Escape your life for a little while — come play in mine.

Hypocrisy, the MSM, and “neutral” storylines

Posted by Lissa on August 13, 2010

One of the things that started my transition to an Evil Conservative was the realization that the media was institutionally biased.  (Stop laughing, y’all!  I really didn’t know!)  As I’ve written before, I tried really hard to have a balanced viewpoint: I read the New York Times every day and articles from the Economist/Wall Street Journal/Al Jazeera every few days.  You know, for balance.  When I started realizing HOW biased they were, I was furious. I felt betrayed.  I felt ashamed and foolish – I’d been working so hard to stay current and informed, and all I’d been getting was one side of the story.

Ace has a bang-up post on how bias in the MSM works:

But consider the case of Sestack and Specter: The media will once again have its choice of two “neutral story lines” when that primary is resolved. It’s heads the Democrats win, tails the Republicans lose, as far as the media is concerned.

If Sestack wins, the media will in fact push the “neutral story line” they could have pushed, but chose not to, in Bennet’s case: That we’re retiring an old warhorse in favor of a fresh face and that proves that our system works.

On the other hand, if Specter wins, they’ll push the “neutral story line” that the Democrats, unlike Republicans, are welcoming of moderates. (And Specter, a moderate Republican turncoat now voting as a somewhat-less-moderate Democrat, is still pretty moderate.) So that story line does have something to it.

But we’ll have no stories about “overly-partisan and inflexibly ideological Democrats driving out a true moderate and fence-crosser” if Specter should lose — trust that. Instead we’ll have the other supposedly-neutral story line, the one that once again just happens to wind up praising Democrats.

And this is how media bias works 75% of the time. Most of the time, the media is selecting between several possible “rules,” many of which are arguably correct, but which are contradicted by nearly opposite rules, which are also arguably correct. The media never decides which rule is correct in the most cases; instead, they choose whichever “rule” benefits the Democrats this cycle.

Are we too interested in personal scandals which don’t really have much to do with a party’s governing philosophy? The answer is “No” if you mean Mark Foley or Mark Sanford; the answer is “Yes” if you mean Eric Massa or John Edwards.


Here’s how it works: When a Republican is caught in a sex scandal, his party affiliation is extremely relevant because the Republican Party stands broadly for family values and sexual restraint, so party affiliation is very relevant, as it shows hypocrisy, that is, it tends to undermine the public image of the party.

Is that true? Actually, standing alone, that is basically true! Standing alone, I could see that rule as defensible.

Now, what happens when a Republican is caught in a money scandal? Well, that’s not really hypocrisy, really, as Republicans have the reputation of being into dirty filthy money. But in that case — in the case of a money scandal — the media says noting the Republican’s affiliation is relevant because it reinforces widely-held public opinion about the party.

Do you see the brilliance of that? Of those two rules together? Republicans get hammered — not just personally, but the sins are attributed to the party as a whole — on sex scandals because sex scandals undermine the party’s public image, so noting the party is relevant; and money scandals also get attributed to the party as a whole, and party affiliation is very relevant there, too, because such scandals reinforce the party’s public image.

Heads the MFM wins, tails, the GOP loses.

So these two rules, taken together, mean that in 99.9% of all scandals, the party affiliation of the Republican is very relevant to the story, in the MFM’s eyes. That this is a scandal not just of a fallen man, but of a fallen party, which is tainted along with that man.

Now: Does the media use the same rules with Democrats?

Click over to find out.  (I’m sure you already know the answer, but the post is awesome so go click anyway.)

Borepatch has the nice companion piece featuring Time Magazine and the Gores:

Pistolero pretty well guts the PMRC’s (Parent’s Music Resource Center, the Gore’s institution set up to fight the scourge of “satanic” music) arguments, so I won’t comment on that other than to saw RTWT.

What I will comment on, however, is the curious lack of coverage from the same Dinosaur Media on this. It seems to be almost a clone of the Larry Craig scandal: some blue-nose, big-mouth politician makes a lot of noise about the threat to morality by issue X, and then turns around and does a 100% reversal on issue X.

It’s not even like the Clinton episode – after all, by the time Monica came around nobody thought for a minute that Bill was the sort of guy you let escort your daughter to the Prom. Bit [sic] Al and Tipper did a 180° turn when he ran for vice president, courting the Music Industry’s money.

How do you say “Vote ’em all out” to the media?


Was last night some kind of fun, or what?? That hour FLEW by.  Our gracious hostesses were Most Fabulous and Jay G was great company.  Me, I think I did okay — the only stated complaint was the worry that listening to me any longer would cause diabetes.  Oh, and apparently I have an accent, and it’s “a cute Northern accent” rather than a caffeine-mainlining Elmo accent.  I’ll take it!

Happy Friday, everyone!!


9 Responses to “Hypocrisy, the MSM, and “neutral” storylines”

  1. Ahuh, you did great.
    This was the first time I was able to “participate” what with the new DSL.
    Too bad you’re going to lose that “cute Northern accent” soon…

  2. That was the big turning point for me to become pro gun from anti-gun. Of course I saw a lot of stuff in Movies, which I took with a grain of salt…but the stuff the media was telling me about “Assault Weapons” I assumed was legit.

    When I found out otherwise it was a life changer.

    • Lissa said

      When we were discussing how Hollywood gunnery is not *quite* realistic, I didn’t even get around to firing off two sub-auto guns, one in each hand, and somehow “aiming”

      • Done the 1911 in each hand once…and only once, and never feel the need to do it again.

        if you have two 1911s keep one handy in case 1911 #1 breaks or jams! Otherwise use both hands…if you can’t use both hands, use one hand and…eh…THE SIGHTS!!!

  3. Jay G. said

    Lissa, you were FABULOUS. If only some shaved head biker jerk hadn’t hogged all the air time…

    Seriously, just tell me to shut the hell up or I’ll ramble all night… 😉

    It was a pleasure, plain and simple.

    AND. We simply *MUST* give you and Mike a proper Northeast Bloggershoot send-off.

    I insist.

    • Lissa said

      Okay, I’ll obey … Jay, shut the hell up — about rambling. You were awesome, of course, and if anything I thought we were BOTH too rambly – we hardly got to hear the B’s!

  4. Borepatch said

    Last night was teh awesome. Very nicely done.

  5. Brad K. said


    Thinking generously for a moment, I believe that once upon a time the Democrat story was that “liberal” meant “change (improve) the world.” Conservative, back when conservative and reactionary (uber-conservative) were defined in the French legislature (with the liberals sitting on the right side of the aisle, and the conservatives on the left side), meant mostly retaining the status quo – oppose change.

    The Democrat platform has morphed into “we (as a government) gotta do something; and get voted back in office”, while the Republican platform has morphed into “we gotta do something better, and make sure the voters see us as better than Democrats.” I recall when the Democrats had honest intentions to elevate the poor into affluent consumers and Democratic voters. And I recall when the Republicans kept a close focus on business, the health of business, fiscal stability and military preparedness. The Republicans used to understand that the single most important feature of national security is a strong economy; the military comes second, and has a much simpler job when the economy is robust.

    Journalism is about individuals relating the stories of the world; most are interested in being an asset to their readers, partly to keep the paychecks coming, but also as a positive force in maintaining or improving the world. Which is awfully close to “we gotta do something”. That is, the bias is genetic, a feature of journalism, especially traditional colleges and most especially Ivy League colleges. While some may be aware of their bigotry, most, I think, have never examined whether their assumptions of right and wrong are balanced and pertinent.

    Reporters that tend to evaluate Republican affairs with a balanced eye may come up through the business side, or possibly . . no, I think most started with a background in business. You know, processing resources to produce products. And objective, observable process of creating wealth. Most of the time creating actual, tangible wealth, where the product produced has more value than the materials that went into it – like growing a garden, reloading your bullets for trade, or making ceramic coffee mugs from clay and paint. Most cases where business is conducted legally, benefits from a stable environment. Slight adjustments to taxes, regulations, and other processes allow for slight improvements (or impediments). But business rarely uses the Democrat mantra, “We gotta do something” – at least, not more than the minor adjustment of making more people their own customers.

    So it makes sense that journalists will identify with stated (even when obviously deceitful and manipulative) Democrat objectives, most of the time. And it also makes sense to me that most have never recognized, let alone confronted, their fundamental alignment/bias.

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