The Washington Post

Charge: Media ‘rigging’ presidential election

(Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg)

Herewith another installment of Mediology, which looks at the collision course between the media and the country’s right-left divide.


Brent Bozell and his Media Research Center have taken to the envelope in their attack on the so-called liberal media. Bozell and a crowd of co-signatories have drafted a letter targeting outlets of the mainstream media for their coverage of the Obama-Romney contest. Here’s how it gets started:

This election year, so much of the broadcast networks, their cable counterparts, and the major establishment print media are out of control with a deliberate and unmistakable leftist agenda. To put it bluntly: you are rigging this election and taking sides in order to pre-determine the outcome. In the quarter century since the Media Research Center was established to document liberal media bias, there has never been a more brazen and complete attempt by the liberal so-called “news” media to decide the outcome of an election.

The letter recites eight counts of alleged malpractice, including:

*Painting conservative ideas as extreme, while refusing to report the disastrous consequences of liberal programs enacted since 2008.

*Submerging the truly horrendous economic conditions America is facing and focusing only on minor political issues.

The letter carries more than 20 co-signers, including Rush Limbaugh, Tony Perkins and Laura Ingraham. An inquiry to the Media Research Center asking whether any big-name conservatives declined to sign on hasn’t scored a response. Intended recipients are the big three network news operations and CNN.

Bozell & Co.’s letter marks the second time in two days that we’ve chronicled charges that the media in the 2012 election has reached a new peak of biased corruption. Yet neither undertakes an analysis of media conduct in previous election cycles, an element that would help buttress the worse-than-ever slam.


*Media Matters for America is crusading against the Wall Street Journal for failing to issue key disclosures in op-ed pieces. The latest omission, it charges, relates to a piece written by former Bush attorney general Michael Mukasey. The problem is that Mukasey is a Romney campaign adviser and there’s no mention of such.

The Journal did not disclose Mukasey’s position as a Romney campaign adviser. This fits with the Journal’s practice of repeatedly publishing columns by Karl Rove without disclosure of his role as head of pro-Republican groups dedicated to defeating President Obama. The paper has also published op-eds by nine Romney campaign advisers without disclosure of their roles.

Even though readers of the Wall Street Journal’s editorial page entertain no illusions about its worldview, disclosures are a central part of an op-ed operation — especially in light of the vast and conflict-heavy web of pundits out there. Policing the omissions is a somewhat thankless and low-profile proposition.

Erik Wemple writes the Erik Wemple blog, where he reports and opines on media organizations of all sorts.
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