Thomas Sowell

Even before Mitt Romney bowed out -- with class, by the way -- supporters of John McCain, and Republican party pooh-bahs in general, were chastising those conservatives in the media who had criticized Senator McCain.

Those who leveled their attacks at Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and other conservatives who had criticized McCain's record completely misconceived the role of the media.

Journalists do not exist to get one party's candidates elected or otherwise serve one party's political interests. The public are the journalists' clientele.

It is the public that reads newspapers and magazines, that listens to radio or watches television. They are depending on journalists to tell them the truth as they see it and to offer their honest opinion as to what it means. Journalists cannot serve two masters. To the extent that they take on the task of suppressing information or biting their tongue for the sake of some political agenda, they are betraying the trust of the public and corrupting their own profession.

It is bad enough that politicians betray their followers as a matter of expediency. It is real chutzpah when they demand that journalists betray the public trust as a matter of principle, for the benefit of politicians.

Some journalists -- too many, in fact -- do jump on the bandwagon of particular candidates or particular political agendas, and end up filtering and spinning the news as a result.

Those who are on the "global warming" bandwagon, for example, endlessly repeat that the polar ice cap in the arctic is shrinking -- while filtering out the fact that the polar ice cap in the antarctic is growing.

Some people in the media who went ballistic because President Bush fired a dozen U.S. attorneys had nothing to say when President Bill Clinton fired every U.S. attorney in the country.

Whether one is for or against the "global warming" crusade or for or against Democrats or Republicans in the White House, the truth is the truth -- and filtering out facts is betraying the public that has turned to the media for information.

It is legitimate to argue for or against those who believe that global warming justifies one policy or another. That is an honest expression of opinion. But filtering the facts is not.

Some in the media seem to think that a noble cause justifies withholding facts on the other side.

There has probably never been a more noble cause than wanting to spare the world the agonies and devastation of a world war with modern weapons. That is what The Times of London tried to do back in the 1930s.

Thomas Sowell

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

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