By: Roger Aronoff
Accuracy in Media
The chairman of the Associated Press news agency (AP), Dean Singleton, left little doubt who he is supporting for president in 2012. From the tone and words of his introduction today of President Obama, who was speaking to an AP luncheon, to the softball questions he asked following the speech, there could be no doubt that he wants to see Barack Obama reelected.
The AP is a not-for-profit cooperative news agency that was founded in 1845 by five newspapers who wanted to pool their resources in covering the Mexican-American War. It has grown and evolved to become the largest and most widely recognized U.S.-based news agency. Unlike newspapers like The New York Times and Washington Post, the two most important newspapers that comprise the AP, it generally strives to at least maintain the appearance of reporting without a political agenda. But too often they don’t live up to that standard.
As we pointed out last year, the Associated Press issued a memo to its employees about expressing their personal views on various issues of the day. The concern was that by doing so, in that case on Facebook or Twitter, they were giving ammunition to those who were critical of the AP for being biased. But later on we cited an internal memo that was leaked which revealed that the AP was seeking to have its journalists write with more of a “voice,” while not doing so at the expense of fair and balanced journalism. The idea was that modern journalism was often making their work seem less relevant, with less shelf-life.
In his introduction, Singleton referred to what he called Obama’s “always genteel way” and took obvious potshots at his critics. He said that:
“As president, he inherited the headwinds of the worst economic recession since the great depression. He pushed through congress the biggest economic recovery plan in history and led a government reorganization of two of the big three American automakers to save them from oblivion. He pursued domestic and foreign policy agendas that are controversial to many, highlighted by his signature into law of the most comprehensive health care legislation in history. And the budget plans proposed by the president on the one hand and Republicans on the other hand aren’t even on the same planet.”
He concluded the intro with, “We’re very honored today to have the man currently holding the office and aspiring for it for another term, and with apologies to Al Green, my new favorite singer.”
This brought to mind Bernard Goldberg’s 2009 book, A Slobbering Love Affair: The True (and Pathetic) Story of the Torrid Romance Between Barack Obama and the Mainstream Media. And it is a reminder of what the Republican presidential nominee will be up against in his bid to unseat the President.
Roger Aronoff is the Editor of Accuracy in Media, and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.