Ed Driscoll

NYU Journalism Professor: 'We are the One Percent'

Interesting clip from James O’Keefe, built around some sort of recent panel discussion by Clay Shirky and Jay Rosen, both NYU media professors. Rosen once wrote quite perceptive pieces on the media in the mid-naughts, but was last seen here having Andrew Breitbart occupying a fair amount of the real estate in his cerebral cortex. Ace of Spades has a nice rundown on the clip, particularly on the portion that focuses on the New York Times’ early coverage of Obama:

Clay Shirky discusses the issue of bias in coverage, and how it’s done.

Regarding Obama in 2006 and 2007, he notes — at this point in time, at least — there really was no very credible reason to cover Obama seriously. He was a little-known very inexperienced freshman Senator. And black. The odds of him becoming President were less than 100:1.

And yet the Times realized (correctly) that he could be a viable candidate. But that itself is not supposed to be news; that is, the Times can’t “create the news” with a headline like:

Thirty Out of Thirty-Two New York Times Editors Agree: Obama Would Be A Good Democratic Candidate

Now that’s actually what they want to say. That is, in fact, the news: that a major influence-leading liberal news organization is impressed by a liberal politician (and so of course will be giving him favorable coverage in the future).

But they can’t say that, because supposedly they’re not liberal (wink) and because they are supposed to report the news made by others, not report the “news” of their own beliefs and opinions.

So what do they do? They begin covering stuff like Obama Girl, noting the cultural phenomenon of Barack Obama (which wasn’t really a phenomenon when they began treating it as such). Without expressly running a story with the headline, Reliably Left-Liberal News Organization Has Decided To Give Barack Obama Favorable Coverage Because They Like Him, that was in fact what was going on, as evidenced by their choice to elevate a little-known freshman Senator into Someone You The Reader Should Be Taking Seriously Because All These Smart People (Not Us!) Are Taking Him Seriously.

And of course, the first viral video clip on Obama was created by the Obama camp itself, responding to Hillary’s safe, lame “I’m starting a dialogue” first video in early 2007:

And once the snowball began rolling downhill, it became a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Also in the clip, Shirky and Rosen discuss the NYT’s happy, shiny coverage of Occupy Wall Street — up close and personal in more ways than one.