Carol Platt Liebau: LA Times & Media Criticism

Monday, August 29, 2005

LA Times & Media Criticism

The transcript of Hugh Hewitt's discussion with Tim Rutten (discussed here on this blog) is posted at Radioblogger (which also features these great pictures from the "you don't speak for me, Cindy" rally in Crawford).

What's most striking about the entire interview is Rutten's myopia. He reminds me of many of the people with whom I attended college and law school -- people who have lived so steeped in liberalism that they don't even realize that their world view is inevitably infected with it. Obviously, people like Rutten would believe that someone who was raised in the Bible Belt, attended Bob Jones or Liberty University, and then went to work for a religious publication would be biased, albeit perhaps unintentionally. Why can't he (and other journalists) acknowledge that, conversely, people who are raised in liberal strongholds, attend an Ivy League (or some other thoroughly secular) school, and then work for an a- or even anti-religious publication likewise are biased?

Here's a theory about why journalists are so deeply invested in the myth of complete objectivity: It's a marker of professionalism, in their eyes. Journalists believe they are smart, they believe they are performing a high order public service -- yet they're underpaid and underappreciated. And there is no particular degree or certification required to do their jobs. So the only way they can manifest their "professionalism" is through adhering to certain conventions.

But as soon as they admit that true "objectivity" doesn't exist, in their own minds, they've lost any claim to professional status -- because then they're just guys with opinions . . . like everyone else.

Even so, there's no disputing that the LA Times is infused with a liberal bias that's all the stronger for its refusal or inability to detect it. Exhibit A is this piece from last weekend's Magazine. It's a serious Q & A with a retired Claremont professor of theology who believes that the United States government perpetrated 9/11. What's the motivation? Global domination. Please. This is wing-nut weirdness.

If some retired professor believed that the government was placing fluoride in the water to facilitate mind control for nefarious left-wing purposes, surely The Times wouldn't give them the time of day. Yet they print this. But there's no bias. No, sireee.


Blogger Mr.Atos said...

Quixotic journalists... interesting. If George Bush is a giant despotic monster, then their lives have meaning. If he's a windmill, they are insane. But if he is a decent man trying to lead the nation through perilous times, then the existence of reporters like Ruttens is simply meaningless. It certainly explains their tilt.

8:56 PM  
Blogger Jeff said...

Good post. I like your point that many in the MSM are quick to criticize religious conservatives, but don't acknowledge their background ties them to a certain viewpoint as well.

7:00 PM  

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