The corporate press has been in bed with John McCain for years. What's more, whenever the GOP smells the slightest whiff of objectivity from the media, they immediately cry foul. That was the discussion of this week's Meet the Bloggers, in which punk rock icon, actor, and spoken word artist Henry Rollins filled in admirably for Cenk Uygur, who was at the Republican National Convention. Rollins led a charged, insightful conversation with bloggers Jonathan Kim (FOX Attacks!), Liliana Segura (AlterNet.org) and Paul Waldman (Media Matters) about the ridiculous bias we've seen from FOX News and the mainstream media throughout this election.
Waldman, who co-authored Free Ride: John McCain and the Media with David Brock, talked about all the ways in which the McCain campaign and the GOP have manipulated the media. If you need any proof, just watch the heated exchange between CNN's Campbell Brown and McCain campaign spokesman Tucker Bounds featured in this segment. As Rollins and Waldman pointed out, Bounds jumped down Brown's throat when she asked him to name one instance of real foreign policy experience from McCain's VP pick Sarah Palin. Once Bounds exhausted his talking points, he went on the defensive, accusing Brown of belittling Palin. But as Waldman concluded, Brown was simply doing her job, something not enough journalists are doing these days.
Of course, the worst perpetrators of media bias are the folks at FOX News. What sparked the idea for yesterday's show was Brave New Films' latest video, FOX Attacks Obama Just Like Kerry, which documents all the ways in which FOX has been reusing the same smears and distortions of John Kerry from 2004 to malign Barack Obama. Jonathan Kim, who runs our FOX Attacks! blog and created this latest video, talked with Rollins about the "FOX effect."
According to Kim, FOX specializes in balancing the truth with lies, giving equal time, let's say, to a real scientist who tells the truth about global warming as they do to a quack without any real expertise who calls global warming a myth. This is FOX's notion of "fair and balanced," but in reality it's quite dangerous because FOX marginalizes the expert's claim while legitimizing the quack's opinion.
Make no mistake, FOX is willing to do whatever it takes to advance their conservative agenda. They will lie, smear, and distort to their hearts' content. They'll even contradict themselves, as The Daily Show illustrated this week when they ran clips of Bill O'Reilly, Karl Rove, Sean Hannity, and Dick Morris going against their own previous statements just so they could gush over Palin.
But what's even more dangerous is for the rest of the corporate press to take their cues from FOX. That's why Meet the Bloggers dedicated this entire show to this issue, and why we must continue to hold the media accountable for their refusal to cover this election objectively.