Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Bias? What Bias?

Graphs courtesy of Media Research Center

As a history teacher, I must strive for objectivity. However, I know it’s not possible for a thoughtful person to study history, politics, or economics and not develop biases. Best practice would be do disclose those biases to students because it’s inevitable that I’ll teach concepts I believe in with more enthusiasm than concepts I don’t believe in. It’s human nature. To detect this, students would need to understand the left/right political spectrum and the terminology used to describe it, so I sketched one out and taught it. Then I advised them point out my bias when they detect it. Those exercises train them to identify and to be aware of a presenter’s political perspective when any sort of information is promulgated.

As their own biases develop, students need to be conscious of them as well when they listen to information. Facts are facts, and when they learn things that contradict their tentative understanding of cause and effect, they have to be willing to do the work necessary to adjust it. Thoughtful, informed teachers and students inevitably develop a point of view on issues. Only a robot could play it completely down the middle every time.

The same would be true for a reporter. Some stories are just straight news and bias doesn’t come into play, but when a reporter researches background to find causes for example, it probably will. He or she will look for certain things and not others according to his/her understanding of cause and effect. An editor can mitigate that by suggesting alternative areas of inquiry to the reporter, but when the reporters and editors all share the same biases, that’s just not likely to happen, and that’s been the case for decades in our mainstream media.

Up to now, I’ve been pointing out unintentional bias, but evidence is increasing that Mainstream Media (MSM) bias is becoming more and more deliberate. By MSM, I mean the three major broadcast networks of ABC, NBC and CBS. I mean the big-city broadsheets like the New York Times, Washington Post and Los Angeles Times. I mean the weekly newsmagazines like Time and Newsweek, and I mean taxpayer funded media like PBS and NPR.

Although MSM influence is waning fast due to the rise of the internet, of talk radio and of cable news, it still predominates with much bigger audience share. The clearest example of MSM left-wing bias is their coverage of the last presidential campaign. Compare the merciless vetting of Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin with the almost complete lack of scrutiny into Senator Barack Obama. Obama had been impressing crowds with his oratorical skills - especially compared to the hum-drum speechifying of Republican rival Senator John McCain. But when McCain picked Palin as his VP nominee, she gave a speech that electrified the GOP base and many independents as well. Then she followed up with another hard-hitting speech at the GOP convention and the MSM went after her relentlessly. One poll indicates that 90% of Americans believe he MSM actively helped Obama get elected and 70% believe they’re promoting his presidency.

When he promised to lower ocean levels by reducing carbon emissions, the MSM cooperated by hyping alleged human causes of global warming. When Democrats pushed Obama’s Cap and Trade bill, CBS’s Scott Pelley compared global warming skeptics to Holocaust deniers. When a hacker exposed the bias, lies and hypocrisy of global warming scientists in Europe and the United States just prior to the big “climate change” summit in Copenhagen, again the MSM ignored the story.

When Obama made his speech before Congress on health care “reform,” he used erroneous examples of people who allegedly suffered at the hands of insurance companies, but the MSM declined to investigate. When he made a speech in New Hampshire claiming surgeons would rather make $30-50 thousand on a amputation than treat a patient to save his leg, that was a whopper. Medicare pays $700-1200. Did you see any scrutiny of that? Not unless you saw it online, or on AM Radio, or on Fox News.

Then there was ACORN, the “Association of Community Organizers for Reform Now,” for which President Obama worked on and off while an attorney in Chicago. ACORN officials were filmed during a sting operation in five cities across the country offering to help people avoid tax laws, start prostitution services, and smuggle in underaged illegal aliens to work in them - all with public tax money. The MSM ignored the story until Congress cut off ACORN’s funds.

As a columnist, I deal in opinions. Pushing a point of view and is part of my job. However, my turf is increasingly encroached upon by people purported to be reporters in the MSM. They brazenly amplify stories reinforcing their point of view and they play down or ignore stories that contradict it. Do they do so consciously and deliberately? Evidence is mounting that they do, and that is the most insidious form of propaganda.


Geoff Diehl, candidate for State Rep (MA) said...

This is why Barbara West (WFTV) was a true HERO ("...of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his/her brave deeds and noble qualities.") during the 2008 elections:

I, personally, think that the inability of our populace to recognize the clear bias, left or right, in the media is an indictment of our educational system. I remember being told to watch "3... 2... 1... Contact" by my elementary school teachers. I also think "Sesame Street" taught us to learn from television, in soundbites, and all this has led to a lazy electorate.

I applaud your continued effort, Tom, to reawaken our sense and sensibility as it applies to the media!

Anonymous said...

Yeah, what he said this morning. Sorry, it's just too cold here to think this morning.

Then my mind insisted on telling me that I'd figured out why Al Gore was pushing all the earth is warming stuff when the opposite appears to be true: by the time that you realize everyone in that camp lied to you about this, you'll be too cold to care or do anything about it and Al Gore will finally get to be the president....

I know, the weird things my mind comes up with first thing on a cold morning......

Bobbie in Colorado

Anonymous said...

I applaud you for saying what MUST be said about the media and - let's face it - a majority of the NEA members who form a liberal voting bloc. Let's TEACH the facts and how to think and form one's own opinion, right or left. Then perhaps we will have an informed electorate instead of people who are apparently hypnotized by an accomplished orator who persists in skewing the core values which made this country great. I remember the roars when Hitler spoke back in the 1930's and have to say that the resemblance is uncanny and frightening.

Anonymous said...

My opinions on bias are biased in favor of being biased. But that is only my opinion right or wrong.

Anonymous said...

Aaargh, more whining about media bias?

You act as if all newspapers should present each candidate as equals. To what extreme would you like this "fair" reporting done? Let's say that Paris Hilton runs for president one day against the second coming of Reagan - are the newspapers supposed to give equally "good" press to both? Although last election was not quite to that extreme (although it came close with Palin joining the ticket) it was quite obvious to most fair-minded reporters that the Obama ticket would be much better for our country. Palin's lack of knowledge and her continually sticking her foot in her mouth and giving moronic interviews was NOT the fault of the press, just reported by them.

Also, convenient that the network most obviously biased (Faux News) was left off your list off "mainstream" media.

Your surprised that 90% of people believe that the media helped elect Obama? I am too, I would think the number would be 100% - I mean OF COURSE the media helps inform people about the candidates, and OF COURSE this is going to hurt the weaker candidates.

Since the days of Ben Franklin the press and newspapers have been used to give opinions and argue points. What is it that you don't understand about this? You think that these private business should be forced to write about everything equally?

Your column comes off as bitter, babyish whining. If you were around in the 1800's you would probably be whining about the press being "biased" towards abolishing slavery.

As to the nut who is throwing out Hitler comparisons - is that the type of thing you want the "mainstream media" to pick up on and run with?

Tom McLaughlin said...

Most of the people in Fox's lineup certainly seem to have a conservative bias. With the exception of people like Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, and Michelle Malkin, they don't acknowledge it. "We report; you decide" is disingenuous. "Fair and balanced" is too. I'd like them better if the rest admitted it as well.

But then, neither do the MSM admit their leftist bias.

You say "Palin's lack of knowledge and her continually sticking her foot in her mouth and giving moronic interviews was NOT the fault of the press, just reported by them."

Oh, please.

There was no corresponding scrutiny of Obama's even greater lack of experience. He said he had "campaigned in 57 states." Did you ever hear about that? Not likely, because the MSM ignored it.

You say "I mean OF COURSE the media helps inform people about the candidates, and OF COURSE this is going to hurt the weaker candidates."

It's becoming obvious to the entire world that your hero wasn't ready to be president. Some of us knew that early on, but the MSM covered for him. They still do, but his inexperience, ineptness, and narcissism are too enormous to camouflage anymore. He and the rest of the Democrat majority in the Congress are toast. Already they're jumping the Hopenchange ship so they're not thrown overboard by the voters in November. Dorgan, Dodd . . . who will be next?

It's also obvious that you don't see it. Well, you will soon enough.

I guess can I understand why you're too wimpy to put your name on your posts.

Jim said...

Here are a couple more Obama doozies that the MSM ignored...

2/24/9 Obama promises to save the United Auto Workers Union saying, "the nation that invented the automobile cannot walk away from it."
Karl Benz of Germany invented the automobile in roughly 1885.

Another blunder from Obama...

Obama: "It was also interesting to see that political interaction in Europe is not that different from the United States Senate. There’s a lot of — I don’t know what the term is in Austrian — wheeling and dealing — and, you know, people are pursuing their interests, and everybody has their own particular issues and their own particular politics."

Austrians speak German and Italian primarily, as well as French, however, none of them speak Austrian, because it doesn’t exist.

Stephen Casper said...

Jim, since you seem obsessed with meaningless nitpicking, let me add some more...The first American automobile was invented in Hinsdale, New Hampshire, USA, by George A. Long. This 1875 vehicle is only attested by local newspaper accounts and his, testimony. However, Long was awarded U.S.P.O. patent number: 281,091 on May 10, 1883 (pre-dating Benz) for his second automobile. Long's second and patented version, is residing in the Smithsonian's collection as not only the oldest automobile (Steam Road Vehicle), but the oldest, self-propelled vehicle of any type.

Also, Austrian German, or Austrian Standard German, is the national standard variety of the German language spoken in Austria and in South Tyrol (Italy). The standardized form of Austrian German for official texts and schools is defined by the Austrian dictionary (Österreichisches Wörterbuch), published under the authority of the ministry of education, art and culture. THere certainly could be an "Austrian term" for things that are different than German.

So these are the types of things that you guys are whining about the "mainstream media" ignoring. Thank goodness they are not wasting our time with such trite garbage!

Harry said...

..And Tom, you even outdid Jim's innane nitpicking! Your big complaint is that the media did not spend enough time making fun of an Obama slip-of-the-tongue??!!?? Are you for real?!?

"it's becoming obvious to the entire world that your hero...."

Gag me! What a great example of a hack writer spewing out the party mantra!

Obama is not me hero, but he is doing a pretty good job cleaning up the almost impossible mess that Bush left us with - and thank god the American people are not as dopey as you as to vote in a ticket with Palin on it - now THAT would have been a true disater for our country, one from which we may have NEVER recovered.

Harry said...

..And Tom, you even outdid Jim's innane nitpicking! Your big complaint is that the media did not spend enough time making fun of an Obama slip-of-the-tongue??!!?? Are you for real?!?

"it's becoming obvious to the entire world that your hero...."

Gag me! What a great example of a hack writer spewing out the party mantra!

Obama is not me hero, but he is doing a pretty good job cleaning up the almost impossible mess that Bush left us with - and thank god the American people are not as dopey as you as to vote in a ticket with Palin on it - now THAT would have been a true disater for our country, one from which we may have NEVER recovered.

Unknown said...

@Stephen Casper:

According to the Library of Congress you are wrong on both accounts concerning the automobile.

The LOC states that Karl Benz invented the first true automobile. A gasoline automobile powered by an internal combustion engine: three wheeled, Four cycle, engine and chassis form a single unit.

As for the first self propelled vehicle you're also wrong. The LOC credits Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot of France with that in 1769.

English is spoken in both America and Great Britain. Both countries have their own varieties and dictionaries. However, if Obama said, "I don’t know what the term is in American" he would be wrong.

Also, Obama didn't say "Austrian Term" he said, "I don’t know what the term is in Austrian."

A man of Obama's often stated intelligence would be more than smart enough to know the difference. I hope you are too Stephen.

Anonymous said...

Jim, can't you see what nitpicking you are doing? This is the type of stuff you want our media to waste their time with?!? I don't wnat to waste my time arguing the date of patents and Austrian terms - I sure don't want to see my newspaper litered with such rubbish.

Jim said...

@ anonymous

I'm not sure if you're new the Tom's Blog message board, but if you are almost all of the posts on here would qualify as nitpicking.

If you cant pick nits in the comments section of a web log then where can you?

Anonymous said...

Your right, Jim, you got me there - this certainly is Nitpicking Central!

But really, complaining that our "mainstream media" doesn't also involve itself in nitpicking? Let us have our nitpicking fun and leave the real media to real news.

Jim said...

@ anonymous:

If only the nitpicking was left to just us in the comments section...

When Sarah Palin released her book a few months ago the Associated Press (the "real media") assigned 11 reporters to essentially nitpick her book for errors. The reason why this is relevant is because the AP gave no such treatment to Obama when he released either of his two books.

Given this example, and others, I think Tom makes a valid point about the difference in the way the media treats Palin and Obama.

Stephen Casper said...

If you examine what really happened without buying into the twisted spin put on it by the Radical Right Media (RRM) you will find that one AP reporter has the byline for the factchecking done on Palin's book...out of the AP's 4100 other writers, ten of them had specific expertise or knowedge about subjects that Palin wrote about and offered assistance. Having these people help out in factchecking a compulsive, repetitive, demonstrable liar seems sensible to me.

- She has lied about the Bridge To Nowhere. She ran for office favoring it, wore a sweatshirt defending it, and only gave it up when the federal congress, Senator McCain in particular, went ballistic. She kept the money anyway and favors funding Don Young's Way, at twice the cost of the original bridge.

- She has lied about her firing of the town librarian and police chief of Wasilla, Alaska.

- She has lied about pressure on Alaska's public safety commissioner to fire her ex-brother-in-law.

- She has lied about her previous statements on climate change.

- She has lied about Alaska's contribution to America's oil and gas production.

- She has lied about when she asked her daughters for their permission for her to run for vice-president.

- She has lied about the actual progress in constructing a natural gas pipeline from Alaska.

- She has lied about Obama's position on habeas corpus.

- She has lied about her alleged tolerance of homosexuality.

- She has lied about the use or non-use of a TelePrompter at the St Paul convention.

- She has lied about her alleged pay-cut as mayor of Wasilla.

- She has lied about what Alaska's state scientists concluded about the health of the polar bear population in Alaska.

You cannot trust a word she says. On anything.

Jim said...

@ Stephen Casper:

Did you mean to credit Andrew Sullivan in your post or were you just going to cut and paste his article and pretend his work was actually your own?

For those of you who would like to read Stephen's post in it's original context go to Andrew Sullivan's webpage at the Atlantic here:

The fact remains that 11 MSM Associated Press reporters nitpicked Sarah Palin's book and DID NOT do the same for Obama's two books. As Tom points out in this weeks column, "evidence is increasing that (MSM) bias is becoming more and more deliberate."

Anonymous said...

Of course their reporting is "deliberate". Each case is judged by it's merit and researched and reported accordingly. Are you also upset that some socialites do not receive as much press as Paris Hilton? You really want our media be required to have some sort of regulations deciding if they are reporting everybody equally. I don't get your whining at all.

Jim said...

@ anonymous

You're confusing 'reporting' and 'bias'. I'll attempt to clear things up for you.

Palin and Obama were both on Presidential tickets a little over a year ago. Both have released autobiographies/memoirs. Palin's was nitpicked by the AP, Obama's was not not.

A reasonable person could conclude that AP is biased by only nitpicking Palin's book and not Obama's. Since the topic of Tom's column is media bias this is a relevant point for this comments section.

I hope this clears things up.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure somebody at the AP was assigned to go over Obama's book as well, but there being way fewer twists and outright lies in his book it did not require the help of ten others offering to help. It's pretty simple...hope this clears things up.

Jim said...

"The organization [AP] did not review for accuracy recent books by the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, then-Sen. Joe Biden, either book by Barack Obama released before he was president or autobiographies by Bill or Hillary Clinton." -Robert Shaffer

Original Context:

Anonymous said...

And did they not check for good reason? Were there any lies in his book? It is smart to act on a case by case! I'm sure if OJ writes a book the AP will be all over it. A Dalai Lama book my get no factcheckers. It really is simple.

Peter said...

I spent some time investigating this "bias" claim and it appears there WAS a bit of bias last election - the "powerful right-wing media" tended to be biased in favor of McCain! Here are some excerpts from FAIR (Fairness in Accuracy and Reporting - a non-partison organization)

The Myth of Pro-Obama Media Bias
Little evidence for self-proclaimed ‘lovefest’

By John K. Wilson

If there has been one unquestioned assumption of the 2008 election, it is that the media love Barack Obama. Unsurprisingly, the public has come to believe these repeated declarations of media bias. … polls reveal the power of the right-wing media in America. The myth of the pro-Obama media is the same as the myth of the liberal press, and it has been created by a standard strategy: Right-wing pundits declare repeatedly and vociferously that the media are biased in favor of liberals

As with most myths, one part of the “Obama lovefest” story is true: There has been substantially more coverage of Obama than any other candidate. Numerous stories claiming proof of a pro-Obama media bias focused on studies of the network news broadcasts by the Tyndall Report (7/25/08), a news-monitoring service whose numbers reveal that in the first half of 2008, McCain received 52 percent as much network coverage as Obama (203 minutes vs. 389 minutes).

The amount of coverage for both candidates is unprecedented, but the advantage held by Obama in overall coverage is nothing unusual, as shown by figures compiled by the Tyndall Report (7/25/08). Measuring the first six months of each election year, Democratic challenger Michael Dukakis got only 32 percent of the coverage garnered by then-Vice President George H.W. Bush in 1988; incumbent Bill Clinton got only 28 percent of the coverage Republican challenger Bob Dole got in 1996. Incumbent George W. Bush got 85 percent as much coverage as Democratic Sen. John Kerry in 2004—the closest thing to parity in early campaign coverage since Tyndall has been keeping track.

The coverage gap might also reflect greater public interest in Obama. In an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll (7/18–23/08) asking “who are you focusing on?” 51 percent of respondents said Obama; only 27 percent said McCain. As conservative CNN Headline News host Glenn Beck wrote (, 7/24/08), “‘The Media’ aren’t around for their health, they’re around to make money, and if Obama drives sales or ratings, then I can’t really blame them for continuing to tap that well until it runs dry.” Obama is on the cover of magazines because his face sells a lot more magazines than McCain’s picture. That’s a pro-profit bias, not a liberal bias.

Another study sometimes cited by media to prove pro-Obama bias (Project for Excellence in Journalism and Shorenstein Center, 10/29/07) found that in the first five months of 2007, Obama received 47 percent “positive” coverage and 16 percent “negative,” better than any other candidate. McCain, by contrast, had 12 percent “positive” coverage and 48 percent “negative.”

But such positive/negative studies are a flawed measure of media bias. Not only do they rely on researchers’ interpretations of what is positive and negative, they implicitly assume that reality is neutral, and that fair coverage will produce comparable numbers of “good news” and “bad news” stories.


Peter said...

(PART 2)

What’s more, Obama’s negative coverage extends far beyond the network news that Tyndall analyzes. There is simply no left-wing equivalent to Rush Limbaugh’s three-hour assaults on Barack Obama every weekday. The few liberal outlets where McCain is critiqued systematically, such as Air America or MSNBC’s Countdown With Keith Olbermann, are vastly outnumbered in airtime and audience by Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Michael Savage, Glenn Beck, Laura Ingraham, Bill O’Reilly and many other right-wing talkshow hosts who use their platforms to launch regular attacks against Obama.

Much like the earlier media tropes about Al Gore (lied about inventing the Internet) or John Kerry (coward and traitor), it scarcely mattered whether the accusation of inexperience was true; the media has made it conventional wisdom by force of repetition. Journalists could just as easily have pointed out that Obama has more years of experience as an elected public official than Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, Rudy Giuliani, Fred Thompson or Mitt Romney, or that he has more foreign policy experience than four out of the last five presidents had when they were elected. Curiously, those aren’t popular arguments in the “pro-Obama” media.

In fact, a closer look at Obama’s supposed coverage advantage reveals a consistent media double standard on scrutiny of the candidates. Obama’s apparently innocuous connection to corrupt fundraiser Tony Rezko received extensive attention, while McCain’s lead role in the Keating Five savings and loan scandal is treated as old news and generally ignored by the press. The coverage of Obama’s former pastor Rev. Jeremiah Wright went on endlessly, while McCain’s embrace of controversial right-wing preacher John Hagee received far less media attention (Extra! Update, 4/08). Obama’s distant acquaintance with Bill Ayers (whose role in the 1960s’ Weather Underground Obama has condemned) became the basis of absurd accusations of “terrorist” connections, while the press ignored McCain’s trumpeting the endorsement of Oliver North, whose Iranian-financed Contra war killed far more innocents than ’60s radicals ever did.

The media denounced Obama’s “flip-flop” on public campaign financing almost in unison, while paying much less attention to McCain’s reneging on his legally binding promise to accept public financing for his primary campaign (FAIR Media Advisory, 7/3/08; Extra! Update, 8/08).

As noted by FAIR’s Peter Hart in Extra! (5–6/08) and Eric Alterman and George Zornick in the Nation (7/7/08), it is difficult to find even one subject where the press has truly held McCain’s feet to the fire while giving Obama a break from scrutiny. If corporate media are in love with Obama, they sure are picking a funny way of showing it.

Anonymous said...

...and that FAIR piece did not even mention the horrifically biased bit of business that the "liberal" media pulled to help McCain

Anthony Wade - Writer

July 23, 2008

From the files of, “you got to be kidding me” yet another cover-up is underway in the corporate media. For decades we have heard the myth of the liberal media bias and how poor little republicans have such a disadvantage because of it. Ignoring the right-wing dominated talk radio cabal and the Fox Fake News Network; the wingnuts on the right continue to try and perpetuate this nonsense and foist it on the American people. Despite the obvious slant the Bush Administration has received about everything from terror to torture. You point to the fact that MSNBC recently had primetime anchors such as Joe Scarborough, former GOP Congressman and Tucker Carlson, noted GOP hack and they flail desperately and point to people like Katie Couric. Well yesterday the Katie Couric façade collapsed as well.

The story is simple. Couric did an interview with John McCain which was taped for later broadcast. Within the questions, McCain answered a question about the surge incorrectly. Grossly incorrect I might add. As everyone knows, foreign policy is the only plank of the McCain campaign. He has no other strengths. Without being a so called expert on foreign affairs and convincing everyone that what happens in Iraq is more important than what happens in this country, John McCain has no chance come November. This is where the story gets Orwellian. Someone at CBS decided to edit the interview before broadcasting it and REPLACED the wrong answer with a standard McCain blurb. To cover their tracks, they inserted a still picture at the moment of editing, so no one would be the wiser.

Did you get that America? A major news network, responsible for reporting the truth to the American people, purposefully altered the truth to protect a presidential candidate during an election year. They spliced together other answers and purposefully inserted them to cover for McCain. When called on their horrific breach of trust, CBS simply said: “mistakes happen.” Are you kidding me??? Mistakes happen? This was no mistake. A mistake is when you accidentally do something not when you select the only incorrect answer from an entire interview and splice in three other portions over the incorrect answer to cover it up, including inserting a still picture so that viewing public would not notice.

With each passing day John McCain gets more and more free passes from the corporate media.


Jim said...

Here is some more research for your investigation Peter...

From The Washington Post:

Study: Coverage of McCain Much More Negative Than That of Obama

Media coverage of John McCain has been heavily unfavorable since the political conventions, more than three times as negative as the portrayal of Barack Obama, a new study says.

Fifty-seven percent of the print and broadcast stories about the Republican nominee were decidedly negative, the Project for Excellence in Journalism says in a report out today, while 14 percent were positive.

The rest of the article here:

Peter said...

Cripes, Jim, you didn't even read my post did you? You've decided your position and any facts to the contrary will be ignored? Anyway, the piece I posted got into this in more depth, but one paragraph was this:

"But such positive/negative studies are a flawed measure of media bias. Not only do they rely on researchers’ interpretations of what is positive and negative, they implicitly assume that reality is neutral, and that fair coverage will produce comparable numbers of “good news” and “bad news” stories."

Once again, OF COURSE a candidate that most see as not good will get more "negative" press. Why is that so hard to understand? Are you saying you think newspapers should be regulated to give "equal" coverage to everybody??!!??

And why just pick one part of the media that you don't like and whine about "unfairness"? Why aren't you spending equal time bitching about the "unfairness" of Fox, Rush, etc?

And no response to the edited McCain interview? I imagaine would have PLENTY to say about it if it were done to Obama instead?

Anonymous said...

"There was no corresponding scrutiny of Obama's even greater lack of experience. He said he had "campaigned in 57 states." Did you ever hear about that? Not likely, because the MSM ignored it."

That's it???? That's all you got??? Oh brother, you need help. BTW, I heard about this and everything else you claim was "ignored" by the mainstream media. Stop whining and being such a sore loser. Go to a tea party and get tea-bagged. That'll cheer ya up.

Alex said...

Thank you, Dawn. I agreed with the author (for the most part) regarding the extents that political correctness have been driven to. I see now that the monster of "PC" is rightfully a monster, as the very meaning of the word has been changed. I guess I should say that I am instead in favor of thinking before one speaks, and considering the effects that what you say will not offend, but harm other people. Offending people is fine, that's what our Founding Fathers wanted for our country. Hurting people is different. One may say "sticks and stones..." all that they want, but it's a fact that children can be deeply affected by careless words thrown at them. For example, there is no need for a young Indian-American boy to be called a "towel head". That's just rude.

I am not implying that anyone here has done this.

One thing that did worry me about the article was the comments section. Since when have our teachers been "indoctrinating" us with a liberal agenda? I know that I am deeply blessed to go to Fryeburg Academy, but are other schools that drastically different??? I have teachers of multiple faiths and political views. Never have I been instructed in class to adopt any of them. It has been more common for the teachers to display their beliefs and critique them; teaching us to keep open-minds and be skeptical of everything. Mr. McLaughlin certainly didn't have a "liberal agenda" when I had him. :P

Alex said...

Sorry, wrong discussion. That was meant for the blog posting prior to this one: "too late".

Sam said...

McLaughlin must think that any teacher who doesn't share his frothing, seething hatred and disdain for Moslems, gays, and Democrats is "indoctrinating" their students with a "liberal agenda".

DAWN said...

We just had a perfect example of media bias over the weekend with Senator Harry Reid (D) who made a not so PC remark about the color of Obama's skin and the fact that he doesn't speak negro.

Now if Reid had an (R) after his name instead of a (D) what do you suppose the media would have been asking to happen? Can you imagine the outrage?

I haven't heard anything about the other "R" word...resign. Have you?

Also it's ok to say "no negro dialect" now? Or is that only if you have a (D) after your name?

Anonymous said...

Here is what conservative pundit Ramesh Ponnuru had to say about the Harry Reid contoversy:

"Republicans and conservatives are comparing Harry Reid's comment about "Negro dialect" to Trent Lott's remark about how we would have avoided a lot of problems if Strom Thurmond had been elected. Just as Republicans turned on Lott and forced him to give up the Senate majority leadership, they say, so Democrats should turn on Reid and make him resign his post.
But the comparison is off the mark. Lott's comment implied that the country would have been better off keeping segregation and enforced white supremacy. What Reid said isn't within a lightyear of that."

Tom McLaughlin said...

Why don't you summon the courage to use your name? I feel strange responding to a secret person. Several readers have suggested deleting comments from anonymous contributors and I'm considering it.

Meanwhile, It may surprise you to know I agree with Ponnuru. Reid's statement is innocuous. When did the word "negro" become a pejorative? Is the United Negro College Fund a racist organization? How about "colored people" a term contemporaneous with negro? Is the NAACP suspect too? (Well it is for being in the pocket of the Democrat Party but not for using that term.)

I'm no fan of Harry Reid, but this is not the way to attack him, and media bias isn't in play here in any way I can see.

Anonymous said...

Why set up your blog in such a way as to allow anonymous contributions and then whine about it?

Did you know Ben Franklin had a longstanding tradition of writing for papers under "anonymous" false names....funny names that he made up? Was he a coward for doing so?

Ben Franklin said...


Tom McLaughlin said...

I didn't set it up this way. Google did. I just chose a template to use. I can delete individual comments, but I'm not sure if I can set it up so as to prevent people from posting anonymously, and I'm not sure I want to enough.

The trouble is, I don't know which Anonymous I'm reading or writing to. It would be easier if you adopted a pseudonym and used it consistently. Then I could at least get to know you. As it is now, you're just part of an amporphous mass of anonymous harpies.

The only clue I get about which anonymous you are is that you use "whining" a lot.

Was Benjamin Franklin cowardly for doing so? Maybe. Depends what he wrote. Taking pot shots anonymously as you do is wimpy. That makes you a wimp.

DAWN said...

"Meanwhile, It may surprise you to know I agree with Ponnuru. Reid's statement is innocuous."

And I agree with this. I didn't think what Reid said was that bad at all. I could see myself saying the same thing. I'm just saying that had he been a Republican the media would have been much nastier.

I mean look at what they did to Dan Quayle over how he spelled potato.

DAWN said...

I think the Anons could at least use numbers to help us out like Anonymous 1, Anonymous 303 or Anonymous 500 etc.

Anonymous said...

Oh, come on Dawn...are you saying that a Vice-Presidential candidate, who many already perceived as not being the sharpest tool in the shed, gets outspelled by a third-grader, that the press would not jump all over it regardless of party affiliation!!??!!

Gimme a break - that incident is STILL a famous political moment, comparing it to the innocuous statement by Reid is way off base.

Tax cheat Timmy. said...

"A few years ago, this guy [Obama] would have been getting us coffee."

--Bill Clinton from the book Game Change

No doubt Bubba will get a complete pass on this from the MSM

Anonymous said...

Wow, Timmy, talk about grasping at straws! If the Reid comment was innocuous then there is no word for how unnewsworthy this Bubba comment was. Yes, Obama rose so incredibly fast in the political world that, yes, it does seem that he could have been getting the coffee only a few years before his campaign for president.

DAWN said...

"Oh, come on Dawn...are you saying that a Vice-Presidential candidate, who many already perceived as not being the sharpest tool in the shed, gets outspelled by a third-grader, that the press would not jump all over it regardless of party affiliation!!??!!"

oh puh-leeze! How much did we hear from the hysterical left-wing media about Quayle's misspelling of the word potato compared to Obama's mention that the U.S. has 57 states? There's a media comparison for you.

Sooooo if Quayle wasn't the sharpest tool in the toolbox, just because he put an "e" at the end of potato, (honest mistake) what does that make Obama who thinks we have seven more states that the rest of us don't know about? Hmmmmm?

Anonymous said...

Wow really believe that Obama thought there were 57 States? Of course not, nobody does. That is why it got the coverage that it did (despite the Radical Right-Wing Media attempt to blow it up), that of a slip of the tongue by an exhausted campaigner. On the other hand it was quite obvious that Quayle really did think potato had an "e" at the end, going as far as to "correct" the third=grader who had spelled the word correctly.

DAWN said...

"Wow really believe that Obama thought there were 57 States? Of course not, nobody does. That is why it got the coverage that it did (despite the Radical Right-Wing Media attempt to blow it up), that of a slip of the tongue by an exhausted campaigner."

There ya go! Case in point! Bias! You just proved Mr. M. right after all! Congratulations!

Anonymous said...

Ok, claim to believe that he really thought there were 57 States just so you can make a political point. Have you no sense of personal integrity at all?

Jim said...

Ha! An Anonymous poster lecturing Dawn on personal integrity...How noble of you.

Anonymous said...

Tom certainly got lectured about integrity and bias last week in the Daily Sun by a wise eldery woman!!! After getting his jerkness pointed out like that in the paper has got to be humiliating. I love that he get's his chance to spout his nasty views in the paper because they always result in such great comebacks!!!!

Go Scott Go! said...

Hello Tom and fellow Comments section posters and lurkers. I wanted to share some great news with all of you today...

In honor of Obama's first year in Office I gave him a present today. A vote for Scott Brown!

DAWN said...

"Tom certainly got lectured about integrity and bias last week"

Like I said before there's a mad dash to attack the truth. Everyone speaking truth will be mocked. Even Jesus got hung on a cross and John the Baptist's head was served up on a platter.

Besides all that...who doesn't have bias? You?

Anonymous said...

A mad dash to attack the truth? Are you referring to the attacks on evolution and climate change?

Did you even read the great letter the lady wrote in the Sun?

Are you avoiding the other thread and your discredited attacks on the truth about dinosaurs, scientists, and evolution?

DAWN said...

To the last to all of your questions.

I don't ignore anything I'm passionate about. There comes a time when enough is enough.

But I'll go back and see what I've been "discredited" about.