Practical Restraints

I applaud Matt Yglesias for discussing this openly

I worked for the American Prospect full-time for about three years and have written a column for TAP Online ever since leaving. And in all that time, no one has ever told me what to write or what position to take. But nobody thinks The American Prospect is an “unbiased” news source. It’s very biased! [But] producing a coherent “line” [does not] require writers to sell out their integrity. [. . .] When I was at TAP, most of my opinions were either in line with my editors or else were on subjects where the bosses didn’t have strong feelings. But there were also issues where my editors did have very strong feelings and I didn’t agree with their take, and so to make my life easier I tended not to focus on those issues.

(Emphasis supplied.) Let's make it even simpler. You are not going to rip a friend's work the way you might a non-friend. I am such a misanthrope that I do not need to hold back very much. But even I do. Especially when it is issues or people that Jeralyn has strong feelings about. That's not wrong imo. As long as we are frank about it.

Speaking for me only

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    Man bites dog (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by jimakaPPJ on Fri Feb 12, 2010 at 12:16:47 PM EST
    No one lasts long in an environment in which they are at odds with. One of the things that I agree with the Right wingers on is that the Main Stream Media has a liberal bias and that it exists from top to bottom within the writers/editors.

    And while the "owners/senior management" are less so, they are more interested in "profits" than anything else. Yet as newspapers and viewership falls they don't seem to be able to grasp that people don't read/watch what they don't like.

    The best example of "liberal bias?" (5.00 / 2) (#28)
    by lambert on Fri Feb 12, 2010 at 08:50:48 PM EST
    1. Bill Keller at Izvestia spiking James Risen's story on warrantless surveillance in 2004, until after Bush was safely elected.

    2. Two words: "Judy Miller"

    3. One word: "Whitewater"

    I need for you to explain to me (none / 0) (#2)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Feb 12, 2010 at 01:48:58 PM EST
    how the mainstream media is liberally biased.

    You either understand or you don't. (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by jimakaPPJ on Fri Feb 12, 2010 at 04:09:32 PM EST
    You either remember the run up (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Feb 12, 2010 at 04:20:02 PM EST
    to the Iraq War or you don't :)

    I remember all the world's (none / 0) (#19)
    by jimakaPPJ on Fri Feb 12, 2010 at 05:48:31 PM EST
    intelligence agencies saying Saddam had had WMD's.

    No they didn't (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by Militarytracy on Sat Feb 13, 2010 at 10:12:21 AM EST
    Almost all of them said that there was more evidence indicating that there were no WMDs, they only said they couldn't promise that there weren't any WMDs and that at one time there was.  How many U.N. inspectors stood up and said, "Look, we were there and are aware of or supervised the destruction of all WMDs?  Did the press listen?  All this info was on page 13 if you could find it on any page at all in almost all the newpapers, the frontpage on almost every given day screamed WAR....Go to Iraq NOW!

    Intellectually dishonest (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by ahazydelirium on Fri Feb 12, 2010 at 06:22:44 PM EST
    I'm calling bull. You don't make a claim about the media having a liberal slant without addressing two questions:

    (1) what is your definition of liberal? Below you indicate it has nothing to do with policy traditionally associated with liberalism re: health care, etc.

    (2) what are the examples of (undefined) liberal bias? You seem to equate poor journalism and liberalism, which makes no sense because it precludes the possibility that conservatism journalism could be poor journalism: "The bias is in the soft ball and lack of follow up questions of the pet politicians pimping their pet bills and positions. That is bias and bad journalism." I agree that is bad journalism, but I fail to see how it is intrinsically liberal.


    You're either on a 24hr (none / 0) (#32)
    by jondee on Sat Feb 13, 2010 at 10:54:04 AM EST
    talk radio feed, or you're not.

    You either have teabag scars, or you dont.


    it isn't tracy, (none / 0) (#4)
    by cpinva on Fri Feb 12, 2010 at 02:17:35 PM EST
    that's a trope the right wing has been chumming the media waters with since at least reagan, if not nixon. and the villagers bite constantly, because they want to be seen as "fair & balanced". if trolling for real fish were this easy, i'd never be home.

    the last time one could, with some legitimacy, argue that the media had a liberal bias (not much, but some), was pre-clinton. but, the republicans/conservatives/right wing keep running that line, knowing a fair % of the populace will believe it, the obvious truth notwithstanding.


    How do you define liberal or conservative (none / 0) (#5)
    by samtaylor2 on Fri Feb 12, 2010 at 02:40:50 PM EST
    And by bias do you mean they focus on certain things?  That is not wrong.  What is wrong, and it doesn't matter if it is "conservative" or "liberal", is if the journalism is done badly.  Not following up on important questions, letting talking points stand as fact, allowing assumptions and the political narrative to dominate your conclsuions- this is wrong.   Liberal/ conservative journalism should arrive at very similar answers assuming they did their job.  

    The bias is in the soft ball and (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by jimakaPPJ on Fri Feb 12, 2010 at 04:16:58 PM EST
    lack of follow up questions of the pet politicians pimping their pet bills and positions. That is bias and bad journalism.

    I can watch Gibbs or Obama and think of a dozen questions that never get asked.


    OMG please oh please oh please (5.00 / 2) (#14)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Feb 12, 2010 at 04:21:13 PM EST
    Like Bush was asked hard questions.  I used to sit there and scream at the television.

    And watch videos (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Feb 12, 2010 at 04:21:50 PM EST
    of Barney chasing Christmas balls.

    I don't see the bias (5.00 / 2) (#21)
    by samtaylor2 on Fri Feb 12, 2010 at 06:08:02 PM EST
    I see the bad journalism though.  It is in everyone's best interest to have journalists ask the follow up questions.  But as some of the other posts have said, we were yelling at the TV during the Bush years for the follow up questions, so again the problem isn't bias it is lazy bad journalism.

    If journalists would do their job politicians would have to tone down what they say and we would get stuff done.   Because extreme language and statements are usually wrong or very exagerated.


    I'm (5.00 / 0) (#35)
    by Socraticsilence on Sat Feb 13, 2010 at 03:34:35 PM EST
    sorry, but I have a hard time taking this seriously, in light of the career of John McCain- the guy's the biggest media whore in modern history- and never, ever gets called on it- seriously, considering he appears on Sunday Talk Shows every week you think his massive flip-flop on Don't Ask Don't Teall would've been a major issue this month- in reality, not so much.

    Right (none / 0) (#33)
    by jondee on Sat Feb 13, 2010 at 11:15:16 AM EST
    questions like where's the birth certificate and how long have you been a radical muslim?

    Those kind of hard-hitting question.


    There's no liberal media bias--- (none / 0) (#6)
    by observed on Fri Feb 12, 2010 at 02:50:53 PM EST
    conservatives can't even define the term.
    The books by the ex-CBS reporter are complete garbage.
    If you want to say there is NOT a center-right/far right tilt to the US news media, compared to Europe, you've got your work cut out for you.

    Uh, nice reframe job (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by jimakaPPJ on Fri Feb 12, 2010 at 04:12:57 PM EST
    I don't turn on the 6PM news from Berlin.

    So I fail to see your point.


    The point is there is no evidence (none / 0) (#16)
    by observed on Fri Feb 12, 2010 at 04:34:37 PM EST
    of liberal bias, except for all the newscasters who claim it exists, on  several  networks.
    Think about that for a while.

    Now, now lets not be (none / 0) (#36)
    by Socraticsilence on Sat Feb 13, 2010 at 03:37:24 PM EST
    hasty- Jim's probably right about newscasters, reporters etc, being personally liberal- what he misses is that the people who call the shots are deeply conservative (not on social issues, on issues where green is the only color that matters), additionally, those very same media personalities care more for closeness to power than talking truth to it.

    Restraint is one thing... (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by oldpro on Fri Feb 12, 2010 at 02:07:09 PM EST
    constraint another.

    The thing about being outspoken and upfront is that people never give you credit for biting your tongue when you should!

    Re 'friend vs. non-friend'....sure...human nature.  But Matt isn't talking about friends...he's talking about something you've criticized legitimately in the past and with which most of us agree:  when does self-interest and greed cross the line into sellout?  IMHO

    I remember when TAP ran with ... (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by RonK Seattle on Fri Feb 12, 2010 at 08:31:05 PM EST
    ... the most deranged Hillary-as-Satan theories (including some of Matt's), unchecked for either logic or evidentiary support.

    FWIW, I thought it equally destructive to the progressive effort when TAP wallowed in bunkum about Cheney, Bush, Abramoff among others.

    What they've done since, I really couldn't say.


    Anyone watching the coverage (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by jimakaPPJ on Fri Feb 12, 2010 at 04:11:20 PM EST
    of Obama who says that the MSM is not biased is in serious denial, or blind or both.

    We didn't say it wasn't biased (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Feb 12, 2010 at 04:44:10 PM EST
    This is about liberal biased

    Be serious (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by Dadler on Fri Feb 12, 2010 at 04:47:41 PM EST
    There is as much "liberal bias" in the MAINSTREAM U.S. media as you could fit into a thimble.  On HCR, for example, single payer would've been spotlighted and promoted and been the joyous recipient of all that liberal bias were it actually to exist.  Obama is friggin' conservative, nothing could be more clear at this point, he doesn't even like what FDR did all that much, and he'd run screaming from the word liberal.  So why isn't he being made to flee on healthcare by that "liberal" msm media, when his plan is anything but liberal, when it is a cave to almost everything Republicans could've hoped for in the position they found themselves after O's election?  

    Please quit confusing (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by jimakaPPJ on Fri Feb 12, 2010 at 05:52:53 PM EST
    liberal with leftist.

    Big difference.

    And no conservative would have brought forth cap and trade, HCR and now say he is agnostic re tax increases.

    He is too liberal for the country and too conservative for the Left.


    Leftist vs. Liberal? (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by samtaylor2 on Fri Feb 12, 2010 at 06:19:30 PM EST
    What is a conservative, what is a liberal and what is a leftist?  Please just a quick definition.  


    I am not sure how a market based sytem of cap and trade is a "liberal" idea.  The point is to create a market, like any other market where a product is being traded.   In fact, I would say that at least in a cap in trade system the product that is being traded, polution rights, is a real creation, vs. a derivative which is sorta made up.   Also the notion that it is a tax doesn't really hold water.  That is, by your logic that a cap and trade system would cost money so it would be tax, I could argue that not having a cap in trade system in place is a tax, as the cost of the unmitigated polution on my health, my home (e.g. the toxins eating away my paint), the environment, etc., is being shifted to me and costing me money/ TAXING me.    JimakaPPJ stop being such a commi pinko and stop supporting these outlandish taxes on me.


    You have to realize (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by Ga6thDem on Fri Feb 12, 2010 at 07:42:14 PM EST
    that the country is not "conservative" in the way that you think it is. There's lots of "conservatives" who have no cohesive belief system. I talk to them everyday and conservatism means something different to every person. Person X is not a real conservative on Monday and then Person X is embraced the next day by the conservamoron brigade as a genuine hero. People call themselves "conservatives" with no real princpals or values to back it up. A "conservative" is whatever you want to be on any day of the week.

    Useless terms anymore it seems (none / 0) (#24)
    by Raskolnikov on Fri Feb 12, 2010 at 07:08:08 PM EST
    They're all like poems, whatever they mean to whoever reads them.  Gets a bit confusing in the modern age when neo-liberalism is fundamentally a conservative (in the free market sense) policy, and when neo-conservatism is fundamentally a liberal (in the revolutionary change sense) policy.  Also, "liberal economy" implying a "free-market" economy, and "social liberal" meaning libertarian.  So I would agree that the media is very neo-liberally biased (reminds me a of funny lecture I had at University which was literally on the evils of Thomas Friedman of the New York Times) and certainly biased in a corporatist way.  I think however, that these are fundamentally more conservative (but not libertarian) principles, trust in institutions and all that.  Again, the label is good for a sound bite, but not very nuanced, or useful.

    Interesting paradigm (none / 0) (#34)
    by jondee on Sat Feb 13, 2010 at 11:19:26 AM EST
    There's "the country" he's too liberal for, and then there's "the Left".

    "As long as we are frank about it." (5.00 / 0) (#29)
    by lambert on Fri Feb 12, 2010 at 08:53:16 PM EST

    Do you have an concrete cases in mind, that you have not mentioned, where people have not been frank?

    Heh. (none / 0) (#7)
    by ek hornbeck on Fri Feb 12, 2010 at 03:17:32 PM EST
    What would I know about that?