- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 29, 2003

What liberal media I

The Los Angeles Times circulated an e-mail memo last week. It was a rare event in newspaper journalism. Unprompted by any blogger backlash or reader insurgency, the paper’s top editor, John Carroll, complained about blatant liberal bias in a front-page piece on abortion. Here’s the money quote:

“I’m concerned about the perception — and the occasional reality — that the Times is a liberal, ‘politically correct’ newspaper. Generally speaking, this is an inaccurate view, but occasionally we prove our critics right. We did so today with the front-page story on the bill in Texas that would require abortion doctors to counsel patients that they may be risking breast cancer. The apparent bias of the writer and/or the desk reveals itself in the third paragraph, which characterizes such bills in Texas and elsewhere as requiring “so-called counseling of patients.” I don’t think people on the anti-abortion side would consider it “so-called,” a phrase that is loaded with derision. The story makes a strong case that the link between abortion and breast cancer is widely discounted among researchers, but I wondered as I read it whether somewhere there might exist some credible scientist who believes in it. Such a person makes no appearance in the story’s lengthy passage about the scientific issue.”

Good for Mr. Carroll. It may be that the meltdown at the New York Times and the vigilance of the blogosphere is finally beginning to achieve a re-think at the top echelons of the liberal media.

What liberal media II

In fact, more and more journalists and media honchos are admitting they have a problem. Here’s an extract from a discussion on Mr. Howard Kurtz’s CNN media show, “Reliable Sources,” last week. Mr. Kurtz was asking liberal commentator and screen writer, Lawrence O’Donnell, why there are no credible Republicans in television drama. Roll the tape:

“KURTZ: One thing these programs have in common, conservatives are practically invisible. President Bartlett in The West Wing is a Democrat. Martin Sheen, in fact, made anti-war ads before the invasion of Iraq. “Mr. Sterling” is a California liberal based loosely on Jerry Brown. Why aren’t there any Republicans?

O’DONNELL: You will never get that TV show. You’ll never, ever get the Republican TV show. The Writers Guild of America, my union, is at a minimum, 99 percent leftist liberal and, like me, socialist. And we don’t know how to write it. We don’t.”

Well, he said it.

Begala award nominee

“Brain studies reinforce what recovering alcoholics and their counselors have been saying for years: Long-term alcohol and other drug use changes the chemistry of the brain. These anomalies in brain patterns are associated with a rigidity in thinking; both harm reduction and Alcoholics Anonymous treatment approaches focus on helping people in recovery work on their destructive thought processes. “Dry drunk” is a slang term used to describe the recovering alcoholic who is no longer drinking, but whose thinking is clouded. Such an individual is said to be dry but not truly sober; such an individual tends to go to extremes. It was when I started noticing the extreme language that colored President Bush’s speeches that I began to wonder. First there were the terms — “crusade, ” “infinite justice” — that were later withdrawn. Next came “evildoers,” “axis of evil,” “regime change” — terms that have almost become cliches. Something about the polarized thinking and the obsessive repetition reminded me of many of the recovering alcoholics and addicts I had treated.” - Ms. Katherine van Wormer, San Francisco Chronicle, May 25.

Dowd update

Last week, I reported on a remarkable elision in a recent Maureen Dowd column. She claimed that President Bush had said that al Qaeda was “not a problem any more.” She removed a critical phrase from his full quote in which he made clear he was only referring to those members of al Qaeda who were dead or captured. This week Ms. Dowd repeated the quote, giving it the full treatment, as if this amounted to a correction. But a Times spokeswoman said that Ms. Dowd was being investigated for the deception. We’ll see if a real correction is ever published; or whether another crony of Howell Raines will be let off easily.

Geldof on Bush

Finally, someone says it who might get taken seriously by the usual suspects. On AIDS, President Bush’s commitment simply outclasses Bill Clinton’s. By a mile. So too does his actual commitment to Africa, for all Clinton’s grandstanding. Here’s Bob Geldof on the current president: “You’ll think I’m off my trolley when I say this, but the Bush administration is the most radical — in a positive sense — in its approach to Africa since Kennedy.” Another great quote from a British AIDS activist: “Clinton talked the talk and did diddly squat, whereas Bush doesn’t talk, but does deliver.” Therein the precise difference between this administration and the last.

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