- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 3, 2006

So another liberal journalist gives a speech before a sympathetic crowd bemoaning the Bush administration — what else is new? Just this. Linda Greenhouse, a Pulitzer-Prize winning reporter for the New York Times, doesn’t think her comments bashing the administration and conservatives were opinion. To the contrary, she calls them “statements of fact.”

Here’s some of what Miss Greenhouse had to say in June, when she was honored at Harvard: Since the 1960s, she said, “our government had turned its energy and attention away from upholding the rule of law and toward creating law-free zones at Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib, Haditha and other places around the world. And let’s not forget the sustained assault on women’s reproductive freedom and the hijacking of public policy by religious fundamentalism.” Don’t worry, we won’t.

The Washington Post’s Howard Kurtz caught up with Miss Greenhouse, who told him the above line from her speech was fact, not opinion. She also said, “The notion that someone cannot go and speak from the heart to a group of college classmates and fellow alums, without being accountable to self-appointed media watchdogs, means American journalism is in danger of strangling in its own sanctimony.”

Here’s a question: If knowing what you know now about Miss Greenhouse’s views on the administration, the supposed hijacking by religious fundamentalism, the fine line between fact and opinion and her belief that she’s above accountability, would you read one of her articles in the NYT thinking it was coming from an unbiased reporter?

A brief search of some of Miss Greenhouse’s reporting came up with the following: Measures allowing union members to choose if their dues should pay for the union’s political activities are “anti-union.” Partial-birth abortion is described as a “surgical procedure that doctors use to perform abortions after about 12 weeks of pregnancy.”

We suppose it’s not surprising Miss Greenhouse can’t differentiate between fact and opinion. She’s been fudging the line for so long (conservatives call her influence on Supreme Court justices the “Greenhouse effect”) that it must be quite a shock when “self-appointed media watchdogs” call her out. In 1989, for instance, her own editors had to criticize her marching in a pro-choice rally in Washington. But since then, the spread of the Internet has put all reporters on notice, as Dan Rather learned, and she’s none too happy about it.

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