"There is always a philosophy for lack of courage."—Albert Camus

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Letterman's Swinishness, or: More Media Bias

This ties up our recent discussions into a nice little bow, I think.

If one googles "Letterman" and "pencil," he'll find numerous (with video) blog reports of David Letterman stirring his pencil into Bill O'Reilly's courtesy beverage before O'Reilly comes onstage. (Yes, O'Reilly drank from it, too. )

If one googles "Letterman" and "pencil" in the Google news section, which monitors hundreds if not thousands of mainstream news sources, one will get back zero hits.

That's zero hits, folks. Nobody in the media noticed? Nobody? A week later, and still...nothing?


Media bias includes what is not covered. It is impossible to conceive that this is not of news interest. Nor is it possible for me to conceive that if a right-winger had committed this bastardly deed, his career would not be over, and rightfully so.

Now, maybe the blogs are wrong: I didn't see the show, and haven't watched Letterman since he got terminally lazy with his fat contract and I got cable sometime in the last century and had moose mating or whatever to switch over to on Discovery. But even debunking this is newsworthy enough for a media that has nothing better to talk about than Lindsey Lohan's hip size.

That's zero hits, folks. Crickets chirping. Letterman's in the club.



(Mad props to The Political Teen for this photographic evidence (?), and to the exquisite Larry Elder for the riff. If his radio show isn't available in your area, give him an ear via the internet. The Sage rules.)

11 comments:

Tlaloc said...

"If one googles "Letterman" and "pencil" in the Google news section, which monitors hundreds if not thousands of mainstream news sources, one will get back zero hits."

True I don't know how the New York Times could have missed such an earth shattering item.

Okay let's compare two stories:
five days after a pompous windbag drank some dirty water on a latenight TV show no major news service has picked up the lede.

on the other hand two weeks after the Brits had broken the story of the Downing Street Memo no US paper had written anything of substance on the topic. The first to do was a paper from Minneapolis, not the New York Times.

Go ahead and tell me that a pencil in O'Reilly's cup was more significant than evidence of high level collusion to manipulate intelligence in order to sell a war. I want to hear that pitch.

And that's not to say anything of the NSA wiretapping story the Times sat on for a year! I think in the "not reporting" department it's a lot easier to argue a rightward bent.

mune said...

I’m not sure the blogs aren’t blowing this a little out of proportion. What we have here is a childish entertainer playing a childish joke on someone he doesn’t like. Right or left, a childish entertainer isn’t going to be fired for doing what is in essence his job. Letterman is paid to amuse his audience w/o alienating them or his sponsors. He did that.

I’m not defending his actions or arguing that the joke is funny. I just don’t think it would be newsworthy if any popular entertainer played a cruel joke on a widely disliked person (right or left). At best this would be picked up by entertainment news, but Letterman v. O’Reily isn’t exactly Jen v. Angelina. I do believe there is a media bias, and you are absolutely right that it includes what isn’t covered. I just don’t think this is a good example of it.

mune said...

And Tlaloc, I’m pretty sure any coverage of the current government is going to not cover more of the right’s actions because there’s a lot more to overlook. They’re simply doing a lot more of the governing right now.

JC said...

While the video may show Letterman is a lot less mature than O'Reilly, or whatever.... frankly I don't care that much.
But here's the thing: As the author observed, the news is filled with garbage that seems equally (if not more) ridiculous. When I read Google news or other sources, I usually read the World, Science, and US sections first...

"Entertainment" always has these juicy tidbits about which celebrity is doing which drugs and getting knocked up by whom. Gross. I'd rather read about news/opinion show hosts playing pranks on each other.

tbmbuzz said...

Yet another illustration of the total classlessness of the extreme Left that has hijacked a major American political party over the past quarter century. Keep it up, juvenile guys and gals. This translates directly into continuing electoral losses for you!

James Elliott said...

And Tlaloc, I’m pretty sure any coverage of the current government is going to not cover more of the right’s actions because there’s a lot more to overlook. They’re simply doing a lot more of the governing right now.

The Downing Street Memos are hardly indicative of a humdrum act of governance. They call into question the entire rationale for the centerpiece of the current administration: The War.

That aside, Tom, you're being ridiculous again. You're conflating Letterman with news. Give me a break. At best, it'd appear in something like "The Fix" or "Entertainment Tonight." It's not news. Reading actual news sites and ignoring the entertainment sections, you wouldn't know or care that O'Reilly had been on Letterman. This tired old canard is ridiculous. Multiple media studies have shown that for the last few decades the media has been so concerned with "balance" that they will repeat blatantly false information just to have someone representing the other side.

That's not journalism. Journalism is about truth. It's about actions and their consequences. It's ultimately about being engaged and giving a crap about the place you live in.

This whole nonsense about Mainstream Media and/or its Bias is ridiculous, the blogosphere merely puffing up its chest and making its genitals feel big. It's nonsense, because without the actual news the MSM brings, bloggers would have nothing to talk about but their own pontifications. Which might be fun, but isn't news and isn't helpful to the world.

James Elliott said...

Hey, on an urelated note, would one of you be willing to unlock the above thread or post a thread about the Alito hearings if I promise to keep my comments civil? I'm dying to actually discuss these things with someone interested.

Tlaloc said...

Unlikely. They consider the documented fact of his membership in CAP, itself a blatantly racist organization, to be slander.

You can have no discussion when the other side will not listen to anything they find uncomfortable.

Kathy Hutchins said...

James, you do not have to promise pre hoc to be civil, I do not recall a time you have strayed over the line. The thread is locked because Tlaloc will not, or perhaps cannot, accept the minimal rules we set down. He knows he is not supposed to repeatedly repost a comment that has been deleted, and he knows he is owed no explanation for the removal of comments. I agree: the Alito hearings should be discussed. Not used as the vehicle for repeating slander that even the LA Times, WaPo and NYT won't traffic in.

Devang said...

This is the perfect example of Thomas Frank's Plen-t-plaint.

True conservative bias is something like Thomas Sowell getting an hour long special w/o any journalistic review, When no one from the far left could ever get more than 5 mins on any national news channel w/o journalistic review, or an opposing guest.

Tlaloc said...

"The thread is locked because Tlaloc will not, or perhaps cannot, accept the minimal rules we set down."

On the contrary I accept the actual rules just fine. For instance the "bal gag" comment in a much earlier thread Hunter deleted because he felt it was over the line of decency. I accepted that judgement and didn't repost it.

What I don't accept is the petty "I can't win this argument so I'll delete your post" rule. That one I feel no problem disregarding. Once again the Reform clubbers have to decide if they want to really have a place that caters to DISCUSSION (recognizing that that means confronting uncomfortable truths) or if they want to be petty web-dictators. They've claimed the former but acted the latter, and this harlequin has no problem slapping them with their own hypocrisy.