ON THE RECORD VS. OFF THE CLOCK
THE LEFT ALWAYS BLURS THE LINE BETWEEN NEWS & OPINION

By: Doug Schmitz

The Watergate scandal of the early '70s made investigative reporting glamorous and journalism schools were inundated with candidates. Advocacy journalism, defined as "journalism in which the writer or the publication expresses a subjective view or promotes a certain cause," gained ascendancy.

“This is opinion disguised as news. One does not just report, one interprets, and is selective in what is reported and what is not in an effort to persuade – fine as long as it is clear that what is being presented is subjective (Mother Jones magazine on the Left and the National Review on the Right, as examples) but unacceptable when it masquerades as hard news. The factually untrue always is unacceptable.”
 

Dennis Campbell, Renew America, Oct. 7, 2003 

The other day, when I was reading through one of my old columns, I noticed that column had been posted on several Far Left websites, having been used for vitriolic, left-wing critique. (I did an Internet search just to see how many leftists I had ticked off when I wrote it back in 2003.) 

(Over the last 11 years, I've actually heard from some of the leftists I've written about in my columns: A representative from the Tide Foundation, run by John Kerry's wife, Teresa Heinz, who called me at my home; and William Rivers Pitt, editor of the Far Left website, Truthout.org, who threw a hissy fit in an e-mail – not because I said he was an anti-American, anti-Semitic leftist based on his rhetoric, but because I'd inadvertently said he once taught at a private high school instead of a public high school.) 

In one so-called “analysis” of one of my columns, I was called several derogatory names and told that since I had a master's degree in journalism (cited toward the end in my bio), I shouldn't be giving my opinions – especially since they were conservative viewpoints. I actually had someone I didn't even know telling me I didn't have the right to my opinion, let alone free speech and free press, simply because I hold a master's degree in journalism. 

But they weren't attacking me because I was a journalist; they were castigating me for being a journalist – and an opinion writer – who didn't happen to share their views (even though I was off the clock as a reporter).  That somehow disqualified me from sharing my conservative views because I hold a graduate degree in journalism; that's what stuck in their craw.  The Left innately believes that those of us on the Right who are journalists can't have opinions that differ from theirs – even when we're off the clock, journalistically – and even though we don't bring that into the workplace. 

Case in point: In March 2003 column, called “Physician Howard Dean, heal thy son,” I simply asked why the then-Democrat presidential candidate was still campaigning when his son just got arrested, along with a few of his friends for breaking and entering a swanky country club to steal beer.  I couldn't understand why he wasn't at home with his son, addressing his apparent cry for help – and attention – he so desperately needed and obviously wanted from his physician father. 

As a result of that column, the virtual Internet backlash from just that was immediate – and nasty. (It was the first time I had ever received any such vicious feedback from readers.)  To my utter astonishment, I received nearly 100 hate e-mails from Dean supporters, calling me every vile name they could think of (and since leftist already have to work overtime to even come up with anything that sounds remotely intelligible, that was a major feat in itself). 

Ironically, there are hundreds of so-called “reporters” and “journalists” – especially in such “news” outlets as CNN and the N.Y. Times who constantly and consistently blur the line between news and opinion.  They not only think they have the right to taint their news reporting with their partisan, Democrat talking points, they actually believe everyone of their viewers thinks the way they do. 

“According to numerous studies and surveys, journalists are consistently more liberal than the rest of Americans,” said an April 17, 2010 report by the Media Research Center's (MRC) Sarah Knoploh.  “They are less religious, more in favor of abortion, and more likely to vote Democrat.  The MRC’s “Media Bias 101: What Journalists Really Think,” cited a survey that found 89 percent of Americans feel journalists’ views impact their coverage.  A 2009 survey was also cited that found 84 percent of Americans feel that the media is “somewhat” or “very” biased in reporting.  It is no wonder that some conservatives are turning to alternative forms of news.” 

(At least when you watch the Fox News Channel, you know upfront exactly who are the reporters and anchors, and who are the commentators (both conservative and liberal).  It's clear.  But with CNN (and especially MSNBC now), their so-called “news” reporting and opinion are virtually indistinguishable.  It's like reading the front page of the Times (if you can stomach it); it reads like their opinion page. 

But on Fox News, the person is clearly identified as either a reporter/anchor or a commentator.  On the then-“Hannity & Colmes,” now “Hannity,” Alan Colmes was paid to give his liberal views and Sean Hannity's paid to give the conservative perspective.  Shepard Smith is paid to report the news straight.  One such anchor who has always displayed such straight news reporting is Chris Wallace, anchor of Fox News Sunday.  A registered Democrat, Wallace is a skillful anchor who has mastered the art of straightforward news reporting without peppering it with opinion – something his late father, former “60 Minutes” anchor Mike Wallace, was never able to do.   While the elder Wallace was a very skilled communicator, he was completely incapable of separating his reporting from his liberal views. 

Other examples are Barbara Walters, who in a 2008 interview with the Dali Lama, asked him if she could hug and kiss him, while arguing with Pastor Joel Osteen earlier in the broadcast.  And NBC's Brian Williams, who claims to be object as well, drooled over Barack Obama in a recent “interview.” 

As a journalist and a conservative columnist, I know when to report straight news – and I know when to “punch out” when I choose to opine.  It's just that those of us on the Right are better equipped at knowing the difference.  As a matter of media ethics, journalists should report the news straight, even when they don't agree with what they're reporting, resisting the urge to slant their stories.  Those of us on the Right have a moral compass and know when things are wrong.  Because most of us believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, we have a specific plumb line drawn between fact and fiction.  That's why all of the plagiarism that's occurred at newspapers and magazines over the last several decades are committed by leftist reporters: Janet Cooke, Mike Barnicle, Stephen Glass, Jason Blair, Rick Braggs, etc. 

Those on the Left, especially the Far Left, are typically atheistic and have a practically non-existent moral code, which makes them incapable of separating right from wrong.   This surfaces in how they support and champion the slaughter of the unborn (abortion), the oxymoron of civil unions (gay “marriage”) and the justified killing of the guilty (death penalty), and defending our country against our enemies, foreign and domestic (supporting America), etc. 

For example, in Marvin Kalb's 306-page screed, One Scandalous Story: Clinton, Lewinsky, & 13 Days that Tarnished American Journalism, the inside cover flap inveighed: 

In 1963, Marvin Kalb observed the Secret Service escorting an attractive woman into a hotel for what was most likely a rendezvous with President Kennedy. Kalb, then a news correspondent for CBS, didn't consider the incident newsworthy. Thirty-five years later, Kalb watched in dismay as the press dove headfirst into the scandal of President Clinton's affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky, disclosing every prurient detail. How and why had the journalistic landscape shifted so dramatically?” the self-proclaimed objective journalist Kalb wondered. 

In his book, Kalb, a former CBS correspondent, relies heavily on fellow left-wing reporters, progressive think tanks like the Brookings Institution, and former Clinton staffers like then-Clinton Press Secretary Mike McCurry, for his main sources, while dismissing Ann Coulter's “right-wing legal credentials” when she wrote High Crimes and Misdemeanors: The Case Against Bill Clinton, which chronicles Clinton's felonies he committed while in office.  While Coulter's book provides a strong and air-tight case for prosecuting Clinton, Kalb's book makes excuses for Clinton's many crimes, rebuking  journalists for reporting Clinton's numerous felonies to the American public. 

The reason Kalb didn't consider John Kennedy's affair newsworthy was because Kennedy was a Democrat.  Kalb's screed is literally nothing more than an exhaustively-written apology to Bill Clinton for the press exposing him as a liar and an adulterer during the Monica Lewinsky scandal.  Essentially, Kalb's tome served as a rebuke as well as a stern warning to his fellow “journalists” not to delve into the private affairs and scandals of Democrat administrations, while giving the green light to demonize Republicans and obsess over their sexual adulteries. 

In Kalb's book, Lewinsky, Linda Tripp and Ken Starr are all painted as the villains, while Bill Clinton is falsely portrayed as the innocent victim of a vengeful “right-wing” witch hunt.  In fact, fellow media leftist Judy Woodruff, senior correspondent of the PBS NewsHour and former CNN anchor, in reviewing Kalb's book, charged that journalists who reported on the Clinton sex scandal had “wandered off familiar territory and on to explosively unpredictable ground, thereby “redefining themselves” as reporters.  She concluded in her gushing review that Kalb's book “removes all doubt” of that.  Of course, those who did their jobs by reporting on Clinton did so at the risk to their reputations inside the leftists media bubble.  So, again, why does Kalb have a problem with reporters writing about the sexual adultery of sleazy, adulterous Democrats?  Because media leftist like Kalb are themselves Democrats!  Plain and simple. 

But when it comes to Republican administrations, somehow it was all right for Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein to routinely lie about and falsify sources to achieve their number goal: bringing down Richard Nixon.  While this scandal didn't involve sexual misconduct at the highest levels, it did have leftist reporters salivating as if it did.  Not only did the Washington Post receive a Pulitzer Prize, but Woodward and Bernstein still get endless praise for their actual witch hunt of a Republican president that is held up to this day as the gold standard in journalism schools – regardless of how nefariously leftist ideological these seemingly hallowed institutions have actually become. 

In Kalb's world, Watergate was the hallmark of investigative journalism, despite its journalistic malpractice that was rife with vehemently anti-Republican overtones, while the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal was too taboo for them since it put a Democrat president in a highly visible and unfavorable light.  To this day, Kalb refuses to acknowledge how and why the Kennedy and Clinton affairs were newsworthy – and why they should have been reported.  That said, he also still refuses to acknowledge his own liberal biases.   So, there's really only one conclusion that could possibly be drawn from Kalb's weak and blatantly partisan analysis – and why he thought these newsworthy stories about his fellow Democrats shouldn't have seen the light of day: His blindness to his own liberalism. 

So it's fair to ask the obvious question: Would Kalb have felt the same way had the sex scandal (with all its explicit details) involved a Republican president?  Most likely, no.  He would have thought it was newsworthy – especially because it was a Republican president.  Therefore, he wouldn't have felt the need to write a 306-page book chastising the press for telling the truth about a Republican sex scandal. Besides, where was Kalb during the eight years the mainstream media were misleading the American public about President George W. Bush involving the War in Iraq, Enron, Halliburton and Katrina? 

(For that matter, where were Woodward and Bernstein during Bill Clinton's endless scandals?  By their very silence, they had shown their leftist biases as much as they did when they brought down Nixon through their dubious use of questionably unnamed and anonymous sources, with Deep Throat being the most famous left-wing journalistic hoax of them all.) 

In that regard, Kalb certainly didn't think the mainstream media were wrong for lying about Bush then, or else he would have written a book chastising them as well, right?   He obviously thought they were factual, while they spent eight years lying about Bush.  Then again, Kalb regards fellow partisan media leftist Dan Rather as a reputable journalist even as he tried to bring down Bush shortly before the 2004 election with fake memos Rather already knew were bogus – even before he illegally aired them. 

By all intents and purposes, that would have most definitely been regarded as Rather giving his liberal opinion instead of doing hard news reporting, which would have exposed the falsehoods of the manufactured memos.  If anything, Rather should have exposed John Kerry's treason against the U.S. when he falsely accused his fellow veterans of rape and pillaging.  (He went to smear the Swift Boat Vets, while the rest of the leftist press looked the other way.)  After all, that was the real story of the 2004 re-election.  But instead Rather chose to directly involve himself in the story all because he was too anxious to bring down Bush to fulfill a personal vendetta he's held against Bush for decades. 

But Kalb and rather aren't the only ones who spike their stories with leftist opinion.   As much as media leftists deny it, leftist opinion runs rampant and unchecked most of the time in so-called “news” stories in the news industry.  Take, for example, the famous JournoList (please!). 

Jonathan Strong of The Daily Caller broke the story about how leftist “journalists” were conspiring on the 400-member JournoList to suppress negative stories during the 2008 election about Obama's Marxist connection with his pastor of 20 years, Rev. Jeremiah Wright. 

In a July 20, 2012 expose', Strong wrote: 

In one instance, Spencer Ackerman of the Washington Independent urged his colleagues to deflect attention from Obama's relationship with Wright by changing the subject. Pick one of Obama's conservative critics, Ackerman wrote, “Fred Barnes, Karl Rove, who cares -- and call them racists.”

This is why media leftists are really no different than Kalb and Rather in voicing their opposition to conservative opinion – and they are obsessed with looking for it under every rock.  After all, they don't think they're the ones who are biased, only those of us who voice conservative views off the clock.

While Kalb spends the entirety of his book scolding reporters for exposing the one of the biggest – and newsworthiest – scandals of all time, he also manages to take a swipe at the Fox News Channel (and cited it only as “Fox,” of course).   Fox News is the only broadcast network who's doing it right. And that's what media leftist like Kalb and Rather hate.  They hate the fact that Fox News has a clear mission and spelled it out from the very beginning.  They told the American public since day one that they are fair and balanced, not only in news reporting, but also in opinion.

Despite what the Left's media minions are saying about Fox News, it's the only broadcast news network that reports both sides of the story and gives us conservatives a voice alongside liberals.  CNN and MSNBC don't do that.  None of the other three networks do that.  Finally, our conservative voice is being heard and is longer being ignored in the leftist media – and media leftists simply can't handle it.Bottom line: the Left believes only they own free speech, that only they have a right to an opinion.  But because of arrogance and their own self-importance, they refuse to admit to their liberal biases.  With the New Media, the balance of media power and influence has dramatically shifted away from the same old, tired leftist spin from the leftist media for over 80 years.So when reporters and anchors spike, slant – and especially patently ignore – important news stories, they're giving their opinion.   And on those rare occasions, it can even cost them their jobs. 

On Oct. 1, 2010, then-CNN anchor Rick Sanchez was rightfully fired for spouting anti-Semitic views during a rant involving Jon Stewart, who is Jewish. 

On July 7, 2010, then-CNN Senior Editor of Mideast Affairs Octavia Nasr was forced to resign after tweeting about weeping over the the death of terrorist Hezbollah Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah, who praised the murder of eight Israeli students at Mercaz Ha-Rav Yeshiva in Jerusalem on March 6, 2008: 

“Sad to hear of the passing of Sayyed Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah… One of Hezbollah’s  giants I respect a lot,” Nasr sympathetically tweeted. 

On June 7, 2010, long-time Hearst Newspaper White House correspondent Helen Thomas was fired for her serial anti-Semitic comments.  On RabbiLive.com, she said Israelis should “go home” to Poland, Germany and the United States. 

During a June 1, 2010 White House press briefing, she called the previous day's flotilla incident a “deliberate massacre, an international crime,” the Media Research Center reported.   

“If any other nation in the world had done it, we would have been up in arms,” she said.  “What is the sacrosanct, iron-clad relationship where a country that deliberately kills people and boycotts -- and we aid and abet the boycott?” 

When media leftists tried to bring down President Bush by hyping the anti-war movements, Cindy Sheehan, WMDs, and even Bush's firings of eight attorneys general, while ignoring the other side of these stories, they were giving their opinion.  When Dan Rather tried to swing the 2004 re-election for John Kerry by bringing down Bush with memos he knew were manufactured, while refusing to interview the people who vouched that he didn't receive preferential treatment in the Texas Air National Guard – but in fact, even offered to go to Vietnam, Rather was giving his opinion.  (And these are just a few examples of how the leftist media tried to bring down Bush over those eight-years.)  When media leftists spun stories about the Occupy Wall Streets Marxists, while ignoring the rapes, violence and other felonies that occurred, they were giving their opinion.  When they downplayed and even ignored Barack Obama's Marxist ties with Bill Ayers and Jeremiah Wright, they were giving their opinion.   

Now, when the collective leftist media completely are silent about the Benghazi attacks in Libya that happened while Obama was watching them unfold in real time, while refusing to send in security forces that could have saved four Americans who died mercilessly while Obama and his staff watched because he didn't want it to affect his re-election bid, the leftist media were giving their leftist opinion. 

But, despite all of that, today, the Left no longer controls the message, the news items, the airwaves, the newsprint, the Internet or the market share – or the way they have spun and spiked stories against their political and ideological enemies.   The New Media are doing the job they refuse to do.  (To date, Fox News has been the only broadcast network reporting on what actually happened in Benghazi and Obama's complete duplicity, dereliction of duty and treason in it.) 

While their stories and broadcasts are still peppered with liberal, leftist and progressive commentary, the Left's media cabal is no longer the perennial gatekeepers of what used to pass for news – and they no longer have the final say because the New Media are holding their feet to the fire. 

At last, the curtain has been pulled back.  The jig is up.  They've been exposed and are now naked in their blatant leftist media biases.  Their vast leftist media bubble has been popped and there's nowhere for them to run or hide anymore because they've been found out – and called out – for their undeniably leftist biases. 

At last, they're finally being held accountable once and for all for their leftist media corruption, which, before the New Media of talk radio, Matt Drudge and Fox News, they've gotten away with for decades.  They have lost not only market share and stakeholders, but also viewership and readership in droves who no longer are being fooled by the Left's media ideologues. 

At last, media leftists no longer have a captive audience that hangs on their every word – or that they can hold hostage.  They no longer can spin or suppress breaking news stories to favor their fellow Democrats and vilify Republicans.  They now have citizen journalists in pajamas exposing their leftist media idols like Dan Rather for the journalistic frauds they've always been. 

Moreover, they no longer get to decide what's news – and what isn't – and have it go unchecked and unfiltered.  For the first time in U.S. press history, the Left's monopoly on news – and how they try to dress it up to look like news to fit a partisan narrative – has ended.  

And that's what ticks them off the most.



"Published originally at EtherZone.com : republication allowed with this notice and hyperlink intact."


Doug Schmitz, a conservative columnist and media analyst, holds a master's degree in journalism.  He is a regular columnist for Michnews.com; he's also been a guest columnist for Accuracy in Media (www.aim.org).   He is a regular columnist to Ether Zone.

Doug Schmitz can be reached at: ds_columns@yahoo.com

Published
in the November 11, 2012 issue of  Ether Zone.
Copyright 1997 - 20
12 Ether Zone.

We invite your comments on this article in our forum!