Lamar Smith Column: Former NY Times Public Editor Admits Liberal Media a 'Culture of Like Minds'

It is not often that members of the liberal national media admit their biases. Americans know that the media is not impartial and that objectivity is not a priority when reporting on current events. Americans need and deserve a balanced media.

The New York Times Public Editor Arthur Brisbane gave us insight into the Times’ liberal slant in his final column after two years with the newspaper. He criticizes the Times for being “powerfully shaped by a culture of like minds.” The members of the liberal national media are surrounded by others who share their beliefs and political prejudices. This one-sided worldview leads to biased reporting that favors their views.


Which way do the newspapers and many news outlets lean politically? Many Americans already know the answer to this. Brisbane continues that “across the paper’s many departments, though, so many share a kind of political and cultural progressivism…that this worldview virtually bleeds though the fabric of the Times.” He then uses issues such as gay marriage and the Occupy Wall Street movement as examples of this, which he states “seem to almost erupt in the Times, overloved and undermanaged, more like causes than news subjects.”

This is not breaking news. Eight years ago, the very first public editor of the Times, Daniel Okrent, wrote a column about the political leaning of the newspaper. Okrent agreed that a tone of “implicit advocacy” was apparent in the newspaper on social issues such as “gay rights, gun control, abortion and environmental regulation, among others.”

Politico’s Executive Editor Jim VandeHei also admitted to the media’s bias. In his analysis of the recent media coverage of the political arena he stated, “the mainstream media tends to be quite smitten with the Obamas.” The liberal media’s bias is becoming so apparent that prominent members of the media can no longer defend the media’s impartiality. Even those who are notoriously seen as unapologetically biased like CNN’s Soledad O’Brien don’t deny the fact that bias in the national liberal media is out of control. She recently cited the administration for its tactics against Republican ideas for Medicare reform by pointing out their strategy amounts to a scare tactic aimed at seniors.

If the media were to be truly impartial, it would have reported more widely how the deficit just surpassed a historic $16 trillion. It would have reported that President Obama’s budget was voted down by every single member of the Senate on both sides of the aisle. It would have reported that the auto bailout of GM and Chrysler cost taxpayers $25 billion, and that much of that money went to pay off auto unions.

All impartial media would report how the country is facing an economic collapse. It would report more actively Gallup’s recent findings that the majority of Americans in swing States felt that they are not better off today than they were four years ago.

Americans deserve an impartial media-one that will report objectively and not from a singular worldview. We need to remind the media of their profound obligation to provide the American people with the facts rather than tell them what to think.

Congressman Lamar Smith, Texas Republican, is chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.