Thomas Sowell

 Much of the mainstream media has likewise ignored or dismissed this book, without ever letting the readers or viewers know what the facts are for or against its serious charges. Twenty years ago, that would have been enough to bury it.

 But, again, it is not 20 years ago any more. The Internet, talk radio and Fox News made enough people aware of this book that the big three broadcast networks and the New York Times could no longer continue indefinitely to act as if it didn't exist. Not without losing more of their own credibility.

 This is not to say that bias in the mainstream media has been completely neutralized. Lots of people still depend on CBS, ABC and NBC for their news and still regard the New York Times as the paper with high journalistic standards that it once was.

 The same media gimmick of turning questions of fact into questions of emotion is still being used as a way of avoiding inconvenient arguments by focusing on the person making charges instead of on the substance of the charges themselves.

 Thus critics of the public schools are accused of "bashing" teachers. Criticisms of Dan Rather are explained away by the fact that conservatives have long been "hostile" to Dan Rather.

 It may well be true that many Jews have been bitter against Hitler. But does that prove that the Holocaust never happened?

 Emotions neither prove nor disprove facts. There was a time when any rational adult understood this. But years of dumbed-down education and emphasis on how people "feel" have left too many people unable to see through this media gimmick.

 But, then, that can be dismissed as "bashing" the schools.

 CORRECTION: In a recent column, I stated that 20 percent of the meat sold in Nairobi, Kenya, was bush meat poached from a nature preserve owned by Wildlife Works of Sausalito and that this group was the source of that estimate. That was incorrect. The estimate was not from Wildlife Works, and the 20 percent estimate applied to bush meat from various parks, preserves or other sources in Kenya combined.

Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of The Housing Boom and Bust.

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