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On Perusing the Newspaper

Perceptions, Politics

Much has been said and written about liberal/Democrat bias in the media. I contend that it exists but is often not deliberate, being essentially institutionalized. For various reasons, usually sociologically obscure, the majority of writers and reporters tend to be a bit left of center. While they may intend to be "fair and balanced" (I love that phrase), human nature intrudes, with unconscious bias as the result. (There are of course exceptions, like Paul Krugman of the increasingly moribund Gray Lady, but then he is a columnist and entitled to his very obvious bias.)

Today I had a rare period of relaxation, as a wonderful home care aide was caring for my wife, so I sat down and read our major newspaper throughout, at least the news sections. I was struck by a couple of examples of what I was discussing in the previous paragraph. So, in a fit of nitpicking, here they are.

There was a front page article, complete with candidates' photos, presenting a remarkably detailed analysis of campaign rhetoric from three Republican congressional candidates, two from Wisconsin, noting that position statements on their Web sites were remarkably similar in content and wording. The stated explanations by the two intrepid investigative reporters were that these were cases of plagiarism or copying from a common source. Horrors! As if Democrats never spouted the party line. Not much balance here.

An article on Page 2A , also complete with photos, described an allegation of "an inappropriate relationship" on the part of the female Republican candidate for governor of South Carolina, Nikki Haley, which she vehemently denies of course. The point here is the candidate was clearly identified in the first sentence as the "tea party favorite ... Republican candidate ... endors[ed] by Sarah Palin." Horrors again!

O.K., that in itself could be justified as factual reporting. However, in a sidebar next to the fold on Page 4A, sandwiched between four other briefs, was a short blurb about Richard Blumenthal, the Connecticut Attorney General running for the U.S. Senate, who had for years claimed Vietnam War service that he never performed. This is a major scandal there. Nowhere in the article is he identified as the Democratic senatorial candidate. An innocent omission? Perhaps.

Maybe I'm just a conspiracy nut, but truthfully, I wasn't looking for anything controversial, just reading the paper. These perhaps trivial little juxtapositions just struck me. Ah well, maybe I need to get a life.

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