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Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Media Bias - Right and Left

One of the most humorous things I read is when some leftist claims that the main stream media is conservatively biased. I think even The Moderate Liberal has mentioned that he thinks it is true at times. I ran a quick test this morning.

You see, despite the view that I am a capitalism following jack-booted thug, I actually recognize the failing of Corporate America. The biggest is in entertainment, where the vast amount of it is bloody worthless by my measure. In radio, it is awful. Therefore, I listen to only two radio stations, neither of which are corporate or supported by commercials - NPR and AFR. That's right, bastions of the secular, government supported left and the Christian Right. Hey, I like classical music and interviews with Lynne Cheney, as well as Steven Curtis Chapman. I had the chance to hear both NPR news and AFR news this morning, and they both reported on the failure of Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) to get his amendment added to the bankruptcy bill. Here is how the two reported the event:

NPR - "Senator Chuck Schumer's amendment to keep people who conduct violence and threaten violence against abortion clinics was defeated by Republicans" (I couldn't find text of their broadcast, like I could at AFR)

AFR - "The U.S. Senate has rejected an amendment that would have prohibited pro-lifers and others from using bankruptcy to avoid paying civil fines associated with pro-life protests. The proposal, which was pushed by New York Senator Charles Schumer, was defeated on a mostly party-line vote of 53-46. Schumer said it was wrong for anyone involved in violence to be able to get that protection. But Eagle Forum had pointed out that protesters who commit violent actions are already prevented from declaring bankruptcy -- and that the NY lawmaker's amendment was specifically targeting peaceful pro-life protesters who protest outside abortion clinics. Utah Senator Orrin Hatch called the Democrat's proposed amendment to a bankruptcy reform bill a "poison pill" that would once again derail the legislation. The inclusion of the provision has twice been scuttled in the past. House leaders warned before the vote they could not accept the bill with such a provision."

Let's check the text of Chuck "The Steamer" Schumer's (Not to be confused with Bill "The Steamer" Stanley, who blew the '86 World Series for the BoSox. It was his fault much more than Bill Buckner's) amendment:

SEC. 332. NONDISCHARGEABILITY OF DEBTS INCURRED THROUGH VIOLATIONS OF LAWS RELATING TO THE PROVISION OF LAWFUL GOODS AND SERVICES.

Section 523(a) of title 11, United States Code, as amended by this Act, is further amended--

(1) in paragraph (18), by striking ``or'' at the end;

(2) in paragraph (19), by striking the period at the end and inserting ``; or''; and

(3) by inserting after paragraph (19) the following:

``(20) that results from any judgment, order, consent order, or decree entered in any Federal or State court, or contained in any settlement agreement entered into by the debtor, including any court ordered damages, fine, penalty, citation, or attorney fee or cost owed by the debtor, arising from--

``(A) an action alleging the violation of any Federal, State, or local statute, including but not limited to a violation of section 247 or 248 of title 18, that results from the debtor's--

``(i) harassment of, intimidation of, interference with, obstruction of, injury to, threat to, or violence against, any person--

``(I) because that person provides, or has provided, lawful goods or services;

``(II) because that person is, or has been, obtaining lawful goods or services; or

``(III) to deter that person, any other person, or a class of persons, from obtaining or providing lawful goods or services; or

``(ii) damage to, or destruction of, property of a facility providing lawful goods or services; or

``(B) a violation of a court order or injunction that protects access to--

``(i) a facility that provides lawful goods or services; or

``(ii) the provision of lawful goods or services.


Nothing in paragraph (20) shall be construed to affect any expressive conduct (including peaceful picketing or other peaceful demonstration) protected from legal prohibition by the first amendment to the Constitution of the United States.''.



What's the truth? That if Senator Schumer was not interested in restricting the free speech rights of pro-life demonstrators, then he would not have included the words "harassment of, intimidation of, interference with, [or] obstruction of" in paragraph 20-A-i. If the bill were all about keeping protestors who are violent or threaten violence from getting out of their government fines, then it simply would have read what was left in the same paragraph - "injury to, threat to, or violence against, any person" as well as leaving as is paragraph 20-A-ii, "damage to, or destruction of, property of a facility providing lawful goods or services". He also would not have included, at all, section B.

It's clear that Schumer was going after pro-life demonstrators, regardless of what the "disclaimer" at the end of the amendment said. After all, the Eagle Forum is right - "Presently under the FACE Act, abortion clinics can bring civil lawsuits against pro-life protesters for physically obstructing access to the clinic even if the obstruction is completely non-violent (prayer, silently holding a sign, etc.). Those protesters are permitted under current law to declare bankruptcy as long as the underlying action is not willful and malicious. Protesters who commit violent actions are already prevented from declaring bankruptcy."

Here is a flyer from Representative Dan Burton(R-IN) which demonstrates that Schumer's intent has always been to target peaceful pro-life demonstrators. Schumer has been tacking this on to bankruptcy reform bills since at least 1999, by my own checking of the records.

I really had to dig to get to the bottom of this. Because none of the pro-life news sources listed the law that prohibited fines due to violence or vandalism form being wiped out due to bankruptcy. I haven't found it - but I did find this. It is from "ProChoice America" and is a 5 page document stating how terrible it is that pro-life demonstrators can file bankruptcy to get out of their fines for violent conduct. However, you have to pay very close attention to see the truth. They have footnoted the word "violence" to mean, and I quote, "violence, threats of violence, property damage, illegal blockades and other violations of law". As the FACE Act prohibits picketing and peaceful protests at abortion clinics (because they can be accused of "interfering" with abortion seekers and workers), those acts of free speech are against the law, and are considered "violence" by ProChoice America, Senator Schumer, and obviously the Democratic party.

The media is leftist and anti-life, as seen in this story and how millions of Americans do not understand Terry Schiavo's case. AFR boldly states that they are reporting from the right. NPR (and Dan Rather, etc) still claim to be objective.

Of course, yesterday I heard my local NPR station use the words "so-called" when describing an upcoming POTUS visit...just in case I didn't get it from this instance of leftist bias.

2 Comments:

  • To me media bias is like referee or umpire bias. Do they really make favorable calls for the home team or superstars? Maybe, but nearly as much as everyone says. Most people are convinced in any given game the referees are biased against their own team. Basically, if you look for it you'll find it.

    Nobody likes the referees and nobody likes the media. If you want to know who the media is really biased in favor of, look who defends it. Not conservatives. Not liberals. Anyone? The only group I've ever heard consistently defending the media is, well, the media.

    The average national reporter is a blue state sophisticate, socially liberal, secular but economically right of center. They don't get small town America but they think Greenspan is a living god or some such thing.

    Sometimes their non-understanding of small town America comes across as contempt, as you've pointed out, but sometimes it comes across as some sort of weird deference. For example, you'll always hear small town folk referred to as "real" Americans. Thus you get the whole infatuation with "soccer moms" and "Nascar dads". You'll never, ever hear city dwellers referred to as "real" Americans.

    But all of these biases pale in comparison to the really big biases. Reporters need to be important to promote themselves and their career. In order to appear objective they'll get into these "he said" "she said" games, trying to show "both" sides, regardless of any reality. They'll cut corners, not check facts and just reprint what someone else printed assuming some other reporter checked the facts. They have deadlines to meet and tend to get sloppy. Their paychecks ultimately depend on ratings and sales and they know it; they editors really, really know it.

    But ultimately I think good reporting is just plain hard. I've never once read an article on something which I had some prior experience or knowledge and agreed with the article 100%. Every time I've found flaws and mistakes. Every time.

    By Blogger Mark, at 3/09/2005 06:45:00 PM  

  • Enjoyable blog. Please visit my texas bankruptcy blog.

    By Blogger Steve Austin, at 10/02/2005 02:14:00 PM  

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