more on handling biased media

Author Chris Hedges does a pretty good take-down of right-wing CBC host Kevin O’Leary here:

Just my impression, but it seems like progressives are more and more doing this kind of thing: directly attacking unfair attack journalism instead of either being overly calm or just avoiding the networks.


  1. Noah
    Posted October 21, 2011 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    One of the things that struck me here is the pairing of a conservative host and a more neutral host. It’s almost like a punditry version of “good cop, bad cop.” The first host (I can’t find her name) knows who she is paired with and that she may need to help keep the peace. It has to be easier for Chris Hedges to confront Kevin O’Leary in this setting. Hedges knows there is an arbitrator in the interaction who will let him finish a sentence when O’Leary interrupts.

    In the US, partisan interview shows are centered around the personality of a single host, so I think it’s more difficult to directly challenge the host on their program. Also, the CBC has less tolerance for hosts calling someone a “nutbar” than US cable news. If Bill O’Reilly or Rachel Maddow called someone a “nutbar,” would their bosses say it’s a breach of policy? I think they’d just chuckle at the phrase nutbar.


  2. Posted October 21, 2011 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    Not just progressives either, though you might very well be right that it’s a recent trend for progressives. Conservatives have for years been attacking journalism that they characterize (with varying degrees of plausibility) as unfair. Alterman makes a lot of this, which he calls “working the refs” and before than Herman and Chomsky called it “flak.”

    Some of these criticisms from the right are reasonable, many debatable, and some downright ridiculous. My favorite example of an absurd one is when Sarah Palin defended her stupid comments on Paul Revere by calling the following softball a “gotcha” question: “What have you seen so far today, and what are you going to take away from your visit?”

    You’ve also seen this a lot in the GOP primary debates, both from the candidates themselves and from the audience. My understanding, which may be wrong, is that a lot of the more infamous cheering/booing incidents were more about resentment of perceived loaded questions or cheap gimmicks by the moderators than about, for instance, actual glee at executions.


  3. Posted October 21, 2011 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    The CBC does have less tolerance for this behaviour, as does the Canadian audience. The CBC also has an ombudsman who mediates disputes, and he recommended that CBC apologize publicly.


  4. Posted October 22, 2011 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

    Tufts sociologists Sarah Sobieraj has a Fox interview that is smooth like butter, but I have a feeling she could have handled it just fine if it had taken a turn for the hominem.

    Is it just me, or are these some of the smartest analyses I’ve heard on the news in years?


  5. Posted October 23, 2011 at 6:45 am | Permalink

    OMG, Sarah, that is an absolutely amazing performance – great job handling the bad questions, saying smart things, adding to the discussion – fabulous!!!!


  6. Posted October 30, 2011 at 11:52 pm | Permalink

    I want to know what the difference between a “liberal nutbar” and a “liberal nutjob” is….. Apparently its less offensive- but maybe it has more calories than a conservative nutbar?

    Kudos to Sarah for an outstanding interview.



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