Thursday, January 13, 2005

The new year dawns dank and melancholy, at least for me. Shuffling off the nation’s center stage are my favorite sanctimonious hinds, Dan Rather and Bill Moyers. Both have been burning incense before their own graven mugs for years. Soon both will exalt themselves in solitude.

Mr. Moyers was a gifted understudy of his old boss, Lyndon Johnson, and though he affected piety wherever he went, there was always a whiff of the thug about his person.

How well I recall the revelations of the journalist Andrew Ferguson, demonstrating that while an independent contractor of PBS the Rev. Moyers made a fortune. Well, his old boss, made a fortune too while working for the government. Why should the Rev. Moyers not do equally well while working for an organization that at least had a parasite’s attachment to the federal milch cow? After Mr. Ferguson’s revelations appeared in The New Republic, Mr. Moyers harassed him — another page torn from Lyndon’s playbook.

Yet, Mr. Moyers is going quietly into the good night. Mr. Rather is leaving indignantly and beclouded by scandal — another scandal, I might add, that would not exist if the liberals of the dominant media culture would simply admit they are liberals, that they have a liberal bias, and that having a bias is normal for journalists and need not cause them to practice deceit.

Of course, in practice many of these liberals do practice deceit. In the case of Mr. Rather, he and his associates at CBS aired a phony story about President Bush’s National Guard service.

Whether they knew it was a deceit or not I cannot say, but surely in their cover-up they recognized their deceitfulness. Surely they knew they were stretching the truth when they claimed the phony documents they relied on to support their phony story were provided by “unimpeachable sources.”

Those “sources” ended up being but one source, Bill Burckett. And who is he? Mr. Burckett is a well-known anti-Bush obsessive. Yet maybe Mr. Rather and his colleagues considered Mr. Burckett more than one person, and maybe his very obsessiveness rendered him unimpeachable in their eyes.

Now in unveiling its 224-page report of Mr. Rather’s faulty work, CBS admits the Rather story was unfair and inaccurate, but there is a new deceit. The report claims there is no “basis” for adjudging the existence of “political bias” in Mr. Rather’s shabby journalism. Well, as the shrinks are given to saying, “If it’s true for you, it’s true for you.”

The fact, long established by media pollsters, is that major media are as dominated by the so-called liberal viewpoint as are our universities. I say “so-called liberal point of view” because the modern liberal is not very liberal after all. Neither tolerance nor love of liberty characterizes the point of view of the contemporary liberal, merely conformity. The liberal point of view is a conformist point of view. What it conforms to changes year in and year out, but one thing it always stands by is the demand for rank-and-file conformity. Oh yes, and it demands one more thing: deceit.

The conformists at CBS have since Mr. Rather’s embarrassing report on the president demonstrated they are entoiled to the ethical standards of the liberals’ leading ethicist of the last half of the 20th century, Alger Hiss — the master who first demonstrated that the moral high ground could be attained merely by lying, imperturbably lying, sempiternally lying.

Through every revelation against you, lie. As the evidence against you mounts, lie. Even if the DNA analysis — say the DNA found on a dress purchased from the GAP — discredits your testimony, lie.

So it appears Mr. Rather continues to deceive. It appears CBS continues to deceive. Nonetheless, it really does not matter all that much. Rather is leaving. CBS has slipped so far in the polls it seems its news reports are only watched by liberals and ignoramuses. And cable provides increasingly the kind of diversity that intelligent viewers seek.

R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. is founder and editor in chief of the American Spectator, a contributing editor to the New York Sun, and an adjunct scholar at the Hudson Institute. His most recent book is “Hillary Clinton The Dark Road to the White House.”

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