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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review May 26, 2005 / 17 Iyar, 5765

High noon for high news

By Victor Davis Hanson


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The recent Dan Rather and Newsweek controversies hardly seem connected. But on closer examination, both incidents symbolize what has gone wrong with traditional news organizations.

The old assumption was that opinion media — such as the National Review, The Nation and The New Republic — offer a slant on current events, but that major news outlets, outside of their designated opinion sections, do not.

This commitment to disinterested reporting — and along with it the public's trust in mainstream media — has been shattered in recent years.

It's easy to see why people no longer feel they can rely on a CBS News or a Newsweek for information without bias. At CBS, Dan Rather persistently wished us to believe that a clearly forged memo was authentic. Michael Isikoff's reliance on a single anonymous and unreliable source about supposed desecration of the Quran made an already jaded public believe that Newsweek was too eager to deliver a one-sided story.

Three now-common themes appeared in each controversy:

First, the misinformation erred predictably against the current American government. In CBS's case, anchorman Rather impugned the president's past military service. The Newsweek article questioned the ethics and sense of the American military.

Second, these were not minor slips. The counterfeit documents that Dan Rather circulated undercut a sitting commander-in-chief in the midst of a national election. The fraud had the potential to alter the very governance of the United States. Newsweek's wrong information incited the lunatic elements of the Middle East. Rioting and death followed, complicating the American military effort.

Third, neither organization was markedly contrite when exposed. The culpable Dan Rather refashioned himself as the maligned target of the blogosphere. Newsweek spokesmen whined that a vindictive administration was hounding the management of their organization.

In response, the public assumed haughty news organizations were caught exhibiting the usual partiality — and then on spec retreated to victim status when challenged.

These recent controversies about our flagship news agencies were old news to the public. The New York Times still has not recovered from the Jayson Blair scandal, in which a young reporter wrote fictitious stories. Blair's compliant editors worried more about political correctness than the qualifications and experience of their own reporters.

The same syndrome was true earlier at The Washington Post and The Boston Globe, which were red-faced over the fabrications of reporter Janet Cooke and columnist Patricia Smith, respectively.

In other example of media bias, CNN executive Eason Jordan confessed that his network had censored coverage of a mass-murdering Saddam Hussein — and later tossed offhanded false allegations that the American military deliberately targeted journalists in Iraq.

With each expose, the harm has become cumulative — driving the public away from a now-stained mainstream media.

News purists mock the yelling of conservative talk radio, hypersensitive renegade bloggers on the Internet and the sharp elbows of cable news. They shouldn't. All serve the public as an antidote to the "disinterested" High News that it no longer entirely believes.

Bigheaded lectures for the umpteenth time about the "century-old standards" at The New York Times, the "legacy" of Edward R. Murrow or the "prestige" of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism do not cut it anymore in a world of Jayson Blair, Eason Jordan and Dan Rather.

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Liberal copycats of talk radio fail, not because they are always boring but because there is little market or even need for such a counter-establishment media. The progressive audience already finds its views embedded in a New York Times or CBS "news" story. So why turn to a redundant and less adept Al Franken, Phil Donahue or Arianna Huffington?

Yet the irony is that while our major media are considered liberal, they are hardly populist. When Dan Rather and Newsweek are exposed, they seek refuge in stuffy institutional reputations and huffy establishment protocols. Meanwhile, a million bloggers with pitchforks — derided by a former CBS executive as "guys in pajamas" — couldn't care less about degrees or titles but use their collective brainpower to poke holes in the New York-Washington gatekeepers.

A fire-breathing Rush Limbaugh or snapping Bill O'Reilly might not receive many honorary doctorates, speak at Ivy League commencements or carry off the Peabody Award. Yet they come off as no more opinionated than an anointed Peter Jennings or insider Bill Moyers — and a lot more honest about their own politics and the medium in which they work.

If the left wishes to curb the influence of the new prairie-fire media, the answer is not to subsidize an Air America, the failing liberal talk-radio network. There is no need to lure Al Gore back into the picture, or to pour more George Soros money into another moveon.org-like Web site.

Instead, liberals themselves must begin balking at the infusion of their political views in the mainstream media. Once the public again trusts major news outlets to be objective, media bias will no longer be news.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Victor Davis Hanson is a classicist and military historian at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. Comment by clicking here.


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