Wednesday, December 24, 2008


The passion with which The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) embraces the most bigoted positions is both alarming and sad. I have concluded that as far as opinions and editorials go, this newspaper is to the world of American journalism what Dick Cheney has been to America's political leadership (ideology-driven, what others say never matters, never admit any mistakes, offense is the best defense, decency is over-rated). Well, I wish it had kept its bigotry only to its editorial content, it goes further and taints its news, what it reports and how, with a fierce ideology.

In recent days, nearly every report on the scandal surrounding Illinois' governor Blagojevich has focused on somehow connecting President-elect Obama and his team with it. The MAIN headline on its online edition in the past 24 hours has been "Obama, Two Aides Questioned in Probe." Choosing to lead with such headlines and trying to make this about the President-elect than the governor of the Prairie State, requires some effort, possibly an agenda?

If WSJ were a publication in Russia, it would certainly hail Putin as the great guardian of the great nation and regard every opposition leader as a traitor. Ideology and tribal affiliations seem to mean more than any effort at trying to embrace a balanced view point and looking at all sides of any story.

I base this on the way the editorials and op-ed selections have glorified Sarah Palin, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, etc. Apparently, one of its op-ed writers still hasn't received the memo that the election is over, and proclaimed concerning Sarah Palin: "I know Maggie Thatcher. The two women have a lot in common." If you don't like Maggie Thatcher, there's one sure way to diss her. The heading of the same article was "Conservative Snobs Are Wrong About Palin." Wow, reads more like Rush Limbaugh's monologue transcript than the heading of an op-ed in one of the world's most prestigious daily newspapers.

The editorial yesterday called for President Bush to issue a full pardon to I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, former chief of staff to Vice President Cheney. Mind you, within hours of being found guilty and sentenced to jail, President Bush rushed to commute Scooter's jail sentence. Anyone else would have been jumping in joy, clapping their hands and sending thank you notes... but the bigots at WSJ call this "a half-measure" and "a chilly arms length" treatment. And the audacity of their bigotry - they then go on to say "Many in (the Bush) Administration failed to behave honorably, including former Secretary of State Colin Powell..." Cheap attempt at obfuscation. Drawing from a famous exchange in American history, one may ask the WSJ editorial team, "have you no sense of decency, folks?" And what will they ask next - Scooter be given the Presidential Medal of Freedom?

Even the choice of books they review propagates bigotry and a monolithic view of the world. In their review of a book called The Blind Spot, they highlight the work of two authors who believe that any attempt to explain acts of terrorism by Muslims as a result of "oppression, economics, freedom and progress" is "stunningly naive" because such acts are solely the product of Islam's "fundamental religious dimension."

It is sad when news organizations become mouthpieces of any ideology. Fox News, MSNBC and WSJ do not serve the American people or American democracy well in their ideological slant. In so many ways these organizations are parochial and medieval, the difference is they have money and power today with which they cover it up. Shame on them and their sad agendas.

Their approach has a marked impact on the sort of nation we become. I have occassionally peeked at the "discussion" section most newspapers have started where online readers can leave comments. How is it that only the most bigoted and extreme people seem to participate in these? The passions, the bigotry, the downright hate that people spew on these forums - it's stunning. How come no one there sounds like my neighbors and co-workers? Slanted media serves the extremist appetite in our nation and that appetite grows as it consumes more of the "red meat." History shows us, that is not a good path for any nation.

No comments: