It's no secret that the folks over at the Media Research Center don't care for gays. And their flimsy definition of bias and general hatred for journalism are pretty well-known, too. Basically, they're a bunch of clowns.
Still, even by Newsbusters' (low) standards, their petulant whining about media coverage of the repeal of the ban on gays serving openly in the military was a comical blend of bitterness and cluelessness.
First, Newsbuster Brad Wilmouth complained:
As all the broadcast network evening newscasts on Saturday used words like "historic" and "landmark" to describe the Senate vote in favor of repealing the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy on homosexuals serving in the military, the networks also provided substantially more soundbites to supporters of the measure than to those who opposed changing the policy.
Wilmouth never got around to spelling out what is wrong with using "words like 'historic' and 'landmark'" to describe an historic piece of legislation. That's presumably because he realized that he'd get laughed at for writing that a bill legalizing for the first time the open service of gays in the military is not a "landmark." So he just crossed his fingers and hoped readers would share his annoyance at media descriptions of historic legislation as "historic." (It's not the first time a Newsbuster has chosen this strategy.)
Nor did Wilmouth spell out why news reports should provide an equal number of soundbites from supporters and opponents of DADT repeal. Supporters, after all, greatly outnumber opponents. Granted, public opinion shouldn't be the sole factor in deciding how much time to allocate to differing views. But Wilmouth has his work cut out for him if he wants to argue that the news media should grant equal time to advocates of legislatively mandated discrimination. News reports about the end of racial segregation, for example, rarely include equal time for people who think African Americans shouldn't be able to eat at lunch counters -- and few people, if any, see this as evidence of media bias. Of course, Wilmouth doesn't argue that supporters of discriminatory policies deserve equal time. He just asserts it, and hopes his readers assume that he has a good reason for doing so.
Next, Newsbuster Kyle Drennen weighed in, also complaining that advocates of discrimination didn't get equal time without ever spelling out why they deserve it. Drennen went on to display a finely-tuned ability to read nefarious intent into the most benign reporting. Here, he complains about CBS correspondent Whit Johnson:
Johnson dismissed critics of repeal: "Democrats got a boost from a recent Pentagon study in which two-thirds of U.S. troops said changing the controversial law would have little impact, a feeling shared by most of America."
That isn't a dismissal of critics. That's a simple, straightforward statement of fact that doesn't refer to critics in any way -- except by implying that they are in the minority. Which is true.
Drennen then complained that "Both Johnson and [Nancy] Cordes touted the repeal as a win for Democrats." "Touted"? It was a win for Democrats. More Drennen:
On the Early Show, Cordes similarly cheered: "Democrats achieved their longstanding goal of repealing 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' just two weeks before an influx of Republicans in Congress would have made it impossible."
"Cheered"? Nothing in that quote is a "cheer." Nothing. Now, if Cordes had said "Democrats, who are awesome, passed a repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell. Yaaaaay, Democrats!" -- that would be "cheering." That isn't what Cordes did. She just said what happened.
Now, if you've never read Newsbusters before, you probably think that I'm cherry-picking; that I'm unfairly focusing on Drennen's verb choice while ignoring the substance of his critique. But this nonsense about "touting" and "cheering" and "dismissing" is the substance of his complaint. Take a look.
Something happened on Saturday, and Newsbusters didn't like it. So they stamped their feet over the media reporting it. They didn't demonstrate media bias -- just their own.
Take a look at this Newsbusters entry.
CBS's Rodriguez: 'Young Revolution a la President Obama' Would Boost Conan O'Brien's TBS Show
By Kyle Drennen (Bio | Archive)
Tue, 04/13/2010 - 13:05 ET
Maggie Rodriguez and Dalton Ross, CBS On Tuesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez described how comedian Conan O'Brien could attract viewers to his new late night show on the TBS cable channel: "if he can get this young revolution, you know, a la President Obama, to follow him, that could be huge."
What, exactly, is Kyle Drennen's complaint? He doesn't say -- never so much as hints at what he thinks is wrong with Rodriguez' comment, and there is no obvious problem with it. My best guess is that he's upset that a reporter would suggest that young people support President Obama, though he doesn't say so. And if that's his complaint, it's an awfully dumb one, considering that just a couple of weeks ago Newsbusters suggested young people are "completely in the tank for Barack Obama and the left" because they "voted for Obama over John McCain by a greater than 2-1 margin."
And this is the kind of nonsense you get from Newsbusters every day -- nonsensical complaints and unexplained grievances and deliberately obtuse screeds. They may as well be shouting at the clouds about the injustice of Monday following Sunday, for all the sense they make. And this is not some random right-wing blogger nobody has every heard of: This is the work of the Media Research Center, the conservative movement's premiere media critics for the past 20 years.
Newsbusters' Kyle Drennen is upset that CBS's Bill Plante described the Bush tax cuts passed through reconciliation as "giant":
CBS's Plante: GOP Used Reconciliation to Pass 'Controversial,' 'Giant' Tax Cuts
By Kyle Drennen (Bio | Archive)
Mon, 03/01/2010 - 11:52 ET
On Monday's CBS Early Show, White House correspondent Bill Plante reported on the possibility of Democrats using reconciliation to pass a health care reform bill and noted how Republicans used the procedure when they were in the majority: "In the past it has helped the majority party push through some controversial legislation. In 2001, Republicans used it to pass a giant $1.3 trillion tax cut."
A Media Research Center special report conducted from January 20 to March 31 in 2001 found that out of 94 judgements of the size of the Bush tax cuts on ABC, NBC, and CBS, "84 percent...labeled it as 'big' or 'huge' or otherwise portrayed it as large." CBS was one of the worst offenders, with various reporters describing the cuts as large a total of 14 times in that ten-week period. Then-CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather alone used the word "big" 11 times to describe the tax cuts.
Then Kyle Drennen describes President Obama's health care legislation, which the administration thinks will cost $950 billion over ten years, as "the massive ObamaCare legislation."
So, Drennen describes a $950 billion package as "massive," but gets upset when Bill Plante describes a $1.3 trillion package as "giant." Got it.