Cheat-Seeking Missles

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Media Bias: LAT On Filibusters

If no news were coming from Washington, LA residents would know the filibuster debate is raging since the LAT has a front-page story misrepresenting the GOP position.

Reporter Ronald Brownstein waits all the way until the second sentence to misrepresent the story, saying it is about the "GOP's bit to thwart Senate filibusters." Brownstein and his editors know adding the phrase "over judicial nominations" would be more accurate, but what could possibly gained by accuracy?

Then he muses over the unpopularity of Congress in general, citing a poll from the politically suspect, left-leaning Pew ... or is that Phew? ... Research Center. As it comes time to cite examples of why the public is suspect of Congress, Brownstein helpfully provides this background:
Since last year's election, the news in Washington has been dominated by Bush's drive to restructure Social Security that has generated majority opposition in polls; the congressional intervention in the case of the brain-damaged Florida woman, Terri Schiavo, which provoked a sharp backlash in public opinion surveys; the ethics charges swirling around House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas); and the escalating acrimony over Democratic efforts to block some of Bush's most controversial judicial appointments through the filibuster.
Let's see ... three criticisms of the GOP and none of the Dems; oh, that's why Congressional approval ratings are down.

Brownstein then dutifully quotes Dems predicting that the judicial issue will help their party, without raising any questions about how awfully the Dem pundits have miscalled every issue over the last eight years or so. He also doesn't relate this issue to the recently much-publicized morality vote, whose constituents no doubt dislike the Dem's stand on this issue. Did they suddenly disappear? Oh, but why spoil a good story with two sides of an issue?

As for the GOP's assessment of its position, Brownstein just can't bring himself to saying anything nice. Of all the people he could interview, of all the quotes he could pull, he comes up with this:
Many strategists say that neither party can be certain who would suffer most if they can't reach a compromise on judicial nominations — especially if the reverberations from the struggle undermine progress on other issues. "It is problematic on both sides," said veteran GOP pollster Tony Fabrizio.
So the LAT tells its readers the Dems see benefit and the GOP sees problems on both sides. You cannot count on the LAT to cover politics, or moral issus, or fiscal issue, or social issues. It does a good job of printing movie times, though. But I can get those online.