erinptah: (Birds)
[personal profile] erinptah posting in [community profile] fakenews_srsbsns
This post is a reaction to the "TDS/the Rally portray liberals and conservatives as equally out-of-control" criticism. The fact that it's about half a year behind the times is a demonstration of my epic procrastinating skills.

See, here's the thing. When I first heard the false-equivalency argument, my reaction was "But TDS goes after conservative extremism so much more than liberal extremism! Surely it can recognize that the left has fewer problems without refusing to criticize them at all." Then I started to wonder if that was objectively true, or if I was just overcompensating for my own liberalism. Finally, I decided to crunch some actual numbers.

These...are those numbers.

First, a selection of clips. To get a consistent measurement, I went to the website and looked up all Daily Show episode clips, from the year 2010, that were tagged with the names of Maddow, Olbermann, Beck, and O'Reilly. Excludes web-exclusive montages (because they compile footage already covered in the episodes) and Moments of Zen (because they don't come with context, and they're all Glenn Beck anyway).


Glenn Beck (Total: 20)
January 14: Crazy Like A Contributor
February 22: Rage Within The Machine - Progressivism
March 10: Sour Gropes
March 18: Progressivism Is Cancer
March 18: Conservative Libertarian
April 13: That's Tariffic
May 4: Explosive and the City 2
May 12: Glenn Beck's Nazi Tourette's
June 3: Glenn Beck Airs Israeli Raid Footage
June 30: You're Welcome - World Cup
August 12: You're Welcome - Constitutional Crisis
August 16: Mosque-Erade
August 18: News Corp. Gives Money To Republicans
August 26: Michael Bloomberg
August 26: I Have A Scheme
September 21: Rally To Restore Sanity Advice
November 8: Doubtsourced
November 18: George Soros Plans To Overthrow America
November 18: The Manchurian Lunatic
December 1: The Food, The Bad, and the Ugly


Bill O'Reilly (Total: 6)
April 15: Tea America
April 20: Bernie Goldberg Fires Back
September 14: Mayberry WTF
September 27: Truthiness to Power
September 27: Bill O'Reilly Post-Interview Analysis
October 12: (C) Spot Run!


Beck and O'Reilly (Total: 3)
January 5: The Temple of Hume
January 5: Even Better Than The Real Thing
September 27: Bill O'Reilly - Guest Interview


Rachel Maddow (Total: 5)
January 14: Haiti Earthquake Reactions
January 20: Fox News Covers Scott Brown's Victory
February 4: The Blogs Must Be Crazy
April 13: BJ Penn Takes Down Brian Kilmeade
April 13: Rachel Maddow - guest interview


Keith Olbermann (Total: 2)
January 21: Special Comment - Keith Olbermann's Name-Calling
March 4: Tech-Talch - Chatroulette


Maddow and Olbermann (Total: 1)
November 8: MSNBC Suspends Keith Olbermann



Beck and O'Reilly total 29. I don't remember all of these specifically, and am not up for subjecting myself to that much continuous Beck; if anyone would like to go through and double-check whether any of them are complimentary, it would be appreciated. As I recall, 2 were not overtly critical: the O'Reilly interview was a mixed bag (with "compliments" like "the thinnest kid at fat camp"), and "Post-Interview Analysis" was mostly jokes about Stewart being tiny.

Maddow and Olbermann total 8. Of these, 3 were not critical: the Maddow interview was outright praise, "Chatroulette" was a lighthearted Olbermann cameo, and "The Blogs Must Be Crazy" walked back the criticism of Maddow offered in "Haiti Earthquake Reactions." In addition, "MSNBC Suspends Keith Olbermann" was critical of Olbermann, but explicitly praised Maddow for being reasonable. Also worth noting: Olbermann later aired "Keith Olbermann's Name Calling" in its entirety, then acknowledged that its point was valid.


***

NOTE ON THE REPORT: I'm not going to attempt to break down the criticisms offered on TCR, for the same reason I think Colbert and the Report are rarely included in the false-equivalency charge: the phenomenon of ETSSAWT, or Everyone Thinks Stephen Secretly Agrees With Them.

***


Now for the Rally itself. First some raw data, then a few percentages.

I couldn't identify all the individuals in the "unleash the media!" montages; I wasn't always sure whether someone was an anchor or a guest; and some of the clips didn't come with network logos. Here's a breakdown of what I did work out.


UNLEASH THE MEDIA (What We Have To Fear)

-Fox (no anchor shown)
-Fox (no anchor shown)
-CNN (no anchor shown)
-Fox: Glenn Beck
-Fox (no anchor shown)
-MSNBC (no anchor shown)
-CNN: white female anchor
-CNN: Wolf Blitzer
-CNN: Kyra Phillips?
-unspecified network (no anchor shown)
-unspecified network (no anchor shown)
-CNN: black male anchor
-Fox: Dick Morris
-MSNBC: white female anchor
-Fox: white male anchor
-Fox: Glenn Beck
-Fox (no anchor shown)
-MSNBC: Ed Schultz
-Fox: Glenn Beck
-MSNBC: Ed Schultz
-unspecified network: white male anchor
-CNN (no anchor shown)
-unspecified network (no anchor shown)
-unspecified network (no anchor shown)
-Fox: Shepard Smith
-Fox (no anchor shown)
-Fox (no anchor shown)
-Fox (no anchor shown)
-MSNBC (no anchor shown)
-CNN (no anchor shown)
-CNN (no anchor shown)
-Fox (no anchor shown)
-unspecified network (no anchor shown)
-Fox (no anchor shown)
-MSNBC: Ed Schultz
-Fox: white male anchor
-Fox: Glenn Beck


RE-UNLEASH THE MEDIA (Why We Can't Work Together)

-Fox: Glenn Beck
-CNN: James Carville
-Fox: Bill O'Reilly
-C-SPAN: white male representative
-Fox: Glenn Beck
-MSNBC: Ed Schultz
-Fox: Ann Coulter
-MSNBC: white male guest
-CNN: white male guest
-Fox: white male guest
-Fox: Newt Gingrich
-MSNBC: Ed Schultz
-Fox: Rush Limbaugh
-MSNBC: Keith Olbermann
-MSNBC: Tucker Carlson
-MSNBC: Ed Schultz
-Fox: white female guest
-unspecified network: some white guy
-Fox: Sean Hannity, white female guest
-Fox: Glenn Beck
-MSNBC: Keith Olbermann
-Fox: Sean Hannity
-Fox: Glenn Beck
-MSNBC: Ed Schultz
-MSNBC: Chris Matthews
-Fox: white male guest
-MSNBC: white male guest
-Fox: Bill O'Reilly
-MSNBC: Keith Olbermann
-CNN: white male guest
-Fox: Sarah Palin
-Fox: Michelle Malkin
-MSNBC: Keith Olbermann
-Fox: white male anchor
-MSNBC: white female anchor
-Fox: white male anchor
-MSNBC: Chris Matthews
-Fox: Glenn Beck
-CNN: Wolf Blitzer
-MSNBC: Ed Schultz

TOTAL CLIPS: 77


SIDEBAR FOR THE CURIOUS (assuming I read these all correctly, and that none of the folks I couldn't identify were repeats), here's the number of individual people shown, broken down by gender and race:

White Dudes: 26 (72%)
Dudes Of Color: 1 (3%)
White Ladies: 8 (22%)
Ladies Of Color: 1 (3%)
Total: 36


BREAKDOWN BY NETWORK:
Fox: 36 (47%)
CNN: 12 (16%)
MSNBC: 21 (27%)*
C-SPAN: 1 (1%)
Unidentified: 7 (9%)
Total: 77
*One of these is Carlson in a guest appearance. If you count that as an honorary Fox clip, the proportion becomes Fox 48%, MSNBC 26%.


BREAKDOWN BY WHAT SIDE EACH PARTISAN ACCUSATION CAME FROM:
...yeah, okay, this would require going back over the whole thing again with an even finer-toothed comb, as well as making some pretty subjective calls ("is Glenn Beck going "OMG DISEASE" part of a conservative extremist strategy, or just generic nonpartisan fearmongering?"). So I'm skipping it. Instead, let's go with the simpler measure of...


PEOPLE WHO WERE FAMOUS ENOUGH FOR ME TO RECOGNIZE, organized by political leaning:
Conservative (8): Beck, O'Reilly, Coulter, Malkin, Palin, Carlson, Hannity, Limbaugh
Liberal (4): Olbermann, Matthews, Shultz, Carville
Other (2): Blitzer, Smith (?)


IN CONCLUSION: Calling out prominent right-wing pundits is a regular feature on-air, while the same has only happened a handful of times with their left-wing "equivalents." In addition, the quality of the callouts differs. Liberal callouts sometimes end with both parties coming to an agreement over whether the criticism was valid, while conservative callouts are more flatly dismissive, and never get reconciled. When compared to this baseline, the Rally put a surprising amount of focus on liberals; but in its massive montages of media criticism, conservatives still featured nearly twice as much.

Or, to summarize: TDS goes after conservative extremism so much more than liberal extremism.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-03-07 06:02 pm (UTC)
ceilidh_ann: Made by nutellahostage of LJ. (Default)
From: [personal profile] ceilidh_ann
It's not about the number of times such false equivalency is made, it's about the nature in which it's done. By showing a clip that compares Olbermann and Matthews to Beck, O'Reilly, Limbaugh, etc, without explanation or commentary, you are making a false equivalency. It's about the idea that in order for this supposed sanity that the rally supported to be implemented, both sides needed to take equal blame and that equivalency just doesn't hold water. For all the times pundits of the left have pissed me off (and believe me, it's been more than a few), they've never even come close to creating the anger the right does, because while one side may have loud egotistical blowhards, the other side has delusional, irrational and bigoted liars and those two things are not the same. Let's not forget TDS drawing conclusions that the recent Wisconsin protests and Ed Schultz reporting live from them were in some way comparable to Fox pimping out the tea party protests. For all the good that Stewart and TDS has done, which should be acknowledged because he's done a lot, his insistence that he's still just a comedian is unfair and untrue. In order for him to keep pulling this car out, he's started to make equivalencies that aren't fair. He should own his shit, especially since he's in such a position of power now. Regardless of what he says, he is now no longer just a comedian and what he says is no longer just a joke.

Besides, regardless of anyone's position, nobody should be pulling the 'just a joke' excuse. It's cowardice. Stewart Lee's skit on Top Gear is a perfect example of why it's a dick move.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-03-07 08:05 pm (UTC)
yank_abroad: (Default)
From: [personal profile] yank_abroad
None of this means that Jon Stewart isn't making false equivalencies. It just means that he makes false equivalencies a minority of the time.

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