An editorial for the ages at The Grauniad today: the problem with the US media is that they're too even-handed:
To put it at its simplest, the election is so close that its outcome may be determined by whether the lies told during the campaign, above all by the Republican side, stick or not.Wow, thank goodness we have the impartial UK media, exemplified by The Grauniad, to defend freedom, democracy and unbiased reporting.
Sure, Fox News is Republican-slanted, although its precise bias depends on the presenter - there's a large gap between Bill O'Reilly and Greta van Susteren, and commentators like Michelle Malkin can be pretty dismissive of mainstream Republican policies - but the belief that CBS, MSNBC and CNN have anything other than Democratic-leaning journalists is denial beyond reason:
Elements of the American media, like Fox News, are partisan to the point of outright distortion, while others are hampered by what Paul Krugman has called the "cult of balance",Paul Krugman: you're talking through your arse. Every journalist and every news channel has a bias, even (gasp) the BBC. Candy Crowley from CNN did an appalling job of "moderating" the second presidential debate, backing up Obama and deflating Romney on the point of whether Obama acknowledged the Benghazi attack as an "act of terror" despite later admitting that her interjection was incorrect. There was nothing neutral about her moderation, and trying to claim otherwise is ludicrous. By contrast, I thought the other two presidential debate moderators were reasonably neutral in their actions, no matter what their private opinions.
The Guardian editorial does have a point when it notes:
Where the partisan press cannot be trusted to check the facts offered by the politicians they favour or accept the versions offered by those they do not, and the more independent or liberal press will not do so in either case, democracy is clearly in trouble.Like Obama's claim about having fewer bayonets in the Army, perhaps? It seems that only the army of bloggers is willing to pick apart these claims, while the mainstream media revels in the "zinger" without examining the facts.
The editorial notes:
Emerson said that if you threw a fact out of the window you would come back later to find it sitting in the chimney corner. But that might well be after you had voted.It is ironic that Ralph Waldo Emerson was a champion of Individualism and would have despised the group-think prevalent in today's media. If anything, I suspect he would have cheered the counter-mainstream opinions of Fox News.