Brit Hume evangelizes Tiger Wood

On Fox News Sunday, Brit Hume had a message for Tiger Woods:

Whether he can recover as a person depends on "his faith. He's said to be a Buddhist. I don't think that faith offers the kind of forgiveness and redeption that is offered by the Christian faith. So my message to Tiger would be, "Tiger, turn to the Christian faith and you can make a total recovery and be a great example to the world."

Hume, of course, is getting criticized, not only for evangelizing on air but for dissing Buddhism. Still, I salute him. A private TV network airing private opinions should have room for this, isn’t it?

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Brit Hume, a grad of St Albans and U, of Virginia, is a class act. He was a nominal Chistian until ten years ago, when his son, Sandy, committed suicide.Politico has an excellent article, Brit Hume on the Grace of God including

    “Family is a big piece of it,” he said of his retirement plans recently. “And Christ is a big piece of it. And golf is a big piece of it.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Brit Hume, a grad of St Albans and U, of Virginia, is a class act. He was a nominal Chistian until ten years ago, when his son, Sandy, committed suicide.Politico has an excellent article, Brit Hume on the Grace of God including

    “Family is a big piece of it,” he said of his retirement plans recently. “And Christ is a big piece of it. And golf is a big piece of it.

  • http://puttingoutthefire.blogspot.com/ Frank Gillespie

    My missus and I watched this yesterday and cheered Hume! It’s no surprise that he is catching flack.

  • http://puttingoutthefire.blogspot.com/ Frank Gillespie

    My missus and I watched this yesterday and cheered Hume! It’s no surprise that he is catching flack.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Wow, what I miss for not watching golf.
    In any case one wonders if he would have caught flack turning that around and dissing Christianity. I’m sure there would have been some…

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Wow, what I miss for not watching golf.
    In any case one wonders if he would have caught flack turning that around and dissing Christianity. I’m sure there would have been some…

  • Anonymous

    I wonder what Hume meant by “total recovery.” That by “turn[ing] to the Christian faith” Woods will be able to resume his billion-dollar golf game and get his sponsors back? What “Christian faith” is that? Where’s the pennance? On what is God’s forgiveness based?
    American Chrisitianity is all about saying you’re sorry, while fiercely holding on to your wealth and, if you have it, your elected office. See Sen. Ensign, Gov. Sanford. That’s partly because being an American Christian is all about the American dream of getting what you can get. God saves us so that we can pursue wealth, usually at the expense of the less blessed.
    Woods has got the wealth and the golf skills. Now he just needs to make a little nod in the direction of “Jesus” and he can go his way. “All’s forgiven, Tiger! Get back on those links! Get your photo taken with Rick Warren and Dr. Dobson!” Another show business conversion.
    I hope that’s not what Hume meant. but I suspect it is.

  • Anonymous

    I wonder what Hume meant by “total recovery.” That by “turn[ing] to the Christian faith” Woods will be able to resume his billion-dollar golf game and get his sponsors back? What “Christian faith” is that? Where’s the pennance? On what is God’s forgiveness based?
    American Chrisitianity is all about saying you’re sorry, while fiercely holding on to your wealth and, if you have it, your elected office. See Sen. Ensign, Gov. Sanford. That’s partly because being an American Christian is all about the American dream of getting what you can get. God saves us so that we can pursue wealth, usually at the expense of the less blessed.
    Woods has got the wealth and the golf skills. Now he just needs to make a little nod in the direction of “Jesus” and he can go his way. “All’s forgiven, Tiger! Get back on those links! Get your photo taken with Rick Warren and Dr. Dobson!” Another show business conversion.
    I hope that’s not what Hume meant. but I suspect it is.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Anonymous, listen carefully to Hume’s remarks. At no point does he suggest that a Wood’s redemptive conversion to Christianity would help him financially. Hume is suggesting serious Christian redemption that he himself has found life saving after his son’s suicide.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Anonymous, listen carefully to Hume’s remarks. At no point does he suggest that a Wood’s redemptive conversion to Christianity would help him financially. Hume is suggesting serious Christian redemption that he himself has found life saving after his son’s suicide.

  • DonS

    Anonymous @ 4: Peter is spot on. You have just, with no basis or evidence whatsoever, read the worst possible meaning into Hume’s statement. Is that what your Christianity is about?

    The most logical reading of Hume’s comment is that only Christ and His redemptive grace offers Tiger the opportunity to escape his lifestyle of sexual addiction and philandery. In Tiger’s own strength, there is no hope that he can escape the bonds of sin.

  • DonS

    Anonymous @ 4: Peter is spot on. You have just, with no basis or evidence whatsoever, read the worst possible meaning into Hume’s statement. Is that what your Christianity is about?

    The most logical reading of Hume’s comment is that only Christ and His redemptive grace offers Tiger the opportunity to escape his lifestyle of sexual addiction and philandery. In Tiger’s own strength, there is no hope that he can escape the bonds of sin.

  • http://toddpruitt.blogspot.com Todd Pruitt

    I did not for a moment hear what annonymous apparently heard.

    The beauty of Hume’s words is that they touched on the universal need of forgiveness which is something Buddhism does not address. There is no category for redemption in Buddhist thought. The moral genious of God (and therefore the Christian faith) is that He addresses the ugly reality of our sin and our resulting hopeless condition. Further, it is God himself who solves the delimma by becoming a curse for us through Jesus Christ. The religions of man have no provision for grace; for the recovery of those who are spiritually dead.

  • http://toddpruitt.blogspot.com Todd Pruitt

    I did not for a moment hear what annonymous apparently heard.

    The beauty of Hume’s words is that they touched on the universal need of forgiveness which is something Buddhism does not address. There is no category for redemption in Buddhist thought. The moral genious of God (and therefore the Christian faith) is that He addresses the ugly reality of our sin and our resulting hopeless condition. Further, it is God himself who solves the delimma by becoming a curse for us through Jesus Christ. The religions of man have no provision for grace; for the recovery of those who are spiritually dead.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Anonymous (@4), Hume pretty clearly ties his mention of “recovery” not to Woods’s golf game, but rather his personal life: “Tiger Woods will recover as a golfer. Whether he can recover as a person I think is a very open question.”

    That said, I still think Hume’s statement is ambiguous. Is the recovery he’s thinking of one in which his reputation is restored? Or in which everything’s okay with his family? Because Christianity doesn’t promise that. It does promise that his sinful reputation will be restored with God — because of Christ. And that everything will be okay with God — because of what Jesus has done. It doesn’t promise that things will be hunky-dory. Far from it, in fact.

    Frankly, I think we’d be reading more people here able to see the muddiness in this statement if it came from, say, a reformed preacher, rather than a Fox news anchor.

    Anyhow, who’s criticizing Hume for doing this? By which I mean: who of note?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Anonymous (@4), Hume pretty clearly ties his mention of “recovery” not to Woods’s golf game, but rather his personal life: “Tiger Woods will recover as a golfer. Whether he can recover as a person I think is a very open question.”

    That said, I still think Hume’s statement is ambiguous. Is the recovery he’s thinking of one in which his reputation is restored? Or in which everything’s okay with his family? Because Christianity doesn’t promise that. It does promise that his sinful reputation will be restored with God — because of Christ. And that everything will be okay with God — because of what Jesus has done. It doesn’t promise that things will be hunky-dory. Far from it, in fact.

    Frankly, I think we’d be reading more people here able to see the muddiness in this statement if it came from, say, a reformed preacher, rather than a Fox news anchor.

    Anyhow, who’s criticizing Hume for doing this? By which I mean: who of note?

  • Peter Leavitt

    Todd,A good sample of leftist opinion on Hume’s remark would be the Huffington Post’s squib from Ellis Weiner. My Message of Redemption for Brit Hume, including:

    But look at Hume today: morally bankrupt, unable to serve his masters in a manner to which he had become accustomed, and reduced to offering come-to-Jesus advice, on television, to celebrity golfers.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Todd,A good sample of leftist opinion on Hume’s remark would be the Huffington Post’s squib from Ellis Weiner. My Message of Redemption for Brit Hume, including:

    But look at Hume today: morally bankrupt, unable to serve his masters in a manner to which he had become accustomed, and reduced to offering come-to-Jesus advice, on television, to celebrity golfers.

  • http://www.geneveith.com geneveith
  • http://www.geneveith.com geneveith
  • Recovering Lutheran

    Wow. It’s “evangelism” because (1) it was said by a Fox anchor who went to prep school and (2) it’s drawn some scattered negative comments from “bad” people. No wonder Murdoch is a billionaire.

  • Recovering Lutheran

    Wow. It’s “evangelism” because (1) it was said by a Fox anchor who went to prep school and (2) it’s drawn some scattered negative comments from “bad” people. No wonder Murdoch is a billionaire.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Thanks, Dr. Veith (@10).

    But where is the talk of bias? Were a “liberal” “mainstream” journalist to spout personal views that opposed those held by commenters here, I seriously anyone here would “salute” him — instead, I’m fairly certain we’d hear so much about bias, bias, bias.

    But when, as it were, one of our guys on our channel goes and says something that vaguely resembles what we believe, it’s okay?

    So what’s the rubric here? Are we just saluting those who say things we agree with? Or are we saluting those people in the media who speak their minds plainly, no matter the consequence? I’ll write down my answer on a piece of paper, and then you tell me yours.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Thanks, Dr. Veith (@10).

    But where is the talk of bias? Were a “liberal” “mainstream” journalist to spout personal views that opposed those held by commenters here, I seriously anyone here would “salute” him — instead, I’m fairly certain we’d hear so much about bias, bias, bias.

    But when, as it were, one of our guys on our channel goes and says something that vaguely resembles what we believe, it’s okay?

    So what’s the rubric here? Are we just saluting those who say things we agree with? Or are we saluting those people in the media who speak their minds plainly, no matter the consequence? I’ll write down my answer on a piece of paper, and then you tell me yours.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 10: Britt Hume made his statement on an opinion segment. He is entitled to his opinion, and to state it. I never object to that, by a journalist of any stripe. I may take issue with the opinion, but not the fact that he/she stated it. A different matter entirely is the infusion of a journalist’s opinion into a so-called straight news story, or into his/her editorial judgment as to what is newsworthy in “straight” news reporting.

    Actually, I recognize that straight news reporters all have opinions, and cannot help but to assert them in reporting the news, at least when it comes to their editorial judgment. So the insistence of the MSM in declaring their news reports to be “objective” is what really galls me, particularly since the journalism field is overwhelmingly populated by liberals. My proposed solution — declare your biases up front, and then we the news consumer will sort out your reporting accordingly. An ideologically diversified newsroom would help too.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 10: Britt Hume made his statement on an opinion segment. He is entitled to his opinion, and to state it. I never object to that, by a journalist of any stripe. I may take issue with the opinion, but not the fact that he/she stated it. A different matter entirely is the infusion of a journalist’s opinion into a so-called straight news story, or into his/her editorial judgment as to what is newsworthy in “straight” news reporting.

    Actually, I recognize that straight news reporters all have opinions, and cannot help but to assert them in reporting the news, at least when it comes to their editorial judgment. So the insistence of the MSM in declaring their news reports to be “objective” is what really galls me, particularly since the journalism field is overwhelmingly populated by liberals. My proposed solution — declare your biases up front, and then we the news consumer will sort out your reporting accordingly. An ideologically diversified newsroom would help too.

  • Ian in Winnipeg

    No wonder media people with Christian convictions keep quiet. When they come out with something, all the Christians snipe at them! They are belittled because they went to certain schools or work for certain networks; their motives questioned; their words examined under a microscope.

    What have all your commentors done to encourage Tiger Woods to repent and seek counsel from a Christian? I contacted one of the sports ministries to see if there was someone who had a connection who could bring Tiger Woods the word of God’s Law and the comfort of the Gospel.

    Stop the second-guessing and pray for the man!

  • Ian in Winnipeg

    No wonder media people with Christian convictions keep quiet. When they come out with something, all the Christians snipe at them! They are belittled because they went to certain schools or work for certain networks; their motives questioned; their words examined under a microscope.

    What have all your commentors done to encourage Tiger Woods to repent and seek counsel from a Christian? I contacted one of the sports ministries to see if there was someone who had a connection who could bring Tiger Woods the word of God’s Law and the comfort of the Gospel.

    Stop the second-guessing and pray for the man!

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don (@13), based on what do you call this an “opinion segment”? Is your assertion that the entire Fox News Sunday show “opinion”? Is it labeled as such somewhere? From what I’ve seen of it, it looks like a run-down of the week’s news, with pundits weighing in. It’s not always clear if pundits are presented as “opinion” or “experts”.

    Also, I find it fascinating that you object to any person with “opinions” calling their writing “objective” — by your logic, nothing is objective. Do you just object to the word in any context whatsoever? Are you capable of being objective, in spite of the fact that you have opinions?

    “An ideologically diversified newsroom would help too.” The market has given us the newsroom we want, has it not?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don (@13), based on what do you call this an “opinion segment”? Is your assertion that the entire Fox News Sunday show “opinion”? Is it labeled as such somewhere? From what I’ve seen of it, it looks like a run-down of the week’s news, with pundits weighing in. It’s not always clear if pundits are presented as “opinion” or “experts”.

    Also, I find it fascinating that you object to any person with “opinions” calling their writing “objective” — by your logic, nothing is objective. Do you just object to the word in any context whatsoever? Are you capable of being objective, in spite of the fact that you have opinions?

    “An ideologically diversified newsroom would help too.” The market has given us the newsroom we want, has it not?

  • http://www.geneveith.com geneveith

    tODD @12: “one of our guys on our channel goes and says something that vaguely resembles what we believe, it’s okay?” Uh, yes, this is called agreeing with him. Why wouldn’t it be okay to agree with someone we agree with?

    You urge us instead to salute people who speak their minds without regard to the consequences. But what Brit Hume said is a rarity even at FOX. I don’t see what is especially conservative about it. It is surely a risky thing to say in our multi-religious culture of tolerance to say that Tiger’s Buddhist beliefs won’t help him, but Christianity will. Hume is violating the canons of religious tolerance that even FOX News generally at least pays lip service to.

    I know you don’t think the mainstream media is biased in a liberal direction. But you do believe that FOX is biased in a conservative direction, right? You even get indignant about it.

    If there exists a conservative media, don’t you think it is possible to have a liberal media? Are you just saying that the New York Times, the networks, MSNBC, etc., are not that way? Is there any outlet that you do think has a liberal bias?

  • http://www.geneveith.com geneveith

    tODD @12: “one of our guys on our channel goes and says something that vaguely resembles what we believe, it’s okay?” Uh, yes, this is called agreeing with him. Why wouldn’t it be okay to agree with someone we agree with?

    You urge us instead to salute people who speak their minds without regard to the consequences. But what Brit Hume said is a rarity even at FOX. I don’t see what is especially conservative about it. It is surely a risky thing to say in our multi-religious culture of tolerance to say that Tiger’s Buddhist beliefs won’t help him, but Christianity will. Hume is violating the canons of religious tolerance that even FOX News generally at least pays lip service to.

    I know you don’t think the mainstream media is biased in a liberal direction. But you do believe that FOX is biased in a conservative direction, right? You even get indignant about it.

    If there exists a conservative media, don’t you think it is possible to have a liberal media? Are you just saying that the New York Times, the networks, MSNBC, etc., are not that way? Is there any outlet that you do think has a liberal bias?

  • DonS

    tODD — well, it’s obvious that you don’t watch Fox News. Fox News Sunday is an opinion show, much like Face the Nation or Meet the Press. It is hosted by Chris Wallace. Two segments of the show feature a panel of the “Fox All Stars”, which include media figures of both right and left-leaning persuasion, who opine on the news of the day. On Fox News Sunday, Brit Hume often sits on that panel. The All Stars panel also appears on the 6 PM (ET) news show “Special Report with Brett Baier” (formerly Britt Hume). The segments with the All Star panel are clearly opinion segments. That is the context in which Britt Hume’s opinion was delivered.

    I don’t object to journalists calling their reporting objective. I understand that journalists can write an opinion piece or a straight news piece, and that the straight news piece, to be credible, should be written in a journalistic objective style, using neutral language and fairly presenting both sides of the story. BUT, any reasonable journalist should recognize that they do have a point of view, and it will inevitably color their reporting. It has to. You can’t relate to sources with whom you personally disagree in the same way as you do those with whom you agree, and you are always going to have more and better sources on your side of the aisle than the other. I would much better know a good, reasonable and credible source in the conservative Christian community than I would in the liberal atheist community. It’s just fact. If a newsroom is filled with journalists and editors of various ideological stripes, they serve as checks and balances on one another. A liberal journalist attempting to write a story on a rift in the Republican party, for example, could consult with a conservative journalist or editor to ensure that his sources were reasonable and representative. This would avoid the caricatures we always get in journalism where the writer runs to a Jerry Falwell or a Pat Robertson to get the conservative Christian’s viewpoint. If you don’t want to be fair in populating your newsroom, then make sure people know that, although you are endeavoring to be fair, you are a liberal paper. Full disclosure. They do this in the UK, and it was historically done in the U.S.

  • DonS

    tODD — well, it’s obvious that you don’t watch Fox News. Fox News Sunday is an opinion show, much like Face the Nation or Meet the Press. It is hosted by Chris Wallace. Two segments of the show feature a panel of the “Fox All Stars”, which include media figures of both right and left-leaning persuasion, who opine on the news of the day. On Fox News Sunday, Brit Hume often sits on that panel. The All Stars panel also appears on the 6 PM (ET) news show “Special Report with Brett Baier” (formerly Britt Hume). The segments with the All Star panel are clearly opinion segments. That is the context in which Britt Hume’s opinion was delivered.

    I don’t object to journalists calling their reporting objective. I understand that journalists can write an opinion piece or a straight news piece, and that the straight news piece, to be credible, should be written in a journalistic objective style, using neutral language and fairly presenting both sides of the story. BUT, any reasonable journalist should recognize that they do have a point of view, and it will inevitably color their reporting. It has to. You can’t relate to sources with whom you personally disagree in the same way as you do those with whom you agree, and you are always going to have more and better sources on your side of the aisle than the other. I would much better know a good, reasonable and credible source in the conservative Christian community than I would in the liberal atheist community. It’s just fact. If a newsroom is filled with journalists and editors of various ideological stripes, they serve as checks and balances on one another. A liberal journalist attempting to write a story on a rift in the Republican party, for example, could consult with a conservative journalist or editor to ensure that his sources were reasonable and representative. This would avoid the caricatures we always get in journalism where the writer runs to a Jerry Falwell or a Pat Robertson to get the conservative Christian’s viewpoint. If you don’t want to be fair in populating your newsroom, then make sure people know that, although you are endeavoring to be fair, you are a liberal paper. Full disclosure. They do this in the UK, and it was historically done in the U.S.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 16: Further to my post above, it always strikes me funny how liberals consider Fox News to be right wing, even though Fox only runs opinion shows in the evening and early morning (same as MSNBC). Why is the Washington Post, with its overwhelmingly liberal newsroom (this is freely admitted by insider liberals such as Evan Thomas (Newsweek editor and Deborah Howell (former ombudsman)) considered capable by liberals of delivering straight, objective news, but Fox News is not? Liberals have the idea that liberals can be objective, but conservatives are always biased. On the other hand, I think, though Fox News attempts to objectively report the news, its straight news programs tend to be conservative. Similarly, MSNBC leans left. As do CNN, the Washington Post, the NY Times (some leans are harder than others), ABC News, etc. Nothing wrong with that. But, let’s acknowledge it and account for it, on both sides.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 16: Further to my post above, it always strikes me funny how liberals consider Fox News to be right wing, even though Fox only runs opinion shows in the evening and early morning (same as MSNBC). Why is the Washington Post, with its overwhelmingly liberal newsroom (this is freely admitted by insider liberals such as Evan Thomas (Newsweek editor and Deborah Howell (former ombudsman)) considered capable by liberals of delivering straight, objective news, but Fox News is not? Liberals have the idea that liberals can be objective, but conservatives are always biased. On the other hand, I think, though Fox News attempts to objectively report the news, its straight news programs tend to be conservative. Similarly, MSNBC leans left. As do CNN, the Washington Post, the NY Times (some leans are harder than others), ABC News, etc. Nothing wrong with that. But, let’s acknowledge it and account for it, on both sides.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Veith (@16), you noted, “this is called agreeing with him. Why wouldn’t it be okay to agree with someone we agree with?” I didn’t say it was wrong, but you do answer my question (@12): “Are we just saluting those who say things we agree with? Or are we saluting those people in the media who speak their minds plainly, no matter the consequence?”

    “It is surely a risky thing to say in our multi-religious culture of tolerance to say that Tiger’s Buddhist beliefs won’t help him, but Christianity will.” Agreed, but you’ve removed his comment from its context. Would you argue that it would be similarly “risky” to make such a statement in my church? Of course not, because everyone there would almost certainly agree. Now, Fox News isn’t my church (though others might not be able to make that claim ;) ), but given its overall conservative (and I use that word in its broadest sense: politics, culture, religion) bent that no one seems to deny, I’d say that it was a safer place to say such a thing than, oh, Maddow’s show.

    “But you do believe that FOX is biased in a conservative direction, right?” If I had to pick a single direction for the entire network, sure, or based on what I have heard about top-down memos to reporters. I don’t think it’s true for all the shows on Fox, or at least all the reporters. Shepard Smith, at least in clips I’ve seen online (I don’t have cable), doesn’t seem all that conservatively biased.

    “If there exists a conservative media, don’t you think it is possible to have a liberal media?” Yes, of course. I don’t think I have ever objected to the possibility of its existence. I usually object to the caricature of all news that isn’t from Fox News (or the Washington Times, or whatever that new one that’s replacing the ailing Washington Times, or the New York Post, or Judith Miller, or Nedra Pickler, or, or, or) is necessarily liberally biased.

    “Are you just saying that the New York Times, the networks, MSNBC, etc., are not that way?” Right. At least, not in the way that is usually argued here. Are there instances of bad reporting that is unfair to something that could be called “conservative” in those media? Yes. Is it across the board, consistent, and systemic? Hardly. I remember Clinton and Lewinsky. How Gore was treated in 2000. How the media didn’t want to ask too many questions after 9/11 and in the run-up to Iraq. All that could easily be labeled conservative bias — and has never been accepted by anyone here as evidence of such.

    “Is there any outlet that you do think has a liberal bias?” I’m not a consistent consumer of any one media outlet — I pick up things on the Web, and that’s about all I do. So while I’ve seen many stories that to me prove false any claims of monolithic bias, I’m not in as good a position to assert claims of the same. If I had to pick, I’d go with MSNBC, but that’s just because of Olbermann and Maddow, and I don’t know if their shows are presented as opinion or actual news (again, I only see clips). I have no idea what else is on MSNBC. Isn’t Joe Scarborough on there? Wouldn’t that prove false a claim of their consistent liberal bias?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Veith (@16), you noted, “this is called agreeing with him. Why wouldn’t it be okay to agree with someone we agree with?” I didn’t say it was wrong, but you do answer my question (@12): “Are we just saluting those who say things we agree with? Or are we saluting those people in the media who speak their minds plainly, no matter the consequence?”

    “It is surely a risky thing to say in our multi-religious culture of tolerance to say that Tiger’s Buddhist beliefs won’t help him, but Christianity will.” Agreed, but you’ve removed his comment from its context. Would you argue that it would be similarly “risky” to make such a statement in my church? Of course not, because everyone there would almost certainly agree. Now, Fox News isn’t my church (though others might not be able to make that claim ;) ), but given its overall conservative (and I use that word in its broadest sense: politics, culture, religion) bent that no one seems to deny, I’d say that it was a safer place to say such a thing than, oh, Maddow’s show.

    “But you do believe that FOX is biased in a conservative direction, right?” If I had to pick a single direction for the entire network, sure, or based on what I have heard about top-down memos to reporters. I don’t think it’s true for all the shows on Fox, or at least all the reporters. Shepard Smith, at least in clips I’ve seen online (I don’t have cable), doesn’t seem all that conservatively biased.

    “If there exists a conservative media, don’t you think it is possible to have a liberal media?” Yes, of course. I don’t think I have ever objected to the possibility of its existence. I usually object to the caricature of all news that isn’t from Fox News (or the Washington Times, or whatever that new one that’s replacing the ailing Washington Times, or the New York Post, or Judith Miller, or Nedra Pickler, or, or, or) is necessarily liberally biased.

    “Are you just saying that the New York Times, the networks, MSNBC, etc., are not that way?” Right. At least, not in the way that is usually argued here. Are there instances of bad reporting that is unfair to something that could be called “conservative” in those media? Yes. Is it across the board, consistent, and systemic? Hardly. I remember Clinton and Lewinsky. How Gore was treated in 2000. How the media didn’t want to ask too many questions after 9/11 and in the run-up to Iraq. All that could easily be labeled conservative bias — and has never been accepted by anyone here as evidence of such.

    “Is there any outlet that you do think has a liberal bias?” I’m not a consistent consumer of any one media outlet — I pick up things on the Web, and that’s about all I do. So while I’ve seen many stories that to me prove false any claims of monolithic bias, I’m not in as good a position to assert claims of the same. If I had to pick, I’d go with MSNBC, but that’s just because of Olbermann and Maddow, and I don’t know if their shows are presented as opinion or actual news (again, I only see clips). I have no idea what else is on MSNBC. Isn’t Joe Scarborough on there? Wouldn’t that prove false a claim of their consistent liberal bias?

  • Dan Kempin

    tODD, #12,

    “I’ll write down my answer on a piece of paper . . .”

    Paper? I thought we were communicating in the cyber-techno-blogo-sphere. I’m not sure I even remember how to write on paper anymore. Why didn’t anyone tell me paper was back “in?”

    You’re so progressively retro.

  • Dan Kempin

    tODD, #12,

    “I’ll write down my answer on a piece of paper . . .”

    Paper? I thought we were communicating in the cyber-techno-blogo-sphere. I’m not sure I even remember how to write on paper anymore. Why didn’t anyone tell me paper was back “in?”

    You’re so progressively retro.

  • Mark

    Tonight I watched O’Reilly interview Brit Hume about his comments on Fox News Sunday regarding Mr. Woods. Mr. Hume became more specific. He said that on Sunday he talked about the “Christianity”, he really is hoping for Mr. Wood’s “true conversion” to “Jesus Christ”. He then commented that when the Name is just mentioned in the media, then, “all hell breaks loose”. He found that difficult to understand, but “The Bible even speaks of it”(!) I think this is must-see TV on You Tube when it is posted.

    I certainly think this is not mere “private opinion” but Mr. Hume’s public faith, as faith is. And so for instance, if actors can espouse their Scientologist faith publically on TV,then why not… The only faith that is not condoned to be public is faith in Jesus Christ. Why? The Lord is actually real, unlike the false gods,and as Mr. Hume said tonight: Jesus Christ changes people from the inside out, and that is the last thing the devil wants.

  • Mark

    Tonight I watched O’Reilly interview Brit Hume about his comments on Fox News Sunday regarding Mr. Woods. Mr. Hume became more specific. He said that on Sunday he talked about the “Christianity”, he really is hoping for Mr. Wood’s “true conversion” to “Jesus Christ”. He then commented that when the Name is just mentioned in the media, then, “all hell breaks loose”. He found that difficult to understand, but “The Bible even speaks of it”(!) I think this is must-see TV on You Tube when it is posted.

    I certainly think this is not mere “private opinion” but Mr. Hume’s public faith, as faith is. And so for instance, if actors can espouse their Scientologist faith publically on TV,then why not… The only faith that is not condoned to be public is faith in Jesus Christ. Why? The Lord is actually real, unlike the false gods,and as Mr. Hume said tonight: Jesus Christ changes people from the inside out, and that is the last thing the devil wants.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Veith makes a key point that Brit Hume’s statement is remarkable even for FOX, a network not known for any religious viewpoint and decadent with some of its entertainment shows.

    The tone of Hume’s statement is charitable and very caring of Tiger Wood’s terrible plight of probably having lost his family. Would that more Christians would speak out with such compassion and depth.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Veith makes a key point that Brit Hume’s statement is remarkable even for FOX, a network not known for any religious viewpoint and decadent with some of its entertainment shows.

    The tone of Hume’s statement is charitable and very caring of Tiger Wood’s terrible plight of probably having lost his family. Would that more Christians would speak out with such compassion and depth.

  • CRB

    The bottom line is this: Will God’s Word
    accomplish what He intends in Wood’s life?
    Whether one chooses to tear apart Hume’s
    comments or not is BESIDES the point!
    What matters is that Woods is brought to
    repentance and to faith in Christ. If not,
    then the alternative will be much more final in his (eternal) destiny than just losing is wife and family, no?!

  • CRB

    The bottom line is this: Will God’s Word
    accomplish what He intends in Wood’s life?
    Whether one chooses to tear apart Hume’s
    comments or not is BESIDES the point!
    What matters is that Woods is brought to
    repentance and to faith in Christ. If not,
    then the alternative will be much more final in his (eternal) destiny than just losing is wife and family, no?!

  • CRB

    Also, I am proud of Hume who speaks about
    the true faith in Christ, rather than
    O’Reilly who espouses some, “christian
    philosphy” belief. How would O’Reilly’s
    “faith” have ANY impact on Wood’s sins?!
    All that would do is make him into an
    adulterer who happens to be a good guy
    and does good works so that God will
    reward him for deeds done! And how much
    “penance” would be sufficient for Tiger
    to get into heaven, eh?!

  • CRB

    Also, I am proud of Hume who speaks about
    the true faith in Christ, rather than
    O’Reilly who espouses some, “christian
    philosphy” belief. How would O’Reilly’s
    “faith” have ANY impact on Wood’s sins?!
    All that would do is make him into an
    adulterer who happens to be a good guy
    and does good works so that God will
    reward him for deeds done! And how much
    “penance” would be sufficient for Tiger
    to get into heaven, eh?!

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don (@17), I’ve admitted that I don’t watch any cable network beyond what clips I find online, but you still haven’t answered my question of how it is that Fox News identifies Fox News Sunday as an “opinion show”, not to be confused with their other shows where the same personalities can/could be found talking about news. Here’s how newspapers do it: they dedicate a page or more to opinion, typically calling it “Opinion”. How does Fox label this show? I will say, though, that I’m glad to know that you wouldn’t object the appearance of a journalist/reporter you consider liberal on such a show, espousing his own personal liberal beliefs. I would’ve guessed otherwise.

    And, frankly, I’m not sure which Don to believe: “the insistence of the MSM in declaring their news reports to be ‘objective’ is what really galls me” (@13), or “I don’t object to journalists calling their reporting objective” (@17).

    “If you don’t want to be fair in populating your newsroom …” Don, here’s where you pony up evidence that whatever media entity you’re accusing here is unfair in their hiring practices.

    “… then make sure people know that, although you are endeavoring to be fair, you are a liberal paper. Full disclosure.” Yeah, except that, according to you, you’ve already heard all the evidence you need to already come to this conclusion, and yet it’s still not enough for you. According to you, the monolithic media has itself already owned up to not being fair, and yet that doesn’t count.

    “Why is the Washington Post … considered capable by liberals of delivering straight, objective news, but Fox News is not?” Unfortunately, I can’t answer this, because it refers to some generic liberal that isn’t me. Fox News is capable of being objective. As is the Washington Post. I’ll agree to both — but I don’t get the impression that you will.

    “Liberals have the idea that liberals can be objective, but conservatives are always biased.” Um, right back atcha. Conservatives have the idea that conservatives can be objective, but liberals are always biased. I mean, it’s spelled out in your comments in this thread!

    But by assigning simple (and simplistic) labels such as “the NY Times leans left”, you miss the point that several New York Times reporters were conservatively biased. And it doesn’t have to be just an entire reporter’s output. One story from an otherwise liberally biased reporter can be conservatively biased. Because every story is different! But your ham-fisted pigeonholing misses such nuance.

    By the way, I’m still waiting for Fox “fair and balanced” News to admit to its bias institutionally.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don (@17), I’ve admitted that I don’t watch any cable network beyond what clips I find online, but you still haven’t answered my question of how it is that Fox News identifies Fox News Sunday as an “opinion show”, not to be confused with their other shows where the same personalities can/could be found talking about news. Here’s how newspapers do it: they dedicate a page or more to opinion, typically calling it “Opinion”. How does Fox label this show? I will say, though, that I’m glad to know that you wouldn’t object the appearance of a journalist/reporter you consider liberal on such a show, espousing his own personal liberal beliefs. I would’ve guessed otherwise.

    And, frankly, I’m not sure which Don to believe: “the insistence of the MSM in declaring their news reports to be ‘objective’ is what really galls me” (@13), or “I don’t object to journalists calling their reporting objective” (@17).

    “If you don’t want to be fair in populating your newsroom …” Don, here’s where you pony up evidence that whatever media entity you’re accusing here is unfair in their hiring practices.

    “… then make sure people know that, although you are endeavoring to be fair, you are a liberal paper. Full disclosure.” Yeah, except that, according to you, you’ve already heard all the evidence you need to already come to this conclusion, and yet it’s still not enough for you. According to you, the monolithic media has itself already owned up to not being fair, and yet that doesn’t count.

    “Why is the Washington Post … considered capable by liberals of delivering straight, objective news, but Fox News is not?” Unfortunately, I can’t answer this, because it refers to some generic liberal that isn’t me. Fox News is capable of being objective. As is the Washington Post. I’ll agree to both — but I don’t get the impression that you will.

    “Liberals have the idea that liberals can be objective, but conservatives are always biased.” Um, right back atcha. Conservatives have the idea that conservatives can be objective, but liberals are always biased. I mean, it’s spelled out in your comments in this thread!

    But by assigning simple (and simplistic) labels such as “the NY Times leans left”, you miss the point that several New York Times reporters were conservatively biased. And it doesn’t have to be just an entire reporter’s output. One story from an otherwise liberally biased reporter can be conservatively biased. Because every story is different! But your ham-fisted pigeonholing misses such nuance.

    By the way, I’m still waiting for Fox “fair and balanced” News to admit to its bias institutionally.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Dan (@20). You know how we Gen Xers can be. Postmodern and whatnot, paper and all. I’ll write it with a fountain pen, even. Added bonus: you can tell if I change my answer, an advantage not afforded in the technosphere, unless I’m using Microsoft Word, which I assure you I am not.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Dan (@20). You know how we Gen Xers can be. Postmodern and whatnot, paper and all. I’ll write it with a fountain pen, even. Added bonus: you can tell if I change my answer, an advantage not afforded in the technosphere, unless I’m using Microsoft Word, which I assure you I am not.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 25: You admit that you don’t watch the show, then you wonder how Fox News identifies Fox News Sunday as an opinion show? Watch it, and you’ll know. The entire point of the show is to elicit opinion from national political leaders, then media figures discuss those interviews and other news of the day, layering in their personal opinions. It is no different than “Face the Nation”, “Meet the Press”, and “This Week with George (Clinton) Stephanoupoulous”. Like I said, I am always fine with people expressing their opinions. I just hate it when they pompously insist that they are unbiased.

    I don’t understand your “unfair hiring practices” point. No one accused news organizations of hiring unfairly. I just don’t think they try very hard to balance their newsrooms ideologically. Every published study ever done on the subject of media bias agrees with that assessment. The newsrooms of MSM are overwhelmingly liberal. That is indisputable. They would produce a better and more reliable product if that weren’t so.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 25: You admit that you don’t watch the show, then you wonder how Fox News identifies Fox News Sunday as an opinion show? Watch it, and you’ll know. The entire point of the show is to elicit opinion from national political leaders, then media figures discuss those interviews and other news of the day, layering in their personal opinions. It is no different than “Face the Nation”, “Meet the Press”, and “This Week with George (Clinton) Stephanoupoulous”. Like I said, I am always fine with people expressing their opinions. I just hate it when they pompously insist that they are unbiased.

    I don’t understand your “unfair hiring practices” point. No one accused news organizations of hiring unfairly. I just don’t think they try very hard to balance their newsrooms ideologically. Every published study ever done on the subject of media bias agrees with that assessment. The newsrooms of MSM are overwhelmingly liberal. That is indisputable. They would produce a better and more reliable product if that weren’t so.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Again, Don, you have to pick a side. Is it “I just hate it when they pompously insist that they are unbiased” (@27), or is it “I don’t object to journalists calling their reporting objective” (@17)?

    Are you capable of being objective, Don?

    You also said, “No one accused news organizations of hiring unfairly.” Okay, then, Don, explain what you meant when you said (@17), “If you don’t want to be fair in populating your newsroom, then make sure people know that, although you are endeavoring to be fair, you are a liberal paper” (emphasis added).

    “The newsrooms of MSM are overwhelmingly liberal. … They would produce a better and more reliable product if that weren’t so.” Criminy, Don. I can’t believe you complained (@17) that “Liberals have the idea that liberals can be objective, but conservatives are always biased.” Do you see how you jump — jump, mind you! — from your assertion that there are a disproportionate number of liberals in media to your conclusion that they therefore cannot produce a “reliable product”. You honestly don’t believe that liberals can be objective, do you? And yet you complained about the very same thing in the opposite direction.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Again, Don, you have to pick a side. Is it “I just hate it when they pompously insist that they are unbiased” (@27), or is it “I don’t object to journalists calling their reporting objective” (@17)?

    Are you capable of being objective, Don?

    You also said, “No one accused news organizations of hiring unfairly.” Okay, then, Don, explain what you meant when you said (@17), “If you don’t want to be fair in populating your newsroom, then make sure people know that, although you are endeavoring to be fair, you are a liberal paper” (emphasis added).

    “The newsrooms of MSM are overwhelmingly liberal. … They would produce a better and more reliable product if that weren’t so.” Criminy, Don. I can’t believe you complained (@17) that “Liberals have the idea that liberals can be objective, but conservatives are always biased.” Do you see how you jump — jump, mind you! — from your assertion that there are a disproportionate number of liberals in media to your conclusion that they therefore cannot produce a “reliable product”. You honestly don’t believe that liberals can be objective, do you? And yet you complained about the very same thing in the opposite direction.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 28: I am not entirely objective. Nor are you. Nor is any other human being alive. We all have our biases and our backgrounds which color our thinking and our reporting. We can report in the objective style, however, by attempting to present both sides of a story and by using neutral terminology. You are mixing the two senses of the word “objective” up, and attempting to use them interchangeably. Similarly, in your “gotcha” style of commenting, you are mixing up the use of “fair” in the sense of truly wanting to produce as unbiased a news product as possible with the use of “unfair” in the sense of the legal term “unfair hiring practices”, which refers to illegal discrimination based on defined protected classes of applicants for employment.

    No, I don’t believe that a newsroom populated overwhelmingly by liberals is capable of producing a truly objective news product. They can report in the journalistic objective style, but the product won’t be truly objective. Similarly, a newsroom populated overwhelmingly by conservatives (now, we are talking about hypotheticals) could not produce a truly objective news product. The ideal newsroom would have checks and balances — folks of various ideologies that would ensure that work product would not go out without fairly presenting all sides of the issue. I don’t think this is rocket science.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 28: I am not entirely objective. Nor are you. Nor is any other human being alive. We all have our biases and our backgrounds which color our thinking and our reporting. We can report in the objective style, however, by attempting to present both sides of a story and by using neutral terminology. You are mixing the two senses of the word “objective” up, and attempting to use them interchangeably. Similarly, in your “gotcha” style of commenting, you are mixing up the use of “fair” in the sense of truly wanting to produce as unbiased a news product as possible with the use of “unfair” in the sense of the legal term “unfair hiring practices”, which refers to illegal discrimination based on defined protected classes of applicants for employment.

    No, I don’t believe that a newsroom populated overwhelmingly by liberals is capable of producing a truly objective news product. They can report in the journalistic objective style, but the product won’t be truly objective. Similarly, a newsroom populated overwhelmingly by conservatives (now, we are talking about hypotheticals) could not produce a truly objective news product. The ideal newsroom would have checks and balances — folks of various ideologies that would ensure that work product would not go out without fairly presenting all sides of the issue. I don’t think this is rocket science.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don (@29), I honestly have no idea what the “two senses of the word ‘objective’” are. Can you define them for me? Regardless, it’s clear that by replying that “I am not entirely objective. Nor are you. Nor is any other human being alive,” you have defined “objectivity” into the realm of meaninglessness. When we speak of objectivity in journalism, we are not talking about a complete lack of opinions, so please don’t pretend that that is the standard here. Is that what your “two senses” are: the way it’s used by actual people and the unattainable, Platonic ideal that you’re also using?

    Also, by referring to “both sides of a story”, you’re definitely showing your own bias.

    And what you call “gotcha” style, I call “trying to understand you by your own words”. To-may-to, to-mah-to. I asked you what your statement meant. You haven’t really answered.

    “A newsroom populated overwhelmingly by conservatives (now, we are talking about hypotheticals)” … Are you being intentionally obtuse? What, the New York Post‘s newsroom is majority liberal? And the Washington Times? And Fox News? Really?

    “The ideal newsroom would have checks and balances — folks of various ideologies that would ensure that work product would not go out without fairly presenting all sides of the issue.” Yes, well, seeing as the market has failed in this regard, maybe we could start a government-enforced affirmative action program to ensure fairness. What percentage of conservative/liberal balance would be acceptable to you, capable of producing objective journalism, or at least “reporting in the journalistic objective style”, whatever that means?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don (@29), I honestly have no idea what the “two senses of the word ‘objective’” are. Can you define them for me? Regardless, it’s clear that by replying that “I am not entirely objective. Nor are you. Nor is any other human being alive,” you have defined “objectivity” into the realm of meaninglessness. When we speak of objectivity in journalism, we are not talking about a complete lack of opinions, so please don’t pretend that that is the standard here. Is that what your “two senses” are: the way it’s used by actual people and the unattainable, Platonic ideal that you’re also using?

    Also, by referring to “both sides of a story”, you’re definitely showing your own bias.

    And what you call “gotcha” style, I call “trying to understand you by your own words”. To-may-to, to-mah-to. I asked you what your statement meant. You haven’t really answered.

    “A newsroom populated overwhelmingly by conservatives (now, we are talking about hypotheticals)” … Are you being intentionally obtuse? What, the New York Post‘s newsroom is majority liberal? And the Washington Times? And Fox News? Really?

    “The ideal newsroom would have checks and balances — folks of various ideologies that would ensure that work product would not go out without fairly presenting all sides of the issue.” Yes, well, seeing as the market has failed in this regard, maybe we could start a government-enforced affirmative action program to ensure fairness. What percentage of conservative/liberal balance would be acceptable to you, capable of producing objective journalism, or at least “reporting in the journalistic objective style”, whatever that means?

  • DonS

    tODD @ 30:

    I think I have already defined these terms, but let me try one last time. I will do so in the context of politics (liberal vs. conservative), though, of course the same terms apply in other contexts, such as religion:

    1. objective — truly, honestly, and completely explaining both sides of a news story, as well as ensuring that issues of interest to both liberals and conservatives are equally reported.

    2. objective — a journalistic style which entails reporting a news story using neutral terms and which attempts to include the viewpoints of all parties having involvement in the story.

    I do not dispute that most news organizations attempt, and often succeed, to report objectively as defined in the second definition. However, they are not very good at meeting the first definition. To be good at meeting the first definition, you have to have access to different points of view within your own newsroom. The presentation of news needs to be a collaboration of the efforts of those of different ideological perspectives. You say that “the market has failed” in this regard. Well, no it hasn’t. The fact that the MSM is so tilted ideologically has helped to drive the development of alternatives such as Fox News and Internet aggregation sites, as well as news and commentary blogs. Because of this, MSM is bleeding money and audience. This will ultimately force change, in my opinion, toward the balance that will re-vitalize the industry. Also, thanks to institutions like PHC, a new generation of conservative journalists is being born, which helps to balance all of the liberals who emanate from the historical journalism institutions.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 30:

    I think I have already defined these terms, but let me try one last time. I will do so in the context of politics (liberal vs. conservative), though, of course the same terms apply in other contexts, such as religion:

    1. objective — truly, honestly, and completely explaining both sides of a news story, as well as ensuring that issues of interest to both liberals and conservatives are equally reported.

    2. objective — a journalistic style which entails reporting a news story using neutral terms and which attempts to include the viewpoints of all parties having involvement in the story.

    I do not dispute that most news organizations attempt, and often succeed, to report objectively as defined in the second definition. However, they are not very good at meeting the first definition. To be good at meeting the first definition, you have to have access to different points of view within your own newsroom. The presentation of news needs to be a collaboration of the efforts of those of different ideological perspectives. You say that “the market has failed” in this regard. Well, no it hasn’t. The fact that the MSM is so tilted ideologically has helped to drive the development of alternatives such as Fox News and Internet aggregation sites, as well as news and commentary blogs. Because of this, MSM is bleeding money and audience. This will ultimately force change, in my opinion, toward the balance that will re-vitalize the industry. Also, thanks to institutions like PHC, a new generation of conservative journalists is being born, which helps to balance all of the liberals who emanate from the historical journalism institutions.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don (@31), I’m pretty certain no story would meet your first definition of “objective”, but if you think it’s possible, send me a link to an example.

    But, for instance, you earlier complained about “the caricatures we always get in journalism where the writer runs to a Jerry Falwell or a Pat Robertson to get the conservative Christian’s viewpoint,” as if that were somehow invalid and a product of liberal bias. Of course, at the very least, fans of Falwell and Robertson (who are not few in number and not lacking influence in the world of [politically] conservative Christianity), would disagree with you. And so we see that your continued reference to “both” sides of the story is odd, if not even two people from the side of conservative Christianity can agree on such a journalistic practice. Any article that attempted to tell the story such that all sides felt equally, fairly represented would either be so unwieldy as to be unreadable, or, more likely, couldn’t be written in the first place. Such is the nature of people who disagree with each other, living in a world where people are not omniscient.

    “You say that ‘the market has failed’ in this regard. Well, no it hasn’t.” Then what are you so often complaining about, if the market has provided what is desired by conservatives?

    You then talk of “Internet aggregation sites, as well as news and commentary blogs,” nearly all of which depend very much on MSM sites for their news and their links. Here’s a fun exercise: try reading the Drudge Report without clicking on a link to a MSM source. (Back when I used to read Drudge more regularly, his own reporting was infrequent, poorly written, and quite often flat-out wrong.) Or try reading your favorite commentary blogs, but only those entries that do not link to MSM sites or otherwise refer to stories based on their reporting. If (or when) the MSM truly dies, these sites will die along with them.

    “Because of this, MSM is bleeding money and audience.” Your own ideological blinders have brought you to this conclusion, which completely fails to explain why, for example, the Washington Times is also bleeding money and audience. The New York Post also lost 30% of its circulation in 2.5 years. How can you explain that merely with ideological claims? You can’t.

    The fact is that most newspaper models are, or at least recently were, quite broken, dependent on classified money that Craigslist completely wiped out, as well as a news model that was rendered largely pointless by widely — and freely — available national wire news.

    But you can blame it all on politics, if you want. It just wouldn’t be very objective of you.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don (@31), I’m pretty certain no story would meet your first definition of “objective”, but if you think it’s possible, send me a link to an example.

    But, for instance, you earlier complained about “the caricatures we always get in journalism where the writer runs to a Jerry Falwell or a Pat Robertson to get the conservative Christian’s viewpoint,” as if that were somehow invalid and a product of liberal bias. Of course, at the very least, fans of Falwell and Robertson (who are not few in number and not lacking influence in the world of [politically] conservative Christianity), would disagree with you. And so we see that your continued reference to “both” sides of the story is odd, if not even two people from the side of conservative Christianity can agree on such a journalistic practice. Any article that attempted to tell the story such that all sides felt equally, fairly represented would either be so unwieldy as to be unreadable, or, more likely, couldn’t be written in the first place. Such is the nature of people who disagree with each other, living in a world where people are not omniscient.

    “You say that ‘the market has failed’ in this regard. Well, no it hasn’t.” Then what are you so often complaining about, if the market has provided what is desired by conservatives?

    You then talk of “Internet aggregation sites, as well as news and commentary blogs,” nearly all of which depend very much on MSM sites for their news and their links. Here’s a fun exercise: try reading the Drudge Report without clicking on a link to a MSM source. (Back when I used to read Drudge more regularly, his own reporting was infrequent, poorly written, and quite often flat-out wrong.) Or try reading your favorite commentary blogs, but only those entries that do not link to MSM sites or otherwise refer to stories based on their reporting. If (or when) the MSM truly dies, these sites will die along with them.

    “Because of this, MSM is bleeding money and audience.” Your own ideological blinders have brought you to this conclusion, which completely fails to explain why, for example, the Washington Times is also bleeding money and audience. The New York Post also lost 30% of its circulation in 2.5 years. How can you explain that merely with ideological claims? You can’t.

    The fact is that most newspaper models are, or at least recently were, quite broken, dependent on classified money that Craigslist completely wiped out, as well as a news model that was rendered largely pointless by widely — and freely — available national wire news.

    But you can blame it all on politics, if you want. It just wouldn’t be very objective of you.

  • DonS

    tODD, I completely agree with you. We will never attain Shangri-La here on earth.

    I guess what I don’t understand is why you think it is a bad idea for news organizations to try to balance their newsrooms. Do you really disagree with the point that I am making? Do you really think that having a newsroom with, say, 70% liberals and 30% conservatives (assuming all are competent journalists) would be no better or maybe even worse than one with 85% liberals and 15% conservatives (reverse the labels if that makes you more confortable in answering the question)? You seem to be saying that this would not be a good idea because it wouldn’t lead to perfection or satisfy absolutely everybody. OK, agreed. But it seems to me that it would be a huge step in the right direction in terms of ensuring that the ultimate product was truly objective. In particular, I don’t think such a change would make a big difference in the actual look of particular articles. BUT, it would make a huge difference in the editorial judgment of the institution. In other words, both liberal and conservative issues would be highlighted, rather than just one or the other.

    Yes, of course there are many other factors affecting newspapers and over-the-air broadcast journalists today. But, poor quality is definitely a factor. IMO, the Washington Times (I’m not that familiar with the New York Post) has a newsroom that is too conservative. Just as big a problem, and it is often reflected in their editorial judgment. It, frankly, is not that good of a paper.

    Yes, aggregation sites use the MSM. BUT, as you have proven over the years, if you look at the larger universe of news, you can find a story on just about everything. Aggregators, like Drudge, are able to find stories on issues that are underreported in the major dailies and highlight them, bringing them to the attention of major market readers who otherwise, as readers of agenda papers like the NYT, would never get to read such news. This has helped to break the monopolies formerly held by the big city newsrooms.

  • DonS

    tODD, I completely agree with you. We will never attain Shangri-La here on earth.

    I guess what I don’t understand is why you think it is a bad idea for news organizations to try to balance their newsrooms. Do you really disagree with the point that I am making? Do you really think that having a newsroom with, say, 70% liberals and 30% conservatives (assuming all are competent journalists) would be no better or maybe even worse than one with 85% liberals and 15% conservatives (reverse the labels if that makes you more confortable in answering the question)? You seem to be saying that this would not be a good idea because it wouldn’t lead to perfection or satisfy absolutely everybody. OK, agreed. But it seems to me that it would be a huge step in the right direction in terms of ensuring that the ultimate product was truly objective. In particular, I don’t think such a change would make a big difference in the actual look of particular articles. BUT, it would make a huge difference in the editorial judgment of the institution. In other words, both liberal and conservative issues would be highlighted, rather than just one or the other.

    Yes, of course there are many other factors affecting newspapers and over-the-air broadcast journalists today. But, poor quality is definitely a factor. IMO, the Washington Times (I’m not that familiar with the New York Post) has a newsroom that is too conservative. Just as big a problem, and it is often reflected in their editorial judgment. It, frankly, is not that good of a paper.

    Yes, aggregation sites use the MSM. BUT, as you have proven over the years, if you look at the larger universe of news, you can find a story on just about everything. Aggregators, like Drudge, are able to find stories on issues that are underreported in the major dailies and highlight them, bringing them to the attention of major market readers who otherwise, as readers of agenda papers like the NYT, would never get to read such news. This has helped to break the monopolies formerly held by the big city newsrooms.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don (@33), what surprises me about your argument is that it is fundamentally the same as that made by affirmative action types. You seem to honestly believe that all you need to have a “balanced” newsroom is to have a “balanced” number of “liberals” and “conservatives” (though you have yet to specify the proper percentage). Why not also stipulate that there needs to be a balanced number of men and women? And a balanced number of minorities? Because, as per your argument, a newsroom consisting of just men would be incapable of reporting objectively about stories, at least from a gender point of view. Similarly, you would appear to argue that white people cannot write objectively about non-white people.

    Now, I don’t for a minute believe that you think any of that. But all the same, that’s your argument: a balanced number of people (as pigeonholed into your “both sides” dichotomoy) will apparently necessarily produce objective reporting.

    I reject this thesis. What produces objective reporting is good reporters. A newsroom of 100% liberals (or conservatives) — all of whom are good reporters — would produce more objective journalism than a newsroom of 50% liberals and 50% conservatives, all of whom are terrible reporters. It is the quality of a person’s reporting that determines his ability to be objective, not his identity.

    But you don’t seem to believe that.

    I will say this: it’s fascinating to see a de facto defense of affirmative action hiring practices from a “conservative”.

    Also, you seem to have ignored (or been oblivious to) the fact that major MSM actors have proclaimed that “Matt Drudge rules our world”. As reported on the Drudge Report itself, no less: “The political director of ABCNEWS and the national politics editor of the WASHINGTON POST make it official in their new insider tome on DC politics and how it’s played: The four words in every newsroom and campaign headquarters are: Have you seen DRUDGE?” So your claim that Drudge is “able to find stories on issues that are underreported in the major dailies and highlight them, bringing them to the attention of major market readers who otherwise, as readers of agenda papers like the NYT, would never get to read such news,” sounds just a weee bit off.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don (@33), what surprises me about your argument is that it is fundamentally the same as that made by affirmative action types. You seem to honestly believe that all you need to have a “balanced” newsroom is to have a “balanced” number of “liberals” and “conservatives” (though you have yet to specify the proper percentage). Why not also stipulate that there needs to be a balanced number of men and women? And a balanced number of minorities? Because, as per your argument, a newsroom consisting of just men would be incapable of reporting objectively about stories, at least from a gender point of view. Similarly, you would appear to argue that white people cannot write objectively about non-white people.

    Now, I don’t for a minute believe that you think any of that. But all the same, that’s your argument: a balanced number of people (as pigeonholed into your “both sides” dichotomoy) will apparently necessarily produce objective reporting.

    I reject this thesis. What produces objective reporting is good reporters. A newsroom of 100% liberals (or conservatives) — all of whom are good reporters — would produce more objective journalism than a newsroom of 50% liberals and 50% conservatives, all of whom are terrible reporters. It is the quality of a person’s reporting that determines his ability to be objective, not his identity.

    But you don’t seem to believe that.

    I will say this: it’s fascinating to see a de facto defense of affirmative action hiring practices from a “conservative”.

    Also, you seem to have ignored (or been oblivious to) the fact that major MSM actors have proclaimed that “Matt Drudge rules our world”. As reported on the Drudge Report itself, no less: “The political director of ABCNEWS and the national politics editor of the WASHINGTON POST make it official in their new insider tome on DC politics and how it’s played: The four words in every newsroom and campaign headquarters are: Have you seen DRUDGE?” So your claim that Drudge is “able to find stories on issues that are underreported in the major dailies and highlight them, bringing them to the attention of major market readers who otherwise, as readers of agenda papers like the NYT, would never get to read such news,” sounds just a weee bit off.

  • DonS

    Sigh.

    No, I never said that balancing the number of liberals and conservatives in a newsroom would automatically make it balanced. And I certainly never said that a 50-50 newsroom filled with people having terrible journalism skills would be better than a newsroom filled with 100% liberals or conservatives who were excellent journalists. Certainly, that would not be the case.

    Moreover, I never called for quotas, or anything mandated by regulation. Nor do I think that a specific percentage or range of each ideology is required. And yes, a newsroom which seeks to do a good job reporting on issues important to its entire readership should have some people of color, some women and some men. Again, not a quota, but a representation. Again, voluntary, not regulated.

    It’s an editorial judgment issue. If your newsroom is 100%, or 90% populated by people of one ideological persuasion, you’ve got nothing but an echo chamber. Who is going to review your story and suggest that you tackle an issue you didn’t think of because of your ideology? Who serves as that check and balance to ensure that you are pursuing stories of interest to those of the ideology not represented in your newsroom? Who helps to ensure that Democratic scandals are pursued and investigated with the same vigor and sense of proportion as Republican scandals, and vice-versa?

    An echo chamber is not a good thing if the goal is to produce good journalism.

  • DonS

    Sigh.

    No, I never said that balancing the number of liberals and conservatives in a newsroom would automatically make it balanced. And I certainly never said that a 50-50 newsroom filled with people having terrible journalism skills would be better than a newsroom filled with 100% liberals or conservatives who were excellent journalists. Certainly, that would not be the case.

    Moreover, I never called for quotas, or anything mandated by regulation. Nor do I think that a specific percentage or range of each ideology is required. And yes, a newsroom which seeks to do a good job reporting on issues important to its entire readership should have some people of color, some women and some men. Again, not a quota, but a representation. Again, voluntary, not regulated.

    It’s an editorial judgment issue. If your newsroom is 100%, or 90% populated by people of one ideological persuasion, you’ve got nothing but an echo chamber. Who is going to review your story and suggest that you tackle an issue you didn’t think of because of your ideology? Who serves as that check and balance to ensure that you are pursuing stories of interest to those of the ideology not represented in your newsroom? Who helps to ensure that Democratic scandals are pursued and investigated with the same vigor and sense of proportion as Republican scandals, and vice-versa?

    An echo chamber is not a good thing if the goal is to produce good journalism.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don, I’m not sure which of your comments to believe. On the one hand, you claim (@35) that you “never said that balancing the number of liberals and conservatives in a newsroom would automatically make it balanced.”

    On the other hand, you said

    The newsrooms of MSM are overwhelmingly liberal. … They would produce a better and more reliable product if that weren’t so. (@27)

    No, I don’t believe that a newsroom populated overwhelmingly by liberals is capable of producing a truly objective news product. … The ideal newsroom would have checks and balances — folks of various ideologies that would ensure that work product would not go out without fairly presenting all sides of the issue. (@29)

    Do you really think that having a newsroom with, say, 70% liberals and 30% conservatives (assuming all are competent journalists) would be no better or maybe even worse than one with 85% liberals and 15% conservatives? (@33)

    You said, “yes, a newsroom which seeks to do a good job reporting on issues important to its entire readership should have some people of color, some women and some men.” So you again argue that identity, not ability, is what matters. So the newsrooms of today — with more minorities and women in them — necessarily do better reporting than did the newsrooms of, say, Walter cronkite’s era, in which white men dominated journalism?

    And again, you claim that a “newsroom 100% or 90% populated by people of one ideological persuasion” is incapable of anything but ideological thinking, that a person cannot on his own think objectively, but can only be moderated by a person with a different opinion. Which is why you propose that newsrooms need to hire more conservatives, to add “balance”. What you miss is that adding opposing viewpoints is no guarantee of moderation and balance, and can, in fact result in merely more ideology, just less monolithically so (cf. Judith Miller, Nedra Pickler).

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Don, I’m not sure which of your comments to believe. On the one hand, you claim (@35) that you “never said that balancing the number of liberals and conservatives in a newsroom would automatically make it balanced.”

    On the other hand, you said

    The newsrooms of MSM are overwhelmingly liberal. … They would produce a better and more reliable product if that weren’t so. (@27)

    No, I don’t believe that a newsroom populated overwhelmingly by liberals is capable of producing a truly objective news product. … The ideal newsroom would have checks and balances — folks of various ideologies that would ensure that work product would not go out without fairly presenting all sides of the issue. (@29)

    Do you really think that having a newsroom with, say, 70% liberals and 30% conservatives (assuming all are competent journalists) would be no better or maybe even worse than one with 85% liberals and 15% conservatives? (@33)

    You said, “yes, a newsroom which seeks to do a good job reporting on issues important to its entire readership should have some people of color, some women and some men.” So you again argue that identity, not ability, is what matters. So the newsrooms of today — with more minorities and women in them — necessarily do better reporting than did the newsrooms of, say, Walter cronkite’s era, in which white men dominated journalism?

    And again, you claim that a “newsroom 100% or 90% populated by people of one ideological persuasion” is incapable of anything but ideological thinking, that a person cannot on his own think objectively, but can only be moderated by a person with a different opinion. Which is why you propose that newsrooms need to hire more conservatives, to add “balance”. What you miss is that adding opposing viewpoints is no guarantee of moderation and balance, and can, in fact result in merely more ideology, just less monolithically so (cf. Judith Miller, Nedra Pickler).

  • DonS

    tODD @ 36:

    What apparent contradiction do you think you see? I said a more balanced newsroom would produce a BETTER product, not necessarily a BALANCED product. The quotes you have pulled out of this thread emphasize the distinction. I have no way of knowing if the resultant product would truly be BALANCED, because that is a matter of senior editorial judgment. But, presumably, the side not favored by senior editors would at least get better (fairer) treatment.

    You are reading right past my point. I do not favor affirmative action, on principle. I am assuming substantially equal abilities. If you are talking about sacrificing journalistic quality in the pursuit of diversity, I oppose it utterly. On the other hand, there are plenty of equally good conservative, liberal, white, black, hispanic, female, and male journalists. So, why hire everyone having the same ideology, color, or sex?

    Journalism is a collaborative product. It will necessarily be a better product if the folks doing the collaboration have more than a monolithic viewpoint and perspective.

  • DonS

    tODD @ 36:

    What apparent contradiction do you think you see? I said a more balanced newsroom would produce a BETTER product, not necessarily a BALANCED product. The quotes you have pulled out of this thread emphasize the distinction. I have no way of knowing if the resultant product would truly be BALANCED, because that is a matter of senior editorial judgment. But, presumably, the side not favored by senior editors would at least get better (fairer) treatment.

    You are reading right past my point. I do not favor affirmative action, on principle. I am assuming substantially equal abilities. If you are talking about sacrificing journalistic quality in the pursuit of diversity, I oppose it utterly. On the other hand, there are plenty of equally good conservative, liberal, white, black, hispanic, female, and male journalists. So, why hire everyone having the same ideology, color, or sex?

    Journalism is a collaborative product. It will necessarily be a better product if the folks doing the collaboration have more than a monolithic viewpoint and perspective.


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