Saturday, September 13, 2008

What? Media Agenda? No? Really?

I will probably get really sick of the Presidential election before it’s finally over. Well, maybe. For some reason being able to rant about it on this blog has helped me stay interested. But I will tell you that like many others, I’m already heartily sick of the perfidy of the media. I’ve not trusted the media for some time, that lack of trust was why I started reading blogs in the first place. I wanted to know what was really happening in the war zone, so I looked for information from people who were really there. I know that a lot of blogs are just like mine, and reflect their writer’s opinions; not first-person facts. But we all know that. The problem with the established media is that they pass off their opinions as fact (or allow their opinion to skew their objectivity) without the intellectual honesty to disclose their agenda or biases.

Case in point. Governor Palin gave her first major media interview since being nominated as the Republican Vice Presidential candidate to ABC News and Charles Gibson. When the interview was aired, ABC had edited the tape so as to totally misrepresent something Governor Palin said; in such a way that it looked like Governor Palin believed the war in Iraq was “a task that is from God.” The full text of the interview, which is posted on the internet, shows that Mr. Gibson asked Governor Palin about something she’d said in an earlier speech, and Governor Palin objected to the quote, saying it was mischaracterized. As detailed in a FoxNews article, here’s that portion of the interview:

Gibson: “You said recently in your old church, ‘Our national leaders are sending U.S. soldiers on a task that is from God.’ Are we fighting a Holy War?”
Palin: “You know, I don’t know if that was my exact quote.”

(This objection to her quote was edited from the televised version of the interview, but is found in the transcript.)

Gibson: “It’s exact words”

But Gibson’s quote did not accurately relate what Governor Palin had really said. Her exact quote in the speech at her old church was:

“Pray for our military men and women who are striving to do what is right. Also for this country, that our leaders, our national leaders are sending them out on a task that is from God. That’s what we have to make sure that we’re praying for, that there is a plan and that that plan is God’s plan.”

ABC edited the quote so that the televised interview contained only part of the quote, but not the entire quote or the context in which it was made.

Of course the McCain/Palin campaign immediately protested ABC New’s mischaracterization. According to the campaign,

“Governor Palin’s full statement was VERY different” from the way Gibson characterized it,”

“Gibson cut the quote — where she was clearly asking for the church TO PRAY THAT IT IS a task from God, not asserting that it is a task from God.

“Palin’s statement is an incredibly humble statement, a statement that this campaign stands by 100 percent, and a sentiment that any religious American will share,”

Nevertheless, ABC News continues to assert their agenda. On Friday, they promoted the interview by posting a promo on Yahoo! News that contained a picture of Governor Palin next to the words, “Iraq war a ‘holy war?’” The promo clearly implied that Governor Palin thinks so. When in reality it was Mr. Gibson’s question, mischaracterizing a previous quote and something Governor Palin objected to, that was the only part of the interview that called the Iraq War a holy war.

Using creative editing and taking snippets of quotes out of context is not a new tactic for pressing opinions and agendas. It just seems more insidious than the overt attacks that we saw earlier this month, like the attacks on Governor Palin’s family and the questions about her ability to hold national office while having a family. They are also more subtle than the outright lies and photo shopped pictures that have abounded since her nomination. Those types of “National Inquirer” tactics are easily discounted and easily refuted. It’s when the agenda is advanced under the guise of fact that things get dangerous.


mightyix said...

Check out what the Atlantic did to John McCain

mightyix said...

Forgot the link.

David M said...

The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the - Web Reconnaissance for 09/16/2008 A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the check back often.