For Right-Wing Media, Historical Accuracy, Justified Corrections Equal Liberal Bias
Blog ››› ››› MELODY JOHNSON
It's no secret that the right-wing media are on the defense when it comes to Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin -- even when it means sticking up for their ludicrously inaccurate accounts of American history. Yet, somewhere along the way, correcting misinformation became synonymous with liberal bias, at least according to the right-wing media.
This week on the right-wing media defense agenda, Michele Bachmann. As you may have read, in an interview this week with Good Morning America's George Stephanopoulos, Bachmann absurdly claimed that John Quincy Adams was a Founding Father who worked to eradicate slavery. The latter is true; however, John Quincy Adams was a young boy at the time Paul Revere was ringin' those bells to warn the British that they weren't gonna take our arms. You betcha. So, understandably, the so-called mainstream media, specifically Stephanopoulos (and Conan O'Brien, for that matter), did what anyone would do. They pointed out Bachmann's gaffes and moved on.
Stephanopoulos actually gave Bachmann the chance to clarify her comments, but Bachmann only tried to further justify what she had said by stating: "Well if you look at one of our Founding Fathers, John Quincy Adams, that's absolutely true. He was a very young boy when he was with his father serving essentially as his father's secretary. He tirelessly worked throughout his life to make sure that we did in fact one day eradicate slavery." Stephanopoulos immediately corrected her, and asked, "[S]o you are standing by this comment that the Founding Fathers worked tirelessly to end slavery?" Bachmann did not back off her claim.
This was too much for the right-wing media, who considered Stephanopoulos' corrections a vile left-wing attack. For example, Fox & Friends this morning used Stephanopoulos' fact-check of Bachmann to ask if "the mainstream media has a bias against conservative women" and suggested that it's evidence of a "war on conservative women."
Later on Fox & Friends, Media Research Center's L. Brent Bozell III went so far as to say that Stephanopoulos corrected Bachmann's history gaffe because "they don't like her," and not because, as PolitiFact editor Bill Adair has pointed out, she repeatedly says things that are "ridiculously false." They all jumped to attack the "mainstream media" and defend Bachmann's remarks on Internet and television alike.
The lesson here is this - when you are a news outlet, it is your responsibility to point out inaccuracies. That does not constitute bias, only responsibility.