Thursday, June 21, 2007

Media isn't leftist? Think again.

An interesting post over at Bill Nowling's site, Lunch Bucket Conservative.

Michigan Reporters Give To Liberal Candidates, Causes (Like that’s a shocker!)
Dedman scoured online public campaign finance reports and found 144 journalists who contributed to political campaigns and causes between 2004 and now. Of that number (and I know loyal LBC readers will be shocked) 125 — or a whopping 87 percent — gave to Democrat or Left-leaning causes. (Three Michigan journalists made the list; more on that later.)

The MSNBC report also found that news organizations varied greatly in their policies dealing with the activism of their staff, ranging from strict prohibition to nothing at all. When I was hacking for a living, it was made pretty clear to me by my editors that I could not: date the interns, drink at my desk, use profanity in my stories, and participate in partisan causes.

I managed to play by those rules, mostly because they were common sense. “We cover the news; we don’t make it,” is the adage I and countless others heard coming up through the ranks. I didn’t need a written policy to know I shouldn’t give my money or time to a candidate, even if a paltry amount.

Now, if journalists think it is OK for them to give to political causes, they should publicly disclose that. I wonder how readers/viewers would react if they got to the end of the story and read or heard a disclaimer that went like this: “Oh, by the way, they guy I just wrote about, I gave him a $1,000 check last month”? I am pretty certain the public would take a dim view and hold such reporting in suspect. But that’s just me.

Now, back to the three Michigan hacks who ponied up…they are (Click here for complete list and lamo responses from 144 the journalists):

Susan Hall-Balduf, a Detroit Free Press copy editor, gave $300 to John Kerry in July 2004. Now editing news copy, she gave when she was in features. Here’s what she said:

“I was scolded,” Hall-Balduf said. “We did a story on how easy it was to look up these records on the Internet, and they were not happy to find a couple of our own people on the list. But I made the point that I worked only in features, and I never edited any stories that have to do the election. I was told not to do it again. I wouldn’t do it again. But at the time my job was focused on the doings of Britney Spears.”

Joel Thurtell, a Detroit Free Press reporter, gave $500 to the Michigan Democratic State Central Committee in September 2004. Here’s what he said:

“Whatever the Free Press policy is,” Thurtell said, “I actually have my own policy about that: I’m a citizen of the United States. I have a right to support whatever candidate I like.”

Thurtell said his political views don’t influence his reporting, as demonstrated by his role as a reporter on the stories disclosing the ways that Democratic Rep. John Conyers used his congressional staff to run personal errands and do campaign business.

“I got tons of e-mail from liberal-type people who likened me to Karl Rove. I have tried to be as honest as I possibly can as a reporter.”

Terry Judd, reporter and chief of the newspaper’s Grand Haven bureau for the Muskegon Chronicle, gave $1,900 to the Democratic National Committee in six contributions from 2004 through 2006; and $2,000 to John Kerry in March 2004. Judd let his editor do most of the talking:

“You caught me,” Judd said. “I guess I was just doing it on the side.”

The paper’s metropolitan editor, John Stephenson, said appearances of a conflict do matter. “We run letters all the time from people who say we’re right-wing this or left-wing that.” He checked with the paper’s senior editor and found that the paper has no written policy on donations, but he said it will consider one now.

“This information makes us want to think further and more deeply about what we encourage and discourage in reporters,” Stephenson said. “We have always historically said, ‘You guys can have any political beliefs you want, just don’t wear your hearts on your sleeve, or your bumper. Truthfully, this sort of thing may be the new bumper.’ Ten years ago, you may have to have waded through a mountain of paper to find this stuff. We are rethinking. It’s OK to do something if our readers don’t know it? Is it all about appearances, or is there more principle here? It’s an interesting question.”


StubbornMick said...

Need to edit out the line about the GR Press naming new goes with a different post. Thanks for the props, though. Bill

StubbornMick said...

Hey, send me your e-mail. I am building a database of CON bloggers in MI... bnowling AT charter DOT net


Communications guru said...

This is like the kettle calling the pot black. When Bill Nowling was briefly working as a reporter for the then Brighton Argus and Livingston County Press he certainly was participating in partisan causes. It was just a fill in between political jobs for rightwing hacks. The editor he is referring to at the Livingston County Daily Press & Argus was later a conservative Republican candidate for the Michigan House for the 47th District. He is still there.

If this is supposed to prove the 30-year GOP strategy/myth of the liberal media I don’t see how. He claims a “whopping 87 percent” gave to liberal or Democratic candidates, but 87 percent of what? Is that total reporters or what? The entire 100 percent who made political contributions are unprofessional, and they should be reprimanded and get some training. It takes a special person to be a journalist and not be able to take part in the same things every other American can and should.

The bottom line is 99 percent of journalists are journalists first, not Republicans or Democrats. If you’re so concerned about this why don’t you ask the General Manager of the LCDP& A how much he gave to Chris Ward and Mike Rogers.

The medias is not “leftist, “ nor is it liberal. It’s conservative.

StubbornMick said...

Actually, Guru, the editor I was referring to was editor at a daily paper (something I am sure you wouldn't know anything about) where I worked long before I got into politics.

So, if you have some tangible, verifiable proof that I was supporting partisan causes during my brief stint at the Argus, I suggest you put it up, or retract that slanderous statement.

Oh, good luck pedaling the "media are Republican shills" clap-trap. That line will get you laughed out of just about any conversation where honest, objective observers are present.

Oh, and I am serious about putting up or shutting up. If you have something that says, shows, or proves I was doing partisan politics while I was a reporter at the Press & Argus or anywhere else, I'd love to see it.

I even stopped freelancing local sports after I went to work in the Michigan Senate because I felt there was a conflict of interest with me holding a political appointment job and doing work for a newspaper.

(For all of you who don't know or don't care about this exchange, let me sum it up for you. I left the employ of the Livingston County Press and Brighton Argus to take a better job. Guru got fired. You do the math.)

Communications guru said...

Why wouldn’t I know about a daily newspaper? I worked at two, including the first daily newspaper start up in Michigan in 50 years. I also wrote for a third daily: the largest daily in the state. I’m retracting nothing. If you have a problem with it, sue me. Try libel.

I don’t think there’s any doubt the mainstream media is conservative. Only a few large corporations own all the major news outlets in the country. I think people will catch onto the truth someday. Look how long it took the right to sell the liberal media strategy/myth.

I also notice you ducked what I wrote in favor of a personal attack. I worked at the P&A for six years, and I have no shame at all being fired from there. I don’t see the relevance in that, nor can I “do the math.” I worked there six years. How many did you? I also notice you continue to refuse to post my comments. I don’t blame you. But you can post on my blog anytime: I’m not afraid of defending my positions.

Bachbone said...

"I don’t think there’s any doubt the mainstream media is conservative."

At least half-a-dozen national polls by respectable polling organizations, done since around 1996, have shown that the general public (those polled were of all political persuasions, including liberals) views the MSM as left-leaning. In addition, a former head of CBS News admitted it on the record. Dan Rather was run out of CBS for blatant liberal bias in running a Bush diatribe based of false documents. Former CBS News employee Bernard Goldberg (who is not even a conservative, let alone a right-winger) has published two books, with references cited, showing how left-biased MSM news, publications and so-called objective journalists are. John Stossel, a Libertarian, has cited his personal experiences at ABC. Even some Fox News (which leftists say is far right) staffers have been shown to donate to Democrats.

Communications guru said...

I agree 100 percent that the general public views the “MSM as left-leaning.” All that shows is what a wonderful job of propaganda the Republicans have done for the past 30 years. It proves your party's strategy that if you tell a lie often enough people begin to believe it.

Dan Rather left because of the forged memo, and the reason he ran with it without months of checking was because it was because he had a scoop on a hot story. To this day no one has figured out where it came from. The funny part is the information is correct.

Please, you can’t possibly use Bernard Goldberg as proof of liberal media bias. I made the mistake of actually reading his trashy first book, and all I got out of that wasted time is he hates Dan Rather. To say he is not a conservative and a right-winger is ridiculous. There’s a good reason you see him only on Faux “news.” In his latest book he wrote about 101 people who are hurting America, and all of them are liberals. First, the premise anyone is hurting America is ridiculous, and then that all of them are liberals is even more absurd.

I don’t believe John Stossel is liberation, and his “reporting” has been debunked numerous times.

There is no doubt Faux is far right. No news employee should be giving money to political candidates, but you really need to look at how much money and free air time disguised as real news and commentary – which is worth considerably more than cash – the head of faux gives to the GOP.

Bachbone said...

So -- the Democrats who were polled were brainwashed just like the eeeevil Republicans? I guess that means Democrats are as stoooopid as Republicans. Glad to have a liberal admit that for a change.

If Rather's fake memo contained "correct information," why wasn't he or Mapes able to corroborate it anywhere else and save their jobs? In Rather's reporting, one man's fake memo trumped several statements from others that didn't support the fake, but Rather chose to air just the fake memo. Being under time pressure to get a "scoop" is no excuse. "Correct information" that can't be proven isn't "news," it's opinion, commentary or simply the person's bias.

Goldberg was interviewed on CNN. Is that a right-wing station? He also reports being interviewed on about 25 cable stations. They're all right-wingers, too, eh? His books are thoroughly referenced, so a reader can check him out. He says he does not "hate" Rather, but even if he did, that wouldn't invalidate his references. Nice to see that you can read Goldberg's mind and devine that he "hates" Rather.

I guess the former head of CBS News who admitted it has crossed the line into advocacy has also morphed into a right-winger?

You can also read John Stossel's mind and devine he's not a Libertarian despite the fact that he says he is? You should set up shop. People pay big bucks for accurate mind readers' skills.

The same polls that noted people believe NBCBSABCNN are biased in favor of the Left noted that the same polled people believe Fox is not biased either direction.

What the honcho at Fox donates to political causes is a pittance compared to what George Soros gives to just Air America and, not to mention the other far left front groups he's behind. Billionaires are in league with both sides of the politcal aisle despite the alleged Campaign Finance Reform. And what the UAW and NEA provide as "in kind" freebies to Democrats makes anything Fox airs look like extremely small potatoes.

Communications guru said...

Your first paragraph makes no sense.

It’s not “Rather’s fake memo.” The information contained in his was not disputed, only the source. I never said getting a scoop was an excuse, just the reason it happened. I can guarantee that if Rather had any info that proved any of the attacks on President Bill Clinton were actually true he would have done the same thing.

Yes, Goldberg is a right-winger. He may have appeared on other cable shows, and people went into reading his first book – like I did – at first actually thought that he was upfront and honest. It turned out to be trash, as well as the rest of the stuff he published. To say only liberals are supposedly “screwing up America” shows his bias. You might on occasion find him on somewhere other than faux. But not often, and as his credibility slips away he will only been seen on faux. “His books are thoroughly referenced?” Get real. I didn’t read Goldberg’s mind to see he hates Rather I read his book.

I don’t know anything about former head of CBS News, so you will have to provide a link.

Again, I did not read John Stossel's mind I’m going by his actions and “reporting.” I can say I’m a right-winger, and by your logic you can’t say I’m not.

You keep telling me about these alleged polls, but all I have is your word. I will believe people think the major networks are biased to the left, but all that proves is the effectiveness of the GOP propaganda machine. I might even believe a few people, like you, actually believe Faux is fair and balanced, but that does not make it true.

Rupert Murdoch has plenty of money, and the scum bag who invented faux news made more than $2 billon by slinging misinformation at faux, but he paid no corporate tax because of offshoreing and kept the approximately $350 million in taxes he should have paid. A real loyal American there. Here’s a link,

You keep running down George Soros (, but you ignore billionaire right-winger Richard Mellon Scaife ( Soros is a humanitarian who actually earned his billions, and Scaife inherited his and pumps billions into rightwing smears like the Arkansas Project. What “"in kind" freebies to Democrats” do the UAW and MEA provide? There is nothing that equals what faux does: putting forth GOP propaganda disguised as news.