Jonah Goldberg

Maybe the fly infestation at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue has something to do with the fact that the White House is a central hub of bovine manure distribution?

I can't remember: Was it Shirley Temple or Keyser Soze who said the greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was to convince the world he didn't exist? It doesn't matter. But I do think of that line whenever I hear liberals claim the press isn't biased.

For instance, Dan Rather famously insisted media bias was a "myth," even after he paid blind Bulgarian orthodontists to officially verify those blockbuster National Guard memos written in fingerpaint. OK, that's not exactly how it went down. But as Dan might say, my version is fake but accurate.

Of course, the deniers never convinced anyone. Poll after poll reveals that four out of five dentists agree the press tilts to the left, if by "four out of five dentists" you mean the majority of Americans, and by "tilts" you mean leans leftward like a one-legged ensign on the U.S.S. Enterprise after the port nacelle has been blown to bits by Klingons.

But denial still has its advantages. It allows concubines to say they're merely highly compensated conversationalists. For the press, it allows them to act on their own prejudices and call it "news judgment." Alas, were it not for the fact that Oprah already has a magazine called "O," this same news judgment would have resulted in Newsweek changing its name to better reflect its status as the official tribute album of the Obama years (long may He reign). Subscribe now and get your free plate from the Franklin Mint.

Denial doesn't need much to sustain itself. A little convenient corroboration goes a long way. A dieter drops a few pounds and then feels justified in eating a dumpster load of Cheetos. The press has a nice moment, suddenly all is forgiven and forgotten and they go back on their merry way.

If the honeymoon ended Tuesday, the vows were renewed Wednesday when ABC News staged an infomerical on socialized medicine from the White House. ABC was tough, though. It opted not to hand out commemorative plates.

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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