The prevalence of mainstream media liberal bias is a truism, but people generally think about it as merely an ideological slant on the reporting. But in this year's presidential campaign, at least, we're seeing more than a "coloration" of the news. Distortion is more accurate.
I don't know if all the players fully realize they are misrepresenting the facts or just uncritically echoing them. (For all the self-congratulation the media engage in, they often just repeat the tripe their colleagues spew, without serious checking). Either way, their end product is the same, and it's a bastardization of the factual record.
Let me give you a few examples concerning the media's take on who drew first blood, President Bush or Sen. Kerry. This issue matters, because the media are using the lie that Bush started the attacks as a foundation for Kerry to go nuclear against President Bush with impunity -- certainly with their full blessing. But Democrats have been personally attacking the president for four years.
On MSNBC's "Hardball" last Thursday night, Tim Russert, Tom Brokaw and Chris Matthews were discussing the GOP convention attacks on John Kerry and saying that Kerry was set to begin an aggressive counteroffensive at midnight.
Russert said: "John Kerry is taking his gloves off at midnight tonight, basically saying, 'I've had enough when it comes to challenging my patriotism and my military record.' This campaign is really engaged as of midnight tonight."
Matthews asked: "Is this a notch-up in his rhetoric, gentlemen? 'I'm not going to have my commitment to defend this country ... questioned by those who refuse to serve when they could have and by those who have misled the nation -- misled the nation -- into Iraq' Isn't that a pickup in his attack?"
Brokaw said, "Oh, I think it's more than a notch-up, it's a seismic shift."
With all due respect, what planet are these guys living on? They make their living following and reporting the news. And they mean to suggest that Kerry's impending midnight speech to charge President Bush misled us into Iraq was going to be a response to the Bush forces -- that Kerry is an innocent victim in this?
It wasn't just the NBC crew, either. The media echo chamber reverberates. Time's Joe Klein recently wrote, "After a week of gut-wound assaults on his character, Kerry finally fired back on Thursday night, assailing Bush and Cheney for having avoided service in Vietnam and for having 'misled' us into Iraq." Klein dutifully couched Kerry's attack in terms of a response: "Kerry finally fired back." Finally?