ABC Didn't Ask Arianna About Removing the Right from the News

Scott Whitlock mentioned that ABC allowed Arianna Huffington to plug her book Thursday on GMA. But Charlie Gibson failed to perform any self-defense on Huffington’s frontal attack on what she calls in her book "The Pontius Pilate Press." (Is Obama the Christ in this scenario? Conservatives are the crucifiers?) Scott noted Gibson merely began: "You think they've taken on the media as well or taken over the media as well. But, basically, you feel that this country has been captured by the more extreme wing of the Republican Party?" So, ABC’s morning show hasn't interviewed Brent Bozell in this century about liberal bias, but they’re putting up no defense to the charge that ABC is an extreme-right-wing GOP subsidiary.

Huffington is making a very bold claim right now, that the media are addicted to fairness and balance, which is wrong, since liberals are right and the "discredited" Right is wrong, so conservatives should be left on the cutting-room floor. They need to engineer conservative "disappearance from the stage":

Let's take them one by one, starting with the media which remains hopelessly addicted to the false belief that in order to be fair and balanced every story needs to be given the "on the one hand... and on the other" treatment. But not every story has two sides -- and the truth is often to be found not in the middle but solidly on one side or the other.

The earth is not flat. Global warming is a fact. Evolution is a fact -- sorry Mike Huckabee. And not even Republicans still believe in the unfettered, free market. Look how they rushed to Big Government to save their beloved Bear Sterns[sic].

....What is behind the media's lapdog devotion to the messages and framing of the Right? It's a combination of self-loathing and abject fear. The media wear their dread like a cheap aftershave. The broadcast networks and the cable news channels live in mortal fear of a dip in the ratings, and newspapers are constantly checking their pulse -- convinced by their deteriorating profits and market share that the end is near. So they continue to offer the views of the newly marooned Right more than equal time.

Fear -- specifically the right wing's masterful manipulation of it -- has also come to dominate our politics....

Though the era of the Right has exhausted its historic course, collapsing in moral, political and economic bankruptcy, the transformation and co-opting of McCain from a maverick into the Second Coming of George W. Bush shows the durability of the Right and the lingering danger it poses. There is nothing automatic about its disappearance from the stage. Not unless we, together, give it -- and McCain -- a mighty push into the wings and right out the stage door.

In her book’s segment on "The Pontius Pilate Press," she notes there are little exceptions, such as the ABC News-Washington Post poll last September showing only 39 percent of Americans thought Gen. David Petraeus would give honest testimony to Congress, while 53 percent thought he would exaggerate about progress in Iraq.

The Washington Post’s Jon Cohen and Jennifer Agiesta underscored the Lying-General-Betray-Us tone of liberal-media coverage last September:

Most Americans think this week's report from Army Gen. David H. Petraeus will exaggerate progress in Iraq, and few expect it to result in a major shift in President Bush's policy. But despite skepticism about the Petraeus testimony and majority support for a U.S. troop reduction in Iraq, there has also been a slight increase in the number who see the situation there as improving.

The findings, from a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, underscore the depth of public antipathy toward the Iraq war, the doubts about the administration's policies and the limited confidence in the Iraqi government to meet its commitments to restore civil order.

In Mrs. Huffington's fevered brain, this is proof that the left can win despite the press, not because of loaded liberal-newspaper poll questions like these.

16. As you may know, the U.S. commander in Iraq, General David Petraeus, is preparing a progress report on the situation there. Do you think his report (will honestly reflect the situation in Iraq), or do you think it (will try to make things look better than they really are)? [Thirty-nine percent said Petraeus would be honest, and 53 percent said he would exaggerate.]

17. Do you think Bush (will use the Petraeus report to adjust U.S. policy in Iraq), or do you think Bush (will stick with his Iraq policy no matter what the Petraeus report says)? [Twenty-eight percent said Bush might adjust, and 66 percent said evidence is no object.]

Can you imagine The Washington Post asking suggestive poll questions during the military operations of the Clinton administration, about whether the commanders in Somalia or Bosnia could be trusted to testify truthfully to Congress, or whether President Clinton would listen to the generals, or ignore them? I wouldn't count on Arianna Huffington to track them down if they ever existed.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis