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Media’s Objectivity Fails to Expose Attack Ad lies

November 27, 2011

As the presidential primary races proceed it has reached the time were candidates release volleys of finger-pointing and blame in the form of negative campaign ads. This round it is attack ads against president Obama as Republican candidates battle for valuable swing votes. The media’s coverage of these ads exposes the serious flaw in mainstream media’s objective reporting model and the strength in the biased-but-transparent model used by many independent news outlets. The same issue that Weinberger discusses in his 2009 article, “Transparency is the new objectivity.”

When mainstream media covers an attack ad it is often simply a he-said she-said story, which, when ads contain lies and twisted truths, fails to provide the public with the important part of the story – are the candidates lying or not? A recent clip from The Young Turks illustrates the point with Mitt Romney’s recent attack ad. The ad contains several factually incorrect statements regarding the recent healthcare legislation as well as an out-of-context sound bite, which the media failed to tell their viewers. Cenk Uygur goes on to talk about the response of mainstream media’s habit of making statements like “It appears to be out of context, but the Romney people say this…,” the point being that the media should just say it’s a lie in the first place.

Transparency is the other side of the coin, Uygur’s clip is a perfect example. He makes it clear that he is upset with Romney from the get go, then proceeds to expose each lie in the ad and links to a Huffington Post article that further delves into the Obama clip taken out of context. This really lives up to the statement that “Transparency is the new objectivity,” because it is only this way that we can hear the truth, not through the flawed objective model.


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