Editor Emeritus - Ed Wilkinson

Media Bias, Politicians Avoid the Real Issues

While so many people are criticizing the bias of the press in their coverage of this year’s presidential campaign, we got an example of dumb journalism this week from The New York Post. Over a full-page photo of Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad flashing a peace sign, The Post ran a headline that amounted to a crude expression and a new low in journalism. Common decency requires that we not reprint it here. But it is one more piece of evidence of why people distrust the press.

The coverage of the current political campaign has been negative, brutal and one-sided. There has been little substantive debate of the issues while each side tosses negative innuendoes against each other. Each side claims the other cannot be trusted and that alone should merit you voting for its party.

The media has been no better. CNN gives you news from the Democrats’ perspective, and FOX presents the Republican point of vow.

After several terrorist attacks and assassinations in the Middle East, CNN started its news report with a critical look at how Gov. Romney had reacted to it. Immediately following the president’s address to the U.N. this week, FOX analysts began taking it apart for a lack of vision of America as a world leader. In both cases, the real news of who, what, when and how was being ignored.

President Obama delivered a speech before the U.N. General Assembly on support for Israel, attacking Iran’s nuclear weapons program and decrying unreasonable reactions to the anti-Muslim movie trailer that appeared on YouTube. He stressed ending division and hatred between groups and defended America’s freedom of speech. His image as a world leader would be much stronger if he had spoken more like this in the past.

Hidden in all the mud-slinging of the campaign are real issues, some of which are not making it to the level of public discussion. This week’s edition of The Tablet highlights one of those issues: freedom of religion. (See P. 1 and P. 6).

Many Catholics, including the Catholic episcopal leadership, are troubled by what appears to be a bias against religious institutions, particularly Catholic agencies. The HHS mandate, included in the president’s Affordable Health Care Law, is a case in point. It marginalizes the faith of Catholics and tramples on our rights to believe what we believe and to act according to our beliefs. But there are a lot of Catholics who do not even recognize the issue, in spite of the emphasis in the Catholic Press and the advocacy of the Catholic bishops.

While President Obama spoke eloquently at the U.N. about lessening the divisions among peoples, he should take a page from his own speech and immediately stop the negative ads attacking Gov. Romney’s wealth and success. The campaign has been one of division, of us against them, and it needs to stop while there is still time for honest debate before Election Day. We need to hear why we should vote for one candidate and not why we shouldn’t vote for the other.

And we need the secular media to take a look at the issues, including freedom of religion and how it is impacted by some of the legislation passed by the current administration.

The American experiment with democracy needs open debate that relies more on intelligence and reason rather than emotion and instant reactions. Candidates play a role in the process but so do the media in all their forms.

One thought on “Media Bias, Politicians Avoid the Real Issues

  1. Perhaps Catholics are not recognizing the issue of an attack on their beliefs because the majority of Catholic women use birth control. They believe in the right of women of all faiths to have control over the health of their bodies. While abortion is a horrible act, the idea that Roe v. Wade could be over turned is also abhorrent. In the past, many women died as the result of illegal, unsafe abortions. This country cannot return to those days again. I always find it amusing to listen to men proclaim an opposition to abortion under any circumstances. Tell that to a pregnant thirteen-year-old girl who is the victim of incest. When men go through childbirth then they can protest abortion.