Longtime L.A. Times Reporter: FNC Much More Biased Than 'Traditional' Media Outlets

Los Angeles Times columnist (and longtime political reporter) Ron Brownstein tackles the issue of the Nevada Democratic Party dumping Fox News Channel as a debate partner. He thinks this rejection is similar to how "conservatives deal with mainstream media organizations they consider biased against them." Put aside for a minute the odd notion that Republican Party organizations or politicians would refuse to do debates thrown by liberal networks. As if. In his March 16 column, Brownstein's peddling the old canard that Fox News is exponentially more biased than "mainstream" news organizations:

The situation isn't exactly parallel. For all the howling on the right, it's difficult to argue that mainstream news organizations operate with anything approaching Fox' partisan and ideological agenda. (E-mails: commence now.) But there's no question many conservatives feel as wronged by elements of the mainstream media as Democrats do by Fox.

It is certainly not difficult to argue that "mainstream" news organizations operate in a partisan manner. Right now, it takes five seconds. Which network is presently playing the Charles Schumer script of "Bring Me The Head of Alberto Gonzales?" All of them, except Fox, and even Gretchen Carlson asked Gonzales whether he was headed out. Brownstein insisted "Many Democratic professionals believe that Fox will continue to provide an uncritical platform for almost any charge the right can dredge (Drudge?) up against the 2008 Democratic contenders." Meanwhile, they're all passing along the polygamous background of Mitt Romney's ancestors and Rudy Giuliani's son disparaging his dad's rather shoddy divorce.

Predictably, Brownstein pitched conservative media critics as insincere, pandering panhandlers, harvesters of rage, even though Republican politicians grip and grin with the "mainstream" folks:

Conservative leaders and groups harvest those emotions to raise money and energize their supporters. And yet, when conservatives perceive it in their interest, they do not hesitate to deliver their message through those traditional channels. They are entirely comfortable throwing rocks at the big media institutions and then stepping through the broken glass to dispense a sound bite—or, for that matter, to dish dirt over cocktails.

Unasked by Brownstein: do Republican politicians really have a choice to avoid "traditional channels"? All of them? I would also wonder how many Republican leaders spend their days "throwing rocks" at the major media?

It's always worth remembering when journalists accuse others of partisan appearances to look at the accuser's biography. Well, here's an old item Brent Baker wrote in 1991 which would suggest Brownstein had a partisan liberal background, but still found a cozy job in that "mainstream" nonpartisan press. Baker called it "Two Times A Nader," so cue the Commodores music:

Ronald Brownstein, a national political correspondent for the Los Angeles Times since last spring, is out with a new book on the Hollywood-Washington connection, titled The Power and the Glitter. It's Brownstein's first book since he co-authored Reagan's Ruling Class: Portraits of the President's Top 100 Officials for Ralph Nader's Presidential Accountability Group in 1982. The year before, Brownstein edited with Nader a book published by the Sierra Club, Who's Poisoning America: Corporate Polluters and Their Victims in the Chemical Age.

Brownstein co-authored the Reagan book with his wife, Nina Easton, who has covered the entertainment community for the Los Angeles Times since 1989. In 1982 Easton authored Reagan's Squeeze on Small Business, a Nader report. In it, Easton concluded that Reagan's economic policies would accelerate economic concentration, "transforming a nation of business owners into a nation of employees."

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