Straight Media Members Left of Center: Is Their News Coverage?

It’s a fact that most people in what we consider the media are educated, white, and some would even say “elitist.” These 3 demographics point to one conclusion: reporters, their bosses, and news commentators/op-ed writers are mostly left of the average American in regards to their political beliefs. But is their straight news coverage biased? If you would ask a member of the media, they would reply with an emphatic “No!” But can they take their held convictions out of their news coverage even if they put forth an effort to do so?

Now I’m talking about straight media, not cable talk shows that are clearly and openly biased like those found on FOX news or MSNBC. So shouldn’t we take into account this left-of-center bias when reading even straight news? And what about the talented journalists efforts to maintain objectivity?

Just remember one thing not too many people know: In places like Europe, all media, for the most part, are openly biased and people shop for the media that caters to their previously held beliefs. There is no effort to maintain objectivity their amongst most media.

So shouldn’t we be able to be as discerning as the Europeans in such matters and take into account media bias when we consume it?

Here is a good op-ed in the Post by the Ombudsman regarding such matters and especially concerning those conservatives who perceive this leftist-bias even in straight media. He gives some good things to think about, even for us leftists.

Read Here. 

Flaws in Chavez’s Socialist Tomorrow

I have tried to follow the socialist revolution in Venezuela, lead by El Presidente Hugo Chavez, for the past 14 years. And I have supported most of his reforms including nationalization of key industries and his general care for the poor. But, I must admit, there are flaws in the upcoming decades if things remain as they are right now in Venezuela. So here’s a good article from The Guardian outlining some of the many problems in Chavez’s policies and how they are covered up by oil money, not the necessary reforms.

Read Here.

Drone Attacks: Good mor Bad?

Here at Sparking The Left we have previously made our stance clear that we are skeptical, to say the least, regarding the effectiveness of drone strikes in the Middle East as they contrast with the collateral damage (civilian deaths) that occur during such operations.

So here is a great NYT “Room for Debate” set of op-eds regarding whether if the drone strikes are actually doing more good than harm by killing terrorist leaders versus killing civilians,which helps to recruit more terrorists.

Read Here.

Reaction to Netanyahu Speech to the U.N.

Yesterday’s speech to the U.N. by Benjamin (“Bibi”) Netanyahu seemed to illustrate (literally, with illustrations) how close Israel is to a unilateral, preemptive strike against Iranian nuclear enrichment plants. This should be a warning to everyone across the world about how an overzealous and paranoid Israeli foreign policy, which we have seen evidence of before, could throw the entire region into conflict which could possibly turn nuclear.

On the BBC website here are reactions around the region to Netanyahu’s speech.

Read Here.

Tunisian President Says Arab Spring Is Not Over

Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki writes a good op-ed for the NYT stating that the “Arab Spring” is not over and hasn’t had it’s progress rolled-back by recent protests in the region.

He states that the violent protests of the last 2 weeks just involved a very small minority of extremist groups that do not represent the majority of Muslims there. He also maintains that the conversion to democracy still remains the utmost concern in the new Middle East.

Read Here.

Still a Bit Early But Can Romney Win?

A good article from the Atlantic explaining a reality about the state of Ohio that points to an almost sure win at the moment for President Obama.  Two important statements to keep in mind for now:

Mitt Romney currently appears to be losing the presidential election, and his problems are especially acute in Ohio, the state no Republican has ever won the presidency without. A new New York Times poll Wednesday put Romney a shocking 10 points behind Obama.

Things can change in the next six weeks (though it should be noted that no presidential election ever has — as The New Republic‘s Nate Cohn notes, “every candidate with a clear lead in the late September polls has won the popular vote…since 1948.”)

To some extent, it is kind of sad and disappointing that an election deciding who will preside over 300 million people will be decided by so few and such a small percentage of the population but it is what we face in these elections.  A lot may ride on the upcoming debates but let’s face it.  Obama is an extremely skilled orator and very good on his feet, like him or not, and Romney is not quite in the same class.  Romney “winning” more than one debate would be a surprise in all honesty which spells even more trouble for his election chances.  “Winning ” those is, of course, in the eye of the beholder as it should always be noted.

Romney & The Right’s Ideological Strait-Jacket

A good editorial by Fareed Zakaria in the Post on how Romney has avoided specifics in his campaign on issues such as taxes and immigration amnesty because they are such taboo subjects amongst the Republican base.

Read Here.

Romney Would Bring Back Bush-Era Torture

There is a Romney campaign document, obtained by The New York Times, that’s a five-page policy paper entitled “Interrogation Techniques” drawn-up by conservative lawyers from Sept. 2011. It contains how Romney would use enhanced interrogation techniques against high-level terror suspects, including water-boarding and stress positions, that have been banned by the Obama administration.

Read Here. 

Is Iran That Suicidal?

An op-ed from the WSJ argues that Obama cannot continue ignoring speech by Iranian officials on how Israel should be destroyed.

But that is rightist, neo-con thinking. According to my opinion, as inconsequential as it is, and according to the reading I have done, there is no reason to believe that Iran is that suicidal. Mutual assured destruction is enough to keep a nuclear weapon solely used as a bargaining chip in negotiations with the major powers in the West. Plus, how much can we criticize Iran’s pursuit of a dooms-day device when Israel has 250 of them?

Just remember that rarely, if ever, are suicide bombers ever Iranian and remarks about wiping Israel off the map is just read meat thrown to the public to keep weakening ruling parties in power.

So Iran’s pursuit of a nuclear device is good for no one, the U.S. cannot be more hypocritical when Israel has so many of them.


The Afghan Surge: Did It Work?

A great piece in Foreign Policy magazine (a division of the Post) by RAJIV CHANDRASEKARAN trying to answer the question of rather or not the surge of 33, 000 troops into Afghanistan worked now that the troops are home.

Read Here.