Accuracy in Media

Evan Thomas of Newsweek was one of the few journalists who admitted that the mainstream media wanted John Kerry to win.  He said media bias was worth as many as 20 million votes for Kerry. But that doesn’t mean that Newsweek is free of liberal bias. We picked up a copy of the January 10 issue and were astounded by the examples of bias contained therein.

Page 5 featured a “Conventional Wisdom” segment that criticized the President for vacationing and then “taking three days” to address the Tsunami disaster. That’s a lie. The President addressed the problem on the day it happened, when the White House announced emergency aid for the victims. Newsweek may be referring to the President’s public statements on the disaster, but racing to get in front of TV cameras is a curious definition of compassion in a crisis. If this is the standard for judging compassion, then Newsweek should have criticized U.N. chief Kofi Annan for waiting even longer to publicly respond. Newsweek also attacked the U.S. Government for having “opened with a miserly pledge,” when the initial offer of $15 million was made when the full extent of the damage had not been known.

“Waves of Disease,” a page 10 story on the tsunami, referred to the problem of malaria being spread by mosquitoes and killing even more people. Reporter Claudia Kalb reported that health officials were “taking no chances” and shipping “the most potent antimalarial treatment” to the affected areas. That’s false. The most potent treatment, as Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times now admits, is DDT.  But that has been banned by the U.N. and the radical environmentalists.

A page 7 item by David Gates lamented the passing of Susan Sontag for infuriating “knee-jerk patriots in 2001 with her unassailably logical, implacably impolitic statement that whatever might be said of the 9/11 hijackers, ‘they were not cowards.'” This description of what Sontag said is a lie. Her full statement claimed not only that the hijackers were not cowards, but that the 9/11 attack was “undertaken as a consequence of specific American alliances and actions?” So she was blaming America for Islamic terrorists murdering Americans. And yet David Gates of Newsweek says this statement is logical and that only “knee-jerk patriots” should be offended. 

Srdja Trifkovic of Chronicles magazine pointed out that Sontag had a strange definition of courage. She was paying tribute to those willing to sacrifice their lives in order to kill others. But real courage, he points out, means doing the right thing in the face of fear. Sontag didn’t know right from wrong. That’s the real logic that escapes David Gates of Newsweek, and that’s what he should have said about Sontag’s statement.

Evan Thomas deserves credit for noting the liberal bias that infects the media. We only wish that he would excise it from his own magazine. It’s not too late to start.

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