Thomas Sowell

Not only have critics repeatedly exposed their tendentious use of their "news" stories, even the Times' own "public editor" or ombudsman has now said that they should not have run the McCain insinuation story.

The declining credibility of the New York Times and of other tendentious media is, in one sense, a healthy thing. There has been too much public gullibility that has been cynically exploited by both the media and politicians.

In another sense, however, it is a sad day for the country as a whole that there are shrinking sources of reliable news and informed and honest commentary.

Hysteria has become the norm for too many once-serious publications, whether it has been hysteria for the purpose of hyping circulation or to advance some political agenda.

The rise of alternative media -- notably talk radio -- has limited how much the mainstream media can get away with.

Dan Rather's fake memo about President Bush's National Guard service might have gone unchallenged, and affected an election, back in the old days when the media consisted largely of like-minded colleagues who would not embarrass one of their own.

Bloggers and talk radio shot that one down. But it is doubtful if we have seen the last of the journalistic hoaxes. Not in an election year.

Thomas Sowell

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

Creators Syndicate