Sunday, September 9, 2007

What Liberal Media?

Anyone who thinks we have a liberal media in the US of A should be sure to check out "Going After Gore," an article by Evgenia Peretz in the October issue of Vanity Fair.

Actually, it is an excellent piece of journalism and should be read by anyone, of whatever political stripe, who cares about public affairs.

The article shows how the press, led by the supposedly liberal New York Times and Washington Post, repeatedly used misleading, inaccurate, and negatively slanted reporting in its coverage of Gore for the 2000 presidential election. Meanwhile, Gore's opponent, George W. Bush, was routinely portrayed as a likable, engaging fellow--a little shallow maybe, but hey, we'd sure like to have a beer with him.

At the heart of the story is the portrayal of two key reporters--Katharine Seelye of the The New York Times and Ceci Connolly from the Washington Post. The two reporters were fiercely competitive and seemed in a constant battle to one-up each other in the bashing of the Gore campaign.

After reading the article, I wonder if the problem with the American press is not so much one of partisanship (one way or the other) but of maturity. The article shows major reporters to be alarmingly infantile, focusing on the juvenile and inconsequential while largely ignoring or glossing over substantive issues.

And maybe that's what we Americans want--and deserve. If you will indulge a little dime-store psychology, it seems that we are becoming an increasingly infantile society. Think for a moment: What do you do when you are trying to control an infant? I can think of two things: You try to get his attention visually and you try to give him a gadget of some sort to keep him occupied.

Is it possible that as we become more visually stimulated and gadget-oriented--look around in a public place some time and see how many people are fidgeting with a gadget of some sort--we are becoming more and more infantile? And if that's the case, is George W. Bush exactly the president we need--and deserve?

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