May 22, 2005


The Media in Trouble (John Leo, 5/30/05, US News)

It's official. conservatives are losing their monopoly on complaints about media bias. In the wake of Newsweek 's bungled report that U.S. military interrogators "flushed a Qur'an down a toilet," here is Terry Moran, ABC's White House reporter, in an interview with radio host and blogger Hugh Hewitt: "There is, I agree with you, a deep antimilitary bias in the media, one that begins from the premise that the military must be lying and that American projection of power around the world must be wrong." Moran thinks it's a hangover from Vietnam. Sure, but the culture of the newsroom is a factor, too. In all my years in journalism, I don't think I have met more than one or two reporters who have ever served in the military or who even had a friend in the armed forces. Most media hiring today is from universities where a military career is regarded as bizarre and almost any exercise of American power is considered wrongheaded or evil.

Not long ago, memorable comments about press credibility came from two stars at Newsweek: Evan Thomas and Howard Fineman. During the presidential campaign, Thomas said on TV that the news media wanted John Kerry to win. We knew that, but the candor was refreshing. Fineman said during the flap over Dan Rather and CBS's use of forged documents on the George Bush-National Guard story: "A political party is dying before our eyes--and I don't mean the Democrats. I'm talking about the 'mainstream media' . . . . It's hard to know now who, if anyone, in the 'media' has any credibility." It's worth mentioning here that the unrepentant Rather and his colleague Mary Mapes, who was fired for her role in presenting the forged documents, received a major industry award last week, a Peabody, as well as "extended applause" from the journalists in the crowd. (What's next? A lifetime achievement award for New York Times prevaricator Jayson Blair?)

Instead of trampling Newsweek --the magazine made a mistake and corrected it quickly and honestly--the focus ought to be on whether the news media are predisposed to make certain kinds of mistakes and, if so, what to do about it.

How can an institution that doesn't either reflect America or at least reflect upon it hope to serve it effectively? An if it serves only itself or the interests of its members then why continue to afford it a special status within the Republic?

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 22, 2005 1:58 PM

Everyone has the right to make a public ass of themselves. What get's my blood boiling is their pretentiousness and pomposity. The 'change the world' attitude mixed with social/statist politics and radical egalitarian assumptions which seem to color almost all reportage has become laughable. If not for their self-importance they would be almost pure comic relief. They are doing themselves in.

Posted by: Tom C., Stamford, Ct. at May 22, 2005 3:56 PM

But what gets me is that the LLL think that the press is toadying to the White House and is totally subject to whatever Bush wants them to say. And they are serious about this. They keep saying that Bush and his minions run the press and the press prints only what the White House wants. They want us to believe that there is a huge story out there that is anti-Bush and it is not being reported.

Posted by: dick at May 23, 2005 11:19 PM