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Let's learn about Accuracy in Media!

By valeko in Op-Ed
Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 09:57:51 AM EST
Tags: Politics (all tags)
Politics

Perhaps you have heard mention of an organisation which calls itself Accuracy in Media, whose name can often be found in the context of lavish praise for being "the country's first and foremost media watchdog organization." This group, headquartered in Washington D.C., leaves no stone unturned in touting its stated goal of "fairness, balance, and accuracy in news reporting."

However, something very eerie and sinister lurks behind this innocuous name and seemingly benign goal. In fact, Accuracy in Media is an Orwellian misnomer that ranks with the best of them.


In order to provide an intelligent assessment of Accuracy in Media's agenda and character, it is only proper and fitting that we begin with AIM's self-proclaimed motives as our baseline. To that end, we shall examine some choice quotations from the official AIM FAQ:

What is Accuracy in Media(AIM)?

Accuracy In Media is a non-profit, grassroots citizens watchdog of the news media that critiques botched and bungled news stories and sets the record straight on important issues that have received slanted coverage.

This sounds noble enough in its intentions, perhaps leading some uninitiated people to confuse AIM with FAIR. However, the use of populist phraseology in very ambiguous ways - "botched", "bungled", "sets the record straight" - may compel some to question the plausibility of this claim.

What is the goal of AIM?

We encourage members of the media to report the news fairly and objectively--without resorting to bias or partisanship.

This is a curiously short but condensed statement of principle, that leaves one with the feeling that something is missing. It is useful here to take note of the fact that no definition or guideline for "fair" and "objective" reporting of news is presented to the reader, except the implied suggestion that "bias" may somehow, somewhere play a role in making news reports un-objective. The mere suggestion that media can behave in a "fair" and "objective" way in terms of some rigid metric seems to betray a rather simplistic and handicapped understanding of the role of mass- information in our society, or perhaps a willful ignorance of it.

A person versed in American mainstream political rhetoric is also likely to pick up on the significance of the word "partisanship". Partisanship is a catch-all euphemism for opposition, even of the most compromising and pragmatic kind. It is often useful and relatively easy to discredit opposition on the grounds that it is a question of "party line" or "pure politics", rather than somehow being meaningful or legitimate. It is one of the most loaded words that exists in the lexicon of mainstream "politics". For example, when Democratic elected officials call into question the necessity of certain Republican "national security" legislation (particularly in the wake of 11 September), this opposition is denounced abusively by conservative punditry as unnecessary and even immature "partisanship" or "playing the politics game". When Bush's judicial nominees for the federal court system are scrutinised by the Senate committee charged with confirming them, this is "partisanship".

Despite opposition and polemic being the most basic ingredients of a democratic society, the appearance of a speck of opposition is often spun as unnecessary and even unjust. The political climate created by 11 September has only made such nonsense more palatable to the people. Therefore, it is prudent to develop an ear sensitive to words that reference a very specific concept but are used in very ambiguous ways.

It may be useful to draw a comparison to the mission statement of Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR), which offers a more elaborate statement of principle that lacks this deceptive character:

FAIR, the national media watch group, has been offering well-documented criticism of media bias and censorship since 1986. We work to invigorate the First Amendment by advocating for greater diversity in the press and by scrutinizing media practices that marginalize public interest, minority and dissenting viewpoints. As an anti-censorship organization, we expose neglected news stories and defend working journalists when they are muzzled. As a progressive group, FAIR believes that structural reform is ultimately needed to break up the dominant media conglomerates, establish independent public broadcasting and promote strong non-profit sources of information.

But this comparison is really a digression, so let us continue with the AIM FAQ.

How do you know the media are biased?

All the major media surveys for the past 20 years have shown that 80 to 90 percent of the mainstream media consistently vote for Democrats.

Ah. Now we're getting somewhere.

But how do you know the media's political opinions influence their reporting?

Many of them are actually admitting it these days. They admit they're anti- business, pro-big government, anti-family and anti-religion. A couple of years ago, CBS commentator Bernard Goldberg caused quite a stir by saying in a Wall Street Journal op-ed piece that he couldn't believe people were actually still arguing about whether or not the media were liberal, because it was so obviously true.

Suddenly, Accuracy in Media emerges as belonging to one of the mysterious sectors of society that perpetuates this mythology of "liberal media" with a straight face. We often hear sarcastic jokes and biting satire about "liberal media", but few things in the mainstream have the quality of a polished Orwellian contradiction such as that found in FOX News, NBC, CBS, or CNN being accused of coverage that is "biased" to the "liberal" or "left" side. In the post-11 September era, this nonsense often appears in the form of an indictment against major sources of mass- information for coverage of the almighty War on Terror that is "anti-American" or "insufficiently pro-American". It's anyone's guess how such tenacious adherence to official propaganda and reinforcement of barriers that keep the spectrum of "acceptable opinion" in check ... can be called "anti-American", "unpatriotic", or anything else of the sort.

In fact, AIM would probably have an answer for you.

AIM was founded in 1969 by Reed Irvine, who was an economist with the US Federal Reserve Board at the time. An essential glimpse into AIM's history is provided by a well-researched Group Watch report published in 1989, brought to us courtesy of The Public Eye.

The report states that in its early history in the mid-1970s, AIM amounted to little more than Reed Irvine and then-Executive Secretary Abraham Kalish attempting to call attention to themselves. They sent letters to numerous newspaper editors that espoused their "cause" of fairness, accuracy, and balance in media reports. If the newspaper failed to publish their letters, Irvine and Kalish would purchase space in the offending paper and print their letters in that slot. By 1975, AIM was able to purchase stock in major media outlets, which allowed them to attend shareholder meetings and promote their "cause" there also.

In this article, then-Communications director Bernard Yoh is quoted as saying of AIM, "people erroneously call us conservative and right-wing. It really makes me sad because we try very hard to do everything evenhandedly." Unfortunately, AIM is worse than that. It is not only a right-wing and "conservative" organ, but it also claims to be your one-stop source for "accuracy" and bias-corrected information. This is different from say, claiming to espouse "traditional", "patriotic", or "American" viewpoints. This is a serious case of grand deception.

On AIM's numerous right-wing ties, a direct quote from the article is most appropriate:

AIM has intimate ties with many conservative causes. As an example, AIM heads the list of groups attending the 1986 Conservative Political Action Conference. The group also has a predisposition to attack journalists that write about and seem sympathetic to leftist and even centrist movements. AIM has a record of supporting Nicaraguan contra leaders such as Jose Francisco Cardenal. AIM also supports the Committee for a Free Afghanistan, a U. S. group that has backed the Afghan rebels beginning in 1981.

AIM, and Reed Irvine in particular, has all the essential attributes of the militant right wing. AIM delivers its gospel of "accuracy" to the heathen through a daily radio commentary, a newspaper column, and a bi-monthly newsletter, as well as various other conduits. A few selected gems from AIM's colourful history reveal them to be an entourage of lunatics whose sanity some might be inclined to bring into question:

  • Attacking the "blatantly pro-Communist propaganda" of PBS (public television network). (Link)

  • In AIM's first year, Irvine stated that Students For a Democratic Society, the Progressive Labor Party, and a number of other organisations should be charged with sedition in light of the Vietnam War. "If you're going to halt treason, you've got to do it while it's small," Irvine explained to the Village Voice in 1968. (Link)

  • In 1982, AIM successfully instigated the firing of Raymond Bonner from the New York Times for reporting the massacre of civilians by American-trained soldiers at the village of El Mozote in El Salvador.

  • Irvine encouraged the use of napalm against Salvadoran gorillas in AIM Reports such as this one.

  • Irvine also encouraged the use of nuclear weapons against Iraq during the Persian Gulf crisis.

  • In an odd departure from the mainstream conservative line about the Kosovo intervention of 1999, Irvine slandered a Philadelphia Inquirer reporter for allegedly inventing the story about a 1999 Serb-led massacre in Kosovo. This is very strange, since the establishment is generally quite interested in implicating the Serbs and exaggerating the dimensions and unilateralism of their atrocities against the Kosovar Albanians. In addition, the massacre in question occured before the NATO bombing campaign began, thus making it even a more precious ideological gem for the militant right since claims that NATO bombing precipitated the process can be deflected.

    But not Irvine. His reasoning was simple - Clinton used this made-up massacre as a part of his justification for the NATO bombing campaign. Apparently Clinton-hating was more important than being consistent or even rational in respect to the party line. Fortunately, Irvine was forced to write a retraction, eventually. Though, it's very funny retraction, considering the retraction itself is buried beneath a wealth of irrelevant nonsense.

  • At CBS shareholder meetings, Irvine frequently denounced Walter Cronkite as a Soviet pawn. At a 1986 meeting, Irvine requested that Cronkite be removed from the CBS board of directors for his [alleged] support of unilateral disarmament.

Or, in short, AIM does not seem to be concerned with attacking sources of "media bias" nearly as much as drowning any voices it finds ideologically objectionable in a sea of abuse and calls for censorship.

There is substantial evidence that AIM, like any self-respecting conservative organisation, derives a significant portion of its livelyhood from wealthy corporate backers, including Mobil Oil, the Adolph Coors Foundation, and a host of others. AIM does not seem particularly inclined to disclose the sources of their contributions.

Of course, AIM's essential elite aren't too shabby themselves, since most of them have backgrounds in intelligence. Reed Irvine served in Marine Intelligence during the Second World War, Abraham Kalish taught at the Defense Intelligence School, and Admiral Thomas H. Moorer, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under infamous President Nixon, was also involved with AIM. And the now-deceased Bernard Yoh has perhaps the most spectacular background of all, being a professor of psychological warfare at Air Force University in Montgomery, Alabama. He was also an advisor to South Vietnamese president Ngo Dien Diem during the 1950s, and advised right-wing generals in the 1964 military coup that toppled President Goulart of Brazil.

This is a very sinister organisation with a very ironic name. Either that, or they just adhere to a somewhat warped definition of "accuracy".

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Related Links
o Accuracy in Media
o AIM FAQ
o FAIR
o Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting
o statement
o US Federal Reserve Board
o Group Watch
o The Public Eye
o Link
o Village Voice
o Link [2]
o massacre of civilians by American-trained soldiers at the village of El Mozote in El Salvador
o this one
o slandered a Philadelphia Inquirer reporter
o retraction
o Also by valeko


Display: Sort:
Let's learn about Accuracy in Media! | 133 comments (111 topical, 22 editorial, 0 hidden)
I don't know about all that (1.69 / 13) (#1)
by medham on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 01:09:48 AM EST

AIM were among the first people to crack the story that the Ohio State administration threatened expulsion and arrest to anyone who heckled Bush during his commencement speech there.

I may reveal myself here, but I heckled my own commencement speaker with "My name's Johnny, and it might be a sin..."

The real 'medham' has userid 6831.

My guess... (4.11 / 9) (#2)
by valeko on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 01:13:27 AM EST

... is that they would delight in an opportunity to bash Bush in any way possible, since Bush isn't really conservative enough for their liking. Well, at least, their Vice President doesn't think so.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

I apologize (3.25 / 8) (#3)
by medham on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 01:15:00 AM EST

I knew that actually FAIR was the organization of which I spoke, and I concealed that fact to make what I thought was a funny joke.

I'm going to stop such deceptive behavior here on K5, for the good of one and all.

The real 'medham' has userid 6831.
[ Parent ]

That's right. (3.50 / 6) (#4)
by valeko on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 01:16:34 AM EST

You scared me there for a second. Despite the occasional inconsistency of AIM with the conservative line, I didn't think they'd go that far in the right direction. ack.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

What happened at OSU (4.50 / 8) (#33)
by wiredog on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 09:49:18 AM EST

From the Washington Post.
the exact words of the stadium announcer as follows: "Disruptions, including obstructing the view or hearing of others, will not be permitted. Persons who fail to follow the directions of university and law-enforcement officials will be removed from the stadium and subject to arrest."

Heard the same announcement at my graduation. In 1993.

Can't sleep. The clowns will get me.
[ Parent ]

It doesn't add up (3.33 / 3) (#73)
by Skwirl on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 01:43:00 PM EST

Ain't it funny how the Washington Post ombudsman played down the commencement speech controversy by including it in a column titled "Little Things Mean a Lot" and then putting it as the last item in the editorial? Considering how fervently the inverse-pyramid (important stuff first) style is drilled into journalists, I find that slightly suspicious. Ombudsmen are supposed address the public's concerns about journalistic decision-making, not make excuses for them, which is what this ombudsman appears to be doing.

And then there's the fact that the column didn't address the first-hand accounts of people being removed from the ceremony when they turned their backs. These accounts quoted the expulsion warning differently than the AP quote given above. Granted, these are biased sources, but something here doesn't add up and the Washington Post was incredibly flippant in dismissing the story.

--
"Nothing in the world is more distasteful to a man than to take the path that leads to himself." -- Herman Hesse
[ Parent ]

I hope this isn't shocking to anybody.... (4.40 / 22) (#7)
by bbuda on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 01:26:28 AM EST

Wait... hold on... a group with a happy, centrist-sounding name has hidden partisan aims? In America? This is a well-researched and written piece, and I applaud the author's good intentions, but this should not come as a surprise to anyone who is mildly interested in politics. A 30-second Google Search for "citizens for" turned up the innocent sounding Citizens for Tax Justice, Citizens for a Sound Economy, and Citizens for Health (italics mine) in the first three results. Additional results go on for pages. For bonus points, identify which groups are left-wing and which are right-wing without looking - you might be surprised.

The point is that appearing moderate is a classic marketing technique that is as old as politics itself. Whether or not there is a liberal media conspiracy, or whether or not right-wing groups are automatically 'sinister' in nature, FAIR is just another moderately powerful lobby. Par for the course in our special-interest ridden democracy. But I'll take it over the alternative...

Citizens Against Drug Abuse (3.71 / 7) (#18)
by Blarney on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 03:01:14 AM EST

Not to mention the CADA, mentioned in the Principia Discordia as a group of hippies who wrote editorial letters and other such stuff lobbying for the prohibition of catnip on the grounds that teenagers were using it to get high. A sort of reductio ad absurdum of the drug war.

Actually, I've known people who have resorted to smoking catnip when nothing better was available. It merely made them irritable and angry. My hypothesis is that cats, being carnivores, enjoy this feeling more than humans do.

[ Parent ]

Catnip (none / 0) (#112)
by Jah-Wren Ryel on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 11:46:51 PM EST

Catnip odor is chemically similar to a primary feline female phereomone.  The behavior of a cat sniffing catnip is very similar to the behavior of a cat around another cat in heat.  The question then arises - why does catnip affect female cats as much as male cats?  The answer is obvious once you think about it - all cats like pussy.

[ Parent ]
AIM & FAIR, c'est kif-kif (3.40 / 20) (#11)
by Lode Runner on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 01:44:39 AM EST

AIM and FAIR are so similar, it's scary.

  • AIM is a right-leaning media watchdog that cloaks itself in the language of objectivity.

  • FAIR is a left-leaning media watchdog that cloaks itself in the language of objectivity.
Both names would've elicited a knowing smile from Orwell. Only the deluded to would try to expose the deceptiveness of Big Brother's slogans by juxtaposing them against those of Napoleon.



Quit your ceaseless Chomsky-bashing (1.80 / 10) (#13)
by medham on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 01:51:17 AM EST

Orwell is and was a hero to the Blimpish anarchists among us, and I'll not hear his name besmirched in such a callous way. Do it to her, indeed.

The real 'medham' has userid 6831.
[ Parent ]

It wouldn't be ceaseless (3.50 / 4) (#72)
by Lode Runner on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 01:40:48 PM EST

if I quit, now would it, medham?



[ Parent ]

Yeah, well (4.50 / 16) (#14)
by HarmoniousFist on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 01:51:20 AM EST

You don't see the executives of FAIR calling for the US to nuke the world and encouraging assassination of government officials for not nuking the world, as AIM's Vice President Wilson C. Lucom seems to.

What a coincidence I came across that in valeko's diary. That's precious.

--
IN GOD WE TRUST, UNITED WE STAND! GOD BLESS AMERICA!
[ Parent ]

FAIR enough (4.33 / 6) (#54)
by Lode Runner on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 12:29:03 PM EST

but do consider the context: those scary weeks after 9/11 when passions were inflammed and most commentators were at wit's end. At the same time, FAIR's patron saint, Noam Chomsky, also made quite a few groundless claims and ludicrous demands based on those claims.

If you can't see the striking parallel between AIM's denunciation of media acquiesence to government violence at Waco/Ruby Ridge and FAIR's denunciation of media acquiesence to government violence in Afghanistan/Sudan, then you're not being consistently critical of your sources.



[ Parent ]

Here's where the parallel ends. (2.50 / 4) (#56)
by valeko on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 12:42:27 PM EST

FAIR can criticise "media acquiesence" all it wants, and even be quick to label those who do not fit its ideological motif as being "biased".

What FAIR does not do, unlike AIM, is try to actually censor these sources. It's called the First Amendment, and AIM obviously holds very little respect for it.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

tell that to Bob Grant (3.40 / 5) (#61)
by Lode Runner on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 01:03:45 PM EST

FAIR's "success" regarding Bob Grant belies your claim. Granted, FAIR qualifies its triumph with pious remarks about free speech, but they seem to be gloating that their efforts effectively silenced someone they didn't like.

[ Parent ]
Perhaps. (3.20 / 5) (#62)
by valeko on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 01:10:29 PM EST

You might have a point, but I find it bothersome that you choose to put a talk show devoted to "racial slurs and calls for violence" and a reporter exposing a massacre resulting from American foreign policy on equal footing, in your comparison.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

Clarification (3.66 / 6) (#71)
by sacrelicious on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 01:40:07 PM EST

From that link you posted:

The success was not in Grant's firing from New York's WABC, the flagship of Disney/ABC's radio empire. FAIR, in fact, never called for Grant to be taken off the air--we called on Disney to publish its policy regarding on-air racial slurs, and to add anti-racist counterweights to Grant--/and in any case, Grant was back on the air in little more than a week, on New York's WOR./

Empahsis mine...
Yeah, a whole lot of silencing that was. Besides, does your concept of "free speech" include racial slurs?

You must be the change you wish to see in the world
-Mohandas K. Ghandi

[ Parent ]

consider their intent (3.75 / 4) (#75)
by Lode Runner on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 01:50:15 PM EST

Regardless of the meager results, FAIR activists intended to railroad Bob Grant.

does your concept of "free speech" include racial slurs.

Hell yes! And it also includes making sure that those who want to counter these idiotic and harmful slurs have the opportunity to do so.

[ Parent ]

It's so very easy... (2.80 / 5) (#99)
by Shren on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 03:49:28 PM EST

It's so very easy to fling mud at people who fought the war or argued for fighting the war agressively. It's quite simple to bash the kind of tactics that were both used and considered to be used to win the Cold War. Lest you forget, however, you're living the world that these warmongers won for you. The reason that you arn't living under a one-party communist system is because US and NATO forces killed or arranged for the killing of an awful lot of USSR forces and USSR-allied forces.

Did some people propose going too far? Yes. I'd still rather have them as neighbors than people who refused to fight Leninism at all, who thought it was the next best thing.

[ Parent ]

You sir are a retard. (2.00 / 1) (#128)
by HarmoniousFist on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 10:30:23 AM EST

It's so very easy to fling mud at people who fought the war or argued for fighting the war agressively.

But that's only one side of the story. By being so blatantly biased against people who argue for fighting "the war" aggressively, I am marginalizing those of us that want the world to be a better place to live.

The reason that you arn't living under a one-party communist system is because US and NATO forces killed or arranged for the killing of an awful lot of USSR forces and USSR-allied forces.

Good one, ese! It's totally kickass that we suave freedom-loving dudes won the Cold War! We're defending freedom everywhere, ensuring that Communist dictatorship does not rear its ugly head. After all, Communism is synonymous with dictatorship and fascism. The last thing I'd want is to live in a one-party communist state.

--
IN GOD WE TRUST, UNITED WE STAND! GOD BLESS AMERICA!
[ Parent ]

shut up, fuckwit. (5.00 / 1) (#130)
by Shren on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 12:52:21 PM EST

But that's only one side of the story. By being so blatantly biased against people who argue for fighting "the war" aggressively, I am marginalizing those of us that want the world to be a better place to live.

Nice picture. Still, would you have prefered that the USSR conquered the known world before thy collapsed under the weight of thier corrupt system?

Good one, ese! It's totally kickass that we suave freedom-loving dudes won the Cold War! We're defending freedom everywhere, ensuring that Communist dictatorship does not rear its ugly head. After all, Communism is synonymous with dictatorship and fascism. The last thing I'd want is to live in a one-party communist state.

Again, shut up and get a clue.

I know about the US state terrorism. So does everybody who is paying attention. Doesn't invalidate the fact that we fought and won a war (cold, but a war) against a nation that stole (nationalized) US corporate property. I'd feel worse if they didn't start the cold war.

McCarthy was a moron - he started to run his trap sometime shortly after federal forces had actually taken care of most of the communist infiltration. He was a moron and he went too far.

As for your last link - you don't need to invent a conspiracy to see that there's effectively only one point of view represented in US Government.

My whole point, which you seem to have ignored, is that wars are nasty things which you win by playing dirty. Questioning the tactics used to win one is bad form unless you can prove that lesser force would have won the war. Do everything you can to win. Apologize later.

[ Parent ]

Wow, HF is right ... (3.00 / 1) (#131)
by valeko on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 01:12:19 PM EST

You really _are_ full of shit.

Nice picture. Still, would you have prefered that the USSR conquered the known world before thy collapsed under the weight of thier corrupt system?

Sorry, but nowhere in the USSR's long-term goals did "world domination" figure. Except in the minds of American leadership, of course, who grossly exaggerated Soviet power and intentions as a cover for their own imperialistic and criminal agenda. If you are somehow under the illusion that the USSR conquering the world is a realistic proposition, you need to get some X-ray glasses and see through the Irony Curtain.

The problem is the US conquering the world, not the USSR. It's the best of all-time Orwellian lies.

that stole (nationalized) US corporate property.

I'm not sure what you're talking about here - I wasn't under the impression that the US had extensive corporate possessions in the Russian Empire at the time of the Russian Revolution.

In any case, that is a matter of opinion, not an objective fact. A person with a capitalist mindset may regard nationalisation of corporate property as "stealing" from its "legitimate owners" (enterpreneurs), but socialists will tell you that the operations and practises of these enterprises are the real stealing - stealing from the people; speculation - profiteering.

Your insistence on substituting the word "steal" for "nationalise" betrays your own lack of education on the subject. Sorry, the vessels of corporate exploitation located on another country's sovereign property do not constitute "stealing" from anyone. If anything, exploiting that country's labour and resources by the corporation is "stealing". The restructuring of these societies by criminal investors and institutions such as the IMF, which demand the expedient abolition of social spending and a restructuring of society to be more open to "free trade" and "foreign investment" - thus screwing all indigenous people over and displacing indigenous entrepreneurial potential ... that is stealing. And it's ultimately what the US's chimp agenda is all about.

McCarthy was a moron - he started to run his trap sometime shortly after federal forces had actually taken care of most of the communist infiltration. He was a moron and he went too far.

Haha! Surely you don't call this site your home?

Do everything you can to win.

If everyone always thought within the rubric of this retarded mindset, we would all long be extinct.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

sigh (5.00 / 1) (#132)
by Shren on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 02:03:45 PM EST

Sorry, but nowhere in the USSR's long-term goals did "world domination" figure. Except in the minds of American leadership, of course, who grossly exaggerated Soviet power and intentions as a cover for their own imperialistic and criminal agenda. If you are somehow under the illusion that the USSR conquering the world is a realistic proposition, you need to get some X-ray glasses and see through the Irony Curtain.

I disagree.

The problem is the US conquering the world, not the USSR. It's the best of all-time Orwellian lies.

Capitalism, actually, is conquering the world. I question the long term central role of the USA. Corperations are fleeing to tax havens at a pretty high rate. The US is currently the home of the really agressive capitalists, but I expect to see the US in the role of the center of things decline.

The fact that an empire always seeks an enemy isn't really in question. The question is, was the enemy during the Cold War dangerous? I think so.

In any case, that is a matter of opinion, not an objective fact. A person with a capitalist mindset may regard nationalisation of corporate property as "stealing" from its "legitimate owners" (enterpreneurs), but socialists will tell you that the operations and practises of these enterprises are the real stealing - stealing from the people; speculation - profiteering.

Well, many corporations across the world held property within the bounds of the USSR. The vast majority of it was nationalized. Is that a crime? That's a very complicated question, but the difference of opinion between the US and the USSR did start a war.

As to the Communist infiltration of the US, well, you can question it if you like. We tried to infiltrate them (and succeeded) and they tried to infiltrate us (and succeeded). There was a nice article in You Are Being Lied To on this that I quite liked.

This is my last word on the subject. If you liked the bullyboys behind Communism, move to North Korea or China where they still rule.

[ Parent ]

meta-philosophy is not a philosophy (4.00 / 9) (#41)
by kubalaa on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 11:03:01 AM EST

It's a difference of positive versus negative action. FAIR's goal is to give certain viewpoints more exposure. AIM's goal is to give certain viewpoints less exposure. Do you see the difference? One is fighting censorship, the other is encouraging it.

It's the same reason Libertarians can say "the right to swing you fist stops at the end of my nose." Nobody has the right to take rights from others -- the very notion is a contradiction, and it's perfectly consistent to contest this "right" while being supportive of other, real rights.

Maybe you don't agree with FAIR's philosophy, but their meta-philosophy is indisputably more non-biased.

[ Parent ]

no, they're qualitatively the same (3.71 / 7) (#47)
by Lode Runner on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 11:53:00 AM EST

AIM and FAIR both have messages they're trying to impose on the media, and both decry messages ("liberal" and "consensus" respectively) they believe are too prevalent.

It's odd that folks who so perceptively see through AIM's legerdemain force themselves to swallow whole FAIR's rhetoric about an open discourse while ignoring the fact that a good many of the "activism" treatises over at fair.org are dedicated to pushing for the empowerment of the left through the mastery of the public discourse. And now, as a tenth anniversary special, FAIR'll even sell you a Chomsky CD where he calls for just that sort of action.

"Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past" would make a fine motto for either group.

[ Parent ]

principle, not practice (3.40 / 5) (#58)
by kubalaa on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 12:54:46 PM EST

Honestly I don't know anything about FAIR. I don't doubt they're far from perfect. But at least they get the principle right, even if the execution isn't. AIM doesn't even do that.

I repeat -- fighting oppression is not itself a form of oppression.

[ Parent ]

We have met the enemy... (3.75 / 4) (#64)
by Lode Runner on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 01:13:42 PM EST

Fighting oppression with oppression doesn't make oppression disappear. In the case of AIM and FAIR, fighting marginalization (perceived or real) from the discourse by trying to marginalize others doesn't solve the general problem of marginalization.

AIM vs. FAIR in a nutshell: the I-love-free-speech-because-I-can-shout-down-commies-and-potheads crowd versus the I-love-free-speech-because-I-can-shout-down-conformists-and-fascists crowd.

[ Parent ]

virtue of underdog (4.00 / 2) (#120)
by kubalaa on Wed Jun 26, 2002 at 05:03:01 AM EST

The difference is that, by nature, it's impossible to censor the majority, conformist opinion. If we lived in a world where FAIR actually had a chance of preventing some people from hearing the conservative perspective, then I'd worry -- but that's a much different world, and I wonder if FAIR would even exist in it.

On the other hand, AIM actually is dangerous, because they actually can prevent minority opinions from reaching some people.

[ Parent ]

Confusing paragraph (3.00 / 8) (#21)
by dark on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 04:58:20 AM EST

We often hear sarcastic jokes and biting satire about "liberal media", but few things in the mainstream have the quality of a polished Orwellian contradiction such as that found in FOX News, NBC, CBS, or CNN being accused of coverage that is "biased" to the "liberal" or "left" side. In the post-11 September era, this nonsense often appears in the form of an indictment against major sources of mass- information for coverage of the almighty War on Terror that is "anti-American" or "insufficiently pro-American". It's anyone's guess how such tenacious adherence to official propaganda and reinforcement of barriers that keep the spectrum of "acceptable opinion" in check ... can be called "anti-American", "unpatriotic", or anything else of the sort.
I had to read this three times to figure out what it says. And I still can't figure out if you're being sarcastic in the last sentence. What do you mean with "anyone's guess"? Of course it's anti-American to turn the media into organs of government propaganda. It goes against everything that America stands for.



Response. (4.58 / 12) (#22)
by valeko on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 05:16:16 AM EST

Yes, but obviously the Right thinks otherwise.

My last statement, which I concede is somewhat confusing, refers to my difficulty in understanding how for example CNN, which is for some incomprehensible reason regarded as "liberal", is not satisfactory enough for the Right. How can such jingoistic and narrow coverage as that which appears even in the most "liberal" (ha) mainstream mass-media be deemed "anti-American" by "conservatives", when all they do is spout propaganda? Is CNN's propaganda just not fanatical enough for them?

That is what I mean.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

I'll answer that... (3.50 / 4) (#77)
by Skywise on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 02:01:41 PM EST

Conservatives find CNN "liberal" because they're not "conservative".  Liberals find CNN jingoistic because CNN isn't "liberal enough".

In actuality, CNN was just more Democratic than Republican, but not Green party enough...

I personally think that Fox gets its popularity for  emphasizing stories that affect the every day man, and not the high ideological pieces found in other news networks (ala COPS).

[ Parent ]

Let's not forget (3.66 / 3) (#100)
by broken77 on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 04:14:05 PM EST

About the incident involving CNN and military psy-ops.

I'm starting to doubt all this happy propaganda about Islam being a religion of peace. Heck, it's just as bad as Christianity. -- Dphitz
[ Parent ]

stupid pun (1.07 / 13) (#23)
by somebaudy on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 05:34:29 AM EST

<stupid pun>But... I thought AIM was the name of an Instant messaging thing</stupid pun>
Somebaudy.com Everybody needs Somebaudy.
everybuddy (1.20 / 5) (#36)
by richxcasto on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 10:30:47 AM EST

For those that don't speak French that well, there's Everybuddy: http://www.everybuddy.com/en/index.php or if you prefer French: http://www.everybuddy.com/fr/index.php

[ Parent ]
united instant messenging software (1.00 / 4) (#50)
by somebaudy on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 12:24:54 PM EST

Trillian does AIM,ICQ, MSN, Yahoo Messenger and IRC. I've stopped using these individuals softwares in favor of trillian. http://www.trillian.cc/ B.
Somebaudy.com Everybody needs Somebaudy.
[ Parent ]
THPPpppppbbbt... (2.69 / 13) (#29)
by xriso on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 06:49:01 AM EST

Any writing about bias that does not recognise its own bias is probably not worth reading.
--
*** Quits: xriso:#kuro5hin (Forever)
This writing is not about bias. [n/t] (3.00 / 4) (#30)
by valeko on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 07:02:44 AM EST


"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

bias versus censorship (4.00 / 4) (#43)
by kubalaa on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 11:06:14 AM EST

Fighting against censorship is not biased -- in fact, it's the only position which can claim to be unbiased.

[ Parent ]
FAIR is just as biased (2.54 / 11) (#32)
by wiredog on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 09:44:07 AM EST

In the opposite direction. They've attacked the Washington Post, which is hardly a conservative publication.

Can't sleep. The clowns will get me.
Bias? Where? (2.50 / 2) (#40)
by poopi on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 10:56:45 AM EST

I don't think the link you showed provides proof of bias on behalf of FAIR. Perhaps a bit too zealous in application of their mandate (in this particular case), but not biased. The fact remains that the Post seemed to have avoided reporting a possible student action and the seemingly thinly veiled threat made by the announcer. The story changed shortly after and the student action and the threat ended up being insignificant, so FAIR jumped the gun a bit on this one. I don't think that shows bias. It's actually a good thing: shows that FAIR is doing its job (albeit a little too efficiently :).

-----

"It's always nice to see USA set the edgy standards. First for freedom, then for the police state." - chimera
[ Parent ]

Spamming the Post (3.25 / 4) (#42)
by wiredog on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 11:03:19 AM EST

If not biased, is certainly stupid. And the immediate reaction, without waiting for any explanation or for the normal news cycle, does indicate a bias. "They didn't report our story (in a print newspaper...) immediately! Attack!" Certainly looks like a bias.

Can't sleep. The clowns will get me.
[ Parent ]
FAIR's response.. (4.25 / 4) (#59)
by Kwil on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 01:02:17 PM EST

..to The Post's Response:

                                 FAIR-L
                    Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting
               Media analysis, critiques and activism

ACTIVISM UPDATE:
Post Responds to FAIR Alert

June 24, 2002

On June 17, FAIR issued an action alert about the Washington Post's
reporting of President Bush's June 14 commencement address at Ohio State
University. Specifically, FAIR pointed out that the paper failed to note
an announcement issued over the public address system warning that visible
signs of protest would not be tolerated. This was not the first time
students were warned about showing signs of dissent, either; according to
the Columbus Dispatch (6/15/02), graduates had been warned at a rehearsal
that they faced possible arrest for any such action.

FAIR activists sent emails to Washington Post ombudsman Michael Getler,
and he responded in his June 23 column: "A media watch group known as
FAIR, for Fairness & Accuracy in Media, took off after Milbank and The
Post, resulting in some 1,000 similar sounding e-mails from its
subscribers, asking why The Post was covering up dissent against Bush."

Although he got FAIR's name wrong, Getler did seem to agree with some of
the criticism.  "It would have been good to have had something on this,"
he wrote. But he added that "the FAIR bombardment seems, frankly, unfair.
Milbank, part of the press corps traveling with Bush, could not have seen
the Dispatch story beforehand."

FAIR agrees that it would have been good for the Post to include some of
this background, though we're not sure it would have been as difficult as
Getler claims. The threats to arrest protesters were made not only at
rehearsal, where they were reported by the Dispatch, but in the stadium
itself, when presumably Milbank was present. Such a warning should have
been a clue to an alert reporter that there was more to the (relative)
absence of protests than "adulation" for Bush.

According to protest organizers, at least 14 people inside the stadium
took part in the "Turn Your Back on Bush" demonstration. Contrary to
Milbank's report that "if there was a protest in the stadium, it was not
visible to reporters," a student journalist from OSU's paper did report on
this action (Lantern, 6/14/02).

FAIR is encouraged that Getler took the concerns of so many media
activists seriously enough to write about them. We hope the ombudsman will
continue to respond to substantive criticism in the future.

That Jesus Christ guy is getting some terrible lag... it took him 3 days to respawn! -NJ CoolBreeze


[ Parent ]
Yeah, poor name (3.28 / 14) (#34)
by jmzero on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 10:24:05 AM EST

They should have called themselves:

"Group for the Promotion of the Invalid Opinions of the Militant Right"
.
"Let's not stir that bag of worms." - my lovely wife

It swings both ways depending on story. (3.22 / 9) (#37)
by Work on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 10:34:49 AM EST

I'd say Fox news has quite a right bend to it..

In general, the media swings one direction or the other on individual stories. However, while many reporters are 'left', the corporations they work for are going to typically side with the pro-business right.

I used to have a great source from a textbook that broke down many stories over 20 years and the way they swung..all in the end it just about evened out.

related reading (4.00 / 12) (#38)
by machoamerica on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 10:47:08 AM EST

y'all may also be interested in checking out the excellent book manufacturing consent: the political economy of the mass media by noam chomsky and edward herman. they go through a rigorous analysis of the mass media and its function in our society. they mention that AIM (or at least other organizations like it) are a part of the organ of the media in charge of "disciplining" it when free thought gets out of hand. it's a worthwhile, if heavy, read.

some excerpts can be found here.

the conclusions the book comes up with are pretty surprising and do sound conspiracy theory-esque at times, but the arguments are really nothing more than an institutional analysis of the mass media. a movie came out a few years later that was pretty good too. it summarizes the book and strikes down the few objections to their arguments that have come out since its publication.

tell us about Chomsky in your own words (1.33 / 3) (#57)
by demi on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 12:44:35 PM EST

I've never heard of the guy before, is he worth my time?

[ Parent ]
Where've you been ? (4.60 / 5) (#65)
by Simon Kinahan on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 01:15:55 PM EST

Under a rock ? or are you just trying to get K5's regular Chomsky flamewar going again ?

Anyway, in case you're actually serious, in an unbiased language as I can muster: Noam Chomsky is principally a linguist, and is famous in that capacity for a theory of language based on the idea that humans have an innate ability to learn grammar that means all human languages share certain forms.

He is also famous as a commentator on, and staunch critic of, American foreign policy and it's treatment in the press. In this capacity he examines the language and patterns in political debates, and compares it with a fair and accurate assessment of events on the ground, revealing an apparent irrelevance of the domestic political process, and a consistent tendency for the US elite to condone and even encourage in its friends tendencies it condemns in milder form in its enemies.

Chomsky's personal politics are anarchist, although this does not directly affect his work, except as a motivating factor. The uninitiatsed often find the books slightly puzzling, since the consist almost entirely of criticism, and do not offer much in the way of alternatives. In my view this can be explained by Chomsky's politics, since he would consider the alternatives most people would accept just as unacceptable as the status quo. Chomsky has been very influential on the Left in recent years, especially in that many writers (including several here), imitate his analytical, critical, un-dogmatic style, unfortunately usually with less intelligence and more bias.

Simon

If you disagree, post, don't moderate
[ Parent ]

un-dogmatic?! (2.66 / 3) (#69)
by Lode Runner on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 01:37:53 PM EST

Chomsky's dogmatism is what made him look silly in front of the dogmatically un-dogmatic Michel Foucault back in the day.

[ Parent ]
Well ... (4.25 / 4) (#76)
by Simon Kinahan on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 01:51:20 PM EST

Chomsky himself holds some very strong views, and personally I consider some of them to be confused. However, in reading his books, it is very hard to see just what those views are. He never actually puts forward a position of his own. Rather, he presents the language in which events are normally described, and shows its propagandistic role.

However, if your link to his debate with Foucalt is accurate, I don't believe it shows either of them to be more dogmatic, or sillier, than the other. Foucalt seems to be presenting a realist, almost nihilist, "power will out" view of the world. Closer to the old left, in some ways. Chomsky appeals to a notion of ideal justice. A purified version of the Wilsonian idealism of his opponents in the foreign policy establishment. Both of these views are ancient and supportable.

Simon

If you disagree, post, don't moderate
[ Parent ]

Foucault (3.33 / 3) (#87)
by cr8dle2grave on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 02:30:30 PM EST

Foucalt seems to be presenting a realist, almost nihilist, "power will out" view of the world. Closer to the old left, in some ways.

Foucault is the posterboy for that strange ideological chimera, the Nietzschean Left.

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
Noam (3.33 / 3) (#78)
by demi on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 02:08:01 PM EST

I will admit, I know who he is, and I have even tried to finish Manufacturing Consent (I had to skip ahead in some parts), but I suppose in a churlish way it seemed amusing to me that someone would so earnestly recommend that book to this crowd in a top-level comment. I really had no intention of dragging him into this debate but that's what people always say.

My opinion of MC is that its central thesis is interesting but unnecessary and unprovable. That the reason for the absence of real dissent in the mainstream media is due to the workings of a disconnected common interest system is rather like saying that the universe is a gigantic computer iteratively calculating physical consequences from simple fractal rules. In a system of state-controlled media, it is a simple matter to limit the spectrum of discourse. In my mind, however, free markets of ideas reflect very well what people want to hear, and vulgar consumerist psychology is the root cause of whatever suppression the left and right complain about their ideas being subjected to. It's much like being able to make conversation with a large unknown group, in that you must settle into certain safe topical areas if you do not wish to offend people.

It's unfortunate that most people must get their news in that way, but news sources that are purely factual are not suitable for 30-minute digests. Most people can't spend all day reading the newspaper and watching the news, so they get "what they need to know" and that's about it. The idea that there is a vast conspiracy forcing people to adopt this attitude is, IMO, ludicrous. There are very trustworthy news outlets in the US, to be sure, but they are not anywhere near as popular as the nightly news with Dan Rather.

Chomsky has been very influential on the Left in recent years, especially in that many writers (including several here), imitate his analytical, critical, un-dogmatic style, unfortunately usually with less intelligence and more bias.

His core ideas are popular in a certian political fringe in the US, but his predictions of the future have been less than accurate, and his strident language (he was one of the first to call the 2000 US elections a military coup) alienates him from anyone that is interested in broad consensus. He has said a lot of stupid, overreaching things about the US that unfortunately makes the best aspects of his scholarship politically, and in some cases socially, untouchable.

[ Parent ]

Hmm. (3.33 / 3) (#90)
by valeko on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 02:46:37 PM EST

and his strident language [...] alienates him from anyone that is interested in broad consensus.

Isn't that kind of the point?

Why dance within the status quo? Doesn't make sense from Chomsky's point of view, or mine.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

he doesn't need to (3.66 / 3) (#92)
by demi on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 02:59:05 PM EST

Chomsky isn't trying to be the most popular kid in the class, he is a Cassandra. That's very different from what a politician must do to secure a broad consensus for action.

[ Parent ]
Again, I restate the same question. (4.00 / 1) (#111)
by valeko on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 08:37:45 PM EST

That's very different from what a politician must do to secure a broad consensus for action.

Is Chomsky supposed to be trying to do that?

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

Simon said: (none / 0) (#113)
by demi on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 11:55:18 PM EST

Chomsky has been very influential on the Left in recent years, especially in that many writers (including several here), imitate his analytical, critical, un-dogmatic style, unfortunately usually with less intelligence and more bias.

My reply was, in short, that he really is not so influential in the left wing in the US, at least in a political sense, although he certainly has his adherents in the radical/activist fringe. The reasons for that are left as an exercise to the astute reader.

Ist das klar?

Is Chomsky supposed to be trying to [cooperate with mainstream leftists]?

No.

[ Parent ]

FAIR is just as bad (3.41 / 17) (#39)
by miguel on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 10:53:04 AM EST

Have you ever noticed that FAIR never criticizes any organization for having too much left bias.

FAIR is just as bad as AIM.

I want you to be free

But... (2.66 / 3) (#55)
by valeko on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 12:38:52 PM EST

I'm sure you've also noticed FAIR doesn't go around trying to silence people and organisations who don't fit their agenda. FAIR might be quick to accuse them of "bias", but it doesn't try to destroy them, eh?

See Raymond Bonner affair.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

well... (2.00 / 2) (#98)
by Shren on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 03:38:43 PM EST

certain left organizations certainly whacked Al Gore pretty good.

[ Parent ]
Yeah (4.85 / 7) (#67)
by wji on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 01:27:58 PM EST

And since they examine the corporate media, that leaves two possibilities: Either they are political hacks, or the corporate media don't have too much left bias.

Look, FAIR doesn't just write letters and articles, it does serious studies. They've categorized sources used in media and found they skew male white republican. Centrists and near-left moderates are used to represent "the left" while the entire spectrum, all the way to Novak, Buchannan and beyond, plays "the right". The last one was of ABC, CBS, and NBC's evening news. It found 92% white, 85% male, 75% Republican. George Bush was 9% of the sources, compared to 3% for ALL non-governmental advocacy groups. Corporate representatives appeared 35 times for every union representative. When removing government officials (62% of partisan sources), the partisan sources were split almost exactly down the middle (1% independents). The infomation was gathered by a German media analysis group, so don't accuse the FAIR communists of making it up.

In conclusion, the Powerpuff Girls are a reactionary, pseudo-feminist enterprise.
[ Parent ]

bias (4.00 / 5) (#79)
by aphrael on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 02:08:55 PM EST

George Bush was 9% of the sources, compared to 3% for ALL non-governmental advocacy groups.

It would be interesting to see if the figures were similar during the Clinton administration --- eg., this may be a result of either a pro-government position or laziness (it's easy to use the government as a source instead of seeking out alternative sources). In and of itself, it is not indicative of conservative bias.

[ Parent ]

Yes, absolutely (4.00 / 4) (#103)
by wji on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 04:34:41 PM EST

That's prominently mentioned in the study. Personally, I still suspect the media have a slight Democratic Party bias, but that hardly makes them liberal. You have to recognize this is the United States, essentially a one party system. The media's bias is essentially towards power and wealth in my opinion. It's all in Manufacturing Consent! :)

In conclusion, the Powerpuff Girls are a reactionary, pseudo-feminist enterprise.
[ Parent ]
Come on... (4.42 / 7) (#85)
by cr8dle2grave on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 02:24:46 PM EST

My personal politics are a little right of center on issues of economics and foreign policy, but I've got to say AIM are a bunch chest thumping hillbillies. FAIR may not be unbiased, but they do, more often than not, present reasonable analysis -- even if I disagree with the conclusions -- backed up with verifiable facts. Discourse analysis should be left to those who have some clue as to what they're doing and, as it stands now, very few "conservative" pundits evince even a rudimentary understanding of the fundamental ground rules.

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
A clarification for everyone. (1.45 / 11) (#44)
by duffbeer703 on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 11:12:48 AM EST

We should support freedom of the press, freedom of speech -- as long as you are not convservative and/or republican.

Napalming guerillas in El Salvador is bad... bombing cities in Germany, Japan, Kosovo and Iraq is ok.

Ssssshhhhh! (1.00 / 2) (#95)
by porkchop_d_clown on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 03:19:16 PM EST

you're not supposed to admit that in public!


--
I feel like I've lived my live in screensaver mode....


[ Parent ]
BTW (5.00 / 1) (#125)
by porkchop_d_clown on Wed Jun 26, 2002 at 10:00:59 AM EST

I love the way people rated this. Kind of proves the point, don't you think?


--
I feel like I've lived my live in screensaver mode....


[ Parent ]
re: BTW (none / 0) (#126)
by duffbeer703 on Wed Jun 26, 2002 at 10:59:43 AM EST

Just as the popular media supresses the truth, the kuro5hin mob is happy to do so as well.

I guess this place really is a little microcosm of society.

[ Parent ]

Nope (5.00 / 1) (#133)
by carbon on Thu Jul 25, 2002 at 05:00:35 AM EST

We should support freedom of the press and freedom of the speech for everyone. That is, anybody should be able to say what they want, as long as we retain our personal freedom to ignore the dumbasses.

There are many types of dumbasses: liberal dumbasses, conservative dumbasses, left dumbasses, right dumbasses, up, down, forward, backward, and just plain dead-in-the-water dumbasses.

I don't have anything against conservatives, unless they happen to be conservative dumbasses. The vast majority of conservatives (and liberals, too) are not dumbasses, but it seems like the most ridiculously dumbassy dumbasses, regardless of which political group they're unfairly soiling the name of, are usually also the ones with the most money and political influence, ala AIM.

It just needed to be said. :-)


Wasn't Dr. Claus the bad guy on Inspector Gadget? - dirvish
[ Parent ]
Typical Left wing slander (2.04 / 21) (#48)
by ChiChiCuervo on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 11:55:04 AM EST

I've known Reed Irvine as an aquaintance for quite a few years and have worked a great deal with AIM and it's sister organization Accuracy in Academia.

That said, I can guarantee you this: that the "few selected gems" you use as a straw man to discredit AIM and Reed will only have the opposite effect, by reminding movement Conservatives just what a committed activist, a giant among us, he really is.

Honestly, I laugh almost uncontrollably when some leftie "expose" pulls one trick or another to make us seem like we're some sort of religiously organized heirarchical conspiracy.  

The fact is it's just not true.  All "movement conservative" organizations rely on direct mail fundraising for their income, keeping their best lists secret from each other and oftentimes competing (or even fighting, which i've witnessed) for the best position on issues to maintain those house lists. Every damn one of them. Without exception. Accordingly, the vast majority of income of ANY conservative organization consists of thousands upon thousands of people writing checks worth an average of $25-$50.  

The occasional wealthy patron throwing a hundred thou here and there is not only extremely rare, but also less then relevant to the overall income system the conservative movement pioneered decades ago and which liberals still haven't a clue how to emulate.

To suggest that any conservative organization derives it's existance from major contributors is absurd and to claim evidence otherwise is slanderous.  It just doesn't happen, with AIM or any other conservative group.

Typical missing the point (4.50 / 10) (#52)
by spcmanspiff on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 12:27:17 PM EST

I believe the point of the article was that this organization, which calls itself "Accuracy in Media" and promotes itself as a defender of fairness or accuracy, is really a conservative activist organization interested far more in seeing conservative causes championed in the press than in accuracy.

Would you disagree? I doubt it, since you refer to Irvine as a "committed activist, a giant among us" and make it obvious that AIM is a "movement conservative" organization.

I agree with the original author that the way that AIM attempts to disguise its agenda, presumably for more widespread acceptance, is deceptive at best and Orwellian at worst. If they weren't skulking around pretending to be what they're not, there would be no fuss.

[ Parent ]

you got it all wrong (2.00 / 4) (#70)
by ChiChiCuervo on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 01:39:06 PM EST

no no no.

You don't understand the conservative position on the issue of biased media.  The very notion of a truly unbiased media is a sham. It always was. However, in the days of "yellow journalism" you knew which way a particular paper would lean and you knew how to unmask it's biases accordingly.  We conservatives would be ecstatic if the liberal media were simply honest about their leanings.

That said, demanding the liberal media both cease editorializing in place of news and cease the disguise of it's own bias is in no way shape or form and obfuscation of AIM's agenda.

Besides, you don't get objectivity by being objective; you get it by weighing the adverse. Let the people judge which middle path is the most correct one. It's why our judicial system is an advocacy/adversarial one.  

[ Parent ]

*cough* (4.28 / 7) (#82)
by spcmanspiff on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 02:16:52 PM EST

So, um, riddle me this: What's preventing this conservative organization from being up-front about its conservatism?

Is it bad when the "liberal media" does it, but okay when it is a conservative activism organization?

The article isn't about whether the media is liberal or conservative, although I'd be happy to debate that as well; it's about the deceptive double standards of this particular organization.

[ Parent ]

Wow (2.00 / 4) (#91)
by ChiChiCuervo on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 02:48:16 PM EST

I see an image of President Reagan on the front page.  I'm gleeful you consider that to be unbiased.

:-)

[ Parent ]

That's a lovely troll, but... (4.16 / 6) (#53)
by valeko on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 12:27:33 PM EST

Accuracy in Academia

Oh right, yeah. I think the readership can be spared an article on that, though. The meaning of "accuracy" has been done quite enough justice.

That said, I can guarantee you this: that the "few selected gems" you use as a straw man to discredit AIM and Reed will only have the opposite effect, by reminding movement Conservatives just what a committed activist, a giant among us, he really is.

This is not very surprising to me, nor do I consider the effect "opposite". I am sure that the Conservative entourage takes great delight in hearing about each others' exploits. That's nothing new. Someone like Reed Irvine can bash Chomsky, and I'm sure that'll remind many people of his committed activism and giant stature.

Honestly, I laugh almost uncontrollably when some leftie "expose" pulls one trick or another to make us seem like we're some sort of religiously organized heirarchical conspiracy.

Show me the source of your expose, where AIM is construed to be a religiously organised heirarchial conspiracy, and I'll probably laugh with you. It is no such thing.

About funding, I never said that conservative organisations are entirely funded by corporate backers. The meaning of "livelyhood" is open to interpretation. However, consider these facts from Group Watch's 1989 report:

Reed Irvine claims that 75 percent of AIM's funding comes from contributers donating $100 or less. He is reluctant to comment on where the rest of the money comes from. Says Irvine, "We do not comment on AIM contributors, except for those who have given us permission to publicize their gifts. " Irvine names only three, the Allied Educational Foundation, Shelby Cullom Davis, and Richard Mellon Scaife. Other groups that have supported AIM include Mobil Oil, Union Carbide, and various power companies. In 1985 AIM recieved a $20,000 grant from the Adolph Coors Foundation and $7000 from the Texaco Philanthropic Foundation Inc. In 1986 they recieved $5000 from Texaco. As of 1986 AIM's budget was $1. 5 million a year. AIM is nonprofit and contributions to it are tax-deductible.

This suggests to me that without these corporate donors, AIM would not be in the position it is in to spout its vitriolic calls for censorship. Yes, even with the virtuous citizens that fulfill their patriotic duty by sending you a cheque.

but also less then relevant to the overall income system the conservative movement pioneered decades ago and which liberals still haven't a clue how to emulate.

Of course, "liberals" are just obsessed ... brimming with the desire to emulate the sheer, goddamn genius of the income system of the "conservative movement".

To suggest that any conservative organization derives it's existance from major contributors is absurd

Are you sure? No, I mean, are you sure that you this site isn't what you call home?

to claim evidence otherwise is slanderous.

Yes, tell the human victims of your "conservatism" that.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

Really (4.00 / 5) (#63)
by davidduncanscott on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 01:11:28 PM EST

In 1985 AIM recieved a $20,000 grant from the Adolph Coors Foundation and $7000 from the Texaco Philanthropic Foundation Inc...As of 1986 AIM's budget was $1. 5 million a year...This suggests to me that without these corporate donors, AIM would not be in the position it is in to spout its vitriolic calls for censorship.
This suggests to me that you've accounted for rather less than 2% of their funding as corporate. I have no idea of their sources, but if that's the best you can show -- $27,000 out of $1,500,000 -- it's a pretty weak case.

[ Parent ]
Well. (3.83 / 6) (#66)
by valeko on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 01:16:53 PM EST

As I said, we don't have access to their accountin, and obviously the best we can do is take a hint from what we do know as to where the substantial contributions come from.

I don't think the fact that wealthy corporations fund such groups is exactly a secret. As for AIM's funding itself, look at this list and scratch your head for a minute.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

This will be my mantra (2.50 / 4) (#84)
by ChiChiCuervo on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 02:20:22 PM EST

But where are your numbers?

What number's you've shown thus far are insignificant to both AIM and the corp with the check. $5000 of $1.5 Million isn't exactly a "backer"

Oh yeah, who funds PFAW?

Who funds you?

[ Parent ]

Sounds like (3.80 / 5) (#89)
by davidduncanscott on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 02:43:41 PM EST

what we "know" isn't a hell of a lot. I guess all I'm saying is that $20,000 isn't much of a "substantial" contribution for an outfit with an annual budget of $1.5 million.

[ Parent ]
Sorry (not) i'm bursting your bubble.... (3.00 / 4) (#80)
by ChiChiCuervo on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 02:09:45 PM EST

about how conservative organizations get funding, but your notions on that subject are just plain simply false.

Having first hand knowledge of the direct mail fundraising business let me explain to you our dirty little secret of how we conservatives raise money.

Ready???

We buy lists of people who give money to conservative organizations and write a letter to them asking us to give us money for our issue du jour.

That's it. It's real simple. No Scaifes or Coors or Forbes necessary.  Just a few hundred dollars and good writing skills to get started on your own.  If you have a bit more cash on hand you can get a direct mail fundraising agency to do it all for you and build your group a house list to which you'll appeal for more funds every 3 weeks or so.

In fact, and i know you'll have to think hard about this, but as an organizational entrepreneur I DON'T WANT BIG MONEY from deep pockets.

Firstly, tax law requires that most (it's not specific, but we use the figure of 75% as a guide) contributions to an issue-based 501(c)3 or 501(c)4 organization originate "from the public."  Big money skews those numbers and can set off alarms at the IRS & the assorted states.    

Also, big money always comes with big strings attached.  You should know this, so i won't explain how i don't want MY group controlled by a SUGAR DADDY.  For this reason alone, many conservative groups (i don't know AIM's policy here, FYI) won't accept very large donations.

[ Parent ]

BTW. (2.83 / 6) (#60)
by valeko on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 01:03:10 PM EST

I'm strongly inclined to think you're a "blithering idiot" that's full of shit.

I quote from another comment of yours:

That's right. ALABAMA. This is not only a backwards hick embarrassment of a state where such pronouncements are not only acceptible but common, but also the meager bully pulpit the governor has is about all the power he has. The governor of Alabama is arguably the weakest executive, constitutionally, of any state. He has virtually no power to enforce his views, even if they contradicted the school's policies.

And here:

Are you smoking crack?!? So when enough people realized they could take my money and call it welfare, it became a right? or when enough people say that confiscating firearms is actually good, when it wasn't before, it then becomes a right? Majorities do not make up rights. That is tyrrany.

In light of the fanaticism and profound intellectual incoherence that you express, your comment here is more easily understood.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

what is this ad hominem crap? (3.75 / 4) (#83)
by demi on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 02:19:31 PM EST

valeko, honestly, I'm disappointed. I don't agree with his ideas but take this to the diaries.

[ Parent ]
damn straight. refute his points, valeko! [n/t] (2.50 / 2) (#97)
by Shren on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 03:33:39 PM EST



[ Parent ]
once you realize that valeko's political compass (4.85 / 7) (#68)
by demi on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 01:30:32 PM EST

i.e., his definition of left vs. right and conservative vs. liberal, is 90 degrees out of calibration with the coordinates of the american mainstream, it's not so hard to see that AIM and FAIR are simply political advocacy groups which serve a function just like NRA-ILA and ATLA's Legislative Action. None of these groups should be simply taken at their word, as their incarnate purpose is to provide whatever compelling arguments are necessary to sway public opinion. That's not to say they provide no useful or trustworthy information, because often they do.

They provide targeted statistics and vended rhetoric for the people that want it, like politicians, party flacks, activist groups, industry lobbyists, and so forth. There is (or at least was) certainly good reason to suspect a statistically leftward bias in the US major media networks, particularly in the post-Watergate period, but it did not amount to a widespread socialist agenda as many conservative pundits were so keen to inveigh. Likewise, a flagrantly anti-capitalist or anti-military point of view has never been presented in the 6 o'clock news, although there is a substantial number of Americans that may harbor those views. After 9/11 the major networks were pro-war because America was overwhelmingly pro-war, it is all a result of catering to their audience, which is the way the mass media has been since the rise of the London Gazette after the fire of 1666.

Every popular news source in a free market is subject at one time or another to a common realpolitik. Operating a news agency is a matter of balancing consumer appeal with factual accuracy, and it should be obvious to you that the market for a pure version of the latter is very small. It's commendable that there are people that would like to tilt the balance toward greater objectivity, but all you've done here is to fire off another pointless salvo in a war that, by definition, cannot be won.

Mainstream? (3.00 / 3) (#88)
by Skwirl on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 02:36:53 PM EST

What is the American mainstream definition of right vs. left, anyways? I'm rather sick of terms like conservative, liberal, right and left anyways, since they're always loaded and never with meaning.

Also, why can't the war be won and is winning even the point? The debate that results from "pointless salvos" is what makes democracy a process instead of a stagnant tyranny of the majority.

Your second paragraph brings up some good points. Personally, I think it's important to have a media that is more progressive than the mainstream, since new political ideas have to originate somewhere and somebody has to make sure that majority rule doesn't trample all over individuals.

--
"Nothing in the world is more distasteful to a man than to take the path that leads to himself." -- Herman Hesse
[ Parent ]

In general... (3.50 / 4) (#94)
by porkchop_d_clown on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 03:17:49 PM EST

Here's an astonishingly obtuse oversimplification:

American Right Wing = pro-business and (in theory) less government regulation - except when it comes to crime and morality where they are willing to use laws and lawsuits to dictate the way people should behave. (Right wing definition = an idealized version of the American 1950's: nuclear families living the clean and good life.)

American Left Wing = anti-rich, more government regulation, more taxation and attempts to legislate and litigate the way people should behave. (Left wing definition = an idealized version of the American 1960's: do whatever you want and no annoying cops to hassle you.)

Obviously reality is a lot more complicated, but these caricatures are on target enough to piss people off.


--
I feel like I've lived my live in screensaver mode....


[ Parent ]
mainstream (3.00 / 3) (#96)
by demi on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 03:25:21 PM EST

Personally, I think it's important to have a media that is more progressive than the mainstream, since new political ideas have to originate somewhere and somebody has to make sure that majority rule doesn't trample all over individuals.

How do you define what is 'progressive'? I don't disagree with you necessarily, but it's that kind of attitude that I don't like: someone smart needs to tell the dumb masses what is best for them. It's no different in my mind if you have Fox News rooting for Homeland Security or some idealogue academic telling us the driving an SUV and eating meat is the same as chalking one up for Osama.

[ Parent ]

Food for thought is needed for opinions (3.50 / 2) (#107)
by hbw on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 05:44:28 PM EST

How do you define what is 'progressive'? I don't disagree with you necessarily, but it's that kind of attitude that I don't like: someone smart needs to tell the dumb masses what is best for them.

I think the media should provoke and upset the people with opinions from many diverse views and writer. This way the people can then form an opinion of their own. Is this is the kind of thing you call "someone smart needs to tell the dumb masses what is best for them"?

People are only dumb if they do not ponder the thoughts that this kind of ideal media serves - and maybe even the opposite of them.

I have discovered a truly marvelous signature, which unfortunately the margin is not large enough to contain.
[ Parent ]

Exactly (none / 0) (#121)
by Skwirl on Wed Jun 26, 2002 at 06:03:44 AM EST

The more opinions that are presented, the better. This philosophy is based on John Milton's exertion that Truth will always win in a fair fight.

Of course, Milton only wanted freedom of speech for scholars and not for certain groups he disfavored.

So, I'm actually counting on the hope that common people are capable of great intelligence and understanding once they're free of some of the nastier social constructions humanity has been building up. That is to say, replace self-interest and elitism with open-mindedness and intellectual curiousity and I'd like to believe you'd have the start of a pretty nifty society.

--
"Nothing in the world is more distasteful to a man than to take the path that leads to himself." -- Herman Hesse
[ Parent ]

Orwellian Misnomer? (3.66 / 9) (#74)
by broody on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 01:49:15 PM EST

So AIM is the Project Censored of the right wing?

It is useful here to take note of the fact that no definition or guideline for "fair" and "objective" reporting of news is presented to the reader, except the implied suggestion that "bias" may somehow, somewhere play a role in making news reports un-objective.

This particular ideology would likely point you to a dictionary. Fair, objective, and bias all tend to refer to the individual reporter.

From AIM's FAQ (via K5 article):
All the major media surveys for the past 20 years have shown that 80 to 90 percent of the mainstream media consistently vote for Democrats.
Ah. Now we're getting somewhere.

How do you figure that? Calling their contentions mythology hardly makes them vanish. Are you just assuming people have read this study by FAIR and taken it as gospel?

Numerous theorists and researchers consider the media to have a liberal bias. Consider these contentions:
I'm not saying that any of them are "right". Media "watch dog" groups are highly poltical by nature.

I would hazard a guess that I have much more in common with you than AIM when evaulating media bias.

Here comes the twist.

The trouble with your article is that it screams about the horrors of AIM's Orwellian misnomer while utilizing the same methods of analysis.


~~ Whatever it takes
I'm so sick of this one. (4.62 / 8) (#101)
by Count Zero on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 04:30:28 PM EST

Conservative Tag Used Four Times More than Liberal Label

The horrible meme that this means anything at all, I blame on the Bernard Goldberg's totally anecdotal book, as well as right-wing pundit Andrew Sullivan. Thinking for a second shows this stat means precisely nothing.

What if every time the word "conservative" is used, it is in a positive connotation (compassionate, principled conservative) and every time liberal is used it is negative? (big government, tax-and-spend liberal) The amount of times a word is used, omitting the context, has little value.

Leaving out the fact that the Washington Times, that bastion of liberalism that is it, uses "right-wing extremist" more than it uses "left-wing extremist"

For all this "liberal bias", you link the MRC, which is just another AIM., founded by well-known conservative L. Brent Bozell III, who also runs the television censorship group, the PTC. The MRC has just as much of an agenda as anyone else.




[ Parent ]
Even more than what you say... (4.00 / 1) (#115)
by Estanislao Martínez on Wed Jun 26, 2002 at 02:11:53 AM EST

Geoffrey Nunberg has show that the "liberal is used 4 times as often as conservative" claim is suspect at best, by actually searching for the words and counting the usages. (His homepage has some followup articles on the issue, too.)

--em
[ Parent ]

Gah (4.44 / 9) (#81)
by Skwirl on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 02:10:23 PM EST

How many of these groups do the conservatives need? ... From the Media Research Center front page: "Bringing Political Balance and Responsibility to the Media" and without skipping a beat "The Leader in Documenting, Exposing and Neutralizing Liberal Media Bias."

Nope. Sorry. You can't preach "balance" and then start using "Liberal" like it's a four-letter word.

Oh, oh... look at their current web poll:

Taxpayer-supported PBS told country singer Charlie Daniels he couldn't sing his his tribute to those lost in the war on terrorism, "The Last Fallen Hero," during a July 4 special. Is that a good decision?
I mean, it's not like anybody takes web polls seriously, but that's gotta be a textbook biased poll. It might as well read, "PBS supports terrorism. Do you think PBS is wrong to support terrorism?" especially considering the wacko right-wing demographic their site must draw.

--
"Nothing in the world is more distasteful to a man than to take the path that leads to himself." -- Herman Hesse
Nice article, some good points, but... (4.16 / 6) (#86)
by mingofmongo on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 02:24:52 PM EST

I get enough conservative bashing from people who don't know what the term means.

No real conservative would support a group such as AIM. We have better things to do with our time and money, than harrassing people about personal moral and religious issues.

The people you want to bash are the fundamentalist nutburgers who are always sticking their noses in other people's business, in a most socialist manner. If you want to bash those idiots, I'll back you up. They make me look bad.

Looking forward to the day we can drop those loosers, so I can call myself a Republican again.

"What they don't seem to get is that the key to living the good life is to avoid that brass ring like the fucking plague."
--The Onion

Agreed. (3.00 / 3) (#102)
by TunkeyMicket on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 04:32:49 PM EST

Fundamentalists give everyone a bad name...especially us conservatives.
--
Chris "TunkeyMicket" Watford
[ Parent ]
Goes both ways. (4.40 / 5) (#104)
by Count Zero on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 04:45:45 PM EST

Liberal bashing from those that don't know what the term means.

Speaking for liberals that detest the pro-censorship agenda of some Democrats, I can also look forward to the day we drop those losers, so I can call myself a Democrat again. :-)




[ Parent ]
on k5 too! (3.00 / 3) (#93)
by Goatmaster on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 03:01:30 PM EST

It should be noted that this article was originally posted on ANGRYdot. I bet valeko is just too modest to put a shameless plug in himself.


... and so the Goatmaster has spoken
Geeks are libertarian (1.33 / 9) (#105)
by Thinkit on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 04:46:00 PM EST

We don't lean "left" or "right". We're think for ourselves and form a consistent viewpoint, which leads naturally to libertarian position. Does any geek really care about the stupid left/right paradigm less intelligent people use? Left versus right? Who cares--what about antimatter drive versus fusion drive.

Intelligent and Libertarian? oxymoron (3.75 / 4) (#106)
by Goatmaster on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 05:22:09 PM EST

And geek superiority? Oh my, this is a loaded one. I wonder if it's a troll. I'll bite anyways.

Geeks aren't more intelligent than anyone, in fact, on the whole one can argue that they are less intelligent, at least less effective. Some sweaty basement-dwelling adolescent with no social skills calls themselves a 'geek' and somehow thinks he's better than everyone else because he can use a computer. Hardly someone for anyone to look up to.

Libertarians have a consistant viewpoint? Har har. For instance, one of the libertarian gods, the fiction writer Ayn Rand, was opposed to immigration, yet was an immigrant herself! Talk about consistant. There are many more inconsistancies and logical fallacies, just do a google search and you'll find them in droves.


... and so the Goatmaster has spoken
[ Parent ]
Immigration. (none / 0) (#117)
by valeko on Wed Jun 26, 2002 at 03:17:30 AM EST

For instance, one of the libertarian gods, the fiction writer Ayn Rand, was opposed to immigration, yet was an immigrant herself! Talk about consistant. There are many more inconsistancies and logical fallacies, just do a google search and you'll find them in droves.

Though this is the height of inconsistency, it's fairly common throughout American history for assimilated immigrants to forget who they are and to join the "100% American" natives in their ape agenda of xenophobia. During the outbreaks of such "nativism" during the 19th century, many established Americans of Western European ethnic stock would balk at "new immigrants" which don't fit the "old demographic" -- first Irish and Germans, then southern and eastern Europeans such as Italians and poles.

Of course, the far more general oxymoron is that even native-born Americans forget that they are the products of immigration. Unless you are a Native American, you came to the US through immigration. But in just one generation or less, people seem to forget that and decide that they're "supposed" to be here and those Irish/Germans/Poles/Italians/Mexicans/Chinese/need-I-go-on are not.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart
[ Parent ]

speak for yourself (5.00 / 1) (#114)
by mairidhin on Wed Jun 26, 2002 at 12:54:13 AM EST

I'm a geek and not even close to a Libertarian. As a matter of fact I'd consider myself "left". Green Party-style left. And damn proud of it.

[ Parent ]
LOL (3.66 / 3) (#108)
by Sheepdot on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 06:05:39 PM EST

"Suddenly, Accuracy in Media emerges as belonging to one of the mysterious sectors of society that perpetuates this mythology of "liberal media" with a straight face."

I like the story about Dan Rather talking to someone he just met about media bias.

"Of course we aren't biased, we're not Republicans, and we're not Socialists, we're somewhere in-between."

Yeah, it's called left-of-center and right-of-socialist, or it does if you buy into the exclusive right/left doctrine. Even if you go by the Nolan chart there is still a "left-wing" and "right-wing" idealogical split.

The question isn't whether or not there is bias in the media anymore, instead it is who admits to having a bias, such as Bill O'Reilly (spelling? I don't like his views so I don't know how to spell his name), and those that have a bias but because they are surrounded by people that are generally more liberal, they think they are in the center of the political spectrum.

As much as I don't like some of the commentators on Fox News, at least they are flat out open about their political views and don't try to skirt the issue like the other networks so often do.

fox news.. (4.80 / 5) (#110)
by infinitera on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 07:20:15 PM EST

Your source for fair and balanced coverage. Open about their views, eh? Especially with providing strawman leftists on each and every program. Also, I would challenge that right-of-socialism claim. The media is, overwhelmingly neoliberal — a viewpoint entirely consistent with their corporate structure and sponsorship, and one that allows a certain latitude on social issues. They are state-capitalist, though the mix of state and the brand of capitalist varies minutely from network to network, mostly depending on what the board likes. What they are not is unbiased, pro-democracy, or pro-informed citizenry. Global media fits quite nicely into the core of consumerism.

[ Parent ]
Infinite recursion (3.00 / 3) (#109)
by X-Nc on Tue Jun 25, 2002 at 06:18:07 PM EST

I kinda have a different view of the whole American political/media thing (probably due to not being exposed to it till I was in my early 20's) than the vast majority of US citizens. This article does a good job of pointing out one example of totally biased and politically backed media institution. It is, however, exactly what it decries. It is completely obvious that the "liberal" and "conservative" ratio of the media is about 60% "left" and 40% "right. The real point of this article should be that the media can not ever tell the truth because it is and always be tied to the political world, which by definition is as corrupt and untruthful as anything on earth. Both of these "institutions" live on money and the money is as dirty as can be.

It's all part truths, half-truths, lies and damn lies. Why do you think more people watch the crap on TV like this new "Dog Eat Dog" waste of life?

--
Aaahhhh!!!! My K5 subscription expired. Now I can't spell anymore.

Remove the bias? That's all the media has. (4.80 / 5) (#116)
by cgenman on Wed Jun 26, 2002 at 02:27:25 AM EST

Bias in American media...  Here we are arguing over whether or not the media is too biased, when the real crux of the problem is that the media isn't saying anything.  All we're likely to get from the G8 Summit is a quick blurb about how the world leaders are meeting, and how there are several protesters but "no injuries are reported."  And in other news, Julia Roberts wed her longtime sweetheart Justine Bateman at a private ceremony in her malibu home.  A spokesperson for the couple said they have been happily dating for the past 10 years, and felt it was time to get around to finally tying the knot.  [cut to shot of reporter interviewing witnesses on the scene]...

Quite honestly, I wouldn't mind having a media that looks down upon, say, San Fransisco's funding of transgendered operations for city workers [a policy which I support], if they did so in a way involving depth, detail, and factual support that treats the viewer like a thinking adult.  I would say that the media is primarily biased towards bathroom reading (quick, digestable bites for your meal), and secondarily biased pro-business and pro-individualism.

Go to any other country in the world, and read the newspapers.  Germany has some excellent english-language newspapers, if you are out there.  They are full of factual, relevant data about things.  People read these not to get to the funnies but because they want to become more educated.  

I would support Accuracy in Media if they tried to counter pro-individualism by feeding relevent counter-data to news outlets (news inlets?) and thereby elevate the discussion.

Sadly, they don't seem to be any better than the average media outlet.  *Sigh*  I wonder if guardian.co.uk has updated their site yet today?
- This Sig is a mnemonic device designed to allow you to recognize this author in the future. This is only a device.

Bias doesn't matter (5.00 / 2) (#118)
by Demiurge on Wed Jun 26, 2002 at 04:28:52 AM EST

Bias is not an objective quality. I've seen numerous times different posters on K5 decry bias in the same news source, but from opposite perspectives. One poster will state that CNN is obviously a Zionist mouthpiece for the Imperialist Israelis. Another will state that CNN is a godless den where the blood-thirsty Arabs puah their anti-western agenda.

You can never eliminate bias for this very reason. But you don't need to. Bias doesn't matter. Only accuracy does. All this hand-wringing over perceived bias in the media misses that essential point.

*boggle* (4.00 / 2) (#119)
by valeko on Wed Jun 26, 2002 at 04:46:51 AM EST

Why have the past few comments addressed this article as though I am decrying media bias? This article is not at all intended to address the "problem" of media bias, which I agree is not an issue - there's no such thing as "objective" media.

I think some people are confused as to what I'm trying to say, though.

"Hey, what's sanity got going for it anyways?" -- infinitera, on matters of the heart

Left-wing bias? (3.50 / 2) (#122)
by davidmb on Wed Jun 26, 2002 at 07:07:02 AM EST

Perhaps the majority of journalists are left-wing, but here in the UK the majority of newspapers sold have a right-wing bias.

The two giants of tabloid journalism are the Sun and the Daily Mail. Not the best places for unbiased news, they both have an obvious conservative slant.

As far as the broadsheets go, the top two are the Telegraph and the Times. Again, both are conservative in their editorials.

So my final point is, the bias of the majority of journalists is less important than the bias of the publications people actually buy.

ps. I've ignored broadcast journalism for the moment since I think the UK situation bears very little relation to the American situation.
־‮־

I once heard a UK sort complain (none / 0) (#127)
by porkchop_d_clown on Wed Jun 26, 2002 at 04:47:32 PM EST

That US newspapers never announced their political allegiance. I had to agree that the idea of publicly announcing your bias is a lot more upfront (ala Steve Brill) than pretending objectivity.


--
I feel like I've lived my live in screensaver mode....


[ Parent ]
Gorillas ? (4.66 / 3) (#123)
by Trimeresurus on Wed Jun 26, 2002 at 08:14:25 AM EST

Irvine encouraged the use of napalm against Salvadoran gorillas in AIM Reports such as this one.


I was already appalled at the cruelty of whaling, but using napalm against endangered species seems to set new standards of inhumane treatment of animals.

Seriously. Gorillas are African apes (known by scientists as, surprise, Gorilla gorilla). The victims of napalm in this sad story are called guerillas (Spanish for "little war"), and are mainly Homo sapiens, and have nothing in common with our furry cousins besides a preference for tropical mountains and forests.

LOL (none / 0) (#124)
by broody on Wed Jun 26, 2002 at 08:34:27 AM EST

The horrible meme that this means anything at all, I blame on the Bernard Goldberg's totally anecdotal book, as well as right-wing pundit Andrew Sullivan.

I agree Bernard Goldberg's claim was anecdotal. The interesting part is when Geoffrey Nunberg and the MRC get in a catfight over it. The debate on this one is slowly moving beyond the level of anecdotes. I'll be interested to see what Geoffrey comes up with after the latest MRC follow-up.

BTW, if you haven't already, Estanislao Martínez posted some missing links that are worth a read.

The MRC has just as much of an agenda as anyone else.

No kidding. If you take off the ideological blinders for a bit and get control of that bleeding heart, you'll notice I said by nature media "watch dogs" are political.

If I were risk making a mouse of myself, I would draw heavily on Edelman, Debord, and Dye. By doing so I would betray my original intention to point out that the original article aims for the low hanging fruit (AIM) and uses the same methods of analysis as it's target. For the most part it is not the conclusions that I am challenging, it is the methods.


~~ Whatever it takes
FAIR Fair? (2.00 / 1) (#129)
by bitgeek on Thu Jun 27, 2002 at 11:16:18 AM EST

I'd long thought FAIR was a good organization, after  reading some expose's they did years ago.

After reading this article, I went looking around their website.

FAIR is not Fair either-- they are merely the left wing version of AIM.

Its unfortunate that there is no media accuracy-- the networks and local news is hobbled by the fact that the reporters are bleeding idiots, and the owners are biased.  Yeah, most media reporters are liberals and most station owners are conservatives and both exert a pull on the reporting.

The result is that the media pander to the rating, not to a liberal or conservative bias.  Sure you see bias-- actually you're seeing it more and more, especially not that Fox has opened the doors on blatently biased reporting.

But I'd much rather bias that was blatent than this pretend objectivity.

And now I learn that the two watchdog groups are just as biased (look at FAIRs assessment of John Stossel if you want an example.)

Which leaves me with the conclusion I've held recently-- americans are idiots and they get the media they deserve-- lots of violence and as much tits ass and lost puppies as they can fit in.

No facts, no actual news.  

If you're wasting your time arguing whether the media is liberal or conservative, then you're getting the media you deserve.
-- Between 1982 and 1988 US Income tax revenues doubled from approx. $500 Billion to $1 trillion due to Reagans tax cuts.

Let's learn about Accuracy in Media! | 133 comments (111 topical, 22 editorial, 0 hidden)
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