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.