I've Yet To Hear A Credible Answer

by Colonel Dan


The Cowboy Chronicle

July  2008  

We all know about media bias so I’m certainly not going to preach to the choir here but I’ve always had one simple question on this topic and it’s the underlying point of this month’s column.    After years of seeing patently slanted reporting, it’s truly laughable how the media in general continues to deny, deny, deny they are anything but impartial and empirically objective.  However, to paraphrase George C Scott’s opening speech in Patton the simple truth is, their claim of “objectivity” is a bunch of crap.  With each election that fact becomes increasingly obvious—a fact that should be pushed right back in their collective faces.  Their charade insults our common sense as they relentlessly make these false claims of impartiality.  Of course if you openly challenge them on this, as I’ve done many times both in print and in person, they vehemently deny it.  But my one simple question to the press has yet to be credibly answered by those I’ve confronted.  What is that question Colonel? How can the press claim objectivity when every newspaper I’ve ever seen subjectively endorses candidates from city council to President?  Doesn’t that smell just a bit tainted to you?  It also smells like they’re so arrogantly convinced of your stupidity that you’ll never see this for what it really is.   

What I’ve heard in most cases is that their editorial staff is independent of their news staff.  While the names may be different in each of those departments, they all answer to the same boss at the top of that publication’s food chain do they not?  So by applying common sense and just a modicum of knowledge where human nature is concerned, I find it impossible to believe that a newspaper can endorse a candidate on their editorial page and then blast him with bad press on the front page!  Such reporting would undermine the validity as well as the credibility of their endorsement wouldn’t it?  And what might this result in?  Reduced number of newspapers and advertisements sold of course.  The owner or editor-in-chief would do their level best to prevent such an obvious conflict from unfavorably impacting revenue. Keep in mind; all forms of the media are first and foremost a business and the editors always have the final say about what gets published…even if the front line street reporters themselves are trying to be evenhanded.

Still doubt it?  Then put yourself in the shoes of the top dog at that particular newspaper.  They endorse Moe for office claiming he is much better than Curly.  Two stories come in about both candidates that are less than favorable.  Which one do you think they would print or emphasize?  Would they blast Moe or would they downplay that story and highlight the one on Curly?  No rocket science here just an observation based on years of watching…and as Yogi Berra, one of my favorite philosophers once said, “You can observe a lot just by watching.”

We saw clear evidence of this during the last Presidential campaign.  Anything that might hint at unfavorable press for Bush was front page news while many stories unfavorable to Kerry were downplayed or spiked.  Why?  The press generally favored Kerry.

Want an example?  Do you remember reading about the call for Bush to disclose his National Guard records so they could see if he was AWOL?  The press went into hyper drive pushing that story—even if those stories were based on fraudulent documents—isn’t that right CBS?  The possibility that Bush may have missed a few National Guard meetings was too juicy to ignore.  Compare that to the issue of Kerry’s medical records concerning his three purple hearts.  There was never a similar heated clamor from the national media berating Kerry for not making full disclosure of his service medical records was there?  Why? Kerry was their man and the approach here was to tout anything that might be bad for Bush and downplay or kill anything that might be bad for Kerry.  Had it not been for the Swift Boat Vets who had eyewitness knowledge as well as the guts to unveil it, we would have never heard about even a fraction of Kerry’s true Viet Nam record. 

I see this same philosophy applied at all levels during political campaigns from the local to the national.  The practice was confirmed by a long time friend of mine who writes a well known nationally syndicated column and spent a lifetime in the newspaper business.  He confirmed that newspapers routinely downplay or ignore news that might reflect badly on their man while focusing like a laser on his opponent and reporting anything that could even minimally be construed as bad press for the other guy.

Watch this election unfold and see how much your own newspaper plays up past and present “questionable” activities of one side versus the other, how many hard questions one candidate is asked compared to the other and how many “discrepancies” and “colorful” escapades are printed about one party compared to the other.  Most recently, note how many of those in the media have been treating Obama compared to the other candidates.  Just what do you think would happen to any conservative candidate if they had attended Rev Jeremiah Wright’s church for 20 years or had a “friendly” relationship with a terrorist?  It quickly becomes clear how the media leans all the while vehemently claiming journalistic objectivity.    

Now I realize I’m just a simple old soldier, but in my mind, if newspapers were honestly sincere about their unbiased reporting, they wouldn’t endorse anyone—they’d just stick to reporting the facts about all candidates.  Their claims of neutrality and objectivity might then be more believable—maybe. And if they really wanted to advocate one side over another that would be fine with me also…as long as they were up front about it and proclaimed their political leanings to the world.  At least such candor would go a long way in earning the respect of respectable Americans.   Either way, I’m probably asking far too much of folks who pathologically deny blatant political bias then wonder why their readership among independent thinkers continues to dwindle.  My faith abounds in such independent thinkers and it’s that staunch faith that uplifts my spirits knowing that regardless of media spin and distortion, the truth will be found in the likes of SASS cowpokes for example and the millions of others where true patriotism and the spirit of love for and dedication to this country runs as deep today as it did in 1776…and in that, I’m exceedingly proud just to be counted as one of your number.


Just the view from my saddle…

Contact Colonel Dan: coloneldan@bellsouth.net







Dark Canyon Home Page