A Seminar In Old Media Liberal Bias

May 19, 2005

For an object lesson on Old Media liberal bias, read the transcript of the May 17 press briefing by White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan.

The recurrent themes jumping from the condescending reporters’ questions were anti: President Bush, American military, U.S. Constitution, Republican Party, and pro: Democrat obstructionism, terrorist-sympathizing and Old Media arrogance, unaccountability and elitism. I can provide but a few examples in a short column, but they’re telling.

Question: “Scott, the Senate has managed to function — or not function, as the case may be — for more than 200 years without a ban on judicial filibusters. Is the president concerned about the historic nature of what’s being talked about up on the Hill?”

Excuse me, but there has been no ban on judicial filibusters for 200 years because there haven’t been any — other than a bipartisan one involving Abe Fortas. Apart from the press’s flagrant liberal bias, it is incomprehensible that the questioner could twist the Republican’s corrective response to a Democratic breach of historic precedent into a wrong by Republicans.

Question: “Where in the Constitution are judicial nominees guaranteed an up-or-down vote? And what about the impact of this whole so-called ‘nuclear option’ on this idea of equal representation by the Senate?”

Can you imagine how many additional useless pages the Constitution would contain if the Framers had been as vacuous as this questioner? Is this person suggesting that every place the Constitution specifies a certain power it must contain an explicit clause to restate the obvious for the IQ-challenged? The Constitution vests the judicial appointment power in the president, subject to the advice and consent of the Senate. Should James Madison have proposed an additional clause saying, “Oh, and we almost forgot, we expect the Senate to exercise its constitutional responsibility to vote on the president’s nominees because otherwise the president’s appointment power will be meaningless”? Truly, this is almost too silly for words.

As to the equal representation idea, I assume the questioner, as a carrier of Democratic talking points, is implying the Senate should have co-equal authority over judicial appointments. While I don’t believe the Framers intended for the Senate to reject qualified, honorable nominees for partisan reasons, the Senate does have the legal authority to reject nominees. But as far as I know, no one in the White House or on the Republican side of the Senate is arguing the Democrats aren’t entitled to vote against nominees. They’re simply saying these nominees are entitled to a vote by the full Senate. If that occurs, the minority position will have been represented and given all the weight the democratic processes and the Constitution affords it. But just listening to the goons in the press, you might get the idea that the president and the GOP Senate majority are supposed to allow the Democrats to prevail half the time — whether or not they have the votes. This is unadulterated, puerile nonsense.

Question: “With respect, who made you 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?”

Follow-up Question: “Are you asking them to write a story about how great the American military is?”

Once again, Old Media dinosaurs get it bass-ackward. It is their colleague, Newsweek, that committed the wrong here. In its anxiousness to tear down the president and the U.S. military, and to get a scoop, it ran to press with a false and exceedingly inflammatory story about our abuse of the Koran. Scott McClellan was merely calling them on it and saying, when asked, that it would really help if they would proactively ameliorate some of the damage they caused to innocent lives and to the image of America and its great — incredibly great, noble, wonderful, and in some circles, grossly underappreciated — military.

The questioner is acting as though the White House, by criticizing the reckless irresponsibility of Newsweek, is on the verge of siccing IRS auditors on it — or, worse yet, engaging a consulting firm to investigate its writers’ and editors’ personal finances and the like.

Instead of waxing so indignant over criticism of their fellow Old Media dinosaur, it would be better if these elitists would dismount their high horses and acknowledge that they too are fallible and that a healthy dose of scrutiny and criticism of their bias-driven, damaging reporting is in order.

And, since they asked, “Yes, it would be nice if just once, one of these brontosauruses would do a story on the greatness of America, the American military and democracy, including in the Middle East. They might emphasize the contrast between Saddam’s (and the terrorists’) brutality and the magnanimity of the current Iraqi regime. They could underscore the extraordinary steps the American military has taken to ensure the Koran is treated respectfully so as not to unduly agitate the extremists choosing to murder in its name. They also might, if they get gloriously ambitious, talk about the wonderful things going on in Afghanistan and Iraq because of President Bush’s vision.