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WHERE IN THE WORLD IS LIBERAL BIAS? Pundits are screaming about liberal bias. We found it—missing in action:


SOMEBODY GO WAKE UP MORT: On yesterday’s This Week, Al Gore laid out his views on Iraq and al Qaeda in a bit more detail. Somebody go wake up Morton Kondracke so he can review what Gore said. Last week, Mr. Mort was still pretending that he didn’t understand Gore’s basic comments on these topics (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 12/3/02). Yesterday, Gore again referred to what Myers and Tenet have said. Somebody run and wake up Mort. It’s time Morton stopped his buffooning.

For our taste, Stephanopoulos didn’t ask Gore the right questions. We wish George had popped this slick quiz:

  1. Is Iraq pursuing nuclear weapons?
  2. Can U.N. inspectors be expected to find Iraqi nuclear facilities?
  3. Is it acceptable for Iraq to pursue or own nukes?
We wanted to hear Gore’s view on those matters. But even Mort can now comprehend Gore’s clear-as-a-bell basic statements. Will somebody run and wake up Mort? We find ourselves living in dangerous times. Morton’s played dumb long enough.

With Landrieu’s win in Louisiana, we have full results of this year’s Senate elections. In the Senate, three seats switched from Dem to Rep; one seat switched from Rep to Dem. Two Dem losses were plane-crash related. In short, if Senators Wellstone and Carnahan hadn’t died, this year’s race would likely have been a wash. This is the “landslide,” “debacle” and “rout” your pundit corps flogged one month back.

Is your press corps ruled by liberal bias? If so, it was hard to tell, based on the spin-points which ruled the corps in the wake of last month’s “debacle.” How did the pundit corps approach the election? First, they wasted time for a solid week with their utterly worthless and brain-dead predictions. Then, they ran as fast as they could to provide us with worthless “analysis.” But clearly, they weren’t trying to downplay the Dem “debacle.” In fact, the press corps vastly overstated the “rout” which Dems endured. All vassals bowed to Conquering Bush. They vastly overstated what happened.

We announced the death of liberal bias in a series of articles in October 2000. (Posted on; links no longer active.) But pundits keep sighting the hoary ol’ debbil, just as the nation’s hysterics keep spotting Elvis. But where in the world is this liberal bias? This weekend, we conducted a search—and we just couldn’t seem to find it. We’re pretty sure you know what to do. Help our great search. Just read on.

IN SEARCH OF LIBERAL BIAS, PART 2: When last we looked in on CNN’s Bruce Morton, he was neatly reciting RNC spin about what a Big Liar Gore Is (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 12/7/02). Meanwhile, on Thursday’s Inside Politics, Morton read spin from the camp of Strom Thurmond. According to Morton, the former Dixiecrat prez nominee was a victim of segregation himself! Here is the sage’s full report. Can you spot the rank liberal bias?

JUDY WOODRUFF: Our Bruce Morton has more on Strom Thurmond and his enduring career.

MORTON: So long ago. Imagine babies dressed like this. Imagine diapering babies dressed like this. Cloth diapers, too. No Pampers then. No computers to e-mail your friends the news. No TV. No radio, come to that. None of these. The Wright brothers hadn’t flown yet. Not many of these. Horses back then, a different kind of pollution. 1902. The Civil War and slavery had ended just 30-some years before.

George Washington took office in 1789. So the United States is 213 years old. At 100, Thurmond is almost half as old at the country. He grew up with segregation, got elected on it, but it was politics probably more than true conviction. If nudism had been in, he’d run on that and if he had pretty women with him, he’d have loved it.

He loved the ladies. People may remember that. The last line of his final Senate speech:

THURMOND (on tape): I love all of you, and especially your wives.

MORTON: No orator, surely. His famous filibuster speech ended, “I expect to vote against this bill.” No kidding, senator. The first southern senator to put a black on his staff? Well, maybe. But mostly, I guess, they’ll just remember how long he was here.

THURMOND (on tape): The Senate will come to order. The chaplain will now deliver the morning prayer.

MORTON: First elected in 1954, almost half a century, almost half his lifetime ago. What a dance to the music of time! And now he’s going back to South Carolina. Will it seem like going home? Or like leaving home? His life’s been here.

THURMOND (on tape): The Senate stands adjourned.

MORTON: Good-bye, old man. Old legend. Bruce Morton, CNN, Washington.

WOODRUFF: Just think, to spend half your life in the Senate...

Was Thurmond “the first southern senator to put a black on his staff?” Morton doesn’t seem to know, but recites the point all the same. And of course, he says that Thurmond “probably” never cared about segregation. If nudism had been in vogue, Morton says, Strom would have just run on that.

Readers, what ever happened to liberal bias? Indeed, Morton seems to be reading points straight from the Thurmond camp! Armstrong Williams, a Thurmond ally, had recited these same points to the Baltimore Sun’s Julie Davis:

DAVIS (11/6/02): Armstrong Williams, a conservative black commentator who is close to the senator—for whom he interned—said he viewed Thurmond’s past as a staunch foe of racial integration as merely a sign of the times.

“It was political; it was nothing that was ever in his heart,” Williams said. “In his heart, he treats everyone the same.”

What was really in Thurmond’s heart? Here at THE HOWLER, we don’t have a clue. Neither, of course, does Bruce Morton. But Morton raced to soft-soap Thurmond’s past conduct—in which, because nudism wasn’t available, he said that “we” would never let “the n*gger race into our swimming pools.” One thing’s sure: It was certainly hard to find liberal bias in Morton’s feel-good remarks.

Readers, what ever happened to liberal bias? On Tuesday, Woodruff read Drudge’s points about Kerry. Two days later, Morton read Williams’ points about Thurmond. CNN wants conservative viewers. Any chance that Inside Pol has found slick ways to pander and fawn?

IN SEARCH OF LIBERAL BIAS, PART 3: Everyone knows that Senator Lott made odd remarks at Thurmond’s birthday bash. The remarks were made on Thursday morning. They were reported by ABC’s The Note the next day. Then they appeared on that morning’s Hotline. By Friday at noon, everyone in the Washington press corps knew about Lott’s odd remarks.

Surely—given the corps’ liberal bias—the strange remarks were widely flogged. Sorry. On Saturday morning, the Washington Post was the nation’s only paper to prepare a report about what Lott said. (The Chicago Tribune ran the Post report.) And on Sunday, while Lott was hammered on Meet the Press and Late Edition, the all-stars over at Fox News Sunday forgot to mention his comments. Does Fox report, letting us decide? According to Nexis, Senator Lott’s peculiar remarks have never been mentioned on Fox.

Surely, though, Fox’s silence was balanced off by NPR’s liberal bias. As a matter of fact, Lott’s remarks at Thurmond’s party were excerpted on Weekend Edition. On Sunday, Liane Hansen craftily played Lott’s own voice. But here was the clip she selected:

HANSEN: From NPR News, this is Weekend Edition. I’m Liane Hansen. And these were some of the voices in the news this past week…

LOTT (on tape): Somebody once said, and I’m not quite sure where I got this, but I heard it, and I loved it, and it applies to Strom Thurmond: “Youth is a gift of nature. Age is a work of art.” This, ladies and gentlemen, is a work of art.

That Hansen! The clever host hid her liberal bias by playing a Lott feel-good clip! According to Nexis, Lott’s odd remarks haven’t yet been mentioned on NPR. And Nexis says that Lott’s remarks were mentioned in no Sunday newspapers. Again we ask our powerful question: Readers, where is liberal bias?

IN SEARCH OF LIBERAL BIAS, PART 4: At THE HOWLER, we think the fuss about female membership at Augusta has in fact been overblown. But much more overblown is the press corps’ Big Fuss about the New York Times’ liberal bias. Every good pundit is quite upset with Howell Raines’ appalling judgment. Howard Kurtz, Rush’s favorite shill, has been disturbed by the matter all week.

And why is this topic getting so much play? Duh. Because it’s a conservative talking point! After all, Howell Raines has had bad judgment for years. But when he used his bad judgment to write editorials trashing Clinton for pseudo-scandals, did you see the corps—with its “liberal bias”—rise up to smite the great Timesman then? Weirdly, it’s only when Raines flogs a liberal cause that the press corps gets its knickers knotted. Readers, what ever happened to liberal bias when liberal bias gets the press corps so mad?

Every good pundit has been disturbed by the Times’ troubling page-one reporting. But guess what? The Times did horrible page-one reporting back in the last decade, too! We refer, of course, to the Whitewater stories written by the Times’ Jeff Gerth. At least since 1996, it has been fairly clear that Gerth’s reports were some sort of hoax. But have you seen anyone in the mainstream press corps ask the NYT to explain it? Dear readers! Where in the world is liberal bias when our pundits pick and choose in this manner?

Two years ago, we announced its death. Liberal bias had gone belly up. But hysterics keep spotting liberal bias—and Elvis. Pundits can tell you the truth about one great king. But with the exception of E. J. Dionne, most major pundits are simply too scared to tell you that both kings are dead.

DID YOU MISS IT? Don’t miss our own special weekend edition. See THE DAILY HOWLER, 12/7/02.