February 19, 2004
There are some issues I find hard to believe are still debated. However, it seems that there are people in the world who have nothing better to do with their time than argue the obvious. For example, the Flat Earth Society is still alive and well, despite the death of its founder. Some polls indicate that perhaps as much as 20% of the American population believes that the Moon landings were orchestrated at Area 51. And, millions still dispute that mainstream American news media has a Left-wing bias.
For all intensive purposes, this debate has been laid to rest with the evidence published in Bias by Bernard Goldberg and Give Me a Break by John Stossel. Even George Stephanopoulos writes about how, while working for Bill Clinton, CBS executive producer, Don Hewitt, coached the Clintons through their famous 1992 interview where they diffused the Jennifer Flowers issue. He also describes how he personally gained the support of Tim Russert of NBC, Dotty Lynch of CBS, and Tom Johnson of CNN to minimize the press coverage of Paula Jones’ press conferences and portray her accusations as a “cheap political fund-raising trick.” According to Stephanopoulos, “It wasn’t a hard sell.”
Most recently, even the networks have begun to break ranks on the Liberal bias issue. As was well reported, in “The Note” section of the ABC News website, the ABC “political unit” stated the obvious,
However, just as when you point out to the Flat Earth Society that every day we watch television beamed from satellites circling the globe and boats sailing to the west eventually return in the east, Liberals refuse to acknowledge the truth. The greatest scientists in the world could explain and document the “roundness” of our planet for days and the Flat Earthers would still say “Upside-down things fall.” Likewise, Liberals will deny any Leftist bias and shout defiantly that the media is owned by Conservatives and “’Fox News’ is biased to the Right.” The bottom line is neither of these arguments refute any of the evidence, they merely indicate a refusal to see reality.
Accusations that Fox, the Washington Times and other news sources that publish Conservative commentary are biased Right is based on the Liberals’ inability to separate the “Editorial” page from the “News” page. While Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity are Conservatives, they are not reporters. Fox’s popular prime time line up does not pretend to offer hard core news coverage, but commentary and debate. The fact that Liberals do not like Fox’s content does not indicate a Right-wing bias any more than the L.A. Times traditionally Liberal editorials necessarily indicate prejudiced coverage.
The attacks on Fox News are actually indicative of Liberal bias. In the Leftist Media, opinion so frequently seeps into news coverage Liberals assume that all other news sources must do the same. Plus, in typical fashion, when Liberals fear that they might be wrong, they respond with confrontation rather than facts. Despite all the shouting and rhetoric, in the case of biased media, the facts clearly incriminate the Left.
One of the most recent examples of media bias is in the handling of the alleged John Kerry affair and George W. Bush’s National Guard record. When news of the rumored Kerry affair was made public by Wesley Clark, almost no major newspapers carried the story. The media claimed that the story was unsubstantiated, based on hearsay and not worthy of major news. More than likely this is true. But how is it different than the Bush story? The accusations against Bush were put forward by one man with no evidence to back his claim (a.k.a. unsubstantiated rumor and hearsay). The fact that the gentleman who made these accusations cannot, in fact, remember if he was even stationed at the same Alabama base as Bush during 1972-73 has not diluted the media’s perceived importance of this story.
While George Bush has produced mounds of records, dental x-rays and an Honorable Discharge from the military as proof of his service, the media is still demanding more (what do they want, a time machine?) Kerry’s story, on the other hand only received wide coverage when his affair was denied by the woman in question. Granted, finding a Democratic Presidential Candidate who has not cheated on his wife is front page news, the media has failed to question why John’s girlfriend fled to Africa as the affair story was breaking, or how her parents changed their opinion of Kerry from “scum ball” to “we’re definitely voting for him” over a three day period. What is the common denominator that separates hero from villain? The opinion of the reporters who write the stories.
Examples of bias can be listed endlessly. The current issue in San Francisco where the media is portraying the Mayor as a hero for ignoring the State Constitution and marrying gay couples, while Judge Roy Moore’s removal from office for displaying the 10 Commandments on public property was hailed as a victory for the rule of law. AIDS is everyone’s fault except for the people who spread it. Republicans support “special interests” while Democrats “champion the oppressed.” Hilary Clinton is met with gushing adoration but will not answer questions unless they are pre-approved. And, despite the fact that Saddam Hussein was living in a hole in the ground eating Mars bars, the War is going poorly.
The issue is no longer if the Media is biased, but just far the truth is bent to advance their agenda. The front page is not the place to change the world. It is where the people go to get informed of the facts. If we wanted the news staff’s opinions we would seek them out in the Editorial section. The troubles at the New York Times and the growing popularity of Fox News should be a warning to the elitists in the Media. Stop insulting our intelligence and trying to manipulate our opinions or risk obsolescence.
|Justin Darr is a regular contributor to The Fence.com, Americas Voices.org, The Daily Times-Post, The Reality Check.org, and The Rant.us, as well as various other national and local publications. He is a veteran manager from the Philadelphia area where he lives with his wife, Erin, and twin children, Brandon and Brittany. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org|
Copyright © Justin Darr
The 4th Estate
23 feb 2004