May 11, 2004

Hearing Their Own Drummer

On the Today show, reporter Jim Miklaszewski wrapped up a report by referring to "a growing public drumbeat" calling for Donald Rumsfeld's resignation

Drumbeat? Polls are showing that the public is backing Rumsfeld.

The media is the drumbeat.

Posted by Mitch at May 11, 2004 07:10 AM

To President George Bush, Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist:

We, the people of these United States, rightfully petition our President on behalf of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld’s continued service to our country. In spite of the torrent of political and media attacks in the wake of events at Abu Ghraib, we urge the President’s continued support of one of our nation’s most distinguished present-day patriots. In the context of the ongoing war on terror in general, and on the warfront in Iraq in particular, Secretary Rumsfeld’s continued service is invaluable. His response to Abu Ghraib, since January, has been prompt, professional and altogether commendable. An election year or not, wartime is no time for scapegoating, and we deeply admire the President’s constancy in support of Donald Rumsfeld.

Note: this petition was started yesterday. I'm number 12 to sign it and already it's up to 51,021 (and growing fast).

Posted by: PJZ at May 11, 2004 08:54 AM

What has yet to be identified, by anyone, was any single action that Rumsfeld /failed/ to take that might have prevented what happened. Let alone any action he /did/ perform that caused these problems.

Until that happens, why remove him? It's not like he was busy getting head in the office when he should have been telling Congress about the abuses.

Posted by: aodhan at May 11, 2004 10:37 AM

I signed the petition. I would love nothing more then to have Rumsfeld around through the election. Although my motivations are slightly different.

As for the Media. Sorry, even the Star and Sickle is caught up in the Right Wing Media Machine. They defend Bush and prop it all up with headlines that read "Bush: Rumsfeld doing superb job"


Posted by: Flash at May 11, 2004 11:11 AM

Flash, your comment brings up something that I think a lot of lefty bloggers miss: *Quoting* a Republican is not the same as *being* or *supporting* one.

Understanding that might clear up some of the charges of "right wing bias" on the part of chuzzlewits like Hesiod and Atrios.

Posted by: mitch at May 11, 2004 11:30 AM

My comment referred to the choice of a headline. You imply that the 'media' is the drumbeat of some kind of national call for resignation. The STRIB went with "Bush: Rumsfeld doing superb job" for the headline, NOT "Growing Drumbeat for Rummy Resignation", as you imply.

See, what the arrogant Right seems to believe, is that just because they say it, means it's true. And that if they repeat something long enough, people will believe it. But it is part of your strategy of several years ago, didn't you get the meme on that:

“Years ago, Republican party chair Rich Bond explained that conservatives' frequent denunciations of ‘liberal bias’ in the media were part of ‘a strategy’ (Washington Post, 8/20/92).

I know, you'll throw your reworded, "show me a Bread and Butter . . ." yada yada. But we both know, if there is a bias at all in the media, it tends to lean towards the party in power, and that directions, is to the Right. And that is why GW continues to get a pass, over and over again!


Posted by: Flash at May 11, 2004 12:55 PM

Flash - so many things to toss in here, but work calls. For starters - no, the press does not systematically favor whomever's in power. The press itself says as much. And as far as Bond's statement - the strategy is to harp on the bias *that exists*, not invent it. We don't need to.

Posted by: mitch at May 11, 2004 01:16 PM

Flash, I have to call "bullcrap" on you, not so much on your assertion that the media is conservatively biased (I think there's bias represented on both sides relatively equally), but on your claim that the media tends to lean toward the party in power. That's wrong. Bzzzzt, wrong answer! Prior to Nixon's Watergate, that may have been the case, and certainly Kennedy's Camelot was adored by the media despite extraordinary failings in the man both personally and politically. However, ever since Watergate and Woodward & Bernstein, the wary and allergically suspicious media has switched gears and they work around the clock to bring down whoever may be sitting in the White House, and it doesn't matter which party is in office. From Iran-Contra, to "No New Taxes," to BJs in the Oval Office, to an "illegitimate" war, the media believes it has a duty to take down the sitting Prez. It's engrained in their thinking.

Unless you've been living under a rock, with your fingers in your ears, on the far side of Mars, you'd know that the media hasn't given Bush a "pass" on ANYTHING. It's the reading public that gives Bush a pass, which irritates the media something fierce. Each new poll that comes out that has Bush tied or leading Kerry leaves the talking heads in the Big Media nonplussed.

Just watch, if Kerry takes office, his seat won't be lukewarm before the media starts working to bring about impeachment on the man. Such is the legacy of Nixon

Posted by: Ryan at May 11, 2004 01:17 PM

the dems/libs/media are simply babies wa wa wa wa wa wa i've never heard such whinning, the common person is an idiot ..... i don't even believe the polls!! boy are they going to be suprised, they are all self absorbed beyond reality

Posted by: julia walsh at May 11, 2004 01:57 PM

"if there is a bias at all in the media, it tends to lean towards the party in power, and that directions, is to the Right. "

Flash, I'm curious: which newsrooms have you worked in?

Posted by: lileks at May 11, 2004 02:34 PM


By way of Lileks' question; In the 13 years I worked in one form of media or another (Radio and print), I met exactly two reporters who identified themselves as republican. I met *many, many* very strident liberals - including quite a few who left the media to work for the DFL or for DFL politicians.

You'd be closer to right if you said "the media leans toward *the establishment*". But the establishment isn't necessarily conservative; the IRS and George Soros and Walter Mondale are all Establishment.

I'll reiterate the challenge I keep making to people who claim the press is really conservative: Show me the "objective" mainstream media source that comes down to the right on abortion, the second amendment, tax cuts, regulation, size of government, urban sprawl...notice that each of these issues are ones where "the establishment" is decidedly left of what we call "Center" in America.

I keep asking. I never get answers.

Posted by: mitch at May 11, 2004 04:01 PM

Talk about poking the bear. It almost gives credibility to my comments *laughing*

"A study of ABC World News Tonight, CBS Evening News and NBC Nightly News in the year 2001 shows that 92 percent of all U.S. sources interviewed were white, 85 percent were male and, where party affiliation was identifiable, 75 percent were Republican. "


"These figures should dispel the myth of a liberal or pro-Democrat news bias, but don't necessarily prove a conservative or Republican slant. Rather, they reflect a strong tendency of the networks to turn to the party in power for information."

And James, No, I've never worked in a newsroom, but I did stay at a Holiday in Express one time.


Posted by: Flash at May 11, 2004 04:35 PM

Let's see, 2001. Something big happened then, didn't it?

If the press wasn't quoting Bush after 9/11 -- now, that WOULD be a story!

Posted by: kb at May 11, 2004 04:39 PM

"where party affiliation was identifiable, 75 percent were Republican"

Right. Because conservative people and groups are always identified as such, while liberal people and groups are usually referred to as "People" or "groups" with no party attached.

I repeat my challenge.

Posted by: Mitch at May 11, 2004 05:04 PM

The media live in an echo chamber the existence of which they would deny to their graves. This "drumbeat" is of the exact same progeny as the "questions [being] raised" that NYTimes reporters so frequently raise and then report on, and also of the "hype" that Entertainment Weekly reports on as if it's not part of the hype machine. They're the punchlines of their own PoMo joke and they don't know it. No wonder Bush's "what makes you think you represent Americans" resonated.

Posted by: Brian Jones at May 11, 2004 06:59 PM

"And James, No, I've never worked in a newsroom, but I did stay at a Holiday in Express one time."


Posted by: Lileks at May 11, 2004 07:14 PM

Please, can anyone seriously argue that any profession where 90%+ of the people involved share the same political worldview *won't* be biased towards that worldview?

It's just like the entire thesis of Eric Alterman's book - the media is conservative, but only if the "media" consists solely of FoxNews or you forget about social issues, taxation, small government, etc...

It makes one wonder if people ever bother to sit back and actually think long enough to put two and two together.

Posted by: Jay Reding at May 11, 2004 09:08 PM

I signed it, and there are now 91,542 signers. This whole deal with demanding Rumsfeld's resignation is another pathetic ploy of the libs/Dims/left. Come on already guys - your side lost in 2000, despite your better efforts at cheating. Get over it.

And besides, with that bloviated zeppelin Teddy Kennedy on your side, I'd think you'd have more important things to worry about anyway. (Great line BTW James).

Posted by: Dawn at May 12, 2004 11:58 AM

By the way Flash, I slipped your kid some back issues of National Review on Saturday. He said he wanted to learn more about the real truth of politics.

Posted by: the elder at May 12, 2004 12:52 PM