Bias in the Print Media: Exhibit A
A CBS Insider Exposes How the Media Distort the News has
gotten quite a bit of attention from Internet news and commentary
sites. Dominant media outlets such as CBS have maintained
a discreet silence even though the book has hovered near the top
of every bestseller list. At first glance, what Goldberg calls liberal
bias might seem to be common horse sense something no one
who lives on the Internet would doubt for a minute.
all this as it may, it is always useful to have examples at hand
that we can point to and say, this is what we are talking
about when we say that a leftist bias permeates the dominant media.
While traveling through Atlanta the other day I came upon a copy
of a recent issue of Atlanta’s city newspaper, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
An unsigned editorial fit the bill perfectly, involving just the
right kind of linguistic manipulation to illustrate what Goldberg
and others are going on about. Since the editorial was unsigned,
we can assume that the opinion represents the official position
of the newspaper as a whole on its subject. So I’ve quoted extensively
from the editorial and provided a translation manual that no doubt
can be applied to other newspapers. I have also inserted comments
of my own. Everything is carefully marked, and readers are encouraged
to use this as a model for exposing the leftist biases in their
own newspapers. (Disclaimer: this article is about the leftist
bias in a single unsigned editorial, not about the nomination of
Charles Pickering whose track record and circumstances I have not
title of the editorial is, "Extremist judge is unfit to sit
on appeals court." We begin with a negative sentiment before
we know why the judge is extremist. A certain frame of mind is created.
(See comment below on this use of extremist.)
"President Bush is using his widespread popularity, a result
of the easy rout of the Taliban, to shore up a domestic agenda that
most voters find too conservative."
President Bush is using his widespread popularity, a result of the
easy rout of the Taliban, to shore up a domestic program that writers
of unsigned editorials do not find to be sufficiently liberal, or
as kowtowing to liberals.
The editorial supplies no evidence one way or the other that the
voting public finds President Bush’s domestic agenda "too conservative."
"The latest example of that is Bush’s nomination of a right-wing
extremist, Charles Pickering, for the federal bench in New Orleans."
The latest example of that is Bush’s nomination of a conservative
who doesn’t play by the rules established by liberals, Charles Pickering,
for the federal bench in New Orleans.
when was the last time you read a reference in any dominant media
outlet to a left-wing extremist? Goldberg asked this question,
too. And we still don’t know what makes Charles Pickering an extremist.
"In offering Pickering for the 5th Circuit Court
of Appeals, the president is making a mockery of the bipartisan
cooperation that he has touted since Sept. 11. Pickering has such
a shameful record on civil rights that even moderate Republicans
are having second thoughts about his nomination."
In offering Pickering for the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals,
the president is abandoning the implied cave-in to the Democrats
that existed well before Sept. 11. Pickering hasn’t endorsed every
affirmative-action or other leftist program of redistribution of
wealth and jobs; thus those Republicans who have caved in to Democrats
are having second thoughts about his nomination.
a-ha, now we’re getting somewhere, since left-liberals typically
paint critics of their agenda on race as extremist.
"Pickering has offered no apologies for a law review article
he wrote in 1959 suggesting ways to strengthen a Mississippi prohibition
on interracial marriage. In addition, he falsely denied any contact
with the Sovereignty Commission, a segregationist organization."
Pickering has failed to get down on his hands and knees before the
thought police and beg for mercy, for having penned occasional political
incorrectitudes. He has been associated with groups that do not
have the approval of the same thought police.
who is this Sovereignty Commission? I know I had never heard of
the group before. Probably most people reading the editorial had
never heard of the group. But by calling it a "segregationist
organization" without further ado, again the right seeds are
planted in the reader’s mind, that being whoever the Sovereignty
Commission is, its members must be very evil people.
And anyone associated with them must be evil. (Note also the media’s
association of the word sovereignty with the idea of segregation,
and then ask what subtle effects this kind of association could
have on defenses of this country’s national sovereignty somewhere
down the road.)
"He also worked tirelessly against the 1965 Voting Rights Act."
"He didn’t support leftist incursions into voting that would
ensure the election of more liberal Democrats."
"His anti-abortion stance is far more extreme than that of
Bush or most conservative jurists."
He rejects the government-invented ‘right’ of women to kill their
unborn babies with far fewer compromises than Bush or the rest of
the conservatives who play by leftists’ rules.
"If Bush wants his nominees to move more quickly, he should
withdraw Pickering’s name and choose a more mainstream candidate."
If Bush wants his nominees to move more quickly, he should withdraw
Pickering’s name and choose a more leftist-appeasing candidate.
"If judges like Pickering were appointed, American justice
would be skewed beyond recognition."
If judges like Pickering were appointed, American justice would
cease to continue servicing the country’s leftward drift toward
a more centralized society.
Phrases like skewed beyond recognition also carry a connotation
independent of their (minimal) cognitive content, conveying a sense
of distorted or warped or destroyed supposedly
the effect of a program that does not appease the centralizing left.
"If Bush will not withdraw Pickering’s nomination, the Senate
Judiciary Committee should recommend against his confirmation. U.S.
jurisprudence came too far in the late 20th century to
allow it to lapse back into a time when Pickering’s prejudices reigned."
If Bush will not withdraw Pickering’s nomination, the Senate Judiciary
Committee should recommend against his confirmation. Leftists have
taken U.S. jurisprudence too far in the direction they wanted it
to go in the late 20th century to allow holdouts and
renegades a sufficient foothold within the judicial system that
the country might lapse back into a time when the Constitution was
the supreme law of the land.
of course, the idea of Constitutionally limited government would
be unfamiliar territory for the average media left-liberal.
Yates [send him mail]
has a Ph.D. in Philosophy and is the author of Civil
Wrongs: What Went Wrong With Affirmative Action (ICS Press,
1994). He is a professional writer at work on a number of projects
including a work of political philosophy, The Paradox of Liberty.
He has set up a small freelance writing business, Millennium
3 Communications. Currently living in Columbia, South Carolina,
he will join the Mises Institute in March as a Rowley Fellow.
© 2002 LewRockwell.com
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