Monday, January 14, 2008

Who's Got the Bias?

I wasn't able to watch Sen. Clinton's interview on Meet the Press yesterday but after reading the transcript I must say she spent more time attacking Sen. Obama than explaining why she would make a good president. But it seems that the people over at Media Matters are more concerned with attacking Tim Russert for looking at her past record of the last few months and arguing that Mr. Russert is being heavily biased against Sen. Clinton. Given the nature of the media and Mr. Russert's long career as hosting Meet the Press I find it surprising that Media Matters would get themselves up in a tizzy over his use of clips and quotes that by nature are outside of context. Moreover, one would think Media Matters would note how easily Sen. Clinton deflected Mr. Russert's questions. Instead, they continue the Clinton campaign narrative that Sen. Obama has not been truthful about his war record, flip-flopping when it suited him, while letting Sen. Clinton's record on the war pass.
I'm no fan of Tim Russert nor of Sen. Clinton. I support Sen. Obama and will vote for him when I have the chance in my primary election. So, with my biases out of the way, I have to say that Media Matters is clearly siding with the Clinton campaign by interpreting Mr. Russert's interview style as an attack on Sen. Clinton without noting the basic idea that any quote is one taken out of context by its very nature. This is very sophomoric of an organization that claims to police the biases of the media. If Media Matters wishes to maintain a separation between itself and any particular campaign then regurgitating the talking points of a campaign is not the way to do it. But if Media Matters wishes to voice their support for the Clinton campaign, which is their prerogative as a progressive organization, then they should do so and do so clearly and as upfront as they hold other media organizations. However, as a 501(c)3 organization that does not engage in lobbying activities as a public charity, they cannot do this. So, in other words, Media Matters, by only questioning Mr. Russert's interview style versus taking the whole context of the interview--in which Sen. Clinton did not fully and truthfully answer each question, particularly in not noting her own record on war-funding and such--basically violated the terms of their non-profit status. Certainly they have a right to point out media bias and do so from a progressive perspective but they do not have the right to criticize the media for asking 'gotcha' questions to their preferred candidate which, judging by the comments on the post about Mr. Russert's interview, is Sen. Clinton.
It's this sort of biased posting that keeps me away from sites like Media Matters for the most part. Rarely are the issues fully debated and rarely is the particular kind of bias noted plainly and clearly to its audience. If Media Matters wishes to support Sen. Clinton that is fine by me, and their coverage of Chris Matthews' comments on Sen. Clinton is right and appropriate, but do not expect me to respect their opinions and journalism when they cannot even separate their own reporting from Clinton campaign talking points.

No comments: