Monday, December 10, 2007

Pundit Political Objectivity

Is it possible to have an unbiased and objective view of events and people in the News?

I remember listening to Rush Limbaugh for the first time on a road trip from Chicago to Fort Smith in 1990. I became very excited as I listened to his radio show because for the fist time in my adult life I heard a radio broadcaster who believed in self reliance, personal responsibility, and capitalism, just like me. The fact that he was also against abortion endeared me to him and his program even more.

However, the more I listened to Rush, the more I realized he sounded just as confident, and just as bombastic, even when I knew he had his facts completely wrong. His demeanor never changed regardless of any view he was expressing. The confidence he projected when he was right sounded bloated when he was wrong.

I try to read and hear the diverse perspectives coming from many different reporters, analysts, and pundits; but like most everyone else, I have my favorites, and my time is limited. George Will is always solid when he is opining about human nature and economics. Hugh Hewitt has been at the top of my list for all things political, mostly because of his defense of religion and religious people in public life and for how gracious he is has treated me on the few occasions we have had contact.

Even though I haven’t written much lately, I have been following politics and the race for the White House. Most of the top tier of Republican candidates have a few attributes I like and a few I don’t. Candidate Huckabee is a good man with way too many government solutions for my taste. I can understand how Governor Huckabee is not the candidate for voters like me who lean libertarian, but I don’t understand all of the attacks against Governor Huckabee coming from conservatives like Will, Hewitt, and others that have crossed the line from criticizing his positions and record to criticizing his character.

The bias of Will and Hewitt seems to have affected their objectivity. If it could happen to them, it could happen to anyone.


Rick and Gary said...

Hi David -- Perhaps it's intellectual snobbery. The already famous NYT magazine article about Huckabee is now up on the web. The interesting upshot is that an Iowa win may not get him the Presidential nomination, but it may set him up for as the new evangelical power broker, and possibly as VP nominee.

David M. Smith said...

Hi Rick,

How are you?

I don’t know what it is. I have no plans to vote for Governor Huckabee, but not because of his intelligence. He seems just as bright to me as the others. Keyes might be the most intelligent, but won’t get many votes at all. Huckabee does look a little like Gomer Pyle, but I don’t think he is being excoriated because of his looks.

I wouldn’t have expected George Will to ever support Governor Huckabee, but I am a little surprised at his vitriol towards the former Governor. Likewise, with Hugh Hewitt and National Review. It’s one thing to have a favorite horse in the race, but another thing entirely to be so mean and personal in opposition to an opponent who might be wrong, but is not a scoundrel by any means.

The whole thing scares me a little. I’ve known for a long time about bias, but I am only recently starting to realize how blinding bias is to objectivity. I am probably just as guilty as everyone else.

Rick and Gary said...

Hi David -- I'm good, thank you.

Perhaps these folks feel that Huckabee is running a sectarian campaign against Romney in Iowa. Just a thought. I don't know that he is, but I can sure see where an argument could be made.

I'll be voting in the Republican primary this year, and it'll be for Ron Paul!

David M. Smith said...

Hi Rick,

All of the charges against Huckabee seem over the top to me. He can be criticized for a lot of his positions, beliefs, and record, but the criticism for my ears seems way out of line to the offense.

Ron Paul does have some good libertarian attributes, but since I disagree with him about the nature of our enemy and how to defend against our enemy, I could never vote for him.

Ron Paul’s domestic policies and George Bush’s foreign policy would be just about right for me. Fred Thompson may come the closest and may end up getting my primary vote.