What we have here is a failure to recognize irony

Theodore Dawes
This week Gannett New Jersey reporter Randy Bergmann took up again the question of  liberal bias in the media.  Like many of his colleagues, Bergmann is unconvinced, suggesting rumors of leftist bias are at the very least overblown.  Bergmann's article, "Bias may be in the eye of the beholder," includes the standard arguments, including a comment from Ben Dworkin, director of the Rebovich Institute for New Jersey Politics at Rider University. "Just because polls show people believe there is a bias doesn't mean there is. Facts don't support that assertion."

What does support the notion, I should point out, is Bergmann's article. Though it is at least theoretically a straight news story, and not an opinion piece, it is in fact an argument -- "a connected series of statements intended to establish a definite proposition," as Monty Python has taught us.  The proposition is that liberal bias in the media is nonsense -- nonsense promulgated by conservative media types who use it to promote their own marketing efforts. 

Bergmann's article includes no opinions, or facts, that run counter to his own obviously pre-determined conclusion. He fails to provide any measure of objectivity, fairness or balance.  Instead his article is simply a restatement, with the usual academic tarting-up, of the standard journalist's increasingly risible defense. 

Fortunately, Americans are too smart to fall for such nonsense.  A 2009 poll by the Sacred Heart University Polling Institute says 86.6 percent of Americans "strongly or somewhat agreed that the news media have their own political and public policy positions and attempt to influence public opinion."

As Abe Lincoln said, you can fool some of the people all of the time.  Now we can put a figure to that: 13.4 percent.

Theodore Dawes is a freelance writer in Mobile, Alabama.
This week Gannett New Jersey reporter Randy Bergmann took up again the question of  liberal bias in the media.  Like many of his colleagues, Bergmann is unconvinced, suggesting rumors of leftist bias are at the very least overblown.  Bergmann's article, "Bias may be in the eye of the beholder," includes the standard arguments, including a comment from Ben Dworkin, director of the Rebovich Institute for New Jersey Politics at Rider University. "Just because polls show people believe there is a bias doesn't mean there is. Facts don't support that assertion."

What does support the notion, I should point out, is Bergmann's article. Though it is at least theoretically a straight news story, and not an opinion piece, it is in fact an argument -- "a connected series of statements intended to establish a definite proposition," as Monty Python has taught us.  The proposition is that liberal bias in the media is nonsense -- nonsense promulgated by conservative media types who use it to promote their own marketing efforts. 

Bergmann's article includes no opinions, or facts, that run counter to his own obviously pre-determined conclusion. He fails to provide any measure of objectivity, fairness or balance.  Instead his article is simply a restatement, with the usual academic tarting-up, of the standard journalist's increasingly risible defense. 

Fortunately, Americans are too smart to fall for such nonsense.  A 2009 poll by the Sacred Heart University Polling Institute says 86.6 percent of Americans "strongly or somewhat agreed that the news media have their own political and public policy positions and attempt to influence public opinion."

As Abe Lincoln said, you can fool some of the people all of the time.  Now we can put a figure to that: 13.4 percent.

Theodore Dawes is a freelance writer in Mobile, Alabama.