Brent Bozell

It might seem odd to compare and contrast two news stories from last week -- the resignation announcement of Attorney General John Ashcroft and the Paris death of Palestinian terrorist Yasser Arafat. But an examination of the two demonstrates the degree to which the "news" media's compass of objectivity is so terribly misaligned. To read the coverage, you'd think Ashcroft was the tyrant and Arafat the liberator.

 On Nov. 10, the New York Times front page put the two stories side by side in the top left-hand corner. Reporter Elisabeth Bumiller told readers the "polarizing" Ashcroft was resigning after a "tumultuous tenure" in which he was praised for his aggressive fight against terrorists but "assailed by critics who said he sacrificed civil liberties" in the wake of Sept. 11. Bumiller noted Ashcroft was praised by President Bush, then added his critics were "caustic," citing the radical-left Georgetown professor David Cole, who strangely called Ashcroft "a disaster from a civil liberties perspective but also from a national security perspective."

 But right next door on the front page, reporter Elaine Sciolino found far less controversy in the camp of Arafat. The dying terrorist has accumulated a long and blood-spattered resume of violence that fills a cemetery, a filthy legacy of innocent Olympic athletes, airplane passengers and Israeli schoolchildren massacred. But the Times didn't even use the word "terrorist." Instead, Sciolino referred to Arafat as a cult hero, "the guerrilla fighter and Nobel Prize winner who has symbolized the Palestinian struggle for statehood for four decades." Of his potential successors, Sciolino warned they had "little of the street credibility and aura that surrounded Mr. Arafat." A big chunk of that aura is created in Western capitals by left-wing correspondents.

 Is it any wonder the liberal press doesn't understand why a majority of Americans didn't want a president with the media's moral vision elected? Liberals just don't really get the concept of a "war on terrorism." They like declaring war on nebulous, romantic concepts like poverty and rainforest logging, but can't see the mortal threat in front of their faces on TV, people screaming their desire to bring death to Americans. Liberals are not just soft on the terrorists. They're not really sure which side is evil. That's dangerous.

Brent Bozell

Founder and President of the Media Research Center, Brent Bozell runs the largest media watchdog organization in America.
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