In a minimally rational world, this extraordinary passage, from the new book by Scott McClellan, would forever slay the single most ludicrous myth in our political culture: The “Liberal Media”:
If anything, the national press corps was probably too deferential to the White House and to the administration in regard to the most important decision facing the nation during my years in Washington, the choice over whether to go to war in Iraq.The collapse of the administration’s rationales for war, which became apparent months after our invasion, should never have come as such a surprise. . . . In this case, the “liberal media” didn’t live up to its reputation. If it had, the country would have been better served.
Just consider how remarkable that is. George Bush’s own Press Secretary criticizes the American media for being “too deferential” to the Government. He lays the blame for Bush’s ability to propagandize the nation on the media’s uncritical dissemination of the Republican administration’s falsehoods. And most notably of all, McClellan actually uses cynical scare quotes when invoking the phrase which, in conventional political discourse, is deemed the most unassailable truth of all: The Liberal Media.
How much longer can this preposterous myth be sustained when even the White House Spokesman not only mocks the phrase but derides the media for being “too deferential” to the right-wing Government “in regard to the most important decision facing the nation during [his] years in Washington”? If one were to set about with the goal of debunking the “Liberal Media” myth — as Eric Alterman specifically did four years ago and other media critics have more generally done before that — one couldn’t dream up evidence more conclusive than McClellan’s admissions.
Blindingly conclusive evidence which would — for any rational person — forever negate the “Liberal Media” myth has been piling up for years. The extraordinary (though woefully incomplete) 2004 mea culpa from The New York Times acknowledged that not just Judy Miller, but the paper as a whole, re-printed pro-war government claims that were “allowed to stand unchallenged.” The Washington Post‘s own media critic, Howard Kurtz, documented that anti-war views were systematically buried at that paper. The NYT recently exposed that network and cable news shows for years continuously allowed Pentagon-controlled operatives to masquerade as “independent analysts” spouting the pro-government line with virtually no challenge. And the media’s pathological fixation on the Clinton sex scandals — which led to his impeachment — stood in stark contrast to the widespread indifference among the citizenry.
Beyond all that, are there any reporters left who deny that the campaign-covering media in 2000 was gushingly enamored of George Bush and oozing with contempt for Al Gore? Identically, their intense affection for John McCain is something they openly proclaim; as they shamelessly acknowledge, they’re his “base.” And while some journalists undoubtedly harbor admiration for Barack Obama, the non-stop coverage of one anti-Obama narrative after the next — Jeremiah Wright, lapel pins, patriotism “questions,” “Bittergate,” “problems” with Jewish and white voters — simply has no parallel in any coverage of McCain.
(Continue reading: Glen Greenwald-Salon.com)