- The Washington Times - Friday, February 25, 2000

Valuing truth

"Being politically correct involves either outright lying or using euphemisms to describe people or events in an attempt to avoid controversy, discussion, or any kind of authentic communication.

"Media coverage of the 1992 Los Angeles riots is a perfect example of this. The riots are referred to as a 'civil disturbance' or 'civil unrest' … as if the word can deny the extreme incivility that actually occurred. And if you lived through it, you knew exactly what was going on; it was much more than just a few unhappy people venting their frustrations with the criminal justice system… .

"The reason we prefer to call it something other than what it was is so that we don't have to face the ugly truth about race relations, the justice system, and our own anger at each other… . But calling it 'unrest' rather than a riot is more than just an exercise in collective self-deception. It means we don't care what the truth about it really was. And when we stop telling the truth, we stop valuing the truth."

Maureen Stout, from her new book, "The Feel-Good Curriculum: The Dumbing Down of America's Kids in the Name of Self-Esteem"

Lies and liberalism

"Conservatives suffering from heartburn over the Republican primary race might feel better if they consider the wreckage on the Democratic side. If [Vice President] Al Gore's strengths as a candidate were underestimated for much of 1999, they are being overestimated now… .

"Gore's 'iced-tea excuse' … has resurfaced in the press. When notes from a 1996 meeting appeared to implicate him in violations of campaign-finance laws, Gore told the FBI that he could not recall the details because he drank a lot of iced tea and thus may have been in the restroom at crucial moments.

"This sort of duplicity is not incidental to the politics of the Democratic party. Lying is integral to the strategy of the administration that brought us 'mend it, don't end it' and 'safe, legal, and rare.' The defense of abortion … has always depended on lies: about history, about medicine, about the Constitution, about 'lumps of protoplasm.' …

"The leading Democrats are willing to tell, or to tolerate, any number of lies in the service of their power. The party's behavior during Clinton's impeachment and trial show the extent to which modern liberalism has become the ideology of living within the lie. The primary race only confirms it."

from "A Low, Dishonest Party," in the March 6 issue of National Review

Hacks and flacks

"My impression now as a political junkie viewing campaign coverage is that many journalists simply have abandoned any responsibility for helping voters understand the choices that confront them… .

"Television coverage of politics in particular has been so heavily infiltrated by political hacks and flacks posing as journalists Chris Matthews, George Stephanopoulos, Tony Snow, Mary Matalin, Mark Shields, Pat Buchanan (when he's not running for president), even, for God's sake, now Paul Begala and Oliver North that it's hard to tell who's real and who's an imposter. None of these is a journalist by any reasonable stretch of the definition… .

"Why can't reporters stop drooling in print over presidential candidates? … Editors should be ashamed of how their profession has covered Sen. John McCain. They need to tell their impressionable young reporters: 'If McCain makes you tingle all over, deal with it in the privacy of your hotel room.' "

Don Campbell, writing on "Now here's a radical idea: Truly useful campaign news," in Tuesday's USA Today

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