Skip to comments.Blow-Dried News and Manufactured Opinion
Posted on 06/18/2002 6:57:41 AM PDT by Stand Watch Listen
Although it was quickly downplayed as simple fatigue, President Bush's public dressing-down of NBC News White House correspondent David Gregory highlights the disgraceful way in which television network news correspondents often define "objectivity."
During a joint press conference with French President Jacques Chirac some weeks back, Gregory asked President Bush why "there are such strong sentiments in Europe against you and against this administration?"
He continued, " Why, particularly, there's a view that you and your administration are trying to impose America's will on the rest of the world, particularly when it comes to the Middle East and where the war on terrorism goes next?"
Not waiting for an answer from President Bush, Gregory then asked, in French, for Chirac to answer the same question.
Welcome to the "objective" journalism of network news, oft times illustrated by utterances like Gregory's, in which the words look less like a question and more like a statement.
It is no coincidence that network news correspondents routinely ask questions that reflect liberal dogma, but does it even matter to these people that we are in the middle of a war?
A few nights ago, Ted Koppel spent an hour on Nightline discussing the "rights" of accused nuclear terrorist Jose Padilla. To Koppel's credit, he could barely get through it, and kept using caveats about his own feelings that Padilla might not deserve the consideration the show was giving him. Nonetheless, the show goes on.
Helen Thomas, for instance, is not shy about standing up during White House press conferences and chastising the president. Katie Couric's loaded statement/questions can make David Gregory look like a mute. Bryant Gumbel cannot censor himself in any way, and has even cursed a guest he didn't agree with - on the air. Dan Rather has appeared at political fundraising dinners. Tim Russert has acted as advisor to politicians whom he might one day interview.
Yet, when the question of objectivity is raised, network correspondents act as if they should not have to even answer it. Why not? What about their coverage of events indicates that their objectivity not be questioned? As an example, re-examine the Gregory incident in France.
We don't know on what information David Gregory based his statement/question. Was it the fact that a few thousand people protested a visit from our president in a country of millions, or was it that he read such opinions in the local press - written by some of the people standing next to him at the press conference?
Perhaps Gregory asked the question because he wanted an answer to it. If so, it raises the issue of whether questions presumably asked on behalf of the viewing public have anything to do with public opinion at all.
Do Helen Thomas or Katie Couric ask the questions you would like answered? At least half our country doesn't think so, but the network correspondents don't seem concerned about that half of us.
Network news used to be about reporting facts. It is now about disputing them. We are told traitors who kill our soldiers on the field of battle are entitled to a full buffet of constitutional privileges; our allies who risk their lives in battle beside us really don't want to be there; terrorists who get caught trying to detonate a nuclear bomb on our shores have "rights."
And if President Bush doesn't appreciate being publicly moralized to by a blow-dried network news correspondent whose supposedly vast experience in foreign policy stems from his time as a newsreader for a local television station in Arizona, it's because our president must be stupid or tired, or both.
When confronted with the difference between reality and interpretation, many network news correspondents have the audacity to suggest that their titles infer more knowledge than the rest of us or that we don't "understand" things the way they do. This arrogance comes from spending time seeking the approval of peers, rather than doing the hard work of reporting truth.
One wonders whether David Gregory spent days, hours, or even minutes interviewing people on the street in Europe to find out what they really felt about our president, or if he simply regurgitated the opinion held by liberal-elite reporters like him.
It increasingly appears that too few network news correspondents spend any appreciable time learning the facts before they moralize to the world, instead believing that any time spent in front of a camera, even as a weatherman or entertainment reporter, qualifies them to opine on the most complicated issues of our time.
Years ago, when the Houston Oilers football team moved to Tennessee, the network news showed the fan "protest" outside the Astrodome. There was a woman in an Oilers jersey holding up a sign that said "Don't Go!"
She was alone - except for all the network camera crews filming her.
How David Gregory would have reported this "protest" would not depend on hard work, investigation, polling, sources, or even the footage of the poor woman standing by herself. It would depend on whether Gregory is an Oilers fan.
And that's the problem with network news.
These people should be prosecuted for just doing that, lest they are hypocrits. But that they already have proven, their consumptions of ideas verily rejecting opposit opinions and consumptions off hand.
In fact, the very fact that there is opposition is a healthy sign that a balance of jurisdictions is sanely maintained between the US and Europe. It would be horrifying if both where so united as to call each other sinless, even though it is in their best interests.
In other words, this Gregory is a two bit moron idealistic piece of crap who portrays himself leading within this ideal of a jurisdictionless happy world of orgiatric conivence.
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