Mark Steyn writes about the difference in media treatment of fake, racist quotes by Rush Limbaugh in praise of slavery, and real, intensely disturbing quotes by White House communications director Anita Dunn in praise of genocidal communist Mao Zedong.
Legacy media outlets, notably including CNN, played up offensive quotes by Limbaugh. The only problem is that they were completely fabricated:
“Slavery built the South. I’m not saying we should bring it back; I’m just saying it had its merits. For one thing, the streets were safer after dark.”
And this one about Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assasin:
“You know who deserves a posthumous Medal of Honor? James Earl Ray. We miss you, James. Godspeed.”
The controversy over Limbaugh’s bid to become minority owner of an NFL team was propelled by the quotes.
On the other hand, here’s what Anita Dunn said about Mao Zedong:
Genocide on the order of 40-70 million is widely attributed to Mao Zedong’s revolution and rule. Yet Dunn stands in awe of this communist icon.*
Limbaugh is a private citizen who wanted a stake in a sports team. He never uttered the false quotes, yet the media played them up.
Dunn is working in the nation’s seat of government. She praises a mass-murderer, and barely a peep from so-called respectable press outlets.
How insane is this?
Look, I get tired of hearing about media bias. Anybody who doesn’t think the media is getting it right can become a member of the media and try to correct things. No, that’s not practical for everybody, but you get my point. If the only people willing to roll up their sleeves and report the news are liberal, then a news product that reflects their spin is the prize they earn.
We (conservatives, that is), can’t just stand back and criticize. The mainstream media gets a lot of things right, and its flagship institutions remain by and large the preeminent news-gathering operations in this country.
Just take a look at the New York Times coverage of the health care debate. Are there holes in it? Sure. Slant? Again, yes. But an informed observer, knowing how to read between the lines, and picking up a few tidbits from other sources, is going to be able to get enough first hand reporting from the Times to form his or her own well-informed, independent judgment on current events, policy issues and the like.
However, when stuff like this happens – continually and in glaring fashion – it really shows the true colors of institutions like CNN and the New York Times. It shows they will sometimes allow their own political ideologies to subvert their journalistic mission when the chips are down.
In any event, this post is a bit more sprawling than I originally intended, but so be it…. We’ll see if any pressure builds on the Mao thing. As evidenced by the outing and ousting and Van Jones and Yosi Sergant, establishment media no longer necessarily have to take note for political momentum to build and force action. But it still helps.
*As an aside, I don’t mean to be petty but does anyone else notice how she keeps smacking her lips and sticking her tongue? Disgusting. I’m sure a speech pathologist will tell me there’s a perfectly reasonable explanation, but still, the whole reptilian thing kind of creeps me out. That and the whole Mao-adulation.