Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Liars and Damn Liars

For the past couple of years, I've been spending at least a few hours a day reading newspapers, and CNN is usually on in the background. I read at least the Washington Post and the Washington Times on the internet every day, and sometimes I read parts of the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and other U.S. and British papers. I also read the paper edition of the International Herald Tribune almost every day (which, from a news and editorial standpoint, is the same as reading the NYT, which owns the IHT). And I sample other sources for political commentary from both the left and the right.

One of the consistent differences between liberal and conservative media outlets is that conservative sources generally acknowledge their bias and try to make clear which items are news and which are opinion. Liberal media outlets, which includes almost all of the so-called "mainstream" press, are different. They seem to feel that their views are fundamentally correct and their motives beyond question. (See Bernard Goldberg's Bias for a discussion of Dan Rather's egotistical opinions in this regard.)

Dan Rather, famous now for using forged official documents to attack the President and then making a fool of himself by insisting that while the documents were fake the story was true, is only the most visible recent example. But frankly, many people are no longer surprised by this kind of bias in broadcast television news, especially at CBS.

The New York Times, however, is a much more troubling example of lack of professional objectivity in the press. It no longer deserves to be "the newspaper of record," given the blatant liberal agenda it attempts to advance. Its efforts in support of this agenda range from silly, in its quixotic campaign against the Augusta National Golf Club, to dangerous, in its unrelenting attempts to control who becomes our president. I don't understand what happened to the New York Times; maybe it was the transition from Sulzberger pere to Sulzberger fils. But then, maybe the Times has never been objective, and I just didn't notice.

The Washington Post, by the way, has done a reasonably decent job of attempting to be fair during the past few years. The Post has a liberal slant, no doubt, but they deserve credit for not having followed the New York Times and other media outlets over the cliff.

While virtually all of the media can often be accused of bias, sometimes they get caught telling outright lies. And some of them, sadly, are damn liars. If you pay attention, it isn't hard to tell which is which.


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