As printed in the
January 3, 2002 edition
Editorial in Investor's
Media Bias: Perhaps no institution needs a New Year's resolution
more than the elite press. Last year was again marked by its leftward bias.
Research Center, the watchdog of the dominant media, has published its
14th annual "Awards for the Year's Worst Reporting." It is a useful
and humorous reminder of the media's insularity and ideological arrogance.
To take a few examples, ABC News President David Westin receives the
group's award for "Swiss Press Corps Award for Remaining Neutral in War
Coverage." Westin achieved this honor by refusing to make a judgment
about Sept. 11 before an audience at the Columbia University
Graduate School of Journalism.
"The Pentagon as a legitimate target? I actually don't have an opinion
on that, and it's important I not have an opinion on that as I sit here in my
capacity right now," said Westin.
"I can say the Pentagon got hit, I can say this is what their position
is, this is what our position is, but for me to take a position this was right
or wrong, I mean, that's perhaps for me in my private life, perhaps it's for
me dealing with my loved ones, perhaps it's for my minister at church. But as
a journalist I feel strongly that's something that I should not be taking a
position on. I'm supposed to figure out what is and what is not, not what
ought to be."
ABC and Westin were forced in the ensuing furor to recant his remarks. But
they are emblematic of the dogma of the church of the media. Journalism (with
all its slanting to the left) first, country second. Moreover, God and faith
don't even make most journalists' lists.
MRC gives its "Media Hero Award" to ABC's Carole Simpson for
bubbling ecstatic about Hillary Clinton's future: "Just wait. You ain't
seen nothin' yet."
Newsweek's Jonathan Alter earns a gentleman's second in this category for
placing the Soviet Union's last Communist ruler Mikhail Gorbachev in the
pantheon of greatness: "He's only the most important political leader
alive in the world today, historically speaking. . If I look back over my
lifetime, who is the the world leader who changed things the most, and I don't
actually think it is a close call."
Eleanor Clift, who yields to no one in her commitment to liberal reporting,
also gets her due, winning MRC's "Pushing Bush to the Left Award."
Her apocalyptic description of the Bush administration - "Arsenic in the
water. Starting up the Cold War. Make as much carbon dioxide as you like. .
Bush has set himself up as a huge target" - netted her this award.
The prescient political mind Roger Ebert also gets a mention in this
category for panning Bush as a foreign policy boob: "No wonder he wants
to break the missile treaty, alienate NATO, ignore global warming and
reinstall Russia and China as enemies." Ted Turner merits MRC's "Politics
of Meaninglessness Award for the Silliest Analysis" for his
"witticism" to Christian colleagues at CNN on Ash Wednesday:
"What are you, a bunch of Jesus freaks? You ought to be working for
Needless to say, the MRC's list reveals the gulf between the elite media
and ordinary Americans. Small wonder it's the only institution whose public
approval ratings have not improved in the wake of Sept. 11. Still, we hope
that the media use 2002 to make some progress in closing that gulf.