The Press Herd

Bob Somerby has been taking some heat for criticizing the way the press is covering the allegations of intentional deception by Bush. Somerby doesn’t have problems with critical stories per se, but rather that they bury or fail to present the presiden’ts side of the story (i.e., that he wasn’t talking about Niger and that the British stand by their intelligence). I agree: if a journalist is going to lead a story with allegations that the president lied, the president’s side should at least be told, and told up front. Imagine how different the world might be today had Gore received that courtesy.

This clearly is not liberal bias. If a journalist were out to get the president, it would be much more effective to state the president’s case and then dissect it. Instead, it’s just plain laziness. Once it gets started, the idea that Bush lied is simple to write, sells papers, and so everybody is writing it. And if a story or headline has to be slanted a bit to fit the story line, then so be it.

What brings the issue to mind now is this story in the NYT: In Ohio, Iraq Questions Shake Even Some of Bush’s Faithful. See? Even in conservative Ohio, full of the Bush “Faithful”, the faith of the faithful is being shaken! It makes a nice story, but it’s not true.

Clinton won Ohio in 1992 and 1996. Both of Ohio’s Senators are Republican, but moderate (Sen. Voinovich briefly opposed Bush’s tax cut before folding like a towel on laundry day). And in 2000, Bush did win Ohio, but it was close: 49.9 to 46.5 with Nader pulling in 2.5% of the vote and Buchanan .6%. Wake me up when Bush starts getting a hard time in Wyoming (67.8%), Texas (59.3%), Oklahoma (60.3%), or Montana (58.4%).


P.S. An intresting bit of information I picked up while checking out the numbers: Gore carried the District of Columbia 85% to 9%!

UPDATE: Eschaton contributor The Farmer puts the laziness and ineptitude of the press into historical context here.