ABC Story Covers NB, Media Matters: Guess Which It Fails to Interview?

Update with video posted below fold.

File this one under the rubric "Unintentionally Revealing Moments of MSM Bias." ABC publishes an article about media watchdog groups and singles out two for mention: NewsBusters and Media Matters. But the article goes on to cite the work of and publish comments by a representative of only one of those groups. Which one do you think it was?

Yesterday, ABC posted an article by its Samantha Wenders entitled The Camera Is Always Watching: The Internet Has Helped Citizens Play 'Gotcha' With the Press; Is That a Good Thing?"

Wrote Wenders: "Media watchdog groups like the conservative Newsbusters and the liberal Media Matters regularly post examples of what they see as bias in the media."

Cut to a comment by Karl Frisch, director of media relations at Media Matters: "Our goal at Media Matters is to hold the media accountable, and the best tools at our disposal are showing what's actually happening in the media."

There followed three long paragraphs focusing on the Media Matters posting of Don Imus's infamous comments about the Rutgers women's basketball team. "New Yorker" media maven Ken Auletta is also given an opportunity to weigh in on the controversy.

Here at NewsBusters, we don't like to be lumped together with Media Matters, but it's perhaps understandable that others might see us at two sides of a coin. And if Wenders wanted to quote Media Matters first, well, OK, maybe she was going in alphabetical order.

So I kept reading, awaiting the focus on NewsBusters' work and the comments from one of our senior editors. And awaitin', and awaitin' . . .

That's right: no such focus ever came. Not a word about NewsBusters' work, much less comments from one of our honchos. Cut instead to some criticism of "gotcha" journalism. Writes Wenders: "But sometimes the criticism might not aways be fair."

And what does Wenders cite as her sole example of such "unfairness"? The recent incident in which MSNBC's Chris Matthews invited attractive CNBC financial reporter Erin Burnett to "get a little closer to the camera." Wenders uncritically cites the comments of an MSNBC exec who predictably denied any prurient interest on Matthews' part:

Some have suggested that Matthews was leering at Burnett, but MSNBC said that Matthews was only making a joke about the odd camera angle and strange lens being used in the shot. "As frequently happens once video gets on the Internet, it was taken out of context and incorrect assumptions were made," MSNBC Vice President Jeremy Gaines told i-CAUGHT.

Video (1:40): Real (1.21 MB) or Windows (1.03 MB), plus MP3 (754 kB) 

Anyone who believes for a second that this was about bad camera angles and not Matthews' infatuation with the fetching Ms. Burnett is invited to view the video of the moment and read the accompanying commentary at, that's right, NewsBusters, in an item by our P.J. Gladnick.

In any case, Wenders and ABC themselves gave incontrovertible evidence -- of their own liberal mindset. An article on media watchdogs that interviews only the liberal side of the equation and cites as its other sources a New Yorker reporter and and an MSNBC exec. Perfect.

Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.