Media Bias Year-in-Review: The Most Partisan Potshots of Campaign 2012
As 2012 winds down, it's time to look back at some of the year's most egregious media bias, as documented by the Media Research Center's "Best Notable Quotables of 2012."
Much of what made this year unique was how the so-called "mainstream media" linked arms with the Obama campaign to denigrate and demonize conservatives and Republicans, even those as mild and moderate as GOP nominee Mitt Romney.
When Team Obama decided to taint the GOP as perpetrating a "war on women," journalists leaped onto the bandwagon. Winning our "Sandra Fluke Award," for promoting Obama's phony war on women, was Joy Behar, a Current TV host and longtime co-host of ABC's The View. Behar told the Boston Herald in August that "this country is going downhill because of people like [Missouri GOP Senate candidate Todd] Akin and Ryan and Romney. They’re trying to kill us and destroy us.”
Close behind Behar in zealously promoting the false smear of conservatives: longtime Washington reporter Roger Simon, now a columnist for Politico, who on the syndicated Inside Washington chat show last March demanded to know “why do the Republicans want to get government out of our lives, but into our wombs?” Robert Gibbs couldn't have said it any better.
NBC anchor Brian Williams hit the exact same theme with GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan during an interview at the Tampa convention. "Are you prepared to leave this gathering and own the fact that the platform of this party allows a woman who has been raped no exception but to carry that child to term?" Williams chided. "In a business where you and your opponent are trying to attract, especially, suburban women, does it send the right message?”
Reporters also gleefully flung the race card at the GOP ticket. Yahoo! News Washington bureau chief David Chalian was heard on an open microphone during a live ABCNews.com Webcast making derisive comments over pictures of Mitt and Ann Romney: “They are happy to have a party with black people drowning.” Chalian wound up losing his job over that crack, but "won" our "Ku Klux Con Job Award," for smearing conservatives with phony racism charges.
Among the runners-up for that ignominious prize: MSNBC daytime anchor Thomas Roberts, who last December hyped a nonsensical story from a liberal blog equating clichéd campaign rhetoric with vicious racism: "What Mitt Romney has in common with the KKK. Details on a rare Romney campaign blunder ahead….You might not hear Mitt Romney say ‘keep America American’ anymore. That’s because it was a central theme of the KKK in the 1920s. It was a rallying cry for the group’s campaign of violence and intimidation against blacks, gays and Jews. The progressive blog Americablog was the first to catch onto that.”
That smear was even too obnoxious for MSNBC bosses, who directed Chris Matthews deliver an on-air apology later that day. The next morning, Roberts also apologized, admitting in an on-air statement that the item was “irresponsible and incendiary” and “showed an appalling lack of judgment.”
But MSNBC apparently had no such problem with analyst Jonathan Alter, a longtime senior editor for Newsweek, when he sneered in early August that "people will die" if Mitt Romney wins the White House, a quote which earned Alter the top prize in our "Throwing Granny Off a Cliff Award" for portraying Romney and Ryan as heartless. On MSNBC's The Ed Show, Alter advised both the Obama campaign and the press to attack Romney by focusing on "the consequences of repeal of ObamaCare. And the consequences... are death. Repeal equals death....That is not an exaggeration....If [Mitt Romney is] elected President, a lot of people will die.”
Romney's running-mate, Paul Ryan, was targeted in the same way immediately after he was picked for the GOP ticket. Onetime Boston Globe Magazine writer Charles Pierce, now with Esquire, was a runner-up in this category for a Web posting published just a couple of hours after Ryan's name leaked out: "In his decision to make Paul Ryan, the zombie-eyed granny-starver from Wisconsin, his running mate, Romney finally surrendered the tattered remnants of his soul…Paul Ryan is an authentically dangerous zealot.. He is a smiling, aw-shucks murderer of opportunity, a creator of dystopias in which he never will have to live.”
New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd was equally severe in an August 15 column on Ryan: "Who better to rain misery upon the heads of millions of Americans? He’s Scrooge disguised as a Pickwick, an ideologue disguised as a wonk. Not since Ronald Reagan tried to cut the budget by categorizing ketchup and relish as vegetables has the G.O.P. managed to find such an attractive vessel to mask harsh policies with a smiling face….Ryan should stop being so lovable. People who intend to hurt other people should wipe the smile off their faces.”
Scrooge? Granny-starver? Such venom earned these so-called journalists special distinction in the MRC's Best Notable Quotables of 2012. Tomorrow: some of the top "Obamagasms" of the year.