The day after the story broke about Newsweek publishing an inflammatory – and bogus – story accusing our military of desecrating the Koran, reporters at the daily White House press briefing reacted in rage. But their rage was not against Newsweek, for in effect inciting riots that killed at least 16 or 17 and injured scores more, but instead at the White House for daring to criticize Newsweek.
Asked one reporter: “With respect, who made you the editor of Newsweek? Do you think it’s appropriate for you, at that podium, speaking with the authority of the president of the United States, to tell an American magazine what they should print?”
That goes beyond arrogance, and it shows just how incredibly biased the big media are. They prefer to take the side of irresponsible fellow journalists rather than allow them to be taken to task for a false story that killed people.
Across the nation, from the East to the West Coast, the mainstream media sought to excuse Newsweek’s inexcusable violation sound journalistic practice and common ordinary decency. They reacted in fury, and turned their fire on the administration and those Americans who dared to remind them that freedom of the press is but half of the equation, the other being the responsibility that goes with freedom.
Viewing this fury, I can’t help but imagine what the reaction would have been if Rush Limbaugh, G. Gordon Liddy, Michael Reagan or Oliver North had reported a bogus story that caused the deaths of not 16 people, but just one victim.
I already know the answer. When the tragic bombing of the Murrah Federal building in Oklahoma City took place, Bryant Gumbel took to the air to blame it on Rush Limbaugh, G. Gordon Liddy, Oliver North (who had been on talk radio for just one week at the time), and me. It was our rhetoric, the former anchor said, that caused the bombers to do their deadly deed.
Had the four of us – or any other conservative talk show hosts – did what Newsweek did, and if people died as a result, there would be a media firestorm from coast to coast. Instead of attacking Scott McClellan, the White House press secretary, they’d be urging him to crucify us. There would be a drumbeat of criticism that would go on day after day, until we’d be driven from talk radio and our names forever blackened.
I know this because I know the mindset of the ultra-left-wing mainstream media that was so evident in their reaction to the Newsweek scandal.
The other night I had Bernard Goldberg, the author of Bias, the book that laid bare the blatant bias of today’s big media. We talked about 60 Minutes’ Mike Wallace’s response to a question asked him on a PBS special 20 years ago about how he would react when covering a war involving the U.S. if tipped off by the enemy that it was planning an ambush on American soldiers. Would he report the pending ambush to his fellow Americans, or keep the information to himself and go on to cover what most probably would result in a massacre of American soldiers?
In other words, would he react as an American, or as a reporter?
His answer – he would cover it as a reporter; his allegiance was to journalism not to his country. This is what we are seeing today. Elite journalists think of themselves not as Americans, but as citizens of the world.
This mindset is playing out today among the members of the mainstream media, just as it played out during the Vietnam War. America is always seen as the offender, and the enemy as a victim of alleged U.S. aggression. Saddam Hussein is not the enemy – George Bush is their sworn foe.
Atrocities are perpetrated by Americans at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib, not in the torture chambers and rape rooms of Saddam’s Iraq. Vicious killers slaughtering their own countrymen by the hundreds are not the foe – the U.S. troops attempting to help the Iraqi people enjoy the fruits of their newfound freedom are occupiers persecuting the Iraqis.
When it comes to the liberal media pinning the blame on someone for some atrocity, it depends entirely on whose ox is being gored.
©2005 Mike Reagan. If you’re not a paying subscriber to our service, you must contact us to print or web post this column. Mike’s column is distributed exclusively by: Cagle Cartoons, Inc. Cari Dawson Bartley Cari@cagle.com, (800) 696-7561