Ed Driscoll

More Battlefield Prep

I’ve been swamped recently (for reasons which will hopefully be obvious later today or early tomorrow), but Ace has a great link and write-up to a post from Newbusters catching Good Morning America’s Chris Cuomo and media critic Howard Kurtz talking rather openly about bias and the role of a media that once claimed to be objective in shaping recent events. Ace writes:

From context I’m not sure if Kurtz is saying this is a good thing or merely noting an inescapable fact, but we now have two of the MSM admitting it was news coverage, and specifically how it was “shaped,” that turned the public against the war.

On Tuesday’s “Good Morning America,”co-host Chris Cuomo and media critic Howard Kurtz ignored the role that liberal bias has played in the decline of ratings for the network evening newscasts. At the same time, Cuomo and the “Washington Post” reporter seemed to be proud of the media’s ability to turn Americans against the war in Iraq. Kurtz, who has written a book on the subject, asserted, “I believe that these newscasts in 2005 and 2006 played the biggest single role in helping to turn public opinion against the war.”

Cuomo agreed and complimented the journalist’s analysis. He enthused, “It’s easy to say, ‘Oh, well. The war was unpopular. People were looking for the unpopularity of it. At some point, the networks gave that to them.’ But you have a more penetrating look at it. You take a look at it in terms of the role of the nightly newscasts in shaping the ideas about the news…”According to Kurtz, the top three network anchors kept “framing the story in such a way” that the bad news finally had an impact. And while the two reporters wondered about the effect the iPod and internet are having on network low ratings, at no time did they discuss liberal bias or salient facts such as that journalists backed John Kerry over George Bush by a two-to-one margin.

Meanwhile, as Maria Bartiromo reminded us last night, two thirds of Americans think the country is either about to enter a recession or is already in a recession, despite 22 quarters of consecutive growth, low unemployment, surging tax receipts, and record stock prices.

I wonder if Howie and Chris have any idea how the public got this very counter-factual idea stuck in their heads.

And don’t forget this moment as well; as Amity Shlaes reminded me recently in an interview regarding her exceptional book on the Depression, The Forgotten Man, floods can dramatically change political histories.

15 years ago, the battlefield in the cold civil war was prepped by the media’s turning a mild recession into The Worst Economy In 50 Years. So it certainly makes sense for them to prepare for next year by talking down the current economy as much as possible. Legacy media advertising revenues have cratered in certain quarters; I’m sure they think the rest of us should suffer as well. And if enough Americans believe and delay big purchases, sell stock, et al, and we actually do go into recession, so much the better. As we saw in 1992, the economy doesn’t need much of a dip before television in particular launches into dire warnings of impending Hoovervilles.