Sunday, January 25, 2009

Wall Street Journal's Liberal Slant Makes Readers Play the "Guess Which Party" Game; Must Only Republicans Pay Taxes?

Most people think that the Wall Street Journal has a conservative point of view. As a long-time reader, I believe this is true for its editorial positions, but its straight news reporting is another story. While not blatantly liberal as those of most other newspapers, WSJ news reports sometimes have subtle slants and omissions that attentive readers can pick up. Knowing this, I was not surprised about the disquiet among some Journal reporters when Rupert Murdoch bought the paper, when they likely feared the imposition of more stringent neutrality rules.

Documenting the ubiquitous liberal bias in news reporting is a full time job, to say the least; sites such as Newsbusters (link) and Media Research Center (link) show us that. But we all must contribute our fair share to the effort, so here's mine for now.

In the January 24th Wall Street Journal, the article "Mayor's Admission Roils Portland," (link) requires readers to once again play the favorite liberal game of "Guess Which Party." It slips the author's mind, and those of his editors as well, to mention the wrongdoer's party affiliation. Since we know that stories about wrongdoing by Republicans never fail to mention party affiliation early and often, on reading the article I knew for a certainty that Mayor Adams is a Democrat, a fact I later happened to see mentioned explicitly in another source -- an Associated Press report at Fox News (link) (even here the word "Democrat" does not appear until the 10th paragraph, but hey, that's better than not at all). For the WSJ, in its 10 paragraph article there was no room to mention that the guy is a Democrat. We last played this game just a few weeks ago when newspaper stories surfaced about the corruption of the mayor of Baltimore, who, by coincidence, turned out to be a Democrat as well.

Liberal slant in a WSJ news story is not an isolated instance. For example, in the same January 24 edition, in an article (link) covering the debate in the Senate over Obama's nomination of tax-cheat Tim Geithner to head the Treasury Dept. (which includes of course the Internal Revenue Service), the first sentence is: "The delay in confirming Timothy Geithner as President Barack Obama's Treasury secretary is slowing the administration's ability to assemble a team to help tackle the worst financial crisis in decades." Get that? It's not Obama's fault to have nominated a tax cheat. It's not the Democrat's fault to have kept the tax evasion story under wraps from November until springing it on Republicans at the last minute. No, it's those damn obstructionist Republicans compromising Obama's ability to confront this financial crisis. After all, Republicans should know from the recently revealed tax "issues" of Geithner, Caroline Kennedy, and U.S. Rep. Charlie Rangel, Democrats all, if they didn't know it already, that only Republicans are expected to pay their taxes if they want to serve in government.

On the subject of liberal media bias, here's Byron York writing at The Corner at National Review Online the other day (link):
In 2001, during the confirmation of John Ashcroft to be attorney general, Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee forced a one-week delay in the committee's vote on Ashcroft, saying there had not been enough time to answer all the questions about the nomination. On January 24, 2001, the Washington Post reported the story under the following headline:

Vote On Ashcroft Is Delayed A Week; Democrats Cite Need for More Review

Yesterday, Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee did precisely the same thing for the nomination of Eric Holder to be attorney general. Today, the Washington Post is reporting the story under the following headline:

Republicans Obstruct Holder's Path to Justice Department

Those damn obstructionist Republicans.

John M Greco