Saturday, May 16, 2009
Breaking Bones For Politics
Produced by the CBC's Bob McKeown, Sticks and Stones is a brief exploration of right-wing bias in US news media.
The film explores notions that the news media has a left-wing bias, and points to Dan Rather and Walter Kronkite as the figures originally associated with left-wing media bias.
Bernard Goldberg became conservative America's star witness against left-wing media bias.
McKeown then moves on to address individuals like Bill O'Reilly, Ann Coulter and Rachel Marsden, while using individuals like Al Franken and Heather Mallick as witnesses to the virulent nature of the right-wing media -- Mallick even conjures tears at one point.
McKeown clearly takes a certain amount of glee in cornering Coulter and Marsden -- and really, who wouldn't? Marsden shifts uncomfortably when being questioned about her stalking of her ex-boyfriend, and Coulter stridently insists that Canada sent troops to Vietnam, even as McKeown inists we didn't.
(As an interesting side note, Coulter is actually right and wrong about Canadian troops in Vietnam. Canada contributed 240 soldiers to the United Nations' Operation Gallant, which was a peacekeeping mission, not part of the US war there -- although the North Vietnamese felt differently at the time, and accused Canadian troops of passing intelligence along to Canadian forces.)
Yet McKeown's own CBC is not immune to criticisms regarding bias. Fresh in the minds of many Canadians is Christina Lawand's dishonest editing of a Stephen Harper press conference, Krista Ericksen colluding with a Liberal MP, and Heather Mallick discrediting herself in spectacular fashion.
Meanwhile, south of the 49th parallel, Keith Olbermann and Janeane Garofalo indulged themselves in the kind of bombastic nonsense that so often finds a place on Fox News.
Sticks and Stones was produced in 2004, and as a result couldn't possibly be expected to address examples such as these. But it tends to ignore left-wing media bias in favour right-wing bias.
The simple fact of the matter is that both left-wing and right-wing biases can be detected in the media, depending upon which outlet one examines. Almost everyone claims to be opposed to bias in the media, but the truth is quite different.
Almost everyone is in favour of media bias. More importantly, almost everyone is in favour of their particular media bias.