Any faithful watcher of “The McLaughlin Group” knows that one of the most transparently biased members of the antique media over the past two decades has been Newsweek’s Eleanor Clift. Week in and week out, Eleanor rips apart every Republican on the political landscape while oozing nothing but adoration for those on the opposite side of the aisle even when they are found guilty of serious transgressions.
Clift’s op-ed posted at Newsweek’s website on Friday is a fine example. After somewhat misrepresenting the seriousness of the recent allegations that have emerged from Vice President Cheney’s former chief of staff I. Lewis Libby concerning unclassified information from a National Intelligence Estimate by President Bush, Clift went right into a stump speech: “The only way the American people can stop Bush’s imperial expansion of power short is to turn out in massive numbers to take back one or the other body of Congress from Republican control.”
My goodness, Eleanor: You’re supposed to be a journalist. This isn’t reporting.
You know, it’s one thing to see this kind of proselytizing in editorial pages as newspapers take positions before Election Day. However, for op-ed writers to use their powerful positions within major media outlets to this overtly campaign for their party should be unacceptable to the editors of such publications.
After all, Americans are regularly being told by media elites that there is no liberal bias in their reports, and that their employees, though typically registered Democrats, are professional enough to keep their private political preferences at bay when reporting on key events befalling our nation. That’s why such stumping by publications like The Nation or The Weekly Standard are acceptable, as these periodicals don’t pretend to be neutral sources of information.
However, as Newsweek does profess such impartiality, its editors should demand of its journalists, at the very least, some semblance of neutrality in their reporting. For Clift, this would mean that there is nothing wrong with pointing out the shortcomings and failures of the current administration and the party in power as she sees it. However, her castigations should come short of appeals to the reader to solve the problem by voting for candidates more palatable to her.
Anything less is journalists behaving as political strategists and consultants, which clearly threatens the necessary impartiality of a free press.