The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

20 August 2006

And now there's Rehm Watch

Actually, it's called "What You Did Not Hear on the Diane Rehm Show," and this is its mission statement:

Diane Rehm hosts a show that is civil, "classy", intelligent, varied, relevant, and completely different from the "shout you down" "run-of-the-mill" shows that pass for "talk-shows". But there is a slight flaw: it leans liberal. Let's be frank.

Besides the fact that most guests are of a liberal bent, and the fact that most topics are introduced by way of adjectives which betray that bias — there's not one week that goes by that one doesn't hear a topic introduced as "the Bush administration..." — the best example of the bias is in the weekly News Roundup (hereinafter called the Weekly Gang-up). The composition of that panel is typical of what can be seen in the rest of the mainstream media (hereinafter called the Old Media, or Liberal Media). It is usually a 3 against 1 ratio, that is, three liberals including the host and one token conservative.

Usually (although not done so much anymore) the three liberals are introduced without the nomination of liberal before their names, while the conservative is customarily introduced as "conservative commentator or writer so and so." The implication is that the firsts are, of course, neutral and objective journalists. Because we enjoy The Diane Rehm Show and because we believe that a healthy unbiased media is healthy for Democracy, and because we contribute with our taxes to the airing of The Diane Rehm Show we therefore declare ourselves "Self-Appointed Ombudsman" of the best variety show on radio.

I have to agree that it leans a tad to the left, but I'm not convinced that this is a "flaw": otherwise, all those "run-of-the-mill" shows, unless demonstrated to be smack dab in the middle, wherever the middle might be these days, are comparably flawed. (On the larger question of media bias in general, I tend to believe that most people are smart enough to apply their own filters as needed, and those who aren't, well, how likely are they to read this?)

The Ombudsman himself is José Alejandro Amoròs, and here's his vantage point:

I have spent half of my life in the US and one half outside. I did not grow nor was I intellectually formed in the bipolar ideological struggle of the present generation of Americans. I have a different experience. Liberals think [I] am Conservative and Conservatives think [I] am Liberal. I am a proud American citizen and consider myself an American Revolutionary in the tradition of the Founding Fathers.

Not a bad place to be, all things considered. (Is there an All Things Considered Watch?)

Disclosure: In addition to the aforementioned taxes, I write a check each fall to the NPR affiliate that carries Diane's show.

Posted at 1:33 PM to Overmodulation , Political Science Fiction


I have to agree that it leans a tad to the left, but I'm not convinced that this is a "flaw": otherwise, all those "run-of-the-mill" shows, unless demonstrated to be smack dab in the middle, wherever the middle might be these days, are comparably flawed.

They are.

Not that there's ... you know.

Posted by: McGehee at 8:21 AM on 21 August 2006

Seriously, though, if I were to assess a flaw in any of those shows, Rehm's included, it would be decided on the answer to this question: Leanings/bias notwithstanding, do they nevertheless pretend to be neutral?

That pretense would be the real flaw.

Posted by: McGehee at 8:23 AM on 21 August 2006

A radio talk show hosted by a woman with an extremely disturbing speech impediment. Nice illustration of why any amount of socialism must not be tolerated anywhere on Earth, ever.

Posted by: Dave Munger at 12:06 AM on 25 August 2006