ABC columnist: Media actively serving Obama

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The mainstream media’s “shameless support” of Sen. Barack Obama could irreperably damage journalism in an era crying out for institutions and information that people can trust, according to an article by ABC columnist Michael S. Malone.

Traditional media’s “appalling” bias and “one-sided” reporting are particularly dangerous because they have led to an almost complete refusal to critically examine the Democratic candidate, he writes:

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not one of those people who think the media has been too hard on, say, Republican vice presidential nominee Gov. Sarah Palin, by rushing reportorial SWAT teams to her home state of Alaska to rifle through her garbage. This is the big leagues, and if she wants to suit up and take the field, then Gov. Palin better be ready to play.

The few instances where I think the press has gone too far — such as the Times reporter talking to prospective first lady Cindy McCain’s daughter’s MySpace friends — can easily be solved with a few newsroom smackdowns and temporary repostings to the Omaha bureau.

No, what I object to (and I think most other Americans do as well) is the lack of equivalent hardball coverage of the other side — or worse, actively serving as attack dogs for the presidential ticket of Sens. Barack Obama, D-Ill., and Joe Biden, D-Del.

[Continue reading Obama’s Media]

The media, he says, have devoted more time and resources to investigating Joe the Plumber than they have to examining allegations regarding Sen. Barack Obama.

Why, for example to quote the lawyer for Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., haven’t we seen an interview with Sen. Obama’s grad school drug dealer — when we know all about Mrs. McCain’s addiction? Are Bill Ayers and Tony Rezko that hard to interview? All those phony voter registrations that hard to scrutinize? And why are Sen. Biden’s endless gaffes almost always covered up, or rationalized, by the traditional media?

Malone pins the blame not on reporters, nor on the natural liberal bias of most journalists, but rather on the deliberate actions of editors as a reaction to what they see as a dismal future for their own careers:

..you are facing career catastrophe — and desperate times call for desperate measures. Even if you have to risk everything on a single Hail Mary play. Even if you have to compromise the principles that got you here. After all, newspapers and network news are doomed anyway — all that counts is keeping them on life support until you can retire.

And then the opportunity presents itself — an attractive young candidate whose politics likely matches yours, but more important, he offers the prospect of a transformed Washington with the power to fix everything that has gone wrong in your career.

With luck, this monolithic, single-party government will crush the alternative media via a revived fairness doctrine, re-invigorate unions by getting rid of secret votes, and just maybe be beholden to people like you in the traditional media for getting it there.

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This blog is maintained by Dr. Matthew M. Reavy as a service to journalism students at the University of Scranton.

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