The liberal media are unethically distorting Michele Bachmann’s views, and are thereby strengthening her candidacy

Americans believe in fair play. That’s why we’re outraged when a ballplayer cheats. Mark McGuire and Sammy Sosa went from American heroes to pariahs overnight when we discovered that they were juicing. That may be why voters switched from Kerry to Bush when we learned that The New York Times had used a forged document on the eve of the 2004 election to “prove” that President Bush had pulled family stings to escape being drafted for Vietnam.

Unfair play may account for some of Sarah Palin’s popularity, as we see her being treated shabbily by the media. And now the media seem set on building up sympathy for Michele Bachmann by distortions of her words.

Ironically, the disdain many rightfully feel toward Bachmann leads them to heap undeserved scorn on her, on top of the scorn her candidacy deserves. And this is helping her, not only with her right-wing base but also with moderate people who believe she’s being treated unfairly.

So some of the  media are reporting that Bachmann blamed hurricane Irene on the big-government Democrats in—ugh—WASHINGTON, D.C. Here’s how it went at a widely covered campaign stop in Florida.

“WASHINGTON, D.C., you’d think by now they’d get the message. [Ticking off with her fingers] an earthquake! [nodding and turning toward another part of the crowd]…a hurricane [smiling as she’s bathed in crowd laughter—any speaker’s dream]…[Now she stops and grins, looks heavenward and waves her arms to more laughter] ARE YOU LISTENING? The American people have done everything they possibly can. Now it’s time for an act of God and they’re getting it.”

Some of the media reported that she was joking—The Chicago Sun-Times, CNN, and NBC-TV 4 in D.C. played fair But MSNBC’s Martin Bashir reported it as a serious position of Bachmann’s, as did ABC, The Nation, The New York Times The St. Petersburg Times, and Time. The New York Times and CBS websites posted only excerpts of a later speech, where the joke wasn’t done so well, and the viewer couldn’t be absolutely sure she was joking.

Not only is this distortion unethical, it’s positively counterproductive. It’s even got Ethics Bob defending Bachmann, and he hates hates hates to do that.

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2 Responses to “The liberal media are unethically distorting Michele Bachmann’s views, and are thereby strengthening her candidacy”

  1. DB Says:

    Oh GOD you’re pathetic.

    She was serious…unless of course, she thinks natural disasters that kill people are funny. So she’s either a religious nut who thinks God takes sides in politics and kills people for not voting the way He wants, or she’s so utterly depraved that she makes jokes about natural disasters.

    The media isn’t biased against Bachmann. She doesn’t get “treated badly” by anybody. The problem is that an unbiased analysis of her statements will almost always lead to the conclusion that she’s wrong. The media doesn’t prove they’re “unbiased” by being nice to everybody. They prove they’re unbiased by telling the truth. And if the truth is that Bachmann says foolish, offensive, divisive statements that appeal to ignorant reactionaries, then unbiased media coverage is going to make her look like a foolish, offensive, divisive reactionary. Get it? The complaints about how Bachmann is supposedly treated by the media remind me of complaints about how the media covered the 2008 Presidential campaign. People “kept score” and complained that the media was “biased in favor of Obama” because there was more negative coverage of the McCain campaign than of the Obama campaign. But McCain ran a very negative campaign! OF COURSE the coverage was going to make him look worse! In order for the media to make both campaigns appear just as positive, they would have to deliberately overlook much what McCain was doing and pretend it didn’t happen. THAT would be biased.

    You’ve started from a conclusion and then set out to prove that conclusion by selective representation of facts and biased statements (the most biased statement of all is your headline about “liberal media”). Your main goal here wasn’t to tell the truth, but to prove that the media is “liberal.” In short, you’ve actually violated ethical standards of journalism. You should be ashamed of yourself.

  2. Ethics Bob Says:

    First I suggest you reread the last sentence of my post.

    I watched the Bachmann videos again, and she was grinning, the crowd was laughing. I’m certain: she was joking. A bad joke, for sure. I don’t think deadly events are usually funny.

    Knock her for being a nut, knock her for saying stupid things, knock her for irresponsible claims, knock her for a bad joke, but don’t knock her for saying God supports her position and sent an earthquake. She was joking.

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