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The Field Fills In

The Cost of Killing Palinzilla

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.

The monster springs suddenly, without warning, from the frigid depths of the Bering Sea. Striding imperiously onto dry land, it slowly turns its crested head toward an isolated fishing village.

The people scatter, screaming in terror. All, that is, but the intrepid stringer for an out-of-town newspaper, who phones his editor with a desperate message: “Call out the Army, the Navy, the Air Force! We must use every weapon at our disposal to destroy this minion of Hell before it kills us all!”

No, it’s not the latest send-up of Godzilla. It’s the liberal media reaction to the woman who has put Barack Obama’s coronation in jeopardy, Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin.

The liberal media have been boosting Obama like the king’s courtiers, their bias so obvious that even Saturday Night Live started poking fun at them months ago. More recently, on August 25, CNN’s Lou Dobbs took his fellow journalists to task: “My colleagues in the national media are absolutely biased, in the tank supporting the Obama candidacy while claiming the mantle of objectivity.”

In the week and a half since GOP presidential nominee John McCain selected Palin to be his running mate, Big Media has been serving Obama by training every weapon in its arsenal on the Alaska governor. “News” articles exploiting private family matters. Fruitless fishing expeditions in search of nonexistent scandals, guided by political enemies eager for revenge. Attacks on the candidate’s church and faith, aimed at creating a Jeremiah Wright-style controversy. Snide editorials questioning Palin’s character, in particular her commitment to motherhood.

In their zeal to cripple Palin, the media are betraying some of the very principles they claim to cherish. Aren’t muckraking reporters supposed to appreciate reformers willing to upset their own party’s applecart, as Palin did to the corrupt Alaska GOP? Aren’t idealistic scribes supposed to admire commitment to moral values and sacrificial strength of character, as Palin has shown by bringing her Down syndrome baby to term, and by forgiving and supporting her pregnant daughter? And whatever happened to feminism? Who’d have expected to see liberal journalists attacking a successful woman for having both a career and a family?

Apparently, for the liberal media, partisanship outweighs principles and character.

If you think the media are over the top in their hostility to Palin, you’re not alone. Even some members of the media agree.

On NBC’s Morning Joe, leftie co-host Mika Brzezinski critiqued a Wall Street Journal column, “Let’s Talk About Palin’s Family Challenges,” written by BBC reporter Katty Kay and ABC News reporter Claire Shipman. Brzezinski: “This is an argument Joe [co-host Joe Scarborough] and I have about fairness and whether or not there [is] some sort of underlying unfairness when it comes to Republicans. And I just, you know, I feel it here.”

Bay Buchanan lit into CNN’s Campbell Brown for pushing a fantastic story about Palin’s supposedly scandalous sale of a luxury jet purchased by her predecessor, former Alaska Gov. Frank Murkowski. Even CNN commentator Paul Begala agreed, there’s no scandal there. Nobody knows scandals better than Begala, a former aide to Bill Clinton.

The public may be getting fed up with the liberal media lashing out at Palin. The tabloid mag Us Weekly reportedly has paid the biggest direct price, losing thousands of subscribers after running a Palin-bashing cover with the headline “Babies, Lies & Scandal.”

The liberal media as a whole may be paying a price even greater than revenues: loss of credibility. A Rasmussen Reports poll finds that 51 percent of U.S. voters believe “reporters” – the objective news media – “are trying to hurt Sarah Palin with their news coverage.”

Rasmussen has even more bad news for the liberal media. According to the polling firm, 68 percent of voters “now believe most reporters try to help the candidate they want to win,” and 55 percent say “media bias is a bigger problem for the electoral process than large campaign donations.”

New York Times Public Editor Clark Hoyt is defending the media coverage of Palin: “Intense, independent scrutiny by The Times and the rest of the news media of Palin’s background, character and record was inevitable and right.” Hoyt is partly correct.

Yes, the media ought to be investigating Palin’s background, character, and record. But they ought to be investigating Barack Obama and Joe Biden, too.

Why are the liberal media losing credibility? Because they don’t hold liberal politicians accountable with anything like the zeal they apply to conservatives. If Hoyt could persuade his colleagues in the media to give fair and equal treatment to Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives, religious and secular, the profession might stanch the hemorrhage of its reputation and audience.

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