Not long ago, Bill O’Reilly asked me if I thought it was possible for the so-called mainstream media to cover the presidential campaign fairly. Note, he didn’t ask if I thought reporters would be fair; he asked if I thought it was possible that they could be fair. When Bill asks a question that way, you know how he feels about the subject.
Sure it’s possible that the media could be fair – but only in the sense that absolutely anything theoretically is possible. Is it likely they’ll be fair? Is it probable? No. But despite what a lot of conservatives think, that’s usually not because of any conspiracy.
I say “usually” because some journalists really are corrupt. They really are out to get people with whom they disagree. A while back a Washington Post journalist set up something called “Journolist” – which was a collection of liberal journalists, academics and political operatives who got together via email and compared notes. They made it sound harmless but when the notes were uncovered, there was some pretty nasty stuff in there about conservatives. Worst of all, the emails showed how these sanctimonious liberals conspired to keep the Rev. Jeremiah Wright story under wraps because in their infinite wisdom they decided it was not a legitimate story and besides, it might hurt their guy, Barack Obama.
But by and large, journalists don’t go into the office in the morning and call a secret meeting to figure out how they can bring down conservatives. They don’t have to. The problem is groupthink. And that’s what I told Bill on The Factor that night.
Too many journalists, I said, share Barack Obama’s values and his liberal policies. So they won’t see what he says or does on the campaign trail as left-wing, or even liberal. They’ll see it as mainstream, as middle of the road, as moderate, and most important, as reasonable.
Everything to the right of center, of course, will be seen as conservative at best and dangerous, radical right wing at worst.
I know it sounds crazy, but liberal journalists (a lot of them anyway) don’t see themselves as liberal. Trust me, I worked at CBS News for 28 years. I know what I’m talking about. If just about everybody in the newsroom thinks the way they do and shares the same political views as they do, then their views aren’t really liberal, are they? Of course not. They’re moderate … middle of the road … and yes, reasonable.
Right. And fish don’t know they’re wet. They don’t have any other frame of reference either.