Monday, October 4, 2010

One Nation Ignored!

Although the Right continues to spread the myth that media is biased against conservatives, the truth was obvious again today as the media ignored the progressive One Nation rally. This is a pattern that has become apparent over and over again. White conservatives captivate the media, while the diverse progressive Left is invisible.

Even though tens of thousands of people showed up at the National Mall in Washington, D.C. today to support progressive ideas, the media was mostly absent. CNN did some cut ins and most egregiously, even the so called, “liberal news network” MSNBC could not be bothered to provide more than scant limited coverage of an hour or so to the event, but I guess MSNBC viewers should be happy that the network managed to rip itself away from its Lockdown reruns long enough to actually cover a bit of live news.

The pro-conservative bias in the media was most obvious today by the print media framed the rally. For instance, let’s compare how CNN’s wire service described both the One Nation and the Beck rallies.

The CNN story on Beck’s rally began with, “Conservative commentator Glenn Beck says his revival-style rally at the Lincoln Memorial on Saturday was about restoring America’s honor and returning the country to the values on which it was founded. Tens of thousands of people showed up for the event, which also featured former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.”

Here is the beginning of the story they wrote for the One Nation rally, “With one month to go until the November elections, the country’s liberal wing is holding their own rally on the nation’s capitol. Thousands showed up to the “One Nation Working Together” rally held on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. It’s the same spot where just five weeks ago, conservative commentator Glenn Beck held a rally with the Tea Party.”

Notice how Beck is labeled as a conservative commentator, but there is no mention of the fact that the rally was a conservative get together in the original story. There is no mention of the partisan nature of the crowd or the fact that Republican Sarah Palin was one of the speakers. Let’s contrast that with the second story where the word liberal is used in the first sentence. It is as if CNN is justifying their lack of coverage of the One Nation rally because it was liberal.

The bias was also evident in the McClatchy Newspapers stories about the Beck and One Nation rallies. The Beck’s rally was described as, “Hundreds of thousands of people streamed onto the National Mall for a rally featuring Fox News personality Glenn Beck and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate. Beck said he wanted to focus on American heroes, not politics, and early in the event, he invited people to text a $10 to his charity, the Special Operations Warrior Foundation. The event, with the title “Restoring Honor,” is about reminding people of the legacy of the founding fathers, Beck said.”

Here is how the One Nation rally was written up by the same organization, “Thousands of liberal and labor activists rallied in the nation’s capital on Saturday and in other U.S. cities, calling for young or disillusioned Democrats to vote in the November elections. If conservative Fox commentator Glenn Beck’s late August rally invigorated tea party enthusiasts to vote for Republicans, many of those who turned out for the “One Nation Working Together” event saw it as their chance to shout back.”

Once again, any mention of the fact that the Beck rally was put together by conservatives and was funded the same groups fueling the Tea Party was left out of the original story, which by the way, grossly overestimated the size of the crowd. The McClatchy piece could have been written by Beck himself. It is interesting that the media blindly accepted and furthered Beck’s talking point that his rally was not political, but they had no problem pointing out that the One Nation rally was a liberal political event.

Even though Beck’s rally was the talk of the cable networks, the One Nation rally could barely get mentioned even on MSNBC, with the exception being Ed Schultz. The reality is that media is biased. White conservative anger sells. A rally about the diversity of America and people wanting to promote a jobs first agenda is boring to the media. It does not fit into their 2010 narrative of voter anger, so the One Nation rally gets neglected.

The elephant in the room here is race. The media would rather cover angry white people than a rally that prominently featured African Americans. However, it is no surprise that the media has no interest in covering stories about minorities in fact white Republicans are most often the people called on by network news to discuss issues of race.

According to a 2009 story in Digital Journal, “A group by the name of Media Tenor conducted a study for FAIR, studying ABC, CBS and NBC nightly news programs. Results of the study made last year showed that 92 percent of all U.S. sources interviewed on matters of race and politics were white, 85 percent were male and, where party affiliation was identifiable, 75 percent were Republican. Media Tenor found specifically one third of the US public is portrayed negatively, and these are immigrants, blacks and other minorities.”

According to a study done by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism found that only 1.9% of the news stories from February 2009-February 2010 related in a significant way to African Americans. Almost half of the coverage was based around three stories, “The arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, the Obama presidency, the death of Michael Jackson and the attempted Northwest Airlines terrorist attack by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab accounted for nearly half (46.4%) of all coverage that had a substantial mention of African Americans during this time period.”

Conservatives are correct. Media bias is very real, but they are wrong about who the media is biased against. The media would rather cover white conservatives than African Americans and progressives. To the media, including so called liberal outlets, which are also run by corporations, a rally that was both progressive and African American is a non-story. Real news is made by conservative whites. This is why the media lavishes attention on them and devotedly pushes their talking points. The more white conservatives refuse to talk to the “lamestream media” the more coverage they get, because their silence is even perceived as more of a story than the rest of America.

In this context, and without a 24 hour cable news network promoting it, the One Nation rally was never going to be huge. The root problem is that progressives still harbor the delusion that the media is neutral. Liberals, Democrats, and Progressives need to understand that the media is never on their side. They will only get media coverage when they are able to produce a compelling ready made narrative as happened with the 2008 campaign of Barack Obama.

The Left is operating with an outdated perception of the media. Narratives matter more than facts, and conservatives excel at producing ready made narratives. This is why the media laps up their claims unquestioned like hungry dogs. Until the Left learns how to manipulate the media as well as their counterparts on the Right, expect rallies like the One Nation to labor in relative obscurity while Glenn Beck’s every move gets documented as the right wing media bias continues.

-Dead Press- Journalism that's not sold-out!

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