News media bias: It all adds up
The Daily Oklahoman
As printed in the December 27, 2000 edition
Column by Patrick B. McGuigan in the Daily
Was 2000 the last year of the old millennium or the first year of the new? As a conservative fellow educated before "new math" caught on, I incline toward the former.
No matter how you count, count on this: This year America's "mainstream" news media was about as mean-spirited in proving its pervasive bias as in any 12-month period since the
Media Research Center began meticulously monitoring American journalism. This was the 13th annual "best notable
quotables" - capturing for posterity "the year's worst reporting."
One of the most revealing statements by any journalist this year was entirely unscripted. It came from Bryant Gumbel, formerly of NBC's "Today Show" but now the heavyweight on a lightweight bit of morning fluff: "The Early Show on CBS."
It was June 29. Gumbel had just finished interviewing Robert Knight of the Family Research Council. Knight defended the right of the Boy Scouts of America to uphold the "morally straight" affirmations of the Oath and Law by keeping acknowledged homosexuals out of adult leadership in scouting. Gumbel's contribution to civil discourse was to call his guest "a f-ing idiot."
A deft touch, that, and entirely indicative of the abiding contempt most in the national television elite feel toward the folks who voted for this nation's new president. I supported Gumbel's vicious remark as "winner" of the "Damn Those Conservatives" Award for 2000. The other judges agreed.
Brian Williams of MSNBC, who can do better, was one runner-up in the "damn" category, for a run-on question last Jan. 6, in which he concluded that conservatives had "no gray matter in between" the ears.
In a rare shutout for my preferences, judging colleagues awarded a key "prize" to Time magazine's Margaret Carlson. She did not get my support, although it was admittedly a beaut: Commenting upon absentee ballots in Florida - including those of military personnel who list the Sunshine State as home - Carlson nabbed first spot for "aiding and abetting in an election theft," with this gem: "Here we will have a bunch of tax dodgers deciding the election." That was uttered on MSNBC the morning of Nov. 8.
My favorite from the "theft" category was George Stephanopoulos, speaking during NBC's "This Week" program on the Sunday after Election Day. In a rambling discourse he articulated the mainstream "news" media's mantra through five weeks of tension orchestrated by his old pals in the Clinton-Gore administration: "If this race is counted fairly, Al Gore won more votes in Florida."
In Bill Clinton's America, a place the former White House communicators director helped to build, "fair" means liberal victories at any cost, even if it means invalid ballots must be counted and the U.S. Supreme Court must be marginalized.
This annual overview of liberal news media bias is distilled from actual comments made on TV news broadcasts or in print commentaries and stories. "Victors" are selected by a panel consisting largely of working journalists with a few academics thrown in.
I was one of the 46 judges this year, my 10th year participating in the process. I shared duties with Chuck Asay of the Colorado Springs Gazette, Tucker Carlson of the Weekly Standard, Priscilla Buckey and Kate O'Beirne of National Review, Bernadette Malone Connolly of the Manchester (N.H.) Union Leader, Quin Hillyer of the Mobile (Ala.) Register, Marvin Olasky of World magazine, Henry Payne of the Detroit News, R. Emmett Tyrell Jr. and Wladyslaw Pleszczynski of the American Spectator, Tom Winter of Human Events, and others.
Syndicated columnists were among the judges, including writers who appear often in The Oklahoman : L. Brent Bozell III (who also runs the center), Don Feder, Robert Novak, Cal Thomas and Walter Williams. Rounding out the panel were several broadcast journalists, including radio talk-show hosts like Michael Reagan, son of the former president.
The winners were listed, along with the top runners-up in each category, in "Notable
Quotables" for Dec. 25 (Volume 13, No. 26). For more information, contact Media Research Center, 325 S Patrick St., Alexandria, VA 22314; telephone: (703) 683-9733; or visit its Web site at: