To any rational observer, there is no disputing the notion that the US Media is overwhelmingly in the tank for the reelection of Dear Leader. One needs to look no further than the press coverage over the past week in regard to the tragic murder of our Ambassador to Libya, J. Christopher Stephens (or more to the point – lack of actual coverage of the event and the skewing of its true provocation) to see that the media is doing everything in its power to create the narrative that Mitt Romney is unfit for the Presidency. Even the editors at Fox News, the supposed last bastion of objective journalism, cannot control their impulses to covertly editorialize their reporting as they are STILL tagging (my in-eloquent moniker for the banner they put below the main screen) the unrest in the Middle East as a reaction to a ridiculous video few have seen.
Given the lack of effort it takes to identify such bias, it is distressing to me when our side goes the extra mile by drumming up charges of bias in cases which it simply does not exist.
Case in point: This weekend, Peter Hamby, CNN political correspondent covering the Romney campaign, set prominent conservative thought leaders’ torches ablaze with the following tweet:
Now, you’ll most likely see immediately what riled up the hornet’s nest. The link for the supporting evidence to his assertion that Wisconsin is now officially a battle ground state is a link to a “contribution page” for the Obama Campaign.
All weekend long I bore witness to conservative pundits excoriating Hamby. Most were in the same vein as Noel Sheppard of NewsBusters fame:
… Relatively straight forward and frankly, factual. (He did, afterall tweet out a link to a donation page.)
However some went a little bit further (this one was repeated several times):
My initial reaction after seeing this go wild in my Timeline was to jump aboard the bandwagon and start sharpening my pitchfork. I then saw a tweet from noted conservative and minor Twitter celeb, Todd Kincannon:
This sparked a back and forth conversation between Kincannon and myself in which I questioned why he thought that Hamby’s link didn’t smack of bias. He responded that he knows Hamby personally and the he is “not that guy.” I took a second to go through Hamby’s timeline and actually read the tweet again. It dawned on me that I was guilty of doing exactly what I hate about leftists. I willingly gave in to conventional wisdom without thinking for myself. I jumped to the conclusion that because the link was to Obama’s fundraising webpage, it automatically meant that Hamby was promoting Obama’s campaign.
In fact, Hamby was doing what any good reporter does. He was breaking a story… an important one at that.
Hamby was first to note that Obama is spending time, money and political capital in a state in which he shouldn’t have to spend any. In order to support his hypothesis that Wisconsin is back in play for Romney, he used the best evidence available: a page from Obama’s campaign listing the date and time of the fundraiser.
As of today, the vilification of Hamby continues. It is also starting to turn ugly against those who break with the hive-mind mentality and start to look at this non-story objectively. Most notably, Erick Erickson from Redstate.com is the latest to come to Hamby’s defense. Erickson, a noted conservative, who happens to also be a commentator for CNN, is someone you would think would warrant a listen. Unfortunately, not in this case. Michelle Malkin (who I generally respect greatly) runs a site called Twitchy.com, which is a tweet aggregator (and, in this case, aggravator) for the Right. By listing Erickson’s tweets juxtaposed with an assortment of tweets from a variety of “Twitter users”, Twitchy crafts a narrative that Hamby is somehow conspiring to promote Barack Obama’s fundraiser in Wisconsin. Twitchy claims that because the words “in play” are not said on the donation page, that there is no merit to the story and Hamby is drawing attention to the link in order to drum up support for Obama. Tacitly, they also are questioning Erickson’s integrity with the implication that he is shilling for his co-worker at CNN:
Today, CNN contributor Erick Erickson defended his colleague Peter Hamby, who tweeted a link to a Barack Obama donation page last week. Erickson tweeted a link to the same Obama donation page that Hamby tweeted, claiming that the page shows “Obama admits suddenly WI is in play.”
But Twitter users didn’t see anything of the sort. It’s just a boilerplate Obama-Biden donation page inviting supporters to attend a reception with Obama in Milwaukee: ”Please join President Barack Obama for a reception with supporters like you in Milwaukee.”
Nowhere on the page does Obama state that Wisconsin is “in play.”
Twitchy concludes their post by saying they will leave it to the reader to decide, while at the same time making it clear where they stand:
We’ll leave it up to readers to decide about Erickson’s claim the the Milwaukee fundraiser amounts to a newsworthy, tacit admission by Obama that “Wisconsin is in play.” Obama has had fund-raising receptions in many states, such as Washington, Oregon, California, and Maryland, that are not considered battleground states.
Ultimately, I don’t think it necessarily presents the best optics when a reporter tweets out a fundraising page for a candidate – whether that candidate be conservative or liberal. But when it comes to alleging bias, the question must be begged, ‘What is to gain from the alleged offense?’ In this case, can anyone honestly state that Hamby was attempting to lure people in so they could donate money to the Obama campaign? Is there anyone who would come across that tweet, click on it, and then say, “Hey! I’m convinced. I’m giving all I have to Barack Obama!”? The answer is, ‘No.’ That simply isn’t going to happen.
The bottom line is that there is no bias here. If you don’t believe me, look for yourself. Do your homework on Peter Hamby. If you read his entire Timeline, you will see that he is fairminded. I have no idea what his politics are, as he does not wear them on his sleeve. That is actually a good thing. Like Brett Baier, Jake Tapper, Carl Cameron and the like, he reports the news factually, with a minimal amount of editorialization. Like them as well, he is always looking for a new angle to bring to the ever evolving reporting landscape, often times countering the conventional wisdom of both the Left and the Right.
Having exhaustively analyzed this situation, I can objectively state that Peter Hamby’s “offense” is not nearly as egregious as witnessing our side commit the same crime which we see all too often from the Left: the hysterical construction of strawmen.