Tags: media | bias | House | caucus

GOP House Members Form Caucus To Fight Media Bias

Wednesday, 03 Jun 2009 10:33 AM

By Ronald Kessler

A dozen House Republicans are forming a caucus to fight liberal media bias.

Headed by Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas, the Media Fairness Caucus will point out unfair stories, meet with members of the media, and write op-eds and letters to the editor to highlight media bias.

For the past two years, Smith has conducted his own campaign against unfair coverage in weekly one-minute speeches on the House floor. The caucus is intended to broaden and fortify the effort.

In a Newsmax interview, Smith said media bias is the “greatest threat to our democracy today.”

It is a bigger threat to the nation than a terrorist attack or a depression “because, if the American people can’t get good information, can’t get the facts, and can’t make good decisions, then we simply don’t have a viable democracy,” Smith says. “Right now I think they are not getting the facts and therefore it’s hard to make good decisions, and therefore our democracy is threatened.”

Smith cites the facts that the media ignored Barack Obama’s close association with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright for more than a year, and the major networks ran three times as many negative stories about Sen. John McCain as about Obama.

“Both the bias in favor of Obama and the bias against bringing up anything negative about him clearly had an impact on the outcome,” Smith says. “After the election, several reporters came out and wrote that they are embarrassed with their profession because the media were in the tank for Obama.”

As detailed in the Newsmax story "Washington Post Has Become a Model for the Media," a return to fair coverage attracts readers at a time when news outlets face financial ruin.

The caucus will coordinate responses to unfair stories and bias, Smith says.

“We’ll come up with strategy, we’ll coordinate the one-minute speeches, we’ll coordinate news,” he says. “There’s strength in numbers, and getting more people involved, more members involved, will make us more effective in getting our message out there, about the dangers of media bias, as well as trying to get the media to be less biased.”

In a May 19 statement on the floor, Smith said, “Last week, the Obama administration increased its budget deficit projection to more than $1.8 trillion — and then promptly blamed the deficit on former President Bush. Most of the national media have blindly accepted this false charge, despite facts to the contrary.”

Smith said Obama “didn’t inherit the current budget . . . but he did vote for last year’s budget as senator. President Obama didn’t inherit the $787 billion so-called stimulus package. He authored it. President Obama didn’t inherit out-of-control government spending. He has presided over it.”

Smith notes that the problem is with the national media, not local media.

“Some media try to be fair,” he says. “With others in the media, it’s just innate, it’s congenital, they can’t help themselves.”

Smith hopes the caucus will start to reverse that trend.

“I want the American people to get the facts and then be allowed to make up their own minds, not be told what to think,” he says. “When you have network news programs and front pages of national newspapers reading like an editorial page or sounding like an oral editorial, then the American people aren’t getting the facts, they’re not getting the objective news. They’re getting opinion. And if all they do is hear is one side, that does have an impact over time.”

Ronald Kessler is chief Washington correspondent of Newsmax.com. View his previous reports and get his dispatches sent to you free via
e-mail. Go here now.

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