A vast media conspiracy?
Published on January 23, 2004 By Angloesque In Politics
Having majored in communications, I generally just snort when someone suggests a vast liberal media conspiracy. As if we journalists have time to get together every day and say, "So, BobLindaMikeMitchFitchBobthesecondGeraldandGeraldine, whom shall we crucify today?" And we go through the video clips and sound bites and decide to make someone sound and look stupid. --Oh, wait, no. Sorry. No time. Doesn't happen, though I'll grant that people attracted to journalism tend to have similarities. That's for another post.

Having been born female, I watched The View this morning for about five minutes. Now I believe in the media conspiracy. Here's why.

The day after Dean's defeat in Iowa, all the networks broadcast what they outright called his "bizarre" behaviour. On The View, the five femmes continually broadcast his scream: once to show it to the audience, once going to commercial, and once when Ashton Kucher or whoever he is walked out, and probably showed the clip thereafter, though I had to shower and get to work and, alas, did not see what'shisname who's dating what'shername who's apparently old but still has a great body.

Anyway. What's the big deal about that scream? (And, by the way, I am neither Republican nor Democrat; I lean toward libtertarianism or environmentalism, but without the polarization or tree-hugging or moving to Vermont hysteria. I probably wouldn't vote for Dean at this point, if ever, though I like his wife--she's smart. She stays out of politics. And I definitely won't vote for Bush unless he promises to put a cap on malpractice jury awards and get us the hell out of Iraq and the hell into Afghanistan.)

Here's the (former) democratic front-runner who's been beat into the ground since Sadaam Hussein was caught and Dean said the world still isn't safer. (Dean had a point: we went to orange alert shortly thereafter, and it's not like the soldiers have stopped dying in Iraq.) But the American Sheep--er, the American Masses, I mean--suddenly found new comfort in Bush thanks to Hussein's capture, don't ask me why. So Dean fell in the polls. Then the media jumped on Dean's fall and ... a few weeks later, Dean loses in a surprise to Kerry and Edwards. What Dean does, then, is let his supporters--who aren't the blue- and grey-hairs reporting the news; who are the younger, web-savvy generation--know that he still has energy, he's still in this election, he's still a fighter, and he's not giving in. He says he's going on to (not a quote) Texas, New York, California, etc. and then to Washington D.C.....! By this point there's a huge amount of hype. His supporters are saying, yeah, we're not giving up! Hooray that we're not taking this as a setback and we're going to keep going. Dean was performing, if you will, for them. And then he let out that yell.

Not so much for the media, though. The blue- and grey-haired media said, "Hmm. Not only is there a stunning upset, but Dean could be made to look like an ass if we take this out of context. It's a sign of the way his whole campaign is going these days...." and they show a brief clip over and over. John Roberts, I believe, on NBC, called it "bizarre," but THAT's not media bias.... Anyway. The scream was on all the networks, ergo all the talk shows and morning shows like the esteemed View. Even Barbara deigned to come to the show for that one.

This is what I saw from that clip: a guy who isn't giving up. Someone who's excited, good or bad, about his platform. I hear Dean's going on 20/20 or some such TV show to talk about it. What's there to talk about? We've finally got someone running for president who doesn't look like he walked out of Madame Toussad's Wax Museum. And maybe that's a good thing. I still probably won't vote for him, but at least he's alive. Isn't Bush the one with the extraordinarily low resting heart rate? Hmm. Hmmm.

on Jan 23, 2004
I think he's got the right idea.

Surely the best way to run against Mr. Bush would be to actually have some personality, no?
on Jan 23, 2004
After hearing a Republican party worker claim that the media lies in their stories about Bush, it's not right, ie. However, that's when it's not favoring Bush. Great article about the liberal media bias myth!
on Jan 23, 2004
Yes, that's correct. It's the only way to gain attention in the media anyhow.
on Jan 24, 2004
The media over-reacted viciously and sadistically. The poor guy was embarrassed having lost after being in the lead for so long and simply acted stupidly but at the same time wanting to keep up the spirits of his hardworking followers. His action certainly is not on a par with the stupidity of a war predicated on disinformation. Chris Matthews in particular re-ran the clip all week and was salivating over it.
on Jan 24, 2004
I don't tend to see the media reaction to the "Dean Scream" as evidence of media conspiracy or bias. Rather, I see it as evidence of media mob mentality and a desire for simple, highly visible stories.

Early in the campaign, some reporters heard Dean's angry attacks on President Bush and his policies and concluded -- "Dean is an angry man". Once he became the "front-runner", the reporters then had to "critically scrutize" his record for flaws -- because that's what gets attention. "Well, since Dean demonstrted such anger at Bush, maybe he has problems with his temper" -- some thought -- "let's check" (probably at the suggestion of some folks in the other campaigns). Lo and behold, they find "evidence" for it (again, some of it probably provided by representatives of rival campaigns). So now the label for Dean is that he has trouble with his temper. It's always easier to report on something when you can put a simple label on it.

Then the "scream" happens and these reporters interpret it through their "temper"-colored glasses. More evidence that he can't control his temper -- that 's how it was reported that nite. Even better, this was a highly visual story -- certainly a lot more visual than the victory or defeat speeches of the other candidates. So why did it get so much attention? Because it fit the simplistic label that the media had created for Dean -- and it provided highly entertaining pictures.

Media conspiracy? NO. Just a bunch of lazy, shallow, and ambitious people.
on Jan 25, 2004
The media in the US are a horrible, pathetic excuse for news. And what makes it even more sad is the fact that there really isn't much better elsewhere in the world. Most of the world is still "developing" anyway.

The problem with our media is that professional ethics do not apply anymore (I'm not talking about morality - I'm talking about being professional). No one can separate personal lives from public lives. No one can separate comedy and fiction from reality.

On top of this loss of professional ethic, we have a media that has only one sole goal: to make money by selling advertisements, and to gain viewers so they may charge more for those advertisements. So we have a media that panders to anything to catch someone's eye - even if its not accurate reporting.

There is one way to fix this - to have a reputable public broadcast network that is independent from government, funded by taxes, and has only one goal: to serve unique cultural and news media to the people of the country.

Every 1st world industrialized nation has a public broadcast network to balance the commercial media which DOES have an agenda: Canada has the CBC; Britain has the BBC as examples.

We have what? PBS? Its about the most pathetic attempt at public broadcasting... No funding, they have to find corporate "sponsors" to do anything, and they don't even have a real news department.
on Jan 26, 2004
I live on the other side of the world, and i have seen that 'incident' about 6 times now on our local broadcasts...

If that aint sensationalising, i dont know what is.

Peace Out.
on Jan 27, 2004
It is a vast media conspiracy, but I will fix it. After today's victory in New Hampshire, we will go to... well, better let Howard tell you. Got to the new web site: www.personalvacationplanner.com
on Jan 27, 2004
I just get tired of the whole slick politician thing. It would be nice to see someone with a little personality. Someone who doesn't just listen to advisers but actually can be themselves. I was not the biggest Dean fan in the world but I think its sad to see him become another stuffed shirt who sticks to the script because if he doesn't he loses his electability. I am also tired of the whole - he doesn't look presidential. I think its stupid - Dennis Kucinich cannot be president because he doesn't look presidential -how ridiculous is that. Never mind what his stand is on the issues, you have to look like President Ken Doll with a first lady Barbie who has helmut hair.
on Jan 27, 2004
Its not just the loony scream that put the brakes on the Dean machine, it was
wacky statements that are to long to list. such as his gaffe, the book of
Job in the new testament, he wanted to appeal to southern guys with pickup
trucks and confederate flags in the back. Dean does not believe the world is
safer with Hussein in custody, he claims president bush knew about 911 all
along, but when speaking of Bin Laden he feels that the American people should
not prejudge his case, the list goes on and on, now toss in this recent zany
comment. according to Dean the living standard for Iraqis is
"a whole lot worse" since a U.S.-led force toppled Saddam.
  This is
understandable being that railing against the war in Iraq put him where he was
in the first place, once that issue was pulled out from under him it uncovered
him as a candidate with no message, other that Anti Iraq war anti Bush, that's
why the Dems are gravitating toward Kerry and Edwards at this point, because
they are more traditional, less radical, and reckless.
on Jan 28, 2004
Huh, funny. You heard a lot about the scream, but not so much about those gaffes AR-15 mentioned: the book of Job in the New Testament (whoops, though in his defense there's a lot of malcontent on the actual era the book was written in), the confederate flags, or any of those other things. Perhaps they'll come out now, in the post-scream era. That's right, boys; knock him down, and then kick him with those past whoopsies to make sure he doesn't get up again. Atta boys.

Well, that sounds a little too much like I'm a Deaniac. See previous post 'cause I'm not, or else I'm in denial.
on Jan 28, 2004
Dean's effect on children...

on Jan 28, 2004
"who aren't the blue- and grey-hairs reporting the news; who are the younger, web-savvy generation"
Uh, yeah. Not generalizing/profiling much, are we?
I am the hip younger web-savvy generation and I wouldn't vote for Dean if you paid me. His viewpoints confuse and bewilder me. LOL
on Jan 29, 2004
Follow up to initial post:

Interesting report on ABC news last night. Diane Sawyer, who interviewed Dean & wife Monday(?) night, played different footage from other cameras in the room that night. Apparently Dean used one of those hand-held mics that block background sound, much like the ones Sawyer et al use on their morning show. Anyway, in the room, you couldn't even hear his scream because the crowd was so loud. There's another take for ya.

Moreover, a letter was sent (don't know by whom--ABC?) to a bunch of news affiliates, asking them if they think they overplayed the tape. Dean's camp, I think, estimated that the tape had been shown over 700 times following the scream. With the exception of NBC, all the news affiliates--including FOX and CNN--admitted that they probably shouldn't have played it so much.

Interesting. Of course, the question is, is ABC trying to rectify a wrong for real? Or they in this with Dean? Either way, they must be trying to catch their balance. Ooooooooh, conspiiiiiiiiracy.

BTW, mini luny, there are exceptions to every generalization. Everyone knows that. But if you'd seen the footage from inside the campaign, the people in the front row looked pretty damn 20-something to me, for whatever that's worth. However, I probably won't vote for the guy, either, though I'd never call myself hip, and only slightly web-savvy. Cheers.
on Feb 02, 2004
Well I would say something insightful, but I think everyone in here has already said eveything needed to be said. I dont like dean at all, but that dosent matter, I enjoyed the article, and the posts were great to read. Some really insightful things to read in here. AR-15, hillarious picture!!