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Charlie Chaplin and the supposed "Liberal bias" of the media

by Ziks511 / December 16, 2012 6:10 PM PST

I'm reading a book called Dead Funny, a discussion of humour in Nazi Germany (yeah, yeah, I can hear the eyeballs rolling already). It is written by Werner Herzog's (the German film director) son, Rudolph.

Apparently when Chaplin released the movie The Great Dictator, which is an acknowledged masterpiece, he was savaged in the American press for his supposedly throwing in his lot with the Communists. In 1940 America, criticism of Germany was uncommon, and opposition was viewed as an indication of Communist sympathies (even though the Soviets were Hitler's allies at the time).

In 1942, Ernst Lubitsch, a German refugee from Hitler's Germany, and a terrific directory made To Be or Not To Be with Carole Lombard and Benny Kubelski, sorry, Jack Benny and a very young Robert Stack. The plot is too complicate to explain coherently here, but it was set in Poland. This film to which held the Nazi's up to ridicule was also savaged in the Press, despite the fact that the US was at war with Nazi Germany by that time. This movie too is recognized as a classic. The Mel Brooks version is nowhere compared to the original.

So that's two glaring instances of journalistic Right Wing sympathies. I don't know how Once Upon a Honeymoon (Ginger Rogers and Cary Grant, with Walter Slezak as a wonderful oily Nazi with the hots for Ginger) also released in 1942 was received.

And don't forget that newspapers were completely on board with the Red Scare following WW2 and very unsympathetic to Harry Truman, and the American Government. Even when Edward R. Murrow very cautiously but tellingly attacked "Tailgunner Joe" (a campaign moniker he used; he never was one) McCarthy. Murrow was removed from the main CBS roster by his long time "friend" and boss William Paley within six months. Then again, Murrow never went to bat for William Shirer when he was attacked in the later 40's and was reluctantly instrumental in his firing. Murrow apologized to Shirer as he lay dying of lung cancer at Sloan Kettering.

From my own observations over 60 years, I have never found television news to be liberal, but to be moderately conservative (except for FoxNews which is an active arm of Republican conservatives). MSNBC is the only station I have ever found to be somewhat liberal, and even it has Joe Scarborough as it's morning show anchor.

Uncle Walter, who spoke out against the Viet Nam war after covering it for years, did so because he recognized it was unwinnable, not because he was liberal, or a Communist sympathizer. He was moved by compassion for American servicemen, and horror at the devastation of Viet Nam.


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Liberalism in the news media
by TONI H / December 16, 2012 6:58 PM PST

didn't come into its own until the late 60's or early 70's.........I believe it really gained ground after the Watergate situation and the take-down of Richard Nixon (rightly so because he was just as arrogant about his position as BO is today). However, the conservatives never saw the liberalism creep into the media as strongly as it did and hadn't found a way to fight back against it until cable and talk radio became common-place.

The very fact that liberals hate the Tea Party, FoxNews and talk radio as much as they do only shows that Conservatives are again getting their voices heard....considering how long it took for liberals to effective take over the media, it will be awhile before the conservatives regain the ground they lost, but they will because they are.

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You keep advancing the same argument's Toni, which I do not
by Ziks511 / December 17, 2012 12:36 AM PST

find remotely persuasive. As a liberal, I have never found my views reflected in the news media, except for a few small circulation magazines beginning with I.F. Stone's Weekly in the 60's, and all he did was gather readily available information which contradicted what Presidents and their Press Secretaries were saying. He had no agenda except to try to ascertain the facts. Rachel Maddow is a good successor to him, she has an agenda, but she bases her opinions on evidence from a wide range of sources which I have found reliable.

I found the press and Television criticism of Jimmy Carter to be both hysterical and disingenous, purely an excercise in fabricating issues and slanting its reporting. I know Carter is not well thought of, but I put that down to scurrilous reporting, in other words media bias, Right Wing media bias. They let Ronald Reagan get away with anything, including violating the Constitution of the United States, and illegally selling arms during Iran Contra. By the way, How's that workin' for ya? Iran is just so pro-US now, isn't it.

I would also like to point out that the Conservative movement began immediately after the massive defeat of Goldwater in 1964. A number of wealthy conservatives met, decided on a plan to address what they saw as a threat and began by funding a seemingly endless series of Think Tanks like the Cato Institute and the American Heritage Foundation, and the American Enterprise Institute in order to train a large cadre of conservatives and produce their own manipulated studies, since they didn't like the product from non-partisan sources.

The actions of the late 60's University generation of whom I am one were never viewed positively or even dispassionately in the media. It was attacked and belittled and demeaned as was much of that generation outside Universities. Yes, Nixon ran afoul of the media because of his persecution mania. Nixon was a Red Baiter and a chicane artist who buffaloed Eisenhower, but was deeply offended by the press who uncovered his lies, such as painting his Democratic opponent in his first election as a Communist, when she was just a regular Democrat. His utter lack of morality attracted followers with no sense of morality, shame, or responsibility, which is why so many of them went to prison. And remember, there was only one source for the Watergate stuff, two reporters who were viewed very suspiciously by Ben Bradlee, and it was not until they could nail specifics down that Bradlee was persuaded. The New York Times was gravely suspicious of all this until weeks and months after the Washington Post had broken the story. Then they came on board.

The most shocking and persuasive stuff was revealed in the Senate Watergate Hearings, not in any liberal media outlet. You can hardly call the broadcasting of the hearings an act of liberal media bias since there was very little commentary needed. The evening news just broadcast a few damning highlights, but it was legitimate news, not fabrication, and not liberal head hunting. The people who went to jail weren't persecuted by the media, they ran afoul of the law, and were jailed after due process.

Then the media savaged Carter for no reason in my opinion. There were stories where connections were purported to exist, like Burt Lance, but it was just guilt by association with no evidence of anything.

Ronnie got a free pass, and even the Iran Contra hearings which frankly were a travesty of investigation was ignored by the media despite considerable evidence of Administration involvement in illegal activity and cover ups.

When Clinton was elected, the long knives were out. Why? There was no There there. White Water was a nothing, but Ken Starr's investigation went far beyond the scope of anything that should have been allowed. He was supposed to investigate a land deal, but out of personal partisanship and animus, he trawled everywhere for "evidence" of wrong doing, any wrong doing. Had this been a properly conducted legal proceeding everything outside of White Water would have been thrown out of Court, but partisanship was so thick in the air that Starr got away with it. The media instead of asking why reverted to their Red Scare days, and simply reported each allegation whether germane, or proven, or not. I would suggest that since Reagan, the press was intimidated by the Republican Party and its resources in all those Institutes and Foundations, and just went limp.

Bush got a pass on almost everything except from a small cadre of columnists who did question why he was doing what he did, and a much larger group of voters who were disenfranchised by intimidation, unfair purging of voters lists, a stacked Supreme Court in 2000, and by voter intimidation, unfair purging of voter lists and vote rigging in Ohio in 2004. The only reason Obama was elected was that the Conservative rump of the Republican Party couldn't pull it off a third time, and Obama was able to boost turn out with his inspiring rhetoric. Sadly it was all talk, and much of what he intended to do was hijacked by Bush's Wall Street bailout, and Bush's running the economy into the ground. That wasn't an accident or a mistake, it was a deliberate case of hand-cuffing the Government of the United States by creating a Panic and a huge Fiscal Crisis and thereby limiting succeeding Adiministrations' options to govern and to take a different course. There is a word or phrase for the strategy which escapes me right now, but it has been discussed widely.

Obama has generally been treated fairly by the media except for FoxNoise, which has a disproportionate influence. Why people like Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes are allowed to own a news outlet in the US given their long history of shady and illegal tactics and their personal partisanship and agendas is frankly beyond me. I still say that the criticism of Obama, who is a very conservative man as evinced by his policies and by his history particularly at the Harvard Law Review, has been vastly overblown, and I'm sorry to say, Toni, your posts attacking him sound hysterical and panic stricken. He is far less inclined to use Presidential powers than was George Bush should you care to examine the record, and is only doing so because of the constant filibuster by the minority in the Senate. The filibuster as currently practiced is both anti-democratic and an extra-legislative procedural dodge, and should not be allowed. No tabling of legislations and appointments. If you want to obstruct, hold the floor, and be seen to be obstructive. Sequestering legislation and appointments in a secretive manner should not be allowed. And why does the main stream media not make an issue of this secretive sequestration, and show what is going on? Does that sound like an activist liberal media to you?

According to polls conducted by numerous organizations, you represent the views of the most Conservative 20% of the American voters. That is why voter suppression is so important, because if voter turn-out is in the lower 40% range, you only have to get 3 or 4% more voters in order to win, 6% if turnout is 50%. The great weakness of the Democratic Party has been its failure to chart an over-arching course into the future and to communicate it to the American public. They have, until Obama, failed to mobilize the base, not least because they have appeared to have abandoned their principles, particularly as the Blue Dog Democrat DINO's have done (Democrats In Name Only). The Democratic Party needs to clean house, and find it's cojones again. There is no doubt that they had them once, from 1932 to 1968, perhaps with the exception of Adlai Stevenson, who was too patrician and gentlemanly to get down in the dirt and scrap with Tricky ****. Had Bobby Kennedy survived, he would have defeated Nixon handily, because he could mobilize the base and engendered trust and respect.

To conclude (what's that cheering I hear) liberals despise the Tea Party for the hollowness of its principles, and its artificial creation by big Conservative Interest groups, you can't turn the clock back without causing Civil War. They despise FoxNews for its blatant bias, its partisanship, and its manipulation of facts which is the same reason they see talk radio as an arm of the most conservative elements in the political spectrum. By and large talk radio hosts are political Howard Sterns, sensationalists who delight in stirring up muck for the sake of ratings. The over all audience for Talk Radio is pegged at 20 million people, which is a pretty small portion of the electorate. Why is it that the Radio component of the media is in thrall to hyper-conservatives. Does that sound like liberal media bias to you? because if it does, I've got some soggy oil soaked property in Louisiana I'd love to unload to you.


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Your constant slobbering love affair with BO
by TONI H / December 17, 2012 2:18 AM PST

is just as tiresome as you claim my rants are. I don't rant out of panic......I rant because of his policies and his underhanded way of getting what he personally has agendas for. And his agendas are so far left that it's scary as hell.

You talk about how the liberal media gave Ronnie a pass over the Iran-Contra scandal.......and yet, I clearly recall seeing it as an every day event for a very long period of time. This was long before cable news became popular and it was covered by every local television outlet in the Cleveland, Ohio area for hours at a time, in addition to the local newspapers headlining it day after day.

Now contrast that with how the liberal media has NOT covered Fast & Furious or even the deaths in Benghazi and the coverups for both and how the Feds are dragging their feet two years later on getting documents to the committee over F&F and for the first time in history the AG has been held in contempt over that......and STILL nothing is done. BO immediately gave his AG 'executive privilege' when he isn't even qualified to get that protection.......explain to me how there is no coverup going on and why the liberal media has completely ignored this story? I guess Terry's family doesn't need to know how and why from this administration, anymore than Stevens et al need to know why the Feds didn't protect them either.

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RE: I don't rant out of panic.
by JP Bill / December 17, 2012 2:54 AM PST
scary as hell.

Isn't panic?
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by TONI H / December 17, 2012 5:39 AM PST

is when you feel hopeless.........I have lots of hope. Doesn't mean I'm not afraid of the damage this man will continue to do to our country. Be glad he's not YOUR leader.

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RE: Be glad he's not YOUR leader.
by JP Bill / December 17, 2012 5:53 AM PST
In reply to: no...panic

You might NOT want to trade MY leader for YOUR leader.

is when you feel hopeless.........I have lots of hope.

You certainly didn't express that feeling 1 year before the last election....NOTHING but GLOOM AND DOOM....Never mind the Mayan Calender...the Obama Calendar was even more probable in your postings.

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Gloom and doom
by TONI H / December 17, 2012 7:46 AM PST

a year ago and I actually think it's gotten worse than even I thought it would get. I have hope for the next leader......not with this one.

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Your views
by James Denison / December 17, 2012 4:59 AM PST

were quite the rage in Pravda a few decades ago. Time to move into this decade Ziks.

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RE:Time to move into this decade
by JP Bill / December 17, 2012 5:19 AM PST
In reply to: Your views

Said the man that never heard of kids teasing other kids about divorced or separated parents.

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(NT) that still sounds ridiculous to me.
by James Denison / December 17, 2012 6:27 AM PST
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You need to get out of that ...
by Edward ODaniel / December 19, 2012 11:30 AM PST

dream world you and Alice live in and come into the light of day.

Even hard core liberals from the People's Republic of California admit that there is a strong liberal bias in the media.


""I suspected that many media outlets would tilt to the left because surveys have shown that reporters tend to vote more Democrat than Republican," said Tim Groseclose, a UCLA political scientist and the study's lead author. "But I was surprised at just how pronounced the distinctions are."

"Overall, the major media outlets are quite moderate compared to members of Congress, but even so, there is a quantifiable and significant bias in that nearly all of them lean to the left," said co-author Jeffrey Milyo, University of Missouri economist and public policy scholar."

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Most of the US is to the left of the
by Diana Forum moderator / December 21, 2012 9:45 AM PST

Republican Congress Critters. Reagan was to the left of most of the Republicans you hear about today.


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No he wasn't
by TONI H / December 21, 2012 9:34 PM PST

Reagan was first and foremost a Conservative, then a Republican. He had the ability to move in order to reach compromises; however, he got screwed by the leftist Democrats twice when he thought they had a compromise. Republicans have had the same thing happen to them since Reagan too many times to not have it happen again.....Democrats will promise anything in order to get Republicans to give them what they want right now, and then they never deliver on the promises.

There is a big difference between Conservatives and Republicans. Unfortunately, the closest a Conservative has to a party that can run for office is a Republican which is why so many conservatives are in that party....and why so many established Republicans are afraid of them and why Democrats absolutely hate them.

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