Jonah Goldberg

In an age when Fox News is a ratings juggernaut and Katie Couric is ratings roadkill, it seems almost antique to talk about liberal media bias. But it's still out there, my friends. Just look at the hilarious press release masquerading as a news story in Time magazine. With a picture of California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg looking like henchmen from Murder Inc., Time proclaims these politicians "The New Action Heroes." And why are the Munchkin Mayor and the glandular Governator so heroic? Because they're taking care of business in a flash, as Elvis used to say (and probably still does on that Pacific island where he lives with Bruce Lee). Time's Michael Grunwald comes close to sounding like a teenage girl talking about Justin Timberlake. Bloomberg and Schwarzenegger are doing "big things," he tells us. "Specifically, they're doing big things that Washington has failed to do." Unlike politicians in the nation's capital, where "partisanship-on-crack has made compromise almost impossible," Schwarzenegger and Bloomberg have "got better things to do than bicker and posture."

And what are these better things? Well, they're both fighting global warming, natch. And Arnold's fighting for embryo-destroying stem cell research while Bloomberg, Grunwald gushes, has implemented "America's most draconian smoking ban and the first big-city trans-fat ban."

Heroes indeed!

It's a bit reminiscent of that "Simpsons" episode where Homer wants to sue an all-you-can-eat restaurant for cutting him off before he was full. His grasping trial lawyer, Lionel Hutz, tells him, "Mr. Simpson, this is the most blatant case of fraudulent advertising since my suit against the film The Never-Ending Story.'"

"Do you think I have a case?" Homer asks hopefully.

"Now, Homer," Hutz replies, "I don't use the term 'hero' very often. But you are the greatest hero in American history."

The false advertising here is the never-ending story of elite journalism's bias toward "heroes" who expand government (which is why FDR remains the greatest hero in American history to so many Washington scribes). According to the daft formulas governing elite journalism, Grunwald can't be biased because he's saying nice things about (nominal) Republicans. But "balance" between Republicans and Democrats was never the crux of the question when it came to media bias.

Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online,and the author of the book The Tyranny of Clichés. You can reach him via Twitter @JonahNRO.
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