The New York Observer's Joe Conason is out with a new tome called "Big Lies," one of those "lies" being the Myth of the Liberal Media. In doing so he has now joined The Nation's Eric Alterman in claiming that the news media are not as liberal as they are, which is undoubtedly true.
The suggestion, however, that the news media do not tilt to the left, is just not serious thinking. Or, if it's coming from those who would consider themselves serious thinkers, it's just not intellectually honest.
I don't know if Al Franken is a joke or a fraud. I do know he is a man full of hatred for conservatives, and because of that, a darling of Conason's supposedly conservative press.
Last week, Franken was featured not once, but twice on NBC's "Today Show" to plug his upcoming book slamming the right, "Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them." Matt Lauer dutifully read excerpts like, "Bush lies about important things like the economy, his tax cuts, his education, our reasons for going to war and drunk driving. But I think he lies only when he feels he has to. He knows that most of the time Fox News, the Wall Street Journal and Rush Limbaugh are only too glad to do it for him." Lauer also invited his audience to visit NBC's Web site, where other excerpts are proudly displayed, including the one focusing on "those sh---y books by Ann Coulter and Bernie Goldberg" and their "total bulls--t" claims about a liberal media bias.
Lauer could have challenged Franken to prove his argument and then debated him, point-by-point. That is, after all, standard operating procedure for conservative guests. But Franken received none of that scrutiny.
Lauer could have denounced Franken's nastiness. Remember all that media talk about "Clinton-haters" on the right? About "mean-spirited" conservatives? About the "politics of personal destruction"? Lauer not only didn't confront Franken with his ad hominems, he invited him back for an encore performance.
Which raises another point about this supposedly non-liberal press. How does Franken rate two appearances in one week? Sure he's witty and all that, but he was there to promote a book, a book that wasn't anywhere on any New York Times bestseller list. (With this kind of double promotion, you can be assured that now it will be.)