Washington political columnist Dana Milbank must have gotten the memo. You know, the one about running interference for the Biden administration, which has had to field a few tough questions from the legacy media of late. In an opinion article titled, “The media treats Biden as badly as — or worse than — Trump. Here’s proof,” Mr. Milbank tried to make this preposterous case in Washington, D.C.’s most prominent newspaper. This assertion could go down as the biggest laugh line of 2021.
Psaki on Defense
It was hard to miss the look of shock on White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki’s face this week when facing a few tough questions from her friends in the advocacy media. Even The Boston Globe remarked that Psaki got “[I]n a testy exchange with NPR reporter Mara Liasson over whether the Biden administration should be delivering rapid coronavirus tests to every household amid a new COVID-19 surge.”
This comes on the heels of a Daily Mail report that noted Psaki’s “snarky reply” to Morning Joe’s Mika Brzezinski, who had the audacity to point out “that Americans care most about economic issues.” The White House spokesperson snapped back, “No you-know-what-Sherlock! Of course, they do.” Psaki certainly has demonstrated frustration over this change in tone by the legacy media. Still, in no way, shape, or form, does it prove Mr. Milbank’s premise that Mr. Biden has suffered more at the hands of the media than former President Trump.
After citing ten – yes, ten – headlines from the Politico Playbook newsletter, Milbank ran an artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm as proof of his supposition. This led to his farcical conclusion: “My colleagues in the media are serving as accessories to the murder of democracy.”
The Media Research Center’s Tim Graham had a field day dismantling Milbank’s absurd premise:
“I cry ‘BS,’ a mountain of BS. You don’t assign a computer to read for adjectives in 200,000 articles and claim media bias. There’s no way we at NewsBusters would be able to read 200,000 articles in 15 minutes and say ‘Voila!’ But who needs a human media analyst? Milbank’s clown car is speeding down the information superhighway.”
As a media watchdog, the MRC painstakingly logs hours and hours of American news reporting, utilizing dozens of analysts to assess the political leanings of its coverage. Graham is correct; there is simply no way to do conscientious reporting of media bias without real, live human beings who immerse themselves in meticulous recording and examination day in and day out. If this could be accomplished simply by using algorithms, the MRC wouldn’t waste precious time and resources doing what they do the way they do.
Further, Milbank cited initial treatment of the Biden administration as “slightly positive coverage in the first three months” of 2021. Despite this assertion, fawning over the new president was so extravagant that Sky News Australia produced a segment “savagely mocking American media” for its “appalling” reportage. Aussie Jack Houghton did a comparison of “CNN’s coverage of Biden in 2021 versus Trump’s in 2018.” He pounced on the exaggerated adoration of Biden. Reporting on the Australian analysis, Business & Politics pointed out “the utter lack of self-awareness on the part of the media when it comes to Democrats versus Republicans,” calling it “laughable and embarrassing.”
Indeed, it does not take a genius, nor an algorithm, to recognize the excessive slobbering the big names in media have engaged in since 46 took office. That they have come down to earth to recognize the foibles and folly of Biden & Company is a far cry from what Mr. Trump had to endure by any measure.
~ Read more from Leesa K. Donner.