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The real testimony gave succor to Bush’s backers in the Senate. Murray’s story made it sound just the opposite.
Let’s consider another example. The MSM reporting on the trial of former vice-presidential aide Lewis “Scooter” Libby has been so one-sided as to defy belief. Blogs providing a play-by-play of the proceedings almost universally paint a picture of witnesses who first seem to bolster the prosecution by contradicting Libby’s claims, but who then are embarrassed in cross-examination by Libby lawyer Theodore Wells. But almost every MSM story features only the prosecution’s storyline in both headlines and lead paragraphs, with the cross-examinations either buried in the bowels of the article or not even mentioned at all.
Examples are numerous.
In the Feb. 7 edition, the Post’s story on the case — listed as “National News,” rather than identified as “analysis” — included this bit of editorializing: “The sound of Libby’s clear, measured voice in the tapes buttresses the prosecution’s case in two significant ways.”
In violation of the old, now-abandoned first rule for straight news reporters — “attribution, attribution, attribution” — the judgment in favor of the prosecution is not attributed to anybody.
For a more vivid example of how the Post coverage of the trial is slanted, consider its Jan. 31 headline, above the story covering the testimony of former New York Times reporter Judy Miller: “Reporter’s Account Hurts Libby’s Defense.”
That might be fine for an opinion column, but it’s absurd to make such a proclamation as if it is an inarguable fact. Proof that it was a mere matter of opinion lies in the sub-headline of the column that same day by National Review’s Byron York: “The former Times reporter has a tough day on the witness stand.” A good summary line from York’s column: “On it went. By the end of the day, [the defense attorney] had planted an entire field’s worth of seeds of doubt. Miller’s memory was faulty. She gave conflicting accounts of events. She had talked to other people about Joseph Wilson and his wife, but she couldn’t remember anything about it.”
The point is not that York’s assessment of the case is better than the Post’s. The point is that York’s is appropriately presented as opinion, whereas the Post screams its opinion as if it is fact. And, of course, the Post’s version of what is fact skews predictably against the conservatives.
Even worse, though, is that these “newspapers of record” continue to peddle absolute falsehoods as part of the basic background of the trial. Consider the Feb. 8 Post story by Carol Leonnig and Amy Goldstein. It reports that when Ambassador Joe Wilson went to investigate allegations that Iraq had tried to buy “yellowcake” uranium from Niger, “Wilson found no evidence of the activity.”
That’s as wrong as wrong can be. Yes, Wilson himself later said that he found no evidence. But the Post itself last summer reported that the Senate Intelligence Committee concluded “that Wilson’s report, rather than debunking intelligence about purported uranium sales to Iraq, as he has said, bolstered the case for most intelligence analysts.” (The committee’s report is incontrovertible: The official summation of Wilson’s trip concluded that it was likely that Iraq had indeed been seeking, even if not actually purchasing, yellowcake.)
And all these examples, remember, come from the Washington Post. But the Post is a paragon of virtue compared to the New York Times. And the Times provides the news-wire service that fills the news columns of hundreds and hundreds of papers nationwide.
What we face is not merely a crisis of bias. It’s a crisis of integrity. And when these MSM outlets arrogantly refuse to police themselves, they deserve to lose their audience, their advertising and all respect.
And eventually, they’ll find it hard to put a good front on that reality.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?