There is no doubt about it. Canadians can learn something from the #DNCleaks about pro-liberal bias and collusion between political organisations and the media.
The Merriam Webster dictionary describes bias as “a tendency to believe some peoples ideas are better than others” and “collusion” as “secret co-operation for a dishonest purpose.”
And, thanks to those leaks, we now know beyond a shadow of a doubt that staff and officials at the U.S. Democratic National Committee (DNC), have shown repeatedly that they were biased in favour of Hillary Clinton (over Bernie Sanders) and had secret co-operation with certain mainstream journalists.
Certainly, the U.S. is not alone in that regard. I mean, I have frequently wondered if there was collusion between the Liberal Party of Canada and the CBC. During the 2015 federal election campaign, for example, I used to compare media releases on the LPC website to what I heard on TV and read in print.
And, no, regardless of who appointed the CBC Board Directors, they have nothing to do with day-to-day reporting. In fact, what journalists said and wrote, more often than not, sounded very like Liberal talking points.
Yet, every time I complained of anti-conservative, anti-Stephen Harper bias (e.g., check out my “media bias” folder using my Search command), my complaints were derided as nothing more than a conspiracy theory — exactly what the DNC said when Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders complained that the system was rigged against him. Well, now we know he was right.
Anyway, speaking of a rigged U.S. system, here are some of the highlights from a Heatstreet article titled “Wikileaks Show How DNC Used Foul Language to Insult Fox News Staff, While Praising Rachel Maddow, MSNBC“(H/T NewsWatchCanada).
(1) Regarding the relationship between the DNC and Fox News: “‘Is there a Fuck You emoji?” Communications Director Luis Miranda wrote a colleague who forwarded him FoxNews.com freelance reporter Fred Lucas’ questions about Donald Trump bringing up Bill Clinton’s dalliances….
Lucas politely e-mailed the DNC again three days later asking, ‘I hoped the DNC could weigh in on the appropriateness of Trump attacking along these lines? I would really appreciate any response you have. Thanks very much.’
Palermo then e-mailed Miranda and Deputy Communications Director Mark Paustenbach: ‘The asshole from fox e-mailed us again. I did some research and there’s still no ‘fuck you’ emoji, unfortunately.’”
Now think about that. All Fred Lucas wanted was some reaction to what Trump was suggesting. Yet, all the DNC person could do was ignore him and insult his request.
(2) Regarding the Business network wanting to schedule an interview: “Similarly, in April, Business Insider’s Maxwell Tani reached out about scheduling an interview with DNC boss Debbie Wasserman Schultz. “After the hit job he did on the [Amy] Dacey piece? Hell no,” wrote Miranda.”
In other words, the people working at the DNC do not seem understand debate and disagreement are the essence of democracy.
(3) Regarding collusion: “Politico reporter Kenneth Vogel appears to have allowed the DNC to review a draft of an article, which is widely considered a violation of journalistic ethics.’ Vogel gave me his story ahead of time/before it goes to his editors as long as I didn’t share it. Let me know if you see anything that’s missing and I’ll push back,’ Paustenbach wrote his colleagues.
Vogel had sent the draft of his story to Paustenbach with the subject line ‘Per agreement … any thoughts appreciated.’ The article looked at whether the Clinton fundraising practices were potentially corrupt.”
There are other examples in the Heatstreet article as well, particularly about the DNC’s relationship with MSNBC and Rachel Maddow. But, as I said at the start of this post, what we now know about DNC involvement in the U.S. media, has been the type of collusion that concerned conservatives in Canada throughout the entire period the Harper Conservatives were governing.
The crux of the matter is that if the 4th and 5th estates cannot be trusted, what checks and balances are there on power in either the U. S. or Canada?