Leaning Left

March 23rd, 2017 Posted by Susan's Musings 33 comments

One of my granddaughters recently completed a homeschool assignment requiring her to tell a fairy tale from the point of view of one of the minor characters. She did a wonderful job relating Jack and the Beanstalk from Jack’s mother’s perspective. I think she may have a future in journalism.

I regularly scan a variety of newspapers and magazines. As part of that process, I view many news articles and opinion pieces from sources that pride themselves as being mainstream. Overwhelmingly, they tell news events from a Democrat and liberal perspective. Even the Wall Street Journal, whose opinion page skews right, presents the news as seen through liberal eyes.

As an example, look at the Gorsuch nomination hearings slated to begin this week. (I’m writing this on Monday so much will have happened by the time this appears, but it still serves as an illustrative example.) Despite unassailable consensus that he is qualified for the position of Supreme Court Justice, Democrats are either expressing opposition or threatening consequences for any legislator who doesn’t oppose him.

Are the headlines full of stories of Democrats being the “Party of no”? Do newspaper reports speak of bullying by the Democrat base and how harmful it is to our civilization? Are accusations of hatred and bias against white Protestants being hurled? Of course not. That would be the paradigm if a liberal president – shall we say by the name of Obama- nominated a liberal justice – shall we say Sonia Sotomayor or Elana Kagan, and the Republicans did anything other than bow in obeisance.

Here is another example. I have enjoyed reading Peggy Noonan’s column for many years. However, I think she is out of touch with reality. She recently wrote an article urging President Trump to reach across the aisle, citing the working relationship between President Ronald Reagan and Speaker of the House, Tip O’Neill. Well, that sounds like a great idea. So does sitting back and watching Cheers while interspersing our conversation about Princess Diana with exclamations of amazement that people can actually talk on phones that aren’t connected to wires. Somehow, I don’t think any of those things will be happening again. If leading Democrats resembled Tip O’Neill, Daniel Moynihan or Scoop Jackson, Donald Trump wouldn’t be president. Yet even a conservative columnist like Ms. Noonan thinks that Republicans are the ones who need to bend. She sees events from the base point of the Left even if her head and heart place her on the right.

The popular radio show/podcast, This American Life, just featured a discussion with Mike Wilson, the editor of the Dallas Morning News.  Mr. Wilson, to his credit, wanted to understand the thoughts of those who berated his newspaper for having a liberal bias. He invited two men who wrote disapproving letters to discuss their criticisms. They articulated that they felt that the newspaper tried to be fair, but was blind to the staff’s prejudices.

Yet within the podcast episode (episode #612, the second to last story), lay an example of the very type of bias being critiqued. One of those upset with the Dallas Morning News, a local doctor, gave Mr. Wilson a specific example of a headline he felt was slanted along with an example of a liberal tilt he saw within the article that followed. Listening carefully, the editor responded to the first example saying, “I should speak to this. If we’re looking to find common ground in our conversation, we just found it…,” agreeing that the headline was inappropriate.  Mr. Wilson asked for further elaboration about what the reader found offensive in the example he showed within the article, and ended up saying, “That’s a good criticism.”

Yet how did the podcast end? With the interviewer asking Mr. Wilson if he felt bad because he hadn’t convinced his visitors that the newspaper wasn’t biased. Excuse me? How about asking if he had learned that he needed to be more aware of the bias that does exist. Even after working on the episode, the producer for This American Life wasn’t able to see that he was viewing the issue through a distorted lens.

Do the New York Times or the Washington Post or yes, even the Wall Street Journal, want to know why I turn more and more to right-leaning sites? It is because I am so tired of finding myself still seen as a minority voice constantly on the defensive. Despite the fact that November’s election results highlighted how much the news media is out of touch with vast sections of America, there has been no change. The best of them still seem unaware of how parochial they are. Maybe their assignment should be to write every article from many different perspectives and publish them all. Let the reader discern the truth from that mix. Like my granddaughter, they might actually begin to understand a different point of view.

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33 comments

Judy says:

Thank you for saying what I’ve been thinking.

Susan Lapin says:

Well then I’m in good company, Judy.

Marcus Bowman says:

You’re probably already aware of this resource, but I appreciate World Magazine and their sister news podcast, The World and Everything In It. Just a suggestion if you’re considering “right-leaning” sites.

Susan Lapin says:

We’ve been familiar with World Magazine for years, Marcus. Thanks.

Hilary says:

Amen!

Susan Lapin says:

Thanks, Hilary.

Judi Gad says:

Sorry, Susan, but you’re expecting too much from liberals/progressives/leftists (whatever you want to call them). That’s because, as far as they’re concerned, there really isn’t any other opinion that counts (or should be recognized) if it doesn’t agree with their own beliefs. It just isn’t valid. Period. Therefore, they’ll totally ignore anything/everything a conservative has to say. They’ve been brainwashed to believe that whoever doesn’t agree with them is of no consequence and can be ignored.

Susan Lapin says:

Judi, I do believe that universities have become more indoctrination places that places of education and expanding one’s view, so you are right in what you say. But I think human beings in general have trouble accepting different ideas – listening and respecting other opinions is a skill that needs to be practiced.

Mark Lampe says:

I couldn’t possibly agree more with your comments Susan! I had read 1984 partially several years ago and had to stop, it was so depressing. Unfortunately I believe that we are beginning to live it in these times.

Susan Lapin says:

I do think there is finally beginning to be pushback, Mark. The more light on the bias, the better.

James says:

Your granddaughter indeed may have a future in belles lettres (how you make me wish I had read her story!), but perhaps not in journalism. Sean Hannity has lamented as far back as 2008 that journalism in America is DEAD. Mr. Hannity is largely correct, for mainstream ‘journalism’ has become merely a partisan organ like Pravda or Izvestia in the old Soviet Union, to disseminate the latest Party narrative. The fault lies in universities, I fear, which have long become seething bastions of leftist diatribe with arrogant contempt or even hatred for the Judaeo-Christian values our Fathers embraced. Such diatribe has oft become elevated to ‘standard practice of journalism.’ I have written in this column before about my old college friend who idolized William F. Buckley. Together we used to attend church and rallies of Young Americans for Freedom. He used to lampoon the leftist-to-anarchist Students for Democratic Society as the ‘Sandbox Dictatorship Society.’

How fates send our lives into divergent courses! I received a draft number beneath the threshold of exemption, so I was called into service and got to rub shoulders with a wide cross-section of real Americans, and of humanity in several nations. He escaped with a high draft number and got to remain in his academic ivory tower. Then he entered graduate school in Journalism and my-oh-my how his politics changed when he emerged! His tragic metamorphosis was completed, I fear, by his ravenous hunger for validation and praise, as he took the path of least resistance toward public acceptance and approbation, straight down the road to hell. He has become a willing disciple of Saul Alinsky, whose Rules for Radicals is dedicated to “Lucifer, the first Radical.” He now firmly believes in the glorious ascension of ‘the proletariat,’ those willing victims of mega-government socialism and does his utmost in the press to convert and consign his target minorities to official ‘victim’ status, and also to smear and malign the Right and its causes he used to adore. Alas that he is not alone!

Susan Lapin says:

How sad to watch a friend succumb to bad ideas. I’m sure he was grateful for a draft exemption, but he ended up losing his soul.

Mark says:

This is exactly the kind of bias and double standard I also see on local television news broadcasts. They provide the occasional factoid that is supposed to represent a conservative or Republican view of some issue, but the way it’s done betrays that it was produced with a liberal Democrat mindset, so even the bone being thrown to the viewers to supposedly provide more than one side of the issue comes out looking negative or false or stupid. Sometimes it’s done in quite a subtle way, but still obvious if you know what to pay attention to. These are the tricks of propaganda. You slightly stress one thing, while deemphasizing or ignoring another. I used to think that they weren’t aware of what they do because they are so influenced by their own viewpoints, so it results from an unconscious bias, a mindset. After all, a fish doesn’t have to be aware that it is swimming in water; it knows nothing else. I suppose some of the media’s behavior might be caused by that, but I now believe that most of it is intentional. They have an agenda and they are doing everything they can to advance it. It seems there are very few old fashioned who, what, when, where, and why reporters anymore. Maybe there never were that many, but now the species must be close to extinct.

By the way, compliments to your granddaughter’s teacher for assigning such a useful and valuable project.

Susan Lapin says:

Mark, I think that there most ‘reporters’ today are the fish who don’t know they’re swimming in water. There simply isn’t the intellectual ability or honesty or the maturity to fight against everything they know. But the Alinksy level knew well what they were doing and there are many in that group who use the ‘useful idiots’ they have made.

Scott Turner says:

I read each and every one of your musings. Keep up the good work.

Susan Lapin says:

I appreciate your words, Scott.

phillip says:

If bias is the issue then why turn away from one type of bias to read another type. Why turn away from left leaning bias just to go to right leaning bias. I think most people who read editorials know that they are biased. What I don’t understand is why anybody would only want to hear opinions that agree with there own thought process. Personally I enjoy listening to people who challenge my viewpoints. How else does any one grow. Although I might not completely agree with everything you say Mrs. Lapin, the reason I read your musings is not only to enjoy great articulate arguments, but to be challenged by someone who thinks differently from me. Being that I am probably one of your younger readers (fairly recent college/medical grad), I enjoy reading the views of people who have way more life experience then me.

On another note, I think the reason Democrats are so against Gorsuch is not do to his qualifications rather it’s do to the fact that they felt Republicans stole their supreme court pick. Republicans did block President Obama for an entire year. Ted Cruz even argued to permanently block any supreme court nominee if Hillary won. In a way this is doing to republicans what they did too Democrats. Whether wrong or right I think the underlying sentiment is easy to understand.

Susan Lapin says:

Phillip, I read the right-leaning sites and the left-leaning ones so that I can try to figure out for myself what the truth is. I don’t know of a site that is truly fair and unbiased. For example, if I look at Fox and CNN they will often have entirely different stories in the headlines. I haven’t found a place that will have all the stories and treat them all objectively.
Congratulations on your recent graduation and good look with your residency or whatever your next step is. Our son is just finishing his residency and I know how hard it must be for you to find the time to read and keep up with life outside of your training. On the note of ‘people who have more life experience,’ that is a wise policy and it plays out in medicine as well. I know our son always felt that he had a great deal to learn from the nurses who had been in the trenches for many years and it bothered him to see doctors not taking advantage of all that accumulated wisdom.
You are right, of course, about the Democrat anger at the Republicans blocking Pres. Obama’s nominee, even though they supported that type of action when the shoe was on the other foot. We’ve reached a McCoy/Hatfield relationship which makes governing just about impossible and the good of the country is the sacrifice.

Tim Redmond says:

Susan – Agreed! I always enjoy the wit and wisdom you use to expose issues and provide such a solid response. Best to you and Daniel!

Susan Lapin says:

Thanks, Tim. Regards to Sandy.

Dianne Pickford says:

Thank you, Susan. You are so absolutely right about this. I am so tired of being angry that I don’t even watch the news anymore. I prefer Ancient Jewish Wisdom, cat videos and beautiful landscape videos. Also, EWTN has a program on apologetics by Dr. David Anders that trains listeners how to lovingly confront liberal brainwashing. Since I am a public school teacher I have to be very careful, but I believe wise and loving truth- telling is my only obligation—that and prayer. DP P.S. PERILS of PROFANITY was awesome!

Susan Lapin says:

I have news fatigue as well, Dianne, though I know that inaction lets the other side be more powerful. You must walk a minefield as a public school teacher. I hope you have like-minded co-teachers.

Charlie Newling says:

Ms. Lapin: Thank you for your insightful and accurate description of Leftists’ blindness to their own bias especially when it comes to reporting “the news”. If anything, your very even-handed characterization understated the problem. I’ve never objected to “news” outlets expressing their opinions as long as they honestly labelled their pieces as commentary or editorial. However, I totally reject commentary or editorial labelled as “news”–which seems to be most of what’s currently produced by mainstream media. The more I see of the one-sided leftist slant, the less I trust the outlet producing it.

Susan Lapin says:

In the This American Life podcast, the two men who wrote the letters complaining of bias expressed gratitude for seeing how the newsroom worked. It was a case of each side being exposed to a new perspective. But then the producer only saw it as an exercise in ‘correcting the wrong mindset of conservatives.’ If the “mainstream media” was overwhelmingly conservative, there would be bias as well. By not seeking diversity of thought in the staff, they have lost all journalistic credibility.

Johan says:

Thank you, you are absolutely right. However, even we, as conservatives need to look at ourselves and our own biases. I am becoming more and more aware of it in myself. I have to work at being objective and to look for the other’s point of view. This certainly is not easy since it often cuts to the core of who we are.

I read a lot of leftest and liberal things so that I can understand the mindset and the thought processes, but it is often very difficult to do. What upsets me most is the absolute confidence some have in what they believe and say and yet they have no understanding of the matter they are dealing with.

Susan Lapin says:

Funnily, Johan, in my previous reply before I saw your letter, I spoke of conservative bias as well. Each of us has a point of view. When we block ourselves from hearing anyone who thinks differently, we limit our own growth and understanding. Listening doesn’t mean becoming wishy-washy and losing core principles. It means constantly checking what is the core principle vs. the things that are changeable such as how to achieve and protect those principles.

Art says:

I dropped my WSJ subscription over a year ago… At first I couldn’t stand the silly stories that had no bearing on the economy… then the left leaning bias was too much… Looks like I got out just in time as I had always thought Peggy Noonan was one of the few objective writers out there…

Susan Lapin says:

What is frustrating to me, Art, is that when I look at a site like RealClearPolitics, I know I will see an assortment of articles. If it’s the New Republic I know it will be left – that is fine because that is who they are. But when it’s the Wall Street Journal, I think the assumption is that it will be right – and that often means middle of the road or even tilting left. Sometimes, it does mean right-leaning, but not as reliably as I can know in advance what the New York Times, for example, will say. I do think that Peggy Noonan is having trouble recognizing how the world has changed. That’s different than a bias or being non-objective. I’m not objective either though I try to see two sides. I do come from a certain perspective. I just think that she is truly unaware of how her ideas are not taking into account the extent to which the country has changed.

Paula says:

Thank you, Susan, for this article. It expresses my feelings exactly.

As far as “bias” is concerned, I looked up “parochial” on google, and found among the definitions “conservative” and “illiberal.” That’s not the full definition you find in Collins dictionary, so it appears that liberalism has also invaded our dictionaries. Very frustrating!!

Susan Lapin says:

That’s amazing, Paula. I think of parochial as meaning from a limited-view not open to outside thinking.

Brian Siegel says:

I think Susan’s comments were very insightful. I had vaguely been thinking about what she eloquently articulated. I believe what Susan described is a manifestation of how the liberal media insidiously impacts all of us.

Brian Siegel

Susan Lapin says:

Thank you, Brian and Shabbat shalom – turning off the computer here on the east coast.

Mark Lampe says:

I think we all lament the leftward sweep that has overcome all of us as we busily went about our lives, never suspecting that these are like termites that gnaw away at the underpinnings tirelessly day and night which compelled me to share this.

The following is a poem written by Judge Roy Moore from Alabama. Judge Moore was sued by the ACLU for displaying the Ten Commandments in his courtroom foyer. He has been stripped of his judgeship and now they are trying to strip his right to practice law in Alabama! The judge’s poem sums it up quite well.

America the beautiful,
or so you used to be.
Land of the Pilgrims’ pride;
I’m glad they’ll never see.
Babies piled in dumpsters,
Abortion on demand,
Oh, sweet land of liberty;
your house is on the sand.
Our children wander aimlessly
poisoned by cocaine
choosing to indulge their lusts,
when God has said abstain.
From sea to shining sea,
our Nation turns away
From the teaching of God’s love
and a need to always pray.
We’ve kept God in our temples,
how callous we have grown.
When earth is but His footstool,
and Heaven is His throne.
We’ve voted in a government
that’s rotting at the core,
Appointing Godless Judges;
who throw reason out the door,
Too soft to place a killer
in a well deserved tomb,
But brave enough to kill a baby
before he leaves the womb
You think that God’s not
angry, that our land’s a moral slum?
How much longer will He wait
before His judgment comes?
How are we to face our God,
from Whom we cannot hide?
What then is left for us to do,
but stem this evil tide?
If we who are His children,
will humbly turn and pray;
Seek His holy face
and mend our evil way:
Then God will hear from Heaven;
and forgive us of our sins,
He’ll heal our sickly land
and those who live within.
But, America the Beautiful,
If you don’t – then you will see,
A sad but Holy God
withdraw His hand from Thee.
~~Judge Roy Moore~~

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