Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Fourth Estate or Fifth Column

Click here for AmazonThomas Sowell takes another big swing at the obscenely bloated pinata    that is the mainstream media. The grotesquely skewed coverage we're treated to by the likes of CBS, CNN, ABC and the NYT has all the historical accuracy of the Harry Potter series. The cracks keep widening and the pinata    is perilously close to breaking apart. Rest assured the bloggers will get to all the goodies first.

There are still people in the mainstream media who profess bewilderment that they are accused of being biased. But you need to look no further than reporting on the war in Iraq to see the bias staring you in the face, day after day, on the front page of the New York Times and in much of the rest of the media.

If a battle ends with Americans killing a hundred guerrillas and terrorists, while sustaining ten fatalities, that is an American victory. But not in the mainstream media. The headline is more likely to read: "Ten More Americans Killed in Iraq Today."

This kind of journalism can turn victory into defeat in print or on TV. Kept up long enough, it can even end up with real defeat, when support for the war collapses at home and abroad.

One of the biggest American victories during the Second World War was called "the great Marianas turkey shoot" because American fighter pilots shot down more than 340 Japanese planes over the Marianas islands while losing just 30 American planes. But what if our current reporting practices had been used back then?

The story, as printed and broadcast, could have been: "Today eighteen American pilots were killed and five more severely wounded, as the Japanese blasted more than two dozen American planes out of the sky." A steady diet of that kind of one-sided reporting and our whole war effort against Japan might have collapsed...

Thomas Sowell: Fourth estate or fifth column

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