Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Why We Hate Them

Ever since 9/11, our navel gazing press has been asking, "why do they hate us?"
Carol Platt Liebau thinks that journalists should be asking the question a little differently: "Why do Americans hate journalists?"

It's amazing. The same press that encourages Americans to "understand" why some Islamofascists pressed a sneak attack upon unsuspecting innocents is, itself, either unwilling or unable to look at the reasons that Republicans -- at least half the body politic -- routinely operate under the assumption that the mainstream media will be hostile in its coverage of them, their ideas, and their politicians.

Just last week, in an egregious slur, former NBC newsman Bryant Gumbel volunteered that the dearth of African Americans competing made the Winter Olympics "look like a GOP convention" (minus, presumably, Condi Rice, Colin Powell, Ken Blackwell, Lynn Swann and Michael Steele, among others). His views were remarkable in big-time media circles only in that the anti-Republican bias was so openly expressed -- and it's worth wondering how many current big-time anchors share the same opinion, deterred from voicing it publicly only by the chimera of "journalistic objectivity."

Similarly, the hysteria over the Cheney accident itself only underlines the monolithic mindset and life experience of most of the national press -- nary a hunter in sight -- and its psychological and physical distance from everyday Red State values and pursuits.

A recent UCLA study, published in the Quarterly Journal of Economics, found that nearly all major media outlets tilt to the left. The findings were surprising only to those who have never observed the mainstream media's treatment of the GOP. The bias explains why Republicans are happy to offer stories to local, rather than national, press; they have a greater chance of being treated fairly.

As of March of 2005, some polls were showing that journalists were less well thought of than lawyers, auto mechanics, and even politicians. Episodes like the media frenzy of last week explain why. So even as members of the media excoriate the Bush Administration for its failings after the Cheney birdshot accident, perhaps they would be well-advised to take an equally persistent look at their own.

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