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All the News that Fits Our Biases
You can always tell what a newspaper finds important by what it puts on the front page. It’s also a good way to learn about the paper’s biases.
You may recall that the New York Times wrote very little on page one, or anyplace else in the paper, about the relationship – whatever it was – between presidential candidate Barack Obama and his old left-wing pal Bill Ayers, the one who along with other radical leftists tried to blow up the Pentagon and the U.S. Capitol during the heyday of the anti-Vietnam war movement.
The Times did write about Obama’s relationship with his long time minister, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, but the paper didn’t publish Wright’s most inflammatory sermons until very late in the game.
If the “newspaper of record” had been more vigilant, there’s a good chance Hillary Clinton (or who knows, maybe even John McCain) would be president today.
More recently the Times ignored the Van Jones story -- until he resigned. If the Times was the only place you got your news, you wouldn’t have a clue as to who Van Jones was or why he was resigning. But if you watched FOX News, you knew that Jones was President Obama’s so-called “green jobs czar” – a screwball leftist who signed a petition calling for an investigation to learn whether then President George W. Bush was behind the 9/11 attacks on America. The Times didn’t find that nugget especially newsworthy.
Then there were those famous Acorn videos, the ones that showed a “pimp” and his “ho” seeking -- and getting -- advice from Acron employees in several cities on how best to open a brothel and staff it with underage girls from Central America -- and launder their profits while evading taxes. The Times didn’t find that story newsworthy either. Even its public editor, Clark Hoyt, slapped the paper around for that one.
“But for days, as more videos were posted and government authorities rushed to distance themselves from Acorn,” Hoyt wrote, “The Times stood still. Its slow reflexes — closely following its slow response to a controversy that forced the resignation of Van Jones, a White House adviser — suggested that it has trouble dealing with stories arising from the polemical world of talk radio, cable television and partisan blogs. Some stories, lacking facts, never catch fire. But others do, and a newspaper like The Times needs to be alert to them or wind up looking clueless or, worse, partisan itself.”
And now we have another tidbit from the New York Times, more than a tidbit, actually – a story that appeared on page one of its Sunday paper (Jan. 31) – and continued for almost an entire inside page. And like most stories that appear on page one of an important newspaper, this one tells us a lot about what the editors of the New York Times think is important – and a lot about their biases, too. The story ran under the headline, “From High Jinks to Handcuffs” and was about the very same young man, James O’Keefe, who pretended to be a pimp in order to expose Acorn -- and who, along with three pals, was arrested and charged with a federal felony -- entering federal property under false pretenses. Authorities believe they were trying to tamper with the phones in the New Orleans offices of U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu, a Democrat.
O’Keefe, the story told us, was just the tip of a conservative movement iceberg. “Although he may be the most public face of this new approach, he is just one of a group of young conservatives who use political pranks and embarrassing recordings to upend what they view as overwhelming liberal biases on college campuses and in the culture at large,” the story said.
What they view as overwhelming liberal biases on college campuses? Memo to the New York Times: It’s not what they view as overwhelming liberal biases … it’s what anyone with at least a room temperature IQ knows is overwhelming liberal biases on college campuses. In any event, the Times played the story as if it were Watergate all over again.
I am not writing to defend James O’Keefe. If he did what he’s charged with, he crossed a line from prank to crime. I’m not even writing about whether this is a legitimate page one story. Reasonable people disagree all the time about such things. But if the Times didn’t think the Acorn story was worth covering, why does it now find Mr. O’Keefe – and other campus conservatives -- worthy of so much ink?
Acorn, after all, receives tens of millions of taxpayer dollars and has been repeatedly accused of trying to subvert our electoral process. That, the noble New York Times, didn't find all that interesting when the videos came out. O’Keefe at worst is a young guy who did something really dumb. But his tactics – and those of other young conservatives like him – the Times finds worthy of a very long story in its Sunday edition. Hmmm!
So, the question one more time: Why does it find Mr. O’Keefe worthy of so much ink? Could it be because he’s a conservative who got into trouble?
Yeah, I think that pretty much sums it up. That and the fact that the Times sees conservatives as the enemy … and when conservatives screw-up, those noble journalists at the most important newspaper in the galaxy salivate. And that, my friends, is how bias really works in what has become the lamestream media.