Thursday, July 16, 2009

Media Malpractice: A Review

I finally ordered and received my copy of John Ziegler's Media Malpractice: How Obama Got Elected and Palin Got Targeted, which I've been wanting to see ever since I wrote about what was then an upcoming documentary eight months ago.

So, here's my take on the movie. My take on the DVD itself will follow when I've viewed everything on the disc.

Media Malpractice does a good job of laying out the timeline of the 2008 presidential election, positing the idea that the mainstream media presented their news in a way that put now-President Obama in a good light and put his opponents in a bad light, with the worst of the treatment given to Sarah Palin (though Mr. Ziegler gives a good amount of time to showing how the media turned on then-frontrunner Hillary Clinton). Now, from one viewing (admittedly the evening after I watched a Harry Potter midnight movie, so I may be too tired to remember), I did not remember a clearly-given reasoning for the media's sudden turn to Obama as their chosen candidate (but if someone corrects me, I'll retract that).

Now, it's easy to say that the media was in the tank for President Obama. Heck, I'll say that right now. What Mr. Ziegler does so well in this doc, though, is to use many, many clips from the different news channels and sources to show that: 1) stories that contained information damaging to the Obama campaign were portrayed as of little value or, in some instances, not even mentioned; 2) stories that were damaging to other candidates were highlighted and usually repeated over several days; 3) ideas about then-Senator Obama were presented as facts by pundits, sometimes even when they were debunked by a pundit's same network within an hour; and 4) some media sources would repeat multiple times little concerns about anything damning regarding Palin rallies or supporters, rather than to present any real portion of what Governor Palin was actually saying. One of the most damning items in the movie is where Mr. Ziegler shows that not once, but twice, the most informative portion of the GE/NBC conglomerate, with regard to stories showing either Obama or Democrats in general in a bad light, was Saturday Night Live.

With all that said, there were a few issues I had with the movie. Most annoying to me, almost for the entire length, was the incidental music. I didn't like it, and I found it distracting. Also, there were some statements made by reporters which Mr. Ziegler used to show a definite bias ("we had to make several trips...", or something like that), when I thought that didn't necessarily mean anything (as a reporter covering Obama, of course she had to go with him on these trips). I also would have liked to see more refutation by Governor Palin of some of the more laughable assertions repeated by Carl Cameron of Fox News (which he got from anonymous "insiders"), since portions of her interview (the entirety of which I have not watched yet; it is presented as a special feature on the DVD) do address some of the other major attacks toward her.

Anyway, I realize that as a supporter of Sarah Palin, I may not be the most objective person to speak about the 2008 campaign. (Oh, like you are, Gentle Reader!) But with that said, I thought Media Malpractice was good, not great, but definitely thought-provoking. It's worth a look.

(I think tonight I'm watching Die Hard; it's great and not thought-provoking.)


john said...

John Ziegler here. hanks for the review, though I suggest you watch the film again when you aren't tired. Among other things, plenty of reasons are given for why the media bailed on Clinton for Obama.