP convention. The hypocritical approach that epitmoizes the hardest of partisans comes shining through as he then wants the media to report on the exact same situation at the DFL convention.

As a side note...I talked to a news reporter actually there in Rochester for the conservative station KNSI and she had not seen anything. So what did Andy witness that was not reported at the DFL convention? I don't know. Wild fabrications to make him seem to look better in the eyes of his fellow partisans is all, methinks. See, to a partisan you must bash people even if you have to create the topics. It happens with Democrats who are bashing the U.S. about "beating Zarqawi to death" and it happens with Republicans who are claiming media bias over this weekend. Andy, there are plenty of actual instances of media bias to choose from...don't make it up. What you are doing is the same thing that feminists do when they fabricate sexual harrassment just to prove it exists. You ruin the credibility of the actual problem instead of highlighting the problem.

Now, is there media bias for the DFL? Oh, hell yes, there is. Did it show up this weekend because the DFL convention was extensively covered and the GOP convention was barely covered? Nope. That actually is justifiable...except to the people who can't see anything but partisan hackery. Did the media bias show up because the poor support of the GOP was reported but not for the DFL? Nope. Again, in KNSI's sending of a reporter to cover Rochester I asked her to look out specifically for 3 things (in addition to her other duties). First, what are the general themes. Second, what are the grumblings/comments on the floor. Third, what was the delegation turnout like. Sadly, the turnout was full on Saturday...every delegation seat was occupied. So where is the news that Andy thinks was skewed? In his mind only.

What was Andy looking for? Reporting on the non-news in the GOP convention and the skipping of the news going on at the DFL convention. He wanted the media to skip the seriously relevant quotes from GOP speeches apologizing for abandoning the base (the major discussion within the GOP about Pawlenty since Andy's own rant against Pawlenty before he sold out his principles in the name of his party) while wanting them to create stories of division from Rochester.

Why is this important for the GOP to understand? The very contrived manner of creating a facade of unity at the GOP convention created an underswelling of dissent and dissatisfaction. On the other side the DFL took a different approach. They acknowledged competition for their various races. The feelings of being silenced were actually not that strong.

As I have said before...the GOP would be in a much stronger position if they had embraced the competition from within the party. Pawlenty would have the strong support of the fiscal conservatives, his message would be more refined and the support would ACTUALLY be unified instead of a thin charade that everyone can see through. Had Kennedy and the GOP actually treated Shudlick & Uldrich with the respect of an opponent instead of "illegitimate" candidates I do not believe Kennedy's total at the convetion would have been under 95%.

So, was there media bias in the coverage of the two conventions? No. One convention was orchestrated to be a slobberfest and the other had some endorsements to fight through. The reverse of the conventions from 2002.

But don't let any of the partisans hear that...they don't like reality to get in their way.

********** UPDATE **********
I have heard through the rumor mill that Andy of Residual Forces thinks that I am (a) twisting his words and (b) feels I should provide the original link.

Sorry, Andy, I do not wish to reward your site by sending any traffic there. And my readers are smart enough to know how to find you AND the relevant posting. If they want the full text surrounding your quote they can get it. Though taking a snippet, contrary to what you imply when it serves your purposes, is not twisting your words, especially since I summarized the context. You think the GOP's convention was not treated the same as the DFL (which is true) and that it is because of media-bias (which is ignorantly untrue in this case). That is the context.

I think that how you have been writing over the past several months and what you choose to present as the sky-falling has no purpose beyond party politics...a concept which I believe is harmful to the discourse of the state and country. What I thought was objectivity buried deep down disappeared. My belief in your inability to hold an honest discussion evaporated the last time you were on our show when you could not answer directly a single question.

Yes, it is your right to write how and what you wish...so there is no need to be putting yourself up on your overused cross. I simply feel your rhetoric is harmful...the exact one-sided crap that creates and continues the hatred from both parties that the average person hates about politics. You have worked yourself into a number of hypocritical stances philosophically and then resort to personal attacks. For example...and there are many to choose from: Have you yet posted something about Jeffers positions as to why people should treat her with the level of disrespect that you advocate? Not that I have seen.

Will there be a link to you? Nope. The last several links that I had turned out to be deleted posts (they were afterall links to your own words which would have provided yet another example of your saying one thing and then saying another). Yes, you are well-read. Congratulations. But so are the New York Times and Daily Kos...both of which provide the same style of objectivity as you. Neither of them will I send links to. The principled thing to do is tell people WHERE the quote came from (just like a bibliography). I do that and I did it or you. The provision of a direct link is providing a convenience to the reader. When you show me the self-addressed stamped enevelope in every book to accompany a bibliography then you will be proven right that a link is necessary.


Blogger bobby_b said...

If the GOP convention had been full of controversy and contestation and fake Republicans aiming to snipe at Republicans, we'd be hearing, for the next six months, how the DFL winnowed down their candidates to arrive at a slate behind which they all cheerfully and loyally gather, ya' know, a true consensus, while the GOP's convention showed huge dissent, a fractured base, demoralization, and "fading support", and we'd be seeing really intellectual front-page analyses headlined as "is this the end for Pawlenty?" as a result.

Face it. We have a DFL press, and so a unified, and, yes, boring convention is the best result we can give it, in order to minimize its partisan impact. We'll still be seeing those dumb analysis pieces by the Strib editors, but without a fractured convention to give them weight.

I just don't see why, after many weeks of public debate before the convention, you think keeping her off the podium somehow denies her, or you, a right. Like, we all didn't hear what she was saying? How could we have missed it?

June 12, 2006  
Blogger Tony Garcia said...

In your zest to be a good partisan you missed the point.

The GOP convention was not newsworthy this year and there was no media bias in not covering it. The DFL convention was newsworthy and covering it was not an example of media bias.

Partisanship is blinding you.

June 12, 2006  
Blogger bobby_b said...

No, I understood that the main point in your post was your contention that calling the media coverage biased because it gave more inches to the DFL was flawed. I even mostly agreed with you.

But the part of your post that I thought needed reply, or balance, or . . . comment . . . was the undercurrent ( not all that "under", even) that had to do with your dismay over how the GOP convention was run. Even though it wasn't the main thesis, it was certainly the driving force.

I don't think the word you want is "partisanship."

June 12, 2006  
Blogger Tony Garcia said...

Partisanry? Partisanism?

My apoligies. I jumped the gun and thought you were addressing a minor point as the main point.

The way the GOP ran their convention is their own perrogative. But by forcing the facade of "unity" and making that the theme from early on do not be surprised that noone prepared to cover the GOP convention as "unity" and no contests is, well, unnewsworthy.

I say facade though because, while outside of the party workings there was discussion about Jeffers and Shudlick and Uldrich, inside the party there was no official place for delegates who wanted to hear Jeffers, or more generic, a choice. I thought "voice" included "vote". I mean, people say their "voices will be heard in November" implying that a citizens voice in action is to vote. That being the case when did the delegation have their chance to voice their views on Jeffers-Pawlenty? In fact, when did those who just are dissatisfied with Pawlenty get the chance to even say, "Nay" to the endorsement? Never.

There is disagreement in each party. The difference is how they deal with it. The GOP has chosen for 2+ years to pretend there is no disagreement and silence as much of it as possible. I mean, hell, you cannot even be a conservative and voice a desire for Bachmann to lose...silence dissent without hearing it.

The hacks of the GOP this time last year chose to call those who wanted Eibenstiener out of office "mutineers". It has been 12 months and I am still waiting for those idiots to address directly the concerns and issues that were brought up then. Instead they chose to attempt shouting down the "mutineers" with name calling. Why? Because everyone was not of like-mind. Everyone was not a lemming as demanded by the hacks and leaders.

That method of running the party carried into 2006, into the caucus, into the convetions.

All for, as the MN GOP office told me in March, "the appearance of unanimity".

Not the best way to have actual unity.

And rather than address the issue with the GOP you instead try to turn it to a "Jeffers has been heard" line of defense. Really? What was the vote at the convention? How did that discussion go at the convention. After all, the convention is the ONLY place that the Jeffers supporting delegates and the delegates who want Pawlenty pushed right-ward to be heard (either with voice/debate or a vote).

Where can I find a recording of THAT discussion on the floor?

In fact, the voice of dissent was further silenced when the vote for endorsing the Governor went like this:"All in favor, congratulations." There never was a "all opposed" as there should have been. The result is the lie that it was unanimous and the Pawlenty sheep get to say, "nah-uh, there was a vote".

Shameful, really. But if you prefer to defend that behavior (changing rules to keep discussion out), then good luck with that.

I prefer to call the spade a spade. Silencing opposition within one's own party is, in my view, reprehensible.

Yes, I'm harder on the GOP than the DFL. I had higher standards of behavior and ethics for the GOP. I expected the high road from the GOP, not a bunch of lowest-common-denominator, 'it is legal so shut up' type of antics and defenses.

June 12, 2006  
Blogger bobby_b said...

Bottom line, practicality holds sway sometimes over principle. There was, and is, absolutely no way the GOP is going to cast off, if not Pawlenty, then Pawlenty's numbers.

Think Jeffers could ever win a general election? I don't. Not in this state. She differs from Pawlenty in precisely the wrong direction.

In the runup to the convention, it was clear that she certainly wasn't gathering support sufficient to warrant replacing Pawlenty with her. Pawlenty had to go certain places this last term precisely because of where the electorate is in this state - and I, and many others, feel that he went as far as he had to go, and not much further. Yeah, I wish there were no stadium bill, and I wish he could have avoided a few other things, but to get as far as he did in this state is worthy of praise, not condemnation and threat.

Next time, bring out your alternative earlier in the process. But, if you're facing the numbers held by Pawlenty, it's still gonna be tough.

(BTW - great blog. Please keep it up. The more blogs like this, the more differing views get heard. In spite of your opinion, I do think that's important.)

(Oh, and, the word was "practicality.")

June 13, 2006  

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