Accuracy in Media

Recently Charles Gibson of World News had some things to say about the “news business” and its customers.  From the Media Research Center:

World News anchor Charles Gibson admitted on Tuesday [November 10], “I worry about the lack of objectivity and the future of the news business.” According to the Boston Herald, the ABC host spoke before the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce and said of Fox News and MSNBC: “I don’t like the fact that they’re delivering news based on the conviction of its viewers.” He also derided some viewers who “watch news that plays to their own prejudices.”

These are strong words coming from a guy who only has a job because of “prejudiced” viewers.

Gibson might be “worried” about “lack of objectivity” in the news, but that sure hasn’t stopped him in the past from editorializing on supposedly objective news.  Consider his coverage of Sarah Palin in comparison to his coverage of President Obama as one example.  From Common Ground Politics:

Even the camera angle was designed to be prejudiced against Palin. She is filmed from the side and slightly with her back to the camera. Although there are close ups of her face the long shot shows her back to the camera. It seems filming her with her back to the camera was meant to make her appear less likeable. In contrast, the film crew placed the long shot camera facing Obama so at all times when he is speaking the camera looks him in the face rather than looking at his back.

Gibson’s questions to Obama included such hard-hitters as “Is the hardest part of all this behind you or ahead of you?” and “What did you think of the Clinton speech?”  He really pried for answers when he asked, “Has the joyfulness of [the presidential nomination] hit home yet? Do you take joy from it?”

In contrast, check out the first few interactions between Palin and Gibson during their interview together:

GIBSON: Governor, let me start by asking you a question that I asked John McCain about you, and it is really the central question. Can you look the country in the eye and say “I have the experience and I have the ability to be not just vice president, but perhaps president of the United States of America?”

PALIN: I do, Charlie, and on January 20, when John McCain and I are sworn in, if we are so privileged to be elected to serve this country, will be ready. I’m ready.

GIBSON: And you didn’t say to yourself, “Am I experienced enough? Am I ready? Do I know enough about international affairs? Do I — will I feel comfortable enough on the national stage to do this?”

PALIN: I didn’t hesitate, no.

GIBSON: Didn’t that take some hubris?

Interesting.  For Obama, the toughest question Gibson can come up with is “are you happy about winning?”  For Palin, Gibson just has to ask if hubris drove her to accept the Republican vice presidential nomination. 

But Gibson’s bias has not only extended to Sarah Palin.  As the Media Research Center’s Newsbusters pointed out, when President Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize, Gibson raved about “the Nobel Committee feeling that he has inspired a new sense in the world”—and also mentioned how “humble” Obama was in his acceptance of the award.

However, in reality, perhaps the most “humble” thing President Obama could have done was turn the Peace Prize down, and allow it to go to someone who actually deserved it.  The Peace Prize doesn’t just come with prestige, after all; it also comes with over a million dollars in prize money.  Other nominees for the Nobel Peace Prize this year included an African gynecologist treating victims of sexual terrorism, and a woman who risks her life daily for the schools she created to educate girls and women in relatively misogynistic (and formerly Taliban-ruled) Afghanistan. 

Is it really “humble,” as Charles Gibson claimed, for the President of the United States to accept a prize—and the money and prestige that goes with that prize—when compared with other nominees?  I would love to see a serious argument that Obama has done more for individuals in the world than Dr. Denis Mukwege, who has treated over 21,000 victims of sexual violence and torture in Congo.   While President Obama has yet to tell the world where his $1.4 million in Peace Prize winnings will go—as recently as October 27th, people were still trying to get their hands on the money—I think it is safe to say that by now, Dr. Mukwege would have put that money to good use helping the thousands of women in central Africa who are sexually terrorized and tortured every day.  Perhaps it would have been more “humble” for President Obama to at least donate the money to Dr. Mukwege’s efforts.

A final example of Gibson’s bias (although there are countless more, to be sure) would be his complete avoidance of the ACORN story broken by Hannah Giles and James O’Keefe.  As the Media Research Center explained:

On September 15, 2009, five days after a massive story about ACORN and corruption broke, the anchor was interviewed on a Chicago radio station and asked about lack of coverage.

He laughingly dismissed, “I didn’t even know about it. Um. So, you’ve got me at a loss. I don’t know. Uh. Uh. But my goodness, if it’s got everything including sleaziness in it, we should talk about it this morning.”

Gibson is just another liberal whose bias extends to his reporting, despite any claims of objective journalism.  He ignores major stories, favors pet interviewees, demonizes those he disagrees with, and lovingly fawns over President Obama at the drop of a hat.  For a man who is so “worried” about the future of the news business, perhaps he should look at his own “lack of objectivity” first.


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