‘Transparent debate needed in news amid leftist bias in the US’
More and more former senior government officials are moving into TV punditry: CNN has hired former assistant to James Comey, Josh Campbell, and MSNBC hired former CIA director John Brennan.
While a Pew Research Center poll found that the majority of Americans believe their media is biased, and amid the controversy surrounding the recent Nunes memo, RT discussed these latest career switches with political analyst and author Gina Loudon.
RT: Do you believe it is OK to position former government officials as unbiased experts, particularly when they are the subject of what they are talking about?
Gina Loudon: As long as it is disclosed that that’s who they are, there is always a repertoire of… knowledge that comes from being inside the government. So, if people want to hire them in a free economy, free market, free press, like we have here in the US, it would be common and no one would want them to pass a law that would say that someone who was in the government couldn’t appear on TV. That would go against the way we do things here. But at the same time, I think that it would be important that the viewers were advised of that. I think that if CNN and MSNBC want to maintain credibility within the American public eye, then they would want to make sure that those details were disclosed and that it was known that those people were former employees, especially someone like [former FBI director James] Comey, who is so partisan and very controversial.
RT: In general, is it a healthy phenomenon that the position of government official and the job of media pundit or expert have become so intertwined?
GL: I wouldn’t say normal. I think that it is a little bit unusual and I think that it is important that if you are going to be a credible media source, not fake news, that you would want to disclose that. Unfortunately, there is media bias in the US, especially on certain networks that the president has deemed “fake news,” and we think for those outlets in particular, they would really want to be careful to disclose the fact that this person is so partisan. As they are very careful to do, I have noticed, when it is, for example, me, as I served on the president’s media advisory board for his campaign, or others who they know are close to the president for whatever reason. I would think that they would want to disclose someone who came, certainly, from the Comey cloth, or anybody else. I think it is important just to be open, honest, and transparent about what your perspective is, where you come from, what your biases might be, and I don’t think that anybody should be embarrassed about that or try to hide that for any reason because that is what is great about the American press in general, is that we do like to engage in civil discourse, we like to engage in competing ideas from the two different parties. And I don’t think there is anything wrong with that. I would certainly not want to preclude that by law. However, if it is not disclosed and it is not known and this person is presented, for example, as an unbiased reporter, I would think that would not bode very well for ethics for the press in this country. I agree that there could be some problems there if it isn’t disclosed.
RT: Most US viewers believe that the news reports are biased in one way or another. Is that belief the result of this process?
GL: There is an absolute leftist bias in the country, most of the networks, if you just add up, for example, the time that they speak negatively about the president, it is about 90 percent of the time that the news media overall will speak negatively about the president. There are numerous studies that show this. For example, President Obama, he would do things, say things, and there would be no media coverage of it whatsoever. And case in point are the recent memos that we are all seeing come out. Of course, the Republican memo received (the Nunes memo) great scrutiny over most of the American media, but very little coverage, when what should happen based on that memo, for example, would be that Mueller’s investigation should be expanded – not contracted but expanded – to include investigations of collusion and corruption in the Democrat Party with Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama and some of our government agencies. But that is not what the media has called for. And that is a great example of leftist media bias in the US. So, yes, I do think it is there. There are very few examples of right-leaning bias in American media. And frankly, I just wish there would be more conversation where people from the Left and the Right have a chance to really debate the issues honestly, transparently and forthrightly. And I think that is where the American people can get a real taste of what is true news.