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
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 MRCs 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
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',
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
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
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.
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:
to hear of the passing of Sayyed Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah
of Hezbollahs giants I respect a
lot, Nasr sympathetically tweeted.
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
June 1, 2010 White House press briefing, she called the previous day's flotilla
incident a deliberate massacre, an international crime, the Media Research
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
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
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
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.
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
"Published originally at EtherZone.com :
republication allowed with this notice and hyperlink intact."
Doug Schmitz can be reached at: email@example.com
Published in the November 11, 2012 issue of Ether Zone.
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