A How-To Lesson For Left-Wing, Old Media Bias

-By Warner Todd Huston

Once in a while there is a short piece spewed forth by some Old Media outlet or another that is so perfect as a primer of left-wing bias 101 that I just have to share it. In this case we have the Telegraph writing on the story, covered at NewsBusters a few days ago, where Barack Obama found himself confused by an outside glass panel he mistook for a door at the White House. Michael M. Bates compared the bemused and easy treatment that the confused Obama received to the vicious attacks that Bush suffered when he was similarly confused by a door that wouldn’t open in China in 2005.

Bates wondered aloud if Obama would see the same sort of hateful attacks on his intelligence that Bush was served up by the ignorati in the media in 2005. We have since seen the answer to Bates’ question. Obama has been given a pass. The Telegraph’s treatment of the story, though, is such a perfect example of the subtle, left-wing bias used to excuse anything a lefty does while still attacking every one else that it really must serve as exhibit “A” in the battle against Old Media bias.

And so, I give you the Telegraph’s story from January 29 headlined Barack Obama mistakes window for door at White House.

Hereafter you will see each paragraph of the Telegraph story fisked to reveal its ultimate underlying meaning:

The new US President, who has been commander-in-chief and resident at the White House for just over a week, was photographed from the gardens of the White House on Tuesday. Mr Obama was trying to return to the Oval Office after meeting House and Senate Republicans.

Bias: “resident at the White House for just over a week”  
Explanation: Don’t blame him, folks, he’s just new. I ain’t his fault we swear to God.

Instead of heading straight for the door, Mr Obama showed his unfamiliarity with his new-found surroundings and aimed for a door-length paned window.

Bias: “Obama showed his unfamiliarity with his new-found surroundings”  
Explanation: again making sure the reader is aware that Obama didn’t mistake a window for a door because he is stupid, he did so because he is merely unfamiliar with his “new-found surroundings.” (I see no reason to dispute this explanation, but see below why this is bias in its own way)

His “door malfunction” was far less embarrassing than that experienced so publicly by George W Bush three years ago on a visit to China.

Bias: the whole sentence  
Explanation: Why was it “far less embarrassing”? Because they say so, that’s why. False authority employed. Further, why would anyone in 2005 have expected Bush to be completely aware of every door that was locked in a building he was not familiar with in a country he’d rarely visited? Obama gets soft treatment for his “unfamiliarity with his new-found surroundings,” yet the media skewered Bush for his.

While making a hasty exit from a press conference in the capital, Beijing, Mr Bush tugged on the handles of a giant door, only to find it locked.

Bias: “While making a hasty exit”  
Explanation: Who says it was “hasty”? Only the media that wants to characterize Bush as running away, as a coward, or someone not interested in the business of diplomacy. Why didn’t they say that Obama was “scampering to seclude himself in the White House,” “or perhaps “quickly looking to elude the press” for instance? It’s because they don’t want to impute negative motives to Obama, that’s why. Bush, on the other hand, was fair game for fake motives to be assigned him by the media.

He was good-humoured enough to laugh off the blunder, but the pictures serve as a reminder of Mr Bush’s capacity for gaffes.

Bias: “the pictures serve as a reminder of Mr Bush’s capacity for gaffes”  
Explanation: And why did it “serve” as this “reminder”? Because the media says so. False authority again.

However, there was little note taken in Washington of Mr Obama’s mistake, easily made by a newcomer in the labyrinthine White House.

Bias: the whole sentence  
Explanation: another example of explaining away Obama’s mistake. See, the media wants to be extra sure you have it pounded into your head that he isn’t stupid, just unfamiliar with his surroundings. That’s why this very short piece says the same thing over and over again. On top of that, even the Telegraph notes that most of the media didn’t even bother covering this gaffe because they didn’t want to cast aspersions on The One.

Mr Obama, who was returning from meeting Congressional leaders, may have been distracted by the Republicans’ icy reception to his $825 billion (£600) economic stimulus package.

Bias: simply what? It’s the whole dang sentence!  
Explanation: so, the reason Obama can’t tell a window from a door is because Republicans are jerks? What does this have to do with Obama’s egress troubles? Seriously, you have to be kidding here? We are really going to blame the the GOP’s vote against socialism as the reason Obama walks into windows? Did they say that Bush left the conference because “China was attacking the USA?” Uh, no, they just said Bush was too stupid to find an open door.

In the end, this short piece is as perfect an example of left-wing, Old Media bias as you are going to find. If this piece isn’t chock-full-o bias, nothing is.


I would like to report one aspect of this story that would change why some U. S. news agencies have not covered this little tale that I have received from some media folks via email.

Verification for this story initially covered by the New York Daily News has been difficult to come by, apparently. There is only this single photo, no video and a corresponding lack of secondary sourcing.

Perhaps the original report was exaggerated by NYDN reporter Lisa O’Neill, perhaps she was mistaken, or perhaps she was dead on with her version and was one of the only people to catch it occur? What ever the case, some news outlets may not be running this story because they cannot verify it to their satisfaction.

Plausible enough.

However, that does not change the biased treatment that the Telegraph gave this story.

Warner Todd Huston is a Chicago based freelance writer, has been writing opinion editorials and social criticism since early 2001 and is featured on many websites such as newsbusters.org, Human Events Magazine, townhall.com, New Media Journal, Men’s News Daily and the New Media Alliance among many, many others. Additionally, he has been a frequent guest on talk-radio programs to discuss his opinion editorials and current events. He has also written for several history magazines and appears in the new book “Americans on Politics, Policy and Pop Culture” which can be purchased on amazon.com. He is also the owner and operator of publiusforum.com. Feel free to contact him with any comments or questions : EMAIL Warner Todd Huston

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