Second, conservatives know the journalistic culture which produces so much liberal media bias is not likely to diminish by changing the faces of the talent. That's not to say a Dan Rather or a Tom Brokaw hasn't wielded great power over our political culture. They certainly have. But bias is an institutional problem throughout the national 'news' media -- identified by former longtime CBS News correspondent Bernard Goldberg -- bathed in the arrogant notion that their point of view is always accurate and always relevant to any story in which they choose to inject it.
Many people are quick to believe that conservatives are Rather "haters" or Brokaw "haters," delighting in their departures. That's not the right response. Conservatives and liberals have rallied around both men and their networks at times of national crisis. Dan Rather has been fiercely patriotic; his emotional breakdown on the David Letterman show after 9-11 was no act. Tom Brokaw has done much to offer honor to the generation that fought World War II. We can be generous about their long service.
In Rather's case, however, we must also be clear that he crossed a line of trust on the Bush "memos" that should never be tolerated in any media outlet, no matter how small. And while Brokaw never may have been this blatant, he's earned hundreds of demerits over the years through his constant attacks on conservatives.
Just like CBS, the succession at NBC is no reason to suspect the liberal bias problem is going away. After all the helpful public-relations spin that Brian Williams knew Dale Earnhardt and loves NASCAR races, his on-air record over the years suggests a blue-state mindset will remain. After all, how NASCAR-sensitive is it for Williams to suggest it should be seen as "downright unpatriotic" to drive an SUV, as he said in a 2002 newscast?
Two major anchors may be going away, but the TV news remains, and it's still the largest sphere of media influence. So conservatives will still be watching and taking notes on how the new anchors live up to Dan Rather's often-stated (and too often violated) promise to "play no favorites and pull no punches."
Asymmetrical Politics: Republicans Act Like an Unruly Mob, Democrats Like a Regimented Army | Michael Barone