The author of a new book examining the media’s impact in the 2012 presidential election maintains that liberal bias is alive and well in the mainstream.
In his new book "Spin Masters: How the Media Ignored the Real News and Helped Reelect Barack Obama," David Freddoso believes the bias manifests itself in messages that portray certain conservative beliefs as not just wrong, but evil.
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“That’s the deeper issue in the media. There’s a kind of omission that occurs where stories get buried because reporters can’t see (bias),” he said.
“They’re trying to look outside into the world through a mirror and all they see is something that reflects themselves.”
He said bias was notable in the way that the Benghazi attacks were covered.
“As that was going on, it became clear that the media was taking a story of the massive policy failure by the president and turning into a story about a gaffe by Mitt Romney and his reaction to it,” Freddoso said.
During an October presidential debate, Romney and Obama got into a heated exchange regarding the timing of the president’s characterization of the event as a terrorist attack. After Romney incorrectly stated 14 days had lapsed before the president mentioned terrorism in connection with the attack, moderator Candy Crowley corrected Romney on the dates, leaving him largely on the defensive for the remainder of the debate.
Freddoso, the editorial page editor of The Washington Examiner, called the coverage of Romney’s verbal mistake “a shocking moment.”
“There are so many other stories in the areas of the economy and foreign policy, where we’ve seen things not really covered at all. Not only that, we’ve seen the substitution of actual news for ad nauseum coverage of this so called ‘war on women,’ the media just picking up this propaganda phrase,” he said.
Freddoso also said mainstream outlets mischaracterized Romney’s positions on contraception so as to make Republicans look out of touch and make voters scared to support them.
Freddoso believes the phenomenon is driven by the fact that as a group, most journalists are liberal and have similar views on key issues. The fact that so many think alike, he believes, creates “this bubble world to live in.”
When it comes to major issues, Freddoso believes the “bubble effect” can also lead mainstream media outlets to underestimate the general public’s reaction to key political and economic events. As a prime example, he cites the legal challenges to the Affordable Care Act.
“The legal challenges to Obamacare were not taken seriously by the mainstream media. All of a sudden, the law was hanging by a thread during oral arguments (before the Supreme Court) and complete panic ensues,” Freddoso said. “They were mentally blind to the idea that there might be a legitimate constitutional case against the law, so they misinformed their readers and consumers for months.”
He also cites last week’s ruling by a federal appeals court that the president’s recess appointments to fill vacancies on the National Labor Relations Board and the naming of Richard Cordray to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, were illegal.
“There’s this disconnect from reality that goes on inside the liberal bubble (that results) in things that are really big stories being missed.”
In particular, he singles out MSNBC anchor Chris Matthews as one with a clear bias, who he believes used several opportunities to try and make Romney appear racist.
“Chris Matthews actually went on television and said conservatives were letting Romney get away with saying anything because they hate having a black president so much. You saw 24/7 how everything going on involved racism, such as voter ID (laws) and every objection to Obama,” the author said.
Freddoso said the best way conservatives can combat bias is to avoid engaging in behaviors that reinforce existing stereotypes.
“It’s so important to be familiar with facts and issues, study things and read good columnists who write well about the economy and cite real numbers,” he said. “Don’t just repeat the talking points that are out there because they chew up and spit out any conservative who makes a remark that’s even slightly untrue.”
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