Walter Cronkite told Time magazine in 2003 that journalists "come up through the ranks, through the police-reporting side, and they see the problems of their fellow man ... their domestic quarrels, their living conditions. The meaner side of life is made visible to most young reporters. I think it affects their sentimental feeling toward their fellow man and that is interpreted by some less-sensitive people as being liberal."
But liberal journalists often specialize in dishing out "the meaner side of life" when the opportunity arrives to politicize the crime beat. When a crazed gunman opened fire on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and others in Tucson, Ariz., in 2011, MSNBC's Luke Russert and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman quickly suspected without any troublesome need for facts -- and there was zero evidence -- that the tea party was involved.
When Joseph Stack plowed his airplane into a Texas office building in 2010, there was The New York Times looking for the "first Tea Party terrorist." The liberal media haven't found the first one, but that won't stop them from wild speculation.
When Census worker Bill Sparkman was found hanged in Kentucky with the word "FED" carved into his chest in 2009, that was too juicy a possibility for reporters to resist. Newsweek's Eve Conant asked "was Sparkman killed in some frenzy of antigovernment rage? Both the Department of Homeland Security and the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) have warned of a dramatic spike in antigovernment militia activity."
Conant added, "Then there is the conservative blogosphere, which has been questioning the census since Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann claimed that she would not complete her census form." A few weeks later, when investigators concluded Sparkman committed suicide and manipulated the scene for life-insurance purposes, Conant calmly reported that conclusion and mentioned in passing that the discovery of the body "prompted a national discussion on controversies surrounding the census." Just like ABC's on-air product, there were no apologies for Newsweek's fever-brained speculation about "anti-government rage."
It's this complete lack of regret that underlines why a vast majority of Americans would tell Gallup pollsters they have no confidence in the "news" media, either broadcast or print. Their political shamelessness has left their credibility in tatters.