Features Australia

When bias is patently clear

19 November 2016

9:00 AM

19 November 2016

9:00 AM

Here is journalist Rex Murphy of Canada’s National Post calling out the patent bias of so many journalists and opinion piece writers when it came to the US election. ‘It’s also true that many media outlets carried their support for Clinton to delusional excess – a blot on journalism that will take a political eon to fade. On the eve of the vote, with the confidence that only self-hypnotising progressives can bring to a lost cause, the Huffington Post was eagerly boasting that the chances of a Clinton victory were a whopping 98 per cent… ‘[in the light of so many Clinton weaknesses] putting [her] chances of winning at 98 per cent can only be explained in two ways: either the Huffington Post was using the same vote probability software as the North Koreans; or it has given up being anything resembling a “news” outlet.’

Various others, including Conrad Black, made a similar point about CNN. Its coverage was an out-and-out joke. Or take the New York Times. For any disinterested observer it looked as though there was a deliberate editorial policy to favour Clinton in every way imaginable. In fact, in a post-election editorial its publisher and executive editor effectively admitted as much. After a perfunctory ‘we really did try to report both candidates fairly’ this joint op-ed went on to make this remarkable statement: ‘We aim to rededicate ourselves to the fundamental mission of Times journalism. That is to report America and the world honestly… striving always to understand and reflect all political perspectives.’ Of course, if you’ve really been reporting both candidates fairly you don’t need to make that sort of barely disguised mea culpa about rededicating yourself to honest reportage.

Here’s the thing. The fourth estate, the media, has taken to being so left-leaning that its patent bias has become self-defeating for its own ‘help the left win’ goals. Wikileaks helped expose the 96 per cent or so bias towards Clinton of journalists, not that anyone really needed Wikileaks to realise this; polls revealed that the vast preponderance of Americans thought the media clearly favoured Clinton.

Of course, it’s not just the media class that lined up for Clinton in North Korean-type percentages. Hollywood, TV and music stars were, if possible, even more in the bag for Clinton. And their lack of self-awareness when it came to how smug, sanctimonious and preachy they were sounding was right off the scale. (Madonna presumably thought she was dangling some über-appealing inducement before the Y chromosome voters when she boasted of her expertise in the area and then promised to give oral sex to any man who voted for Hillary, yet I suspect that sort of hard ball ploy fell rather flat in the end.) And the myriad stars who tweeted and virtue-signalled that they’d leave the US if Trump won, well how many do you think actually will (and Leonard Cohen doesn’t count)? I’m betting zero, and that all the US voters knew this was empty bumper sticker moralising. My guess is that every time a big star urged ‘the deplorables’ to vote Clinton the opposite happened and Trump gained a few thousand more votes.

While we’re talking North Korean levels of support for Hillary, we could also mention the bigwigs of Silicon Valley, the bankers, most big company CEOs, the hedge fund crowd, the university sector and the public service head honchos. Only the top military brass broke strongly for Trump. Yet the US voters could not have cared less for what these self-styled ‘great and good’ thought.

And anyway, the press is supposed to be different to those other groups. It is supposed to retain a modicum of impartiality and balance. In the US that wasn’t the case. And here’s how Trump dealt with that imbalance. He just proclaimed that the press was against him and gave the whole lot of them the old two-fingered salute. This could only work because your average Joe could see that Trump was patently telling the truth. The media was no longer reporting, it was cheerleading in the most palpable way.

Now some naïve and innocent readers might think this left-leaning press bias is some US disease that hasn’t made its way down to Australia. Okay, no real life person could actually be that naïve. I watched the US election from home. Our ABC coverage was unbearable, such were its obvious pro-Clinton sympathies. Then there was Sky. The coverage there was barely any better. Peter Van Onselen did his usual ‘I am the pinnacle of four billion years of moral evolution and this is a disgrace that anyone could vote for Mr Trump and it’s a sad day for democracy’ shtick. What a buffoon! If we’re in the game of comparing the two candidates’ moral failings then after VanOscillator had mentioned Trump’s lewd and crude remarks how about balancing those with a reference or two to Hillary’s out-and-out attacks on the women who accused her husband of rape? Or maybe a mention of Hillary’s ethical lapses when it comes to having $150 million more in the bank than when Bill left the Presidency? Not sure how that is possible as a Senator or Secretary of State when hubby is only giving speeches. My take is that these were two pretty defective characters but on no planet was Trump obviously morally worse than Clinton. Yet all PVO could do, the man who has gotten so many big calls wrong, was to emote about how great a day it would be for his daughters if Hillary won. If this was balanced commentary I’m a kangaroo. And Kristina Keneally was equally unbearably pro-Clinton. David Speers was barely any better.

Oh, and if you thought that Australia’s newspaper of record was significantly more balanced in its election coverage then think again. By my count, well over 90 per cent of the commentariat there was for Clinton, and almost all thought she was a sure thing to win. Could it be that hard to hire a couple of people who might voice views, you know, sympathetic to Trump? The lesson from all this comes too late for Tony Abbott. It’s plain he should have said straight off that the ABC is hopelessly biased and left-leaning (as it patently is) and that – Trump-like – he just wasn’t going to deal with it while it was so one-sided. Just call out its bias and that of all the other left-leaning outlets at every opportunity. Trump did and it worked because he was telling the truth, as Tony would have been.

Meantime, because of the ABC anti-Abbott coverage, and those 30 polls in a row (did you know that there were exactly 30 polls in the year before Brexit that showed Leave would lose, or that Trump never once led in any of the accumulator polls?), 54 pusillanimous MPs defenestrated Abbott in favour of the most left-leaning, ‘Clinton-like’ Liberal leader ever. How’s that working out? How do you reckon it will play out next election?

The post When bias is patently clear appeared first on The Spectator.

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