Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Hypocrisy in Motion

In a sad testimonial to the state of journalism, I've followed two incidents that occurred (and continue to unfold) within the media over the last week or so. As I followed them both, I was shocked to see the rampant bias in each story.

First, the Shirley Sherrod kerfuffle. It takes center stage because of Obama's alleged involvement.

Andrew Breitbart posts a video to call out the NAACP on its hypocrisy in calling the Tea Party "racist", while they practiced a similar brand of racism in their own midst. The Obama administration reacts [stupidly] and has the "racist" perpetrator fired, poor little Shirley Sherrod. Problem was, her comments were edited in the video that Breitbart posted. After viewing the entire video, Obama and company were forced to backtrack, pinning blame on Breitbart and Fox News (the usual suspect) for subverting the context of Sherrod's remarks.

Now, I've seen the edited video and read Breibart's piece that accompanied it. In my mind, it was pretty straight-forward. Breitbart was only calling attention to race-related commentary on the part of Sherrod, received energetically by the NAACP audience. The story continues, as we now learn that Shirley Sherrod's husband is also prone to racist commentary as recently as January of THIS YEAR.

Next item of interest is the JournoList obsession with Sarah Palin's baby after her RNC speech. 15 pages of emails were captured and posted online by The Daily Caller, exposing a lurid and tawdry discussion about whether Sarah or her daughter Bristol was the mother of Trig, a down syndrome baby. Sarah Palin even weighed in on the subject with an emotional posting on her Facebook page titled "Journey into the Media's Heart of Darkness".

So what do I make of all this? Hypocrisy in its truest form. To underscore that fact, I only had to look at a Washington Post editorial by E. J. Dionne, Jr., written as a response to the Sherrod kerfuffle. In his editorial, he states:
The mainstream media and the Obama administration must stop cowering before a right wing that has persistently forced its propaganda to be accepted as news by convincing traditional journalists that "fairness" requires treating extremist rants as "one side of the story." And there can be no more shilly-shallying about the fact that racial backlash politics is becoming an important component of the campaign against President Obama and against progressives in this year's election.
Dionne finishes his piece by saying:
The Sherrod case should be the end of the line. If Obama hates the current media climate, he should stop overreacting to it. And the mainstream media should stop being afraid of insisting on the difference between news and propaganda.
Sounds like a good point, right?

Not if you consider his willful omission of the JournoList revelations. After all, the publishing of the email exchanges between like-minded, liberal journalists and commentators from established mainstream media outlets is not much of a story unless those email exchanges actually contributed to a unified narrative on the part of multiple media outlets, which they did. Doesn't it beg balance to address the "right-wing propaganda" angle while also mentioning the left-wing smear machine that was the JournoList?

Apparently the answer is no, if you're the Washington Post, a publishing dinosaur for the ages, its hypocrisy in motion.

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