A friend recently asked me to write about the lack of integrity on the part of some bloggers - Andrew Breitbart in particular. In the spirit of "fair and balanced", I thought that I'd broaden the political spectrum and the discussion a bit.
First, obtaining an objective opinion requires work. My reading ranges from the Huffington Post on the left to the equally ideological Drudge Report on the right, with several other sources in between such as the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. I regularly watch MSNBC and Fox. The most noteworthy difference is what is not covered - on the left you wouldn't know much about the Justice Department's alleged policy of not pursuing discrimination complaints (such as those against the New Black Panther Party) on behalf of white clients; on the right you would have missed the latest dozen scandals in Sarah Palin's family.
As to Breitbart's edited video of Shirley Sherrod's NAACP speech, the difference has been in emphasis. There has been virtually no defense since he misled everybody; however, the Left has taken a delayed pound of flesh for his earlier exposure of Acorn and offers of rewards if anyone could prove claims of Tea Party racism, while the Right has preferred to focus on The White House's latest personnel ineptitude, completing the cycle from shoddy background investigations, to delayed hiring, to knee-jerk firing.
A more troubling media event has been much less reported (except by Rush Limbaugh and Fox) - the exposure of JournoList, a group of some 400 liberal "journalists" started by Washington Post reporter Ezra Klein, who share e-mails about talking points to protect Obama and attack conservatives - including encouragement to fabricate stories of racism on the part of Fred Barnes, Karl Rove, or whoever. Being paranoid doesn't mean that they aren't after you. (For those who doubt, read the Fred Barnes article.) At least Breitbart was acting alone.
Finally, some advice as to integrity in widely divergent polls, most of which serve an ideological audience. The results become more conservative as one moves from "adults" to "eligible voters" to "likely voters." The whole range is available at www.RealClearPolitics.com, along with averages. Rasmussen (likely voters) has historically been among the most accurate.
But, it doesn't have to be that hard; for those seeking objective interpretation of the week's events without doing the work, there is always www.RightinSanFrancisco.com.
In keeping with today's theme, here's Charlie Rangel offended that an MSNBC reporter (Tim Russert's son) would ask him real questions. With any luck for the Republicans, the country will get to spend a good piece of the campaign season watching Nancy's swamp get drained.
bill bowen - 7/29/10