How Media Bias Works

Media bias is reflected in the slant of stories. It is also reflected by the stories the media promotes and the stories the media ignores.

On Friday The Washington Examiner posted an article that illustrates what media bias looks like.

The article states:

The House voted to pass two immigration measures on Thursday, but both ABC and CBS completely omitted that information from their nightly news programs.

On “NBC Nightly News,” anchor Lester Holt dedicated just 26 seconds to the story after leading his program with a three minute segment on President Trump‘s tweets about Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough, according to a survey of the coverage conducted by the conservative Media Research Center.

One of the immigration reform bills voted on by the House, Kate’s Law, passed with bipartisan support, a newsworthy development amid heightened partisanship in Washington. The bill also touches a topic about which people have very strong feelings. Although it’s unlikely the legislation will survive a vote in the Senate, the decision by two of the three major networks simply to blow it off is somewhat remarkable. The law passed more than an hour before either broadcast aired, a development that had been widely anticipated all week.

Kate’s Law increases the penalties for deported aliens who try to return to the United States. It passed by a vote of 257 to 157, with one Republican voting no and 24 Democrats voting yes. A bipartisan vote in the House of Representatives should be news–it hasn’t happened a lot lately.

Why was the media concentrating on President Trump’s tweets instead of the passage of Kate’s Law? There are many people on both sides of the political spectrum who didn’t like what President Trump tweeted. When you ignore the constant attacks on President Trump and his family by Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough (as the media coverage generally did), President Trump was being rude. However, when you look at the tweet in the context of the constant attacks on President Trump and his family, why would you expect him not to fight back? The media used to respect the privacy of children of presidents. Under the Trump Administration, that no longer holds true. I think the attention and the slant the mainstream media is giving President Trump’s tweets while ignoring a major news story explains why no one believes them or depends on them for honest news.

Bias?

Sometimes bias in the media is not illustrated by how a story is reported but rather if a story is reported. Real Clear Politics posted an article yesterday illustrating this fact.

The article tells the story of the spiking of an important story:

That is exactly what the national media have done to an important story about the White House’s intimate working relationship with MIT professor Jonathan Gruber, who helped craft the Affordable Care Act. You may remember Gruber from his infamous videotapes, the ones in which he called the American public too stupid to understand the law. He added their stupidity was helpful to Obama, Pelosi, and Reid in passing the law.

…They vaguely remembered somebody named Gruber or Goober or something but, fortunately, he played only a marginal role in health care. Thanks for asking. Next question?

Now, this may surprise you, but it turns out the White House knew Gruber very well and knew he played a crucial role in the health care bill. The White House simply decided to lie about it. Perhaps they agree with Gruber’s judgment about your intelligence.

How do we know about Gruber’s role? Not because the White House released any documents, not because the media dug into it, but because the House Oversight Committee, chaired by Utah Republican Jason Chaffetz, got MIT to turn over the relevant emails. There were 20,000 pages of emails back-and-forth between Gruber and the White House in the crucial months when the bill was being crafted and passed.

Amazing. The Wall Street Journal reported the story. I believe Fox News also reported it. Otherwise the major media has been totally silent on the issue. As far as the average American voter is concerned, President Obama and his cronies were perfectly honest in their descriptions of the role MIT professor Jonathan Gruber played in the development and selling of ObamaCare.

The article also points out what happened with the role of Jonathan Gruber was mentioned on a morning news show:

What happened on Morning Joe was fascinating. One of the hosts, Mika Brzezinski, called attention to the Journal story. Her co-host, former GOP Rep. Joe Scarborough, followed up. Turning to Mark Halperin, who is the co-managing editor of Bloomberg Politics and a former senior reporter at Time, Scarborough asked if the story was inconsistent with White House statements. “I owe my Republican sources an apology,” Halperin said, “because they kept telling me he [Gruber] was hugely involved, and the White House played it down.”

Then Scarborough asked the money question: “Did the White House lie about that?”

“I think they were not fully forthcoming.”

That answer did not come from a White House official or a Democratic operative. It came from a big-time reporter. And not just any reporter. It came from a reporter to whom the White House had deliberately lied in background briefings. Does he call them out? Nope. He spins for them.

If a voter is depending on the major media for his news, he will, because of this sort of bias, be a low-information voter. We have reached a point where a voter who reads The New York Times, at one time one of the most respected newspapers in the nation, will be a low-information voter. That is truly sad.