"Madame, bear in mind That princes govern all things--save the wind." -Victor Hugo, The Infanta's Rose

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

A victim of conservative nose-tweaking

My blood is boiling after reading another article bemoaning the so-called "Liberal Media Bias", this time by columnist Max Boot in the L.A. Times.

And of course, this was exactly his point in writing it.

To conservatives, any claim that the mainstream media has a leftist slant is preaching to the choir; they accept it as undisputed gospel. So there's no purpose in reiterating this drivel except to piss off progressives like me, whose noses get severely out of joint when they read bullshit like this:
It is hard to see how media apologists can deny their political bias when no fewer than four (Pulitzer) prizes were given at least in part for Bush-bashing. These included awards to Mike Luckovich, the left-wing cartoonist of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, who routinely portrays President Bush as a malevolent dolt, and Robin Givhan, the catty fashion critic of the Washington Post, who devoted an entire column to ridiculing Vice President Dick Cheney's attire at an Auschwitz ceremony.

There's nothing wrong with caustic criticism, but two of the award winners went further, into areas that may hamper our battle against Islamist terrorism. The Washington Post's Dana Priest won a prize for revealing the existence of secret CIA-operated prisons in Eastern Europe, and the New York Times' James Risen and Eric Lichtblau won for revealing the existence of a secret program to intercept communications between terrorists abroad and their domestic contacts.

Oh, really. Let's look at the charges, and the facts:
  • Routinely portraying President Bush as a "malevolent dolt": Do we really need to go there? Many, including myself, think Shrubya is clearly the worst president in American history. I've seen some of Luckovich's political cartoons: believe me, he's being kind.
  • Cheney's attire at Auschwitz: Last January, all the world leaders who gathered for this most solemn ceremony were dressed with dignity, in formal dark suits, dress shoes and gentlemen's hats -- except for one. Cheney stood out like a sore thumb in an olive drab ski parka with a big fuzzy collar and his name embroidered on it, a ski cap, and hiking boots. He was dressed (according to the article by Robin Givhan that Boot is so upset by) in "the kind of attire one typically wears to operate a snow blower." Any person, be they Republican or Democrat, liberal or conservative, deserves to be taken to task for such a display of insensitivity. Even downplaying any embarrassment to the United States or to the memory of the holocaust victims, Givhan is a fashion editor for heaven's sake, and commentary on the attire of the participants was well within her scope. This is "liberal bias"?
  • "Bush-bashing" in general: in our society, those in power should expect to be examined closely by the media -- this is the reason a free press exists, after all. Any administration or individual tends to bring criticism upon themselves by their own actions. The media are not only obliged to report this, but may also editorialize when they feel the subject deserves it. Those who think this is the exclusive territory of liberals seem to conveniently forget the relentless drubbing of Bill Clinton by the press during the Monica Lewinsky affair. It's extremely interesting to me that public outrage with Clinton during this time belayed a long line of Presidential indiscretions, from Thomas Jefferson's five children with Molly Hemings (whom he owned as a slave) to Dwight Eisenhower's affair with his driver Kay Summersby, and of course JFK's legendary and frequent White House trysts. Clinton was impeached for getting a hummer in the Oval Office, yet Bush is getting away with far more consequential offenses; so much for the power of the media.
  • Finally, the most serious charge, that the press is somehow damaging the effort in the war on terrorism: I think most Americans want to know when their country, supposedly a beacon of democracy to the world, is torturing prisoners in violation of the Geneva Convention and covering it up by conducting it "offshore". Is this what we're fighting for? And in case anyone's forgotten already, that "secret program to intercept communications between terrorists abroad and their domestic contacts" that Boot refers to is none other than the NSA's illegal wiretapping operation, designed to spy on ordinary Americans without the bother of obtaining a court order. Bush has used an amorphous "war on terror" as a convenient excuse for a naked executive-branch power-grab, and apparently, the only thing he regrets about violating the Constitution is the fact that ordinary people like you and I are now aware of it.
I believe that the press, by and large, bends over backwards to be fair, accurate, and objective; but none of my arguments will hold any water with Mr. Boot or other conservatives like him who honestly think the news media is controlled by a vast left-wing conspiracy. However, it's really quite irrelevant: this particular debate has been going round in circles for many years, and Boot's article and this blog post merely complete one more revolution. As I said at the outset, the only reason anyone trots out this tired tripe any more is to rattle some liberal's cage. He's done so, and I've growled back. End of rant.

Let's move along now, there's nothing more to see here.


  • At 5/03/2006 12:47:00 PM, Blogger Janelle said…

    W is so full of shit his eyes are turning brown.

    Awesome about Star 98. I am going to check it out often on the laptop to get some inspiration while I am doing homework and reading for my college courses. It's going to be nice to have a voice for the face.

  • At 5/03/2006 01:09:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I love your passion, Toast! :-)



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