Bill Murchison
We seem to be in the midst of another one of our periodic battles over liberal bias in the media, as denoted in recent days by Paul Ryan and various other conservatives vexed with the tone of campaign coverage. "It goes without saying that there is definitely media bias," Ryan said on Fox News. "I think most people in the mainstream media are left of center and, therefore, they want a very left-of-center president versus a conservative president like Mitt Romney."

I think so myself after more than four decades of membership in that same suspect category, the gatherers and dispensers of news and commentary. The subjective question left dangling is, so what? Does it matter? Can Barack Obama's acolytes in the media tip the electoral scales for him?

Let me put it this way: They already have. And it worked.

The media's strange performance in 2008, when Obama made his debut on the national scene, fit for the most part the format of the three monkeys: see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil, with reference to the imputed ability of an unseasoned senate freshman to run the world's only superpower.

In 2008, the media tended to take Obama at his own evaluation. His Wonderfulness might not be beyond dispute, but such a dispute wasn't worth having. He had come to fulfill the unfulfilled promise of our national founding. At a minimum, he would make most things better.

What he was, in fact, was a pig in a poke through which sack the media rarely chose to rummage. Gosh, the guy was great! What an orator! What a mesmerizer of the multitudes! They swooned. They fell over in ecstasy when the Democratic nominee for president opened his mouth.

Had the media opened its own metaphorical mouth, the choice in November 2008 might not have been necessarily different, but at least better informed. Barack Obama's life prior to the candidate's entry into the U.S. Senate, less than two years earlier, was supposedly an open book, written by him. It told of the challenging rise of a much-traveled, multi-racial attorney, the product of a nontraditional family establishment. He served as a community organizer, taught law at the University of Chicago. How much more did the American people need to judge the attributes of a man striving to be their leader? Not much, the media decided.

Bill Murchison

Bill Murchison is the former senior columns writer for The Dallas Morning News and author of There's More to Life Than Politics.
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