It's the liberalism documented in the 90 percent of the Washington press corps telling pollsters they supported kook-left George McGovern for president in 1972.
It's the liberalism evident in the April 1980 preference poll of 500 of the nation's top editors, wherein just 2 percent said they wanted Ronald Reagan to be their next president, when Reagan was rolling undefeated through the Republican primaries.
It's the liberalism so smack-you-in-the-face obvious in the Pulitzer Prizes the press showers upon its ideologically favored own.
The Times' executive editor, Bill Keller, like those in the mainline press for whom he and his newspaper set the ideological agenda, denies any agenda exists. As he told Britain's Guardian in November:
"We are agnostic as to where a story may lead; we do not go into a story with an agenda or a pre-conceived notion. We do not manipulate or hide facts to advance an agenda. We strive to preserve our independence from political and economic interests, including our own advertisers. We do not work in the service of a party, or an industry, or even a country. When there are competing views of a situation, we aim to reflect them as clearly and fairly as we can."
Yet he and the mainline press do indeed work in the service of the liberalism that has driven many away from the mainline media. And such liberalism may explain why the McCain story got page-1, above-the-fold play but only a tiny headline ('McCain Disputes Article') showing above the page-1 fold directing readers to the page-20 next-day story on McCain's response.
We are in for one of the great conservative-liberal presidential battles. The very leftist Times has fired an early salvo, a backfire, really, to the conservative side's benefit.
Conservatives and Republicans know The Times and the mainline press will continue toiling on the Democratic side, whether for Sen. Obama or Sen. Clinton. The joint effort will be made to draw John McCain as leading the nation to Bush 3: Eli Pariser, executive director of Obama-supporting MoveOn.org, terms McCain "more Bush than Bush." Sen. Clinton, recalling the 2004 devastating reaction to Dan Rather's Times-like effort to sink George Bush, says, "I won't let anyone swiftboat this country's future."
POWs who, with John McCain, prevailed against the worst the North Vietnamese ropesters could dish out, were integral to the post-Rather "swiftboat" enterprise that raised questions about the character of John Kerry and so helped sink him instead. As its liberalism may have helped drive down newspaper circulation, so the liberalism of The Times- with its sliming of John McCain- may have galvanized conservatives and Republicans to prevail against the Democrats in the fall.
Ross Mackenzie lives with his wife and Labrador retriever in the woods west of Richmond, Virginia. They have two grown sons, both Naval officers.
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