James Taranto on Media Bias

James TarantoJames Taranto of the Wall Street Journal compiles a summary of left-leaning media bias in reports on last week’s Hamdan decision. I think the summary deserves our attention:

  • “The Supreme Court on Thursday repudiated the Bush administration’s plan to put Guantánamo detainees on trial before military commissions, ruling broadly that the commissions were unauthorized by federal statute and violated international law. . . . The decision was . . . a sweeping and categorical defeat for the administration.“–New York Times
  • “The Supreme Court yesterday struck down the military commissions President Bush established to try suspected members of al-Qaeda, emphatically rejecting a signature Bush anti-terrorism measure and the broad assertion of executive power upon which the president had based it.”–Washington Post
  • “In a sharp rebuke of President George W. Bush’s tactics in the war on terrorism, the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday struck down as unlawful the military tribunal system set up to try Guantanamo prisoners.”–Reuters
  • “The Supreme Court rebuked President Bush and his anti-terror policies Thursday, ruling that his plan to try Guantanamo Bay detainees in military tribunals violates U.S. and international law.”–Associated Press
  • “The Supreme Court on Thursday sharply rejected the Bush administration’s use of military commissions to try suspected terrorists, eliminating a central pillar of the president’s anti-terrorism strategy. In a blunt dismissal of President Bush’s claim that he had unfettered authority to try enemy combatants captured in the war on terror, the court ruled 5-3 that military trials of detainees at the Guantanamo Bay naval base in Cuba violated domestic and international laws.”–Chicago Tribune

Notice the language. According to these “reports,” President Bush was “rebuked,” “rejected,” “repudiated,” and “defeated” by the Supreme Court. It’s important to remember that the quotations above are not excerpts from opinion editorials but comprise news reports on the decision. In other words, the news reports themselves (which are supposed to be unbiased) are interpreting the Supreme Court’s decision as a repudiation of President Bush, even though subsequent analyses of the decision have shown that opinions are divided on the significance of the decision.

Is there any question that mainstream media outlets exhibit bias against President Bush? I don’t think there is. Is it any wonder that public support for the war effort is at an all-time low when this is the kind of press that the commander-in-chief gets?

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2 thoughts on “James Taranto on Media Bias”

  1. Sigh…the Wall Street Journal. Only in America could the newspaper with the strongest News reporting anywhere also be the paper with the cloudiest opinion writers. I’ll quote the quoted Chicago Tribune piece because I know both the paper and its employees (including at one time, MY DAD!) the best…

    “The Supreme Court on Thursday sharply rejected the Bush administration’s use of military commissions to try suspected terrorists, eliminating a central pillar of the president’s anti-terrorism strategy. In a blunt dismissal of President Bush’s claim that he had unfettered authority to try enemy combatants captured in the war on terror, the court ruled 5-3 that military trials of detainees at the Guantanamo Bay naval base in Cuba violated domestic and international laws.”

    1) It WAS a sharp rejection. I was forced to watch Fox News last week when I wanted national news (honeymooning in FL), and even the Republican-Friendly Fox called it a sharp rejection.

    2) Detaining prisoners without civil or reasonable military jail priveleges WAS a central pillar of their “war on terror.” That central pillar was indeed negated in the SCOTUS ruling.

    3) Before we go trying to defend these policies, who here knows how we got our hands on many of the detainees at Guantanamo? How many people know that we actually paid Afghans and Pakistanis to turn in “suspected terrorists?” Hmmm, offering to pay dirt poor people unheard of sums of money to turn in brown people that might look scary? No wonder our Guantanamo detainees included a doctoral intern from the UAE, several vacationers, a few harmless merchants and three people trying to overturn THE CHINESE GOVERNMENT!!!! Oh yeah, let’s not forget the jazz bassist in New York who is a NOI follower and a U.S. Citizen who got thrown into Guantanamo for teaching kids martial arts!

    Denny, I’ll admit that I’ve long held a grudge against Bush. From the moment that the whisper campaigns started against McCain, I knew he was trouble. When the prospective president of the United States didn’t know what the capital of Turkey was, I knew he was trouble, and as soon as a politician claimed Christ as his hero, I knew that this guy was either hopelessly naive (a la Jimmy Carter) or absolutely jiving the entire country (a la Tom DeLay). And when I saw that he was willing to buy votes with a $300 check to every household, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that this guy was a putz.

    Sadly, he has proven me right at every turn. And it’s not just me. It’s anyone that votes with half a brain. Of course public opinion is against an unwinnable war! This is our Animal Farm moment, where suddenly, two legs is good, and four legs is bad all over again. We hated the communists for forcing their ways onto other countries. Now we’re doing the same. We hated Germany, Italy and Japan for being Imperialists. Now WE’RE the imperialists. We hated Stalin, Kruschev and Castro because they took away freedoms, and now we’re trying to federally mandate what freedom is and isn’t! And now, just like Goebells and Machiavelli and Franklin all predicted, now that they’ve introduced religion into the political arena, they can lead the nation around like a bull with a ring through its nose. And Denny, much like Mohler and Land, are doing their best to defend a President who they think is doing God’s work. But the only work of God’s that they’re doing is bringing on the apocalypse.

    So, defend the appointee all you want, but realize that he and his policies and his supporters are wrong. Wrong in word and deed, and wrong for America.

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