Yeah … and Fish Don’t Know They’re Wet, Either

Not long ago, Bill O’Reilly asked me if I thought it was possible for the so-called mainstream media to cover the presidential campaign fairly.  Note, he didn’t ask if I thought reporters would be fair; he asked if I thought it was possible that they could be fair.  When Bill asks a question that way, you know how he feels about the subject.

Sure it’s possible that the media could be fair – but only in the sense that absolutely anything theoretically is possible.  Is it likely they’ll be fair? Is it probable?  No.  But despite what a lot of conservatives think, that’s usually not because of any conspiracy.

I say “usually” because some journalists really are corrupt.  They really are  out to get people with whom they disagree.  A while back a Washington Post journalist set up something called “Journolist” – which was a collection of liberal journalists, academics and political operatives who got together via email and compared notes.  They made it sound harmless but when the notes were uncovered, there was some pretty nasty stuff  in there about conservatives.  Worst of all, the emails showed how these sanctimonious liberals conspired to keep the Rev. Jeremiah Wright story under wraps because in their infinite wisdom they decided it was not a legitimate story and besides, it might hurt their guy, Barack Obama.

But by and large, journalists don’t go into the office in the morning and call a secret meeting to figure out how they can bring down conservatives.  They don’t have to.  The problem is groupthink.  And that’s what I told Bill on The Factor that night.

Too many journalists, I said, share Barack Obama’s values and his liberal policies.  So they won’t see what he says or does on the campaign trail as left-wing, or even liberal.  They’ll see it as mainstream, as middle of the road, as moderate, and most important, as reasonable.

Everything to the right of center, of course, will be seen as conservative at best and dangerous, radical right wing at worst.

I know it sounds crazy, but liberal journalists (a lot of them anyway) don’t see themselves as liberal.  Trust me, I worked at CBS News for 28 years.  I know what I’m talking about.  If just about everybody in the newsroom thinks the way they do and shares the same political views as they do, then their views aren’t really liberal, are they?  Of course not.  They’re moderate … middle of the road … and yes, reasonable.

Right.  And fish don’t know they’re wet.  They don’t have any other frame of reference either.


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  • Cybergeezer

    (I’m late to the discussion, I see, but I couldn’t resist).
    It’s clear that today’s so called “journalists” have a clearing house for the terms used in a recent story about one of their enemies. They repeat the same term with the same accent on several different networks.
    They must really think “we” don’t notice.
    There’s more news in the op/ed columns than in the headline articles, since the headline articles have been sensationalized with vitriol and complete non sequiturs.
    Today articles don’t get passed the editors if they don’t bleed vitriol.
    Nothing but visceral logic.
    No critical thinking necessary.

  • Kathie Ampela

    Here are some interesting stats I pulled off the net:

    In 1964, 94% of media professionals voted for Democrat Lyndon Johnson over Republican Barry Goldwater.
    In 1968, 86% voted for Democrat Hubert Humphrey over Republican Richard Nixon.
    In 1972, 81% voted for Democrat George McGovern over the incumbent Nixon.
    In 1976, 81% voted for Democrat Jimmy Carter over Republican Gerald Ford.
    In 1980, twice as many cast their ballots for Carter rather than for Republican Ronald Reagan.
    In 1984, 58% supported Democrat Walter Mondale, whom Reagan defeated in the biggest landslide in presidential election history.
    In 1988, White House correspondents from various major newspapers, television networks, magazines, and news services supported Democrat Michael Dukakis over Republican George H.W. Bush by a ratio of 12-to-1.
    In 1992, those same correspondents supported Democrat Bill Clinton over the incumbent Bush by a ratio of 9 to 2.
    Among Washington bureau chiefs and congressional correspondents, the disparity was 89% vs. 7%, in Clinton’s favor.
    In a 2004 poll of campaign journalists, those based outside of Washington, DC supported Democrat John Kerry over Republican George W. Bush by a ratio of 3-to-1. Those based inside the Beltway favored Kerry by a 12-to-1 ratio.
    In a 2008 survey of 144 journalists nationwide, journalists were 8 times likelier to make campaign contributions to Democrats than to Republicans.
    A 2008 Investors Business Daily study put the campaign donation ratio at 11.5-to-1, in favor of Democrats. In terms of total dollars given, the ratio was 15-to-1.

    It’s a free country and anyone can vote as they choose, but use your eyes and common sense. I grew up around news junkies…I look back now and see how slanted the big 3’s were then. Nothing has changed, why would it?

    Read the entire article here: (Bernie, you are mentioned toward the end)

  • Iklwa

    I saw the episode when you quoted the line “fish don’t know he’s wet” and thought at the time how apropos!

    Since then, I have also come to the conclusion that in liberal’s minds the debate is really not about addressing the issues of our time with clear thinking. In their minds, the debate is about “good” and “evil”. To their way of thinking, the liberal approach to any subject is “good”. Any objections to that approach, no matter how well reasoned or effective immediately puts the objector into the “evil” camp. Therefore, that person or group must be eliminated or minimized so that “evil” opinion and possible outcome no longer appears in the arena of debate on any given subject.

    Since we have already established the liberal mind is “good”, it is easy for that frame of mind to rationalize the supposed “good” result is worth any cost to opponents’ reputation, livelihood or standing in the intellectual world. This is why you can see on any given day a liberal on TV making statements that are obviously, patently false, without so much as blinking an eye or blushing at the offending lie.

    I have also come to understand why liberals seem to have such an affinity for the Saudi Wahhabism sect of the faith of Mohammad. In that religion, it is perfectly acceptable to make non-binding contracts with your enemies (without their understanding the contract is non-binding), lie to your enemies or do any act, no matter how vile or destructive, in order to promote their ideology and agenda. All lying, cheating, killing and deceit are forgiven in the name of Allah and the promotion of Islam.

    In the same vein but with only slightly different context, the American Left is willing to do anything to promote their religion of socialist/communist/leftist dogma and is forgiven all sin when appropriate legislation comes to fruition.

    Sadly, fanatics can not be reasoned with. In World War 2 Japan was so fanatical an opponent, the only option for the United States was their utter destruction.

    Fanatical Liberalism in the United States can only be dealt with in one way…its utter destruction at the polling booth.

    Take comfort in the fact that all of those defeated liberals will have achieved martyrdom and will be feasting in socialist heaven next to those Saudi Wahhabis and their 72 virgins.

  • Drew Page

    As I see it, many ‘news’ journalists have forsaken journalism in favor of becoming entertainers and TV stars. Some are honest enough to identify themselves as providers of political opinion. Others, less honest, try to pass off their opinions as news, or fail to report news that would conflict with their opinions.

    Those who value career advancement must, of necessity, have a philosophy which compliments that of the TV network owner and/or newspaper/magazine owner/publisher.

  • Kathie Ampela

    The media have been unfairly covering presidential campaigns for at least 50 years, why ever would they stop now? In 1964, Walter Lippmann was the progressive God of the mainstream press, issuing marching orders for the journalistic lemmings of the press. (Journalism students learn about Lippmann to this day.) What reason would we have to believe that the media would ever change..they have been indoctrinated from the start. I agree with another post I saw in this forum..there’s no backroom “conspiracy ploting” in media outlets, they’re called editorial meetings and they’re out in the open. Take for example Diane Sawyer’s interview with Gabrielle Giffords. She and ABC News couldn’t resist the chance to smear the tea party and Sarah Palin without a shred of proof. Yet when an assassination attempt was made on President Obama during roughly the same news cycle, the story was buried because the suspect had attended an “Occupy DC” rally. (Obama was not home at the time) But this is nothing new. See here:

    THEY will NEVER change, so WE HAVE to.

  • Bill Hurdle

    I don’t know how we came to have such a biased media. I suspect that media has always been biased since it’s almost impossible to unconsciously supress your biases when evaluating and writing about a situation. I think it has become a matter of imbalance where the media is overwhelmingly (98%+) liberal. Consequently, the mechanism of self enforcement of impartiality for fear of being criticized by colleagues has been lost. It is crony journalism – where is the diversity which seems to be a conerstone of liberalism?

  • usinkorea

    I think you might ought to revise the “no conspiracy” theory. I began thinking that after the Journolist scandal.

    “But by and large, journalists don’t go into the office in the morning and call a secret meeting to figure out how they can bring down conservatives. They don’t have to. The problem is groupthink.”

    So, they don’t have to have secret meetings. They just call them daily editorial meetings. Standard media and organizational practice: Get the group of workers together and discuss what they are doing and what direction stories are (should) go.

    (And of course, since the group think is clear and pervasive, any conservative who happens to slip through the hiring process knows to keep his mouth shut if he values his career.)

    By hiring, retention, and promotion policies that create a lack of ideological diversity, the media has essentially made crack legal…

    If you legalize drugs, you won’t have people in dark allies coping. People will feel so comfortable with using and dealing, they’ll do it anywhere, out in the open, and not feel bad about it.

    By creating an environment in which the only acceptable ideas are liberal ones — a working/career environment where displaying conservative ideas you hold results in career paralysis or even dismissal over time — the media is making bias legal – natural – and it is a conspiracy.

    The conspiracy is in the hiring and promoting process. The tools that create the group think.

    Instead of secret meetings held behind the backs of their conservative colleagues where the liberals in the media discuss how to take hold of the “narrative” and direct it where they want it to go — they do it out in the open in the daily meetings.

    Does the fact they do not feel like they are conspiring mean it isn’t a conspiracy?

    By promoting only liberal voices in the employment process, the media makes conspiracy just normal routine…

  • Ron Kean

    It’s really a huge change when we switch from being leftist Democrats to being a Republican. It’s almost unimaginable before it happens. Most people who’ve gone through it say the same thing. They can’t believe the reaction from their friends who soon become former friends.

    I used to march in the late 60’s. I raised my voice. I argued in support of Jimmie Carter.

    I’m so ashamed.

  • cmacrider

    Bernie: I accept your point that mainstream journalists within their own cultural ethos do not see themselves as “liberal” or “left-wing” but rather as representative of the mainstream. However, there seems to be another dimension of the media which is not explained by simply saying “fish don’t know they are wet” This does not explain how the press can deliberately suppress a story which by any objective journalistic standards deserves broad publication. When the emails on global warming were published (now called climategate) the press barely mentioned their existence. It was only via the Internet that they became known to the public. Journalists could hardly claim that this was not newsworthy given the Global Warming Crowd is calling for trillions of dollars and a world wide redistribution of wealth. It dealt with one of the most vital issues of the day….. yet for some strange reason there was hardly a peep out of the mainstream media. That I suggest goes beyond the pale of them simply being caught up in their own subjective liberal sphere. It suggests they are willing to break the standard rules of journalistic ethics to support their own political agenda. It is for that reason that an increasing proportion of the thinking public have lost respect for the mainstream media.

    • Dave O’Connor

      Point for observation to you, cm.
      “This does not explain how the press can deliberately suppress a story which by any objective journalistic standards deserves broad publication.”
      Let’s face it, we are liviing in a propaganda state; status of reporters and journalists can be determined by how ell they toe the line.
      The issue is, as Mr. Goldberg suggests, that they are so conditioned to their “guild” that they have become amoral, or ‘ab-ethical’, a condition that parallels sociopathy.
      Goebbels, Bernais and company are in their Seventh Heaven. The public has surrendered their right to think.

  • RecknHavic

    I wonder if the Left-leaning bias (unintended or not)in the media carries over to hiring as well? Ive always found it hard to believe that 95% of the people that go into acting or news just coincidentally are liberals.

  • Ken Hansen

    I have a very short list of so-called ‘mainstream’ reporters I will go out of my way to hear/see what they say, but by and large I think most reporters are equal parts biased and lazy. They may not see their own biases (as Bernie frequently discusses here and elsewhere), but their lazyness is obvious. Reporters don’t add to a story they cover, they regurgitate what others wrote and add snarky inflections and/or eyebrow gymnastics to cue the viewer how they feel about a topic. A reporter that covers half a story (only covers one side) has only done half of their job, nd please that their bosses won’t give them the time to cover both sides is just an excuse. Trim out the gratuitous b-roll footage and discuss the othe side of the story!

    The porn star English teacher story in Massachussetts is amazing to watch unfold – the story has turned on the Fox affiliate and parents & community members are falling out of the woodwork to defend this ‘Gay Porn’ actor/teacher. The are saying things like “the films were from his past” then mention he made his last film over the summer of 2011 (a couple months ago!). The teacher lied on his background check, lied about it when confronted on camera, and the community is rallying around him as the victim – as if the Fox affiliate photoshopped him into the pictures. Maybe the parents that are up porting him and his acting career would like him to come to career day at the high school so he can talk about working in the gay porn sex trade to their sons & daughters as they make their career choices?

    Everything the Fox affiliate reported was 100% accurate, yet critics of Fox are trying to dismiss it by saying Fox makes things up. Maybe those parents could head over to their local gay porn shop (what, they don’t have one in their little community? Why not? It’s perfectly legal for consenting adults…) and check out a few of the films their ‘role model’ teacher/coach was in…

  • Ralph Hahn

    Well, Bernie…If we hear an anchor at MSNBC again say that he had chills up his trouser legs when Obama spoke, then we know, no, they won’t be fair. I’ve forgotten whether it was Matthews or Olbermann who spoke those words on a night after an Obama rally nearly four years ago. Six in one, or a half dozen of the other, let’s just say it was either Olberhews of Mattmann

    • Richard Hilger

      It was Matthews.

  • Sillypud

    Why did you put fairly in quotes?

  • Glen Stambaugh

    … and I didn’t know I was a “yankee” til I moved to Southeast Texas. Maybe we should lure them out of DC & NYC for some fresh air?

  • EddieD_Boston

    I remember watching Capital Gang right b/f mid-term elections (maybe ’02?, after Sen. Wellstone’s memorial) and everyone but Robert Novak gave predictions claiming the Dems would pick up X amount of seats. When Novak said he believed Repubs would gain X amount of seats they all literally laughed out loud at him.

    All but Novak had no clue as to the mood of the country. Not even close. Plus, they all ridiculed Novak for what had said.

    They need to get out more.

    • cmacrider

      EddieD_Boston You are quite right when you say they should get out more. However, when the do “get out” all they can see through their rather thick eyeglasses is a bunch of nuts “clinging to their guns & religion.” Their venture into the real world simply re-enforces their unjustified elitism. Quite frankly they have neither the intellectual rigour or the world experience to understand that a heavy duty mechanic who fixes trucks worth 250,000 dollars which are filled with state of the art technology must by definition be intelligent. All they can see is a guy in grease covered overalls …. so he must be their intellectual inferior.

      • EddieD_Boston

        You’re right. I’ve posted here in the past that in the old days they were reporters. Reporters were mostly children of the working class, whether a rural farmer or an urban blue-collar worker.

        Now they’re journalist and are mostly children of the well-to-do. From my personal experience these spoiled brats think they’re better than people like me. People like me know they had an overindulged/pampered childhood and were lucky, not better.

  • Sheryl

    You’re right, of course, that the ‘lamestream’ media will not cover the preseidential campaign ‘fairly’. Look at what’s already happened and the GOP doesn’t have a nominee yet. The complicity of the news media in Obama’s agenda to destroy the fabric of America is insidious which makes it all the more dangerous. It’s important that you continue to call them out for their blatant support of Barack Obama but I often wonder if you aren’t “preaching to the choir”.

    • Ralph Hahn

      I think, Sheryl, the election laws need a little tinkering with. The 8 or 9 GOP candidates have had to answer hundreds of questions posed by all biased and non-biased reporters and their “gotcha” questions, Obama has had a free ride. If there was ONE credible Democrat present to be an adversary of Obama’s during the debate season, then the same questions on issues would be presented to the incumbent president to answer. Of course, don’t expect the same Obama without his Tele-Promp-Ter providing the words. This way, Obama can have his on-air gaffes ridiculed by Republicans and Saturday Night Live as the GOP candidates are facing during their long debate process. Here’s the guy we elected President in 2008, gets paid and perks with the job and still he is not judged under the same scrutiny as his GOP challengers are. Or, if no other Democrat sacrificial lambs would verbally spar with Obama, the President could be on the stage as the lone candidate. By now, we know where Newt Gingrich stores his winter clothes, yet we know hardly anything about Obama’s foreign policy.