By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Jeff Greenfield on the “liberal” media

Jeff Greenfield on liberal media bias:

[I]n my view the danger of bias does not lie in political coverage. I mean, ask Al Gore and John Kerry if they were the beneficiary of a poodle press. They were treated very critically — appropriately.

“Appropriately”? As has been well-documented (start here and here), Gore in 2000 was subjected to the most viciously false media pounding of any modern presidential candidate. From the media-created lie that Gore had claimed to have “invented” the Internet to the hue and cry that he give up on a race that he’d actually won, the 2000 presidential campaign amounted to a shocking eruption of media irresponsibility. The media’s shoddy performance was just as responsible for Gore’s loss as the five Supreme Court justices who handed George W. Bush a victory he hadn’t earned.

No, it wasn’t as bad with Kerry. The swift-boat lies never really broke out of the cable and radio talk ghetto (although Eric Boehlert shows the mainstream media deserve at least some blame), and by 2004 the media were finally starting to catch on to Bush. But Greenfield really needs to bone up on what happened in 2000.

Then again, I remember Greenfield’s popping up on the radio some years ago — on Imus, naturally — to say that he wasn’t all that troubled by the outcome in Florida, because whatever went wrong was balanced off by the fact that the media had mistakenly called the state for Gore before folks in the Panhandle had finished voting. Good grief. (Via Romenesko.)

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  1. O-FISH-L

    I feel much better knowing that Al Gore never claimed to have invented the internet, he merely claimed, “I took the initiative in CREATING the internet.” That damn conservative media is always twisting things!As for Kerry, it was Kerry himself who made the Swift Boat ads devastatingly effective. Few will ever forget the TV ad, complete with audio of an unkempt Kerry in his Brahim accent, accusing his fellow U.S. vets of war crimes: “They had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam.”Not to mention, “I gave back five, six, seven…these were the medals themselves.” Only to find out Kerry actually kept his own medals for later display and had merely desecrated another veterans medals.Neither Gore nor Kerry needed the (laughable) conservative media to help defeat them. They defeated themselves. And to think they call President Bush dumb! Hilarious. Time to get over it, Dan.

  2. Dan Kennedy

    Fish: Your capacity for distortion is running at a very high level today.First, the difference between Gore claiming he had “invented” the Internet as opposed to “creating” it sounds like semantical nonsense unless you consider the context. What he was taking credit for was pushing Congress to put resources into the ARPAnet so that it could grow into a tool that society at large could benefit from. It was an absolutely true and fair claim, as Newt Gingrich himself acknowledged.Second, surely you know that Kerry was reading from the report of the Winter Soldier Investigation. The report happened to be true. Kerry deserves credit for his work in bringing that terrible war to an end.

  3. Anonymous

    Everyone will have to agree to disagree on Kerry. If you want to really start a ruckus, try to find someone with anything good to say about Kerry’s constituent services. I disagree with Kennedy on policy but no one can touch him on meat & potatoes, everyday tasks. Kerry, on the other hand, doesn’t return phone calls that don’t emanate from a TV network, (or Gstaad).

  4. Don (no longer) Fluffy

    Gore was elected in 2000? What? Screw the Constitution? The Electoral College continues to exist, and Gore changed his focus to making a propaganda film. Priorities. . . .

  5. o-fish-l

    Dan, as they teach in Communications 101, “If you have to explain the punchline, it’s not effective.”Perhaps Gore really meant the gobbledygook you claim he meant, but what he clearly said was, “I took the initiative in CREATING the internet.” As for Kerry “reading from the report of the Winter Soldier Investigation”, is that suspposed to suggest that he was merely reading it and didn’t really believe it?Also, you will need to do far better than wikipedia to prove the truthfulness of Winter Soldier, especially since much of WS has been thoroughly discredited.It wasn’t the conservative media, the real problem for the last two Democrat nominees is that the voters actually got to see and hear the nominees in action!BTW Dan, with Judge Murphy as a shining example, why doesn’t Kerry sue the Swifties if they were really lying about him? Certainly if it’s as clearcut as you claim, that would be actual malice, no?Sure, he doesn’t need the money but many charities do. Doesn’t he owe it to future Dems who might get “swift-boated?” It’s quite telling that even with pockets deep enough to hire the best lawyers, even Kerry realizes the truth.

  6. Anonymous

    Did you see? Borges “retired.”

  7. Anonymous

    We will never know whether or not Gore won the 2000 election because the US Supreme Court ordered a halt to the recount in FL. I did some research on this in 2000 (which I will not repeat), and, quite frankly, the FL Supreme Court’s decision ordering the recount was exactly correct, and the US Supreme Court’s majority opinion was silly.NB: to forestall an anticipated objection on the basis that a “count” later conducted by a FL media consortium “found” that Bush would have won the recount, I’ll merely point out that the FL state election statutes identify the relevant officials who certify the counting, and a media consortium is not among those officials.–raj

  8. mike from norwell

    Dan, the Panhandle thing is actually fairly significant wrt Greenfield’s comments (remember, Florida actually straddles two time zones). In your heart of hearts, you have to admit that having the national networks come on the air to declare Florida for Gore while polls were still open in the Panhandle might have thrown a few folks to say forget it to vote for Bush.Remember, Carter was a pariah in the Democratic party forever after conceding the ’80 election while the polls were still open on the West Coast.

  9. raccoonradio

    Had Gore won his home state, and had Kerry’s running mate won HIS home state, there wouldn’t even have been this controversy. It would have put them over the top.

  10. Don (no longer) Fluffy

    Rac: . . . and if the dog hadn’t stopped to take a crap, he would have caught the rabbit.

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