As the Scotsman noted in the wake of Rathergate:
"Bloggers cannot replace newspapers and the television networks since they rely on the established media to do most of a story’s original reporting. But they can answer the question "who watches the watchers?" The answer is that the pyjama-wearers do."
Today is election day in the USA. Here's a briefing that steps beyond the candidates to take a hard look at the media - in the USA, and beyond.
- Guess who CBS News picks to handle its election night 2004 coverage, in the wake of Rathergate? Why, Dan Rather, of course.
- The Center for Media and Public Affairs did a survey of press coverage this campaign - here's the full report in PDF. It says that  Kerry received the most positive press coverage of ANY candidate since 1980;  Bush's coverage was much more negative, but not the worst during this period - Reagan's was, in 1984, when Mondale has the previous top press rating;  The major networks praised Kerry, while FOX News buried him. (Hat Tip: Instapundit - who links to other polls showing that people have noticed)
- Alan of the Command Post has a corker of a speech to the Associated Press about the blogosphere. You should familiarize yourself with the Law of the Flow, the Law of the Fast, the Law of the Few, and the Law of the Many.
Other Topics Include: Media partisanship stats; Empty headed journalism; Poll shennanigans; Opening the records (or not); LA Times dishonesty; Election contributions; Slant-O-Meter; Fager & cBS; BBC on blogs; BBC cries for Arafat; CBC exposed; Euro press bias; Osama's tape; Covering hate in Germany; Duelfer report; al Qaqaa.
- The Pew Surveys are the most commonly-cited measure of the political leanings of reporters vs. the American population at large. Here's a 2004 report on that divergence. Eye-opening - and read the other sections, too.
- This is not a recent phenomenon, either. These graphs represent (linked) surveys from 1980 to 2004, and show ratios from 4:1 to 12:1 liberal:conservative.
- Why does this matter? Read this real-life exchange with a reporter by Spoons of "The Spoons Experience": "The point is, is that sometimes there just isn't evidence to back up policy from the GOP but there almost always is for a liberal position..." What a perfect encapsulation.
- Michael Totten reads a prize winning essay by a college journalism student, and has a request: "Can I make a humble suggestion to j-school deans? Please make your students study history or some other subject that teaches them something. No journalist should ever write something as empty-headed as this..." He's right - in my opinion, journalism schools are part of the profession's core problem, rather than a solution.
- Powerline ruthlessly mocks the Minneapolis Star Tribune's long and consistent record of getting its Minnesota polls wrong, and reporting results in slanted waysm and always in favour of the Democratic candidates it supports.
- The Washington Post's editorial thinks the Osama tape will help the GOP. We'll know for sure once the results are in, but as Media Matters notes, that doesn't match what their own polls are saying. Gotta read your own paper, folks.
- Beldar's reader asks: "if the media could pry open sealed divorce records (for Jack Ryan, a Republican candidate, over the objections of both spouses) then why can't they force open the undisclosed military records of John Kerry? He gives a legal answer, and then a citizens' answer. Both are interesting.
- Patterico takes LA Times' coverage of the Presidential candidates, and removes all references to names. Can you guess who's who? Sure you can. What you can't guess is that the LA Times goes on to blatantly lie about the contents of an op-ed in its own pages, literally inventing statements that are not there when you read the piece itself. More here.
- Michael Barone of U.S. News and World Report has an interesting bit about conventional wisdom in general not doing all that well this election. Roger L. Simon takes especial note of his comment that: "The news media, much of it heavily biased, has been a more effective Bush opponent than Kerry and the Democrats..."
- A well-known news organization had its employees' political doations examined. Of the $25,383 total, only $4,930 went to Republican candidates or committees. The broadcaster? FOX News. Unfortunately, the survey re: other networks doesn't use the same even standard, measuring only Bush re-election campaign vs. total Democratic donations (rather than all Democrats vs. all Republicans). While the massive imbalances elsewhere are instructive, therefore, they're less persuasive than they might be.
- Little Red Blog directs us to the The Media Tenor Institute's "Slant-O-Meter" (and click the graph for an update), which measures the net positivity/negativity of media coverage of the candidates during the past week. Amazingly, CBS News is by far the most negative in its coverage of Bush. Who would ever have imagined?
- Speaking of cBS, their internal Memogate investigation hasn't reported publicly yet. Rathergate.com sees a corrupt organization top to bottom based on this election, and it's hard to dispute. Personally, I expect a whitewash that says sorry and recommends nothing of substance. If so, Rathergate.com has a message for cBS affiliates.
- Jeff Fager, the CBS producer who wanted the NYT to run the al-Qaqaa "story" the day before the election (shades of the LA Times and Ah-nold), has a history of his own.
- Jeff Jarvis discusses the NYT's mishandling of that story, and has an exchange with Instapundit on the same grounds (Ann's post yesterday about a Kerry dishonourable discharge). No, Jeff, this wouldn't necessarily have come out before - your candidate worked hard to hide his records and the media couldn't be bothered to investigate. But the timing does make it one last throw of mud with no time left to answer the charge.
- Rageh Omaar is a BBC foreign correspondent. He writes about the loss of faith in America's mainstream media as a reporter of news, and the rise of bloggers. To hear this coming from a BBC foreign correspondent is probably funny enough to justify reading the piece. (Hat Tip: Vodkapundit)
- This BBC nugget tells you all you need to know about the channel's mideast coverage. One of its reporters reports crying as Yasser Arafat flies away for medical treatment. Read the whole nauseating piece on this pederast murderer.
- How very similar to Fayad Abu Shamala, the BBC correspondent in Gaza, who announced at a Hamas rally on May 6, 2001: "Journalists and media organizations [are] waging the campaign shoulder-to-shoulder together with the Palestinian people." Hey, Rageh Omar, could you repeat that line about loss of faith in American media reporting again?
- The CBC is Canada's national broadcaster, as the BBC is Britain's. Accusations of ideological bias are common, and well founded. Recently, Canada's National Post newspaper noted: "With just a week to go until the U.S. presidential election, some viewers of the CBC can be forgiven for wondering whether the national broadcaster has taken a public relations contract from the Democratic National Committee."
- Meanwhile, there's considerable debate in Canada around the issue of the CRTC regulators allowing... no, not al-Jazeera (that was approved), but FOX News.
- In Germany, Davids Medienkritik blog has excellent coverage of the German press.... well, bias isn't even a strong enough word, as this recent Der Spiegel example shows. His 2004 Idiocy Award is entertaining, though.
- The problem also goes much deeper than Iraq, as Transatlantic Intelligencer clearly shows in The Legend of the Squandered Sympathy (read some of the French materials on and around 9/11!) - with accompanying images that make its point clearly.
- Some dissenting voices remain in Europe. Interestingly, the German newspaper BILD went and backed... no, is it possible? Some range in endorsements in useful to a point, but what the European media really needs is reporters who understand America and can present more than a caricature.
- The Claremont Institute discusses the media's poor quality and often partisan coverage of the Duelfer Report.
- Osama's brother, meanwhile, watches the tape and thinks Osama has seen Farenheit 9/11. The video's messages certainly seem to dovetail nicely.
- The Well known holocaust denier Mohammed Salmawy of the French/Egyptian magazine Al Ahram Hebdo gave an address at arecent Frankfurt book fair. Salmawy is also on record supporting the "deportation" of German Jews to Eastern Europe" in WW2, and a supporter of suicide bombings. Meanwhile, the New York Times refers to Salmawy as "anti-Zionist". Because, you know, all those evil zionists in Germany in the 40s deserved what they got.
- Then there's the NYTimes October 6 piece on the Muslim academic Tariq Ramadan and the visa difficulties that are currently preventing him from taking up a teaching post at Notre Dame University. Transatlantic Intelligencer sees the bias and dishonesty patterns as a textbook case, and goes into some detail about Tariq Ramadan.
Further additions and suggestions are welcome in the Comments section.