Accuracy in Media

There are reporters who wear their bias on their sleeves, and Thomas Edsall of the Washington Post is one of them. He?s the journalist who has helped concoct the scandal over political figures appearing at events sponsored by a controversial conservative group, some of whose members have made racially insensitive comments. Now there?s never been any proof that these political figures share these controversial views, but Edsall has pursued the story with a vengeance anyway.

Now, he?s after Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. “Justice Thomas Urged to Cancel Appearance at Conservative Event,” was the headline over a recent Edsall story. It began by saying that a “liberal advocacy group” had urged Thomas not to attend an event sponsored by the Claremont Institute, which was deemed “controversial.” This non-story got page two attention in the Post. At the end, Claremont was linked to a White House arch enemy, Richard Scaife, who “has helped finance investigations into the Clinton Administration.”

Consider the placement of that article, on page two, with how the Post placed an item about a former top CIA official being hired by a private investigative firm that has done work for President Clinton?s attorneys. This got covered back on page 14 in the Al Kamen “In the Loop” column. The official, John Devine, is a 31-year-old CIA veteran who supervised thousands of agency employees involved in covert operations abroad. So consider the contrast: Scaife, a philanthropist, gets covered on page 2. His “sin” is that he finances investigative reporting designed to uncover Clinton scandals. A private eye firm that digs up dirt on Clinton?s political enemies hires a veteran CIA official and it gets covered back on page 15, buried in a story about other esoteric happenings in the executive branch. The same firm has hired several former FBI officials.

But that?s not all. One day before Edsall went after Justice Thomas, he broke another non-story—that another liberal advocacy group had criticized a nominee to the federal courts who is considered too conservative. The nominee was put forward by President Clinton under pressure from Senate Republicans. They agreed to move forward some of Clinton?s liberal nominees if he would agree to one or more of their picks. Not surprisingly, the liberal advocacy group, the Alliance for Justice, has no gripe with the liberals, only with the one conservative.

The real story is that the Senate Republicans are selling out. That?s the verdict of Tom Jipping of the Free Congress Foundation?s Judicial Selection Monitoring Project. He points to a long list of very liberal Clinton judicial nominees who are on the verge of being confirmed by the Republican Senate. Since you won?t read about them in Thomas Edsall?s stories, we thought we?d give you a few of their names.

They include Richard Paez, who supports affirmative action; Marsha Berzon, a feminist; and Timothy Dyk, who believes broadcasters have the right to broadcast indecent programming to children. Clinton is poised to overtake Reagan as the president with the most federal judicial appointments. But you won?t read about that in the Washington Post.

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