“Are lying liberals destroying the country?” asked a mocking Arthel Neville, host of CNN’s “Talkback Live,” before interviewing Ann Coulter on Thursday.
The segment with Coulter quickly degenerated into straw-man silliness, with Neville characterizing Coulter’s position in the most overstated terms. “So all liberals are guilty of bashing conservatives?” a perturbed Neville asked Coulter.
Julian Epstein, the Democratic lawyer who should keep a cot at CNN given the frequency of his appearances, was invited to join the fray, declaring that Coulter’s position lacked “empirical evidence.”
The show became three against one: Epstein, CNN’s audience, and Neville versus Coulter.
Liberal bias in the media? Oh no. What an untenable position. Sure, “Talkback Live” is a conveyor belt of liberal foolishness, but that’s not “empirical evidence” of Coulter’s point.
That some 90 percent of reporters voted for Bill Clinton apparently isn’t “empirical evidence” either. Or that Coulter’s book, like Bernard Goldberg’s book before it, has shot up to the top of bestseller lists.
Fortunately, not all members of the liberal media find Coulter’s point as mystifying as Epstein and Neville. Here and there liberal journalists are conceding the existence of bias. And even if they don’t agree that it is a problem, they are at least pragmatic enough to see that the American people consider it a problem, and therefore they must change or watch their business decline.
In a little-noticed story, the Los Angeles Times recently fired a reporter after he fired off an intemperate e-mail to Republican Congressman Bill Thomas. Brian Robin, a sportswriter for a community edition of the paper, used the Times‘s e-mail system to deliver his left-wing musings. (Thomas’s staff apparently brought the note to the attention of Robin’s superiors).
“Surely, you can’t be that stupid,” began the e-mail. “I mean, even for the standards of the current Republican Party, which has turned from the party of Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt into a hateful, dogmatic and uncompromising group (except in the case of big business, when you become the party of Stepin Fetchit), your comments on CNN are so completely out of line, they defy logic.
“To blame Bill Clinton (our last legally elected president) for the current corporate shenanigans completely flies in the face of truth and logic. The president you and your ilk impeached for lying about oral sex presided over a country that lowered teen pregnancy rates 22 percent, dropped the crime rate by roughly the same amount and knocked nearly half the welfare recipients off the rolls. While those numbers were dropping, so were the numbers in divorce, teen drinking, teen suicide and abortion. But that doesn’t jibe with your partisan rantings…
“Without a scintilla of regret or moral thought, your party has embraced corporate crooks, polluters and other moral rot. It wasn’t Bill Clinton who cooked books at Enron, Global Crossing, Worldcom and who knows how many other companies.
“It wasn’t Bill Clinton who engaged in accounting fraud while working as the CEO of a Fortune 500 company (see Cheney, Dick). It wasn’t Bill Clinton who engaged in insider trading while leading yet another company into bankruptcy (see Bush, G.W.).
“It was Bill Clinton who lied about a blow job. Somehow, I don’t see the comparison. Then again, I’m not a morally bankrupt Republican congressman who opts for partisanship ahead of truth.”
Back in the salad days of the liberal media, the discovery of such a note on the Times‘s e-mail system might have paved Robin’s path to an editorial page post. But in the post-Fox news climate, with anger at the liberal media running high, the Los Angeles Times management felt the need to dump Robin without debate.
They don’t want that note cited as empirical evidence against them.