Accuracy in Media

A friend came up with an interesting explanation of the anti-Bush bias that drives so much of the national media. Journalists, he said, are angry at Bush because they can’t discredit him on the issues of moral integrity and personal character. So they take their bias against him and translate it into coverage of issues and policies. Except for gas prices, the economy isn’t a good target. So that leaves foreign policy. Journalists are attacking Bush on the issues of war and peace because that’s all they’ve got.

The press knows that Bush will never get caught with a White House intern. With Bush, the biggest news about his personal behavior involves falling off a bike or choking on a pretzel. The public, of course, is grateful to have a national leader who avoids personal scandals and has grounded his views in a strong religious perspective. But this is anathema to many in the press.

The recent survey on liberal domination of the media sheds some light on this phenomenon. The Pew Research Center and Project on Excellence in Journalism found that an amazingly high 88 percent of national journalists accept homosexuality as a legitimate lifestyle and 91 percent say it is not necessary to believe in God to be moral. Bush rubs these people the wrong way. He opposes homosexual marriage and affirms a belief in God, even talking openly about his religious faith and “good vs. evil”
in world events. 

A May 30 story highlights the media perspective on Bush. The story by Jim Puzzanghera, Washington bureau chief for the San Jose Mercury News, discussed the leadership styles and speeches of Bush and John Kerry.

Bush, he said, is a “tough-talking Texan” who prefers “short, blunt sentences.” Puzzanghera added, “It’s a reflection of his tendency to see the world in good-vs.-evil terms, a view bolstered by his deep Christian beliefs. He has little use for lengthy analysis?” Kerry, by contrast, is “the son of a diplomat” who “shows his preference for long, flowing sentences, a manifestation of his nuanced view of the world. Kerry is drawn to the subtle intricacies of problems?” Kerry shows a tendency for “drawn-out thinking” and has “a history of acting cautiously?”

Notice that there is no reference to Kerry’s religious beliefs, even though he claims to be a Catholic. Bush, on the other hand, has “deep” beliefs, suggesting something scary or sinister.

Bush, who says, “I don’t do nuance,” sat down on May 26 with Christian writers and editors. Those who think he prefers “short, blunt sentences” will be interested in reading his spontaneous remarks. He talked at length about his religious faith and his administration’s pro-life and pro-family approaches to social issues.

Asked about his blunt talk on the war against terrorism, he said, “?my job is to speak clearly and when you say something, mean it. And when you’re trying to lead the world in a war that I view as really between the forces of good and the forces of evil, you’ve got to speak clearly.”

Journalists may not share the Bush view, but Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen of Denmark, which has 500 troops in Iraq, apparently does. At the White house on May 28, he declared, “I’m here as a friend and ally. And today I have confirmed that the Danish troops will stay in Iraq. We will stay and finish our job.”

Rasmussen takes such a stand at considerable risk not only because of the Madrid bombing that forced Spanish troops out of Iraq but because he faces the kind of media bias there that we experience here. One of his reasons for supporting the U.S. in Iraq was that Denmark has a debt to the U.S. for all that America has done for his country.

Last November, a public opinion poll found that more than half of the Danes, 57 percent, believed that the war against Iraq was justified. Denmark was the only European Union country where the majority of the population supported the war.

A Norwegian who follows media trends says that anti-American bias is evident throughout Europe. He said, “Europe should stand shoulder to shoulder with America now?More people should be as I am, grateful to the U.S. for all that nation has done and for the things the U.S. does now. It pains me that the media bias against the U.S. causes anti-U.S. sentiments in Europe and elsewhere.”

It’s hard to believe that media bias could be worse abroad. Unfortunately, that means it can get even worse here. And it probably will as the election approaches.

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