Monday, September 27, 2004

CBS Exposes Media's Liberal Bias

Sat, September 25, 2004
CBS 'exposes' media's liberal bias
By michael Coren

I can't say I'm very surprised at what has happened with Dan Rather, CBS and the flawed reporting of U.S. President George Bush's alleged failure to do his military duty decades ago. It could all be a mistake, of course. What lies beneath it, however, is far more significant. Let us be direct. There is a massive liberal bias in North American media.

I say this as someone who has been accused of being liberal as well as conservative. Indeed, I'm proud of the fact that I'm difficult to pigeonhole and steadfastly refuse to buy into any party ideology. But reality cries out to be heard in this case, particularly in Canada.

No federal or provincial Tory, or conservative activist, seriously believes that they will be treated objectively by most of our television and radio stations, newspapers and magazines. There are exceptions and sometimes the bias is mild, but the trend is tangible.

Often the slanted reporting is almost ridiculous. No fair-minded observer can accept that Stockwell Day, for example, was given balanced treatment by the CBC, the Globe and Mail and so many other media outlets. Stephen Harper did better but then he couldn't have fared worse.

Liberal pundits try to dismiss these claims by the game of hyperbole. That is, they make false grimaces and laugh at the right-wing canard of "liberal cabals and conspiracies" at work. In fact, nobody claims conspiracy but we do argue that there is a cult of liberal assumption.

It's quite simple. Journalists tend to come from one particular social background and that background tends to produce liberal opinion. It has nothing to do with intelligence or lack of it but much to do with embracing a conventional wisdom. It's chic and fashionable to question conservatism.

Think of the cocktail-party hero, courageously holding forth on the evils of neo-cons and the wealthy as he sips his chardonnay and prepares for a vacation in Tuscany. He'd rather live in Paris, London or New York but pretends to be a Canadian nationalist because it sells.

A few observations. Bush has given $13 billion to fight AIDS in Africa. This is far more than Bill Clinton ever did. Yet if we read accounts of the issue in The New York Times or hear stories on CBS and ABC, we find a very different story.

Dwight Eisenhower, the arch-Republican, was the president who kept the United States out of foreign wars and questioned the military-industrial complex. John F. Kennedy, the arch-Democrat president, effectively began the Vietnam War with support for anti-Communist leaders and the build-up of U.S. special forces in the region.

This is seldom the story we read in our newspapers.

On a personal level, I have worked at the Globe and Mail and the CBC. Mediocrity aside, the purview at these places extends from Ottawa to downtown Toronto, with a glimpse of Vancouver and Banff on a good day.

A petition was started against me at the Globe, apparently because, though a columnist, I dared write that abortion perhaps concerned fathers as well as mothers. At the CBC I was told to remove a photograph of my then new child as the "traditional family illustration" was somehow threatening and offensive to some of my state-funded comrades. I know, it's like a comedy. Not a CBC comedy; too funny for that.

On another occasion, a senior Newsworld executive apologized after making statements in the press about me that were untrue. This after a television crew had stopped me appearing on a show because they did not like my views. The fact that I was booked and confirmed didn't make any difference.

Any journalist or politician in Canada who rejects the liberal status quo could tell you similar stories. Are the media balanced and objective?

It's like asking if President Bush was a war hero!