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Jewish World Review Sept. 27, 2000 / 27 Elul, 5760

David Limbaugh

David Limbaugh
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Consumer Reports

Liberal media doth
protest too much -- LATELY, I have read several articles defending the media against the charge of liberal bias. Methinks the libs protesteth too much. You won't read many pieces denying a conservative bias because the accusation isn't seriously made.

The Washington Post's Howard Kurtz raises, then essentially answers in the negative, the question "Are the Media Tilting to Gore?" Listen to some of his proof:

"Never mind that George W. Bush enjoyed a solid year of largely favorable press coverage while Gore was depicted as a bumbling, wardrobe-changing stiff." When did that "solid year" begin and end, Howie? Was it before or after the New York Times' Adam Clymer earned his pejorative nickname for doing a hit piece on Bush's Texas record, among other things?

How "largely favorable" was press coverage that skewered Bush for invoking Christ in a debate? That did everything it could to lionize his principal primary challenger, John McCain? That portrayed his counterattack against Sen. McCain as a ruthlessly unfair offensive?

Kurtz confesses the media's love affair with McCain, but denies it evidences liberalism. To him, it proves the opposite. "What's more, the media provided unusually upbeat coverage of John McCain, a conservative Republican, during the primaries." What?

Forget McCain's prior voting record. During the primary season, which is the only relevant time period here, he was running decidedly to the left of Gov. Bush. That is when the media began glorifying McCain. Why wouldn't they, when McCain's signature issue (campaign finance reform) would effectively emasculate conservatives?


I don't need to waste words citing the well-known statistics documenting the major media's overwhelmingly liberal worldview. It's an objective fact that they have admitted. What they refuse to acknowledge is that their ideology colors their reporting. The only thing more offensive to a liberal journalist than being called "conservative" -- which isn't going to happen -- is to be called "biased."

Generally, their attitude is not unlike that of actor Andrew Shue, who, recently, on a Fox News talk show was shaking his head in derision at a conservative guest and extolling Al Gore's virtues, while professing his own political neutrality. "I consider myself in the middle," he said. "But Gore's positions are just common sense. And Bush would recklessly spend all of the surplus." I am sure that Shue believes he's non-biased or whatever makes him feel superior (and "cool").

I am also open to the possibility that some mainstream media players, such as Kurtz, are impervious to their own reporting bias, but their bias nonetheless exists.

It's not just their saturation coverage of Bush's trivial gaffes, for example, contrasted with their casual dismissal of major Gore scandals (not to mention his minor gaffes). It is their editorializing within stories they pass off as objective news reporting, such as their erroneous description of McCain as a conservative Republican, that betrays their bias.

Correspondent Cokie Roberts on ABC's "This Week" demonstrated the subtle technique of injecting the liberal bias when interviewing vice-presidential candidate Dick Cheney. Roberts, for the umpteenth time, asked Cheney about his conflict of interest in owning stock in Haliburton Company. As Cheney explained on that very show a few weeks before, his interests in the oil company are irrelevant because he has arranged to completely divest himself of them prior to taking office.

When Cheney pointed out Gore's conflict of interest during his entire term in office as the sole beneficiary of his mother's trust, which owns a significant interest in Occidental Petroleum, Cokie objected that Gore had no present interest in his mother's trust. Surely you don't have to be a lawyer to understand that as sole beneficiary Gore's conflict is just as real. Why are reporters like Cokie exercised about Cheney's non-conflict and indifferent regarding Gore's actual conflict? Liberal blinders, perhaps?

Similarly, Cokie challenged Cheney on whether he underwent as rigorous a vetting process as Bush's other vice-presidential choices. Doesn't Cokie know that Bush can select whomever he wants, using whatever process he chooses -- including consulting a Ouija board? There's nothing even conceivably improper here, yet Cokie planted a seed to the contrary.

There are endless examples, and Cokie (whom I generally respect) is not even among the worst offenders. But you'll never convince the liberal media of their bias -- which goes a long way toward making my point.

JWR contributor David Limbaugh is an attorney practicing in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, and a political analyst and commentator. Send your comments to him by clicking here.



09/25/00: AlGore: Turning dreams into nightmares
09/20/00: Something fishy's going on
09/18/00: It's the liberalism, stupid
09/13/00: An open letter to open-minded cynics
09/11/00: The virtues of going negative
09/06/00: On a mission for marriage
09/04/00: Al Gore's 'Trivial Pursuits'
08/30/00: Lieberman and the paradox of liberal 'tolerance'
08/28/00: A campaign divided against itself
08/23/00: Al Gore's trickle-down populism
08/21/00: Prosperity without a clue
08/16/00: AlGore can run but he can't hide
08/14/00: When hate speech is OK
08/09/00: Bush: The pundits' enigma
08/07/00: GOP convention: Live or Memorex?
08/02/00: The first attack dog
07/31/00: The Cheney taint?
07/26/00: The anti-gun bogeyman
07/24/00: The raging culture war
07/19/00: Is Hillary 'Good for the Jews'?
07/17/00: How dare you, George?
07/12/00: Jacoby's raw deal
07/10/00: The perplexities of liberalism
07/05/00: Big Al and big oil
07/03/00: Partial-birth and total death
06/28/00: Some questions for you, Mr. Gore
06/26/00: Supreme Court assaults religious freedom
06/21/00: Waco: We are the jury
06/19/00: "Outrage" just doesn't quite cut it anymore!
06/14/00: Al Gore: Government's best friend
06/12/00: Say goodbye to medical privacy
06/07/00: Elian: Whose hands were tied?
06/05/00: Who, which, what is the real Al Gore?
06/01/00: Legacy-building idea for Clinton
05/30/00: Clinton: Above the law or not?
05/24/00: Not so fast, Hillary
05/22/00: Gore's risky, fear-mongering schemes
05/17/00: Can Bush risk pro-choice running mate?
05/15/00: Right to privacy, Clinton-style
05/10/00: Patrick Kennedy and his suit-happy fiddlers
05/08/00: Don't shoot Eddie Eagle
05/03/00: Congress caves to Clinton, again?
05/01/00: The resurrection of outrage
04/28/00: A picture of Bill Clinton's America
04/19/00: President Clinton: Teaching children responsibility
04/17/00: Elian, Marx and parental rights
04/12/00: Elian, freedom deserve a hearing
04/10/00:The fraying of America
04/05/00: Noonan: End Clintonism now
04/03/00: Bush: On going for the gold
03/29/00: Phantasma-Gore-ia
03/27/00: Treaties, triggers, tobacco and tyrants
03/22/00: Media to Bush: Go left, young man
03/20/00: Stop the insanity
03/15/00: OK Al Gore: Let's go negative
03/13/00: Deifying of the center
03/08/00: The media, the establishment and the people
03/01/00: McCain's coalition-busting daggers in GOP's heart
02/28/00: Bush's silver lining in McMichigan
02/24/00: A conservative firewall, after all
02/22/00: Bush or four more of Clinton-Gore?
02/16/00: Substance trumps process
02/14/00: The campaign finance reform mirage
02/09/00: President McCain: End of the GOP as we know it?
02/07/00: From New Hampshire to South Carolina
02/02/00: SDI must fly
01/31/00: Veep gores Bradley
01/26/00: The issues gap
01/24/00: GOP: Exit, stage left
01/20/00: Nationalizing congressional elections
01/18/00: Do voters really prefer straight talk?
01/12/00: Media's McCain efforts may backfire
01/10/00: Conservative racism myth
01/05/00: Just one more year of Clintonian politics
01/03/00: McMedia?
12/27/99: Al Gore: Bullish on government
12/22/99: Bradley's full-court press
12/20/99: Bush: Rendering unto Caesar
12/15/99: Beltway media bias
12/13/99: White House ambulance chasing
12/08/99: Clinton's labor pains
12/06/99:The lust for power
12/01/99: In defense of liberty
11/29/99: Are Republicans obsolete?
11/24/99: Say you're sorry, Mr. President
11/22/99: Architects of victory
11/17/99: Trump's tax on freedom
11/15/99: GOP caves again
11/10/99: Triangulation and 'The Third Way'
11/08/99: Sticks and stones
11/03/99: Keyes vs. media lapdogs
11/01/99: Signs of the times
10/27/99: The false charge of isolationism
10/25/99: A matter of freedom
10/20/99: Clinton's mini-meltdown
10/18/99: Senate GOP shows statesmanship
10/13/99: Senate must reject nuclear treaty
10/11/99: Bush bites feeding hand
10/06/99: Jesse accidentally opens door for Pat
10/04/99: Clinton and his media enablers
09/29/99: Reagan: Big-tent conservatism
09/27/99: The Clinton/Gore taint?
09/22/99: Have gun (tragedy), will travel
09/20/99: Hillary's blunders and bloopers
09/15/99: GOP must remain conservative
09/13/99:Time for Bush to take charge, please
09/10/99: Bush's education plan: Dubya confounds again
09/07/99: Pat, savior or spoiler?
09/02/99: Character doesn't matter?
08/30/99: Should we judge?
08/25/99: Dubyah's drug question: Not a hill to die on
08/23/99: Should Dubyah start buying soap ... for all that mud?
08/16/99: 'W' stands for 'winner'
08/11/99: The truth about tax cuts
08/09/99: Hillary: Threading the needle
08/04/99: What would you do?
08/02/99: No appeasement for China
07/30/99: Hate Crimes Bill: Cynical Symbolism
07/26/99: Itís the 'moderates', stupid
07/21/99: JFK Jr. and Diana: the pain of privilege
07/19/99: Smith, Bush and the GOP
07/14/99: GOP must be a party of ideas
07/12/99: Gore's gender gap
07/08/99: Clintonís faustian bargain: our justice
07/06/99: The key to Bush's $36 million
06/30/99: Gore: a soda in every fountain
06/28/99: 'Sacred wall' or religious barrier?
06/23/99: GOP must lead in foreign policy
06/21/99: Crumbs of compassion
06/16/99: Compassionate conservatism: face-lift or body transplant?
06/10/99: Victory in Kosovo? Now What?