L.A.Times: Conservatives Should Stop Complaining About Media, They Have Killed ‘Truth’

-By Warner Todd Huston

This has to rank as the all time most hypocritical piece I’ve yet seen featuring liberal finger waging at conservatives over their ire at the product of the leftist press. It is conservatives, you see, that have “have put the final nail in the coffin of truth,” in essence killing the truth, not the left for doing its level best to eliminate the entire concept of truth. It is our fault for pointing out the liberal’s efforts to destroy truth not theirs for having launched the campaign. How’s THAT for spin?

The Times’ Gregory Rodriguez gives us this convoluted logic in “When all truth is relative Conservatives play a dangerous game in attacking the media for bias” from September 29. In it, Rodriguez acknowledges that it is the left and our fetid universities that launched a campaign early last century to make truth relative or situational. But, instead of focusing on this illicit attack on truth, Rodriguez blames those pointing out the folly of relativity for causing what he sees as the downfall of truth. Yes, it’s the watchdogs’ fault, not the perpetrators!

I say, if you want truth, the truth is Rodriguez isn’t mad that the truth has been harmed, he’s mad that HIS “truth” has a dissenting voice against it.

Rodriguez’ first “truth” is to castigate the McCain campaign for going on the assault against the anti-McCain media. Apparently, Rodriguez imagines that there is some partisan point he can make by focusing on the fact that a few years ago one of McCain’s advisers worked as a consultant for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Yet, Rodriguez doesn’t seem to find it of interest to mention that Barack Obama himself employs the failed former head of Fannie Mae, Jim Johnson, nor that Obama is the number two highest recipient of Fannie Mae campaign contributions right below Democrat Chris Dodd of the Senate Banking Committee. Rodriguez also doesn’t seem much interested that Franklin Raines, one of the culprits in laying Freddie Mac low, is an Obama adviser. In other words, for being worried about “truth,” it seems like Rodriguez is only interested in the half that makes HIS side look better.

But that is just his partisan blather and column space filler. The meat of the argument is lower in the story and in it, Rodriguez proves that he doesn’t at all “get” the argument, nor what is wanted as a fix, that conservatives are making against the media.

Conservatives may have a point that the traditional media are slanted to the left, but it is also clear that they aren’t content with simple ideological balance. What they want, as we have seen, is their own biased media, in the form of Fox News and the Washington Times.

The upshot, ironically, is that conservatives — those who generally embrace the idea of absolutes — have put the final nail in the coffin of truth.

This is not correct at all. Conservatives don’t necessarily want “their own biased media.” What conservatives want is honesty. If a lefty like himself admits they are partisan and biased in everything they do, then that is fine — free speech and all. But, what conservatives rail against is the obvious lie when media mavens claim they are unbiased in their presentation of the “news,” when it is obvious from their product that they aren’t unbiased in any way.

But, what does Rodriguez mean when he says that conservatives “put the final nail in the coffin of truth”? What he means is, we should shut up and let liberals have their way because THEY are truth personified. If we blow a claxon about bias, WE are the culprits for having the temerity to point it out. If his truth is threatened by sunlight, we are the bad guys for opening the window.

Rodriguez then goes on to admit that the initial assault on truth came from our universities when it became du jour that the truth was “relative” to the individual instead of having any intrinsic worth in and of itself. In this, he is 100% correct. The left’s goal is to make truth malleable so that they can better push their collectivist ideas. For, if truth is relative, anything goes.

But Rodriguez shows that he is still thinking in relative terms when he blames the death of truth on conservatives.

But if conservatives care so much about the truth, why then do they condone the GOP’s constant haranguing about media bias, with its emphasis on knee-jerk, blanket charges of partisanship rather than on arguing a case?

He seems not to understand that there are generalities that, even while not being 100% true in every case, can be true enough to serve to set the tone of the debate. For instance, when one says the sky is blue one is generally correct. But, sometimes the sky is gray, green from tornado activity, or blazing red at sunset. But the fact that the color of the sky is not always strictly blue does not destroy the fact that the sky is usually blue.

In this way, one can say the “media are liberal” and be correct. Polls repeatedly show that in the 80 percentile range, journalists pronounce themselves liberals. Studies have shown over and over that liberal causes, ideals, and personalities get the bulk of favorable attention by the media. But, no one, not even conservatives, are truly saying that the media is 100% liberal, that no conservative voices are heard at all. But, the media is sufficiently liberal to prove the general statement to be correct.

So, to say “the media are liberal” serves as the perfect, truthful starting point to begin the discussion. But, it does not eliminate truth as Rodriguez wants to claim.

No doubt because it’s a simpler-to-communicate message; no doubt creating boogeymen is easier and perhaps more effective with voters than arguing evidence and fact. But conservatives in particular should understand that constant discrediting of the media is one of the best ways to further the postmodernist agenda. It erodes the belief that there is something real and solid, and it lends credence to the idea that all truth is relative because it is always filtered through the biases of its messengers.

Once again, he blames the messenger for the message. In fact, his only alternative is for conservatives to shut up and allow the media to continue to warp the truth and lie through their teeth without being confronted. He also has just told you all that you are too stupid to know the difference between spin and truth. After all, if he imagines that denigrating the media makes you so distrust anything you see and hear, he is also saying you aren’t smart enough to figure it all out when all sides are presented. This proves the elitism of the media as well as its penchant for distorting the truth and wishing to have a free hand to do so.

Talk about arrogance.

Rodriguez ends with a final finger wagging point.

Although this gambit may pay short-term political dividends, in the long run it only serves to further divide Americans into their ideological enclaves — with conservatives getting their news from X and liberals from Y. More important, by undermining the very idea of truth, it also undermines the idea that, as a nation, we can collectively and honestly describe and find solutions to the problems we all face.

First of all, it is human nature to favor sources with which one agrees. It is education that proves the decision maker. But in this statement, Rodriguez reveals quite a lack of historical knowledge. Before the media became almost monolithically leftist in ideological makeup, there were all sorts of partisan sources from which America got its news. What Rodriguez is lamenting here is not the loss of real, balanced news, but the loss of his side having a monopoly on that news.

What Rodriguez wants is a leftist lock on the dissemination of the news back so that his side can control the debate. He does not want the open exchange of ideas. He wants his side’s positions to be the only ones debated. And the main reason for this is: he thinks you are too stupid to be allowed to make a decision.

So much for Rodriguez’ “truth.”

(Photo credit: the New America Foundation)


Warner Todd Huston is a Chicago based freelance writer, has been writing opinion editorials and social criticism since early 2001 and is featured on many websites such as newsbusters.org, townhall.com, New Media Journal, Men’s News Daily and the New Media Alliance among many, many others. Additionally, he has been a frequent guest on talk-radio programs to discuss his opinion editorials and current events. He has also written for several history magazines and appears in the new book “Americans on Politics, Policy and Pop Culture” which can be purchased on amazon.com. He is also the owner and operator of publiusforum.com. Feel free to contact him with any comments or questions : EMAIL Warner Todd Huston

Comments are closed.

Copyright Publius Forum 2001