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Any Questions Now About Liberal Bias In The Media?

By Gary D. Halbert
September 22, 2004


1.  The CBS National Guard Memo Scandal

2.  Collaboration With The Kerry Campaign

3.  Other Examples Of Liberal Media Bias

4.  Are We Stupid, Or Are We Just Lazy?

5.  “Bloggers” To The Rescue - Who Are They?

Introduction – Instant Credibility

People long for the ability to have instant credibility among their peers and with the public.  However, in these cynical times, instant credibility is increasingly a rare commodity.  We’ve all been hoodwinked and misled so often that we view most any new source of information with a cynical eye.  Only with due proof do we begin to seriously entertain the ideas presented to us.

Nowhere is this more evident than in the mainstream press.  Since exposing the Watergate cover-up in the 1970s, the press has been ever more vigilant to question the positions of political figures.  Well, let me modify that to say that they have been vigilant to question the positions of conservative political figures.  Liberal sources frequently get a pass, and that’s the topic of this week’s E-Letter.

If you have been reading my E-Letter very long, you know that liberal media bias is one of my hot buttons.  I have observed the liberal bias in the media for many years and have written about it often.   And yes, I wrote about it even before it was popular in conservative circles to do so. 

However, I feel it is worth mentioning again in this E-Letter because I have seen the intensity and scope of media bias increase significantly over the last couple of years.  As I have written in these E-Letters over the last couple of years, many in the mainstream press no longer seem to care whether they are viewed as objective or not.  They are engaged in a higher calling of unseating a president who is the antithesis of their liberal mantra.

When I refer to the mainstream press, I’m talking about the major networks (ABC, NBC, CBS) and also the cable news outlets (CNN, MSNBC, CNBC, FOX, etc.) that purport to offer objectivity when presenting the news.  I’m not talking about the entertainment industry, op-ed columnists and TV pundits.  They are all paid to have an opinion and their bias is clearly evident from the outset.  What really steams me are the news outlets that maintain they are objective but present a clearly biased view through their reporting techniques.

The Faked National Guard Memos

The latest media firestorm is the CBS News “MemoGate” scandal.  CBS and Dan Rather chose to air memos about President Bush’s military service record, supposedly from a deceased National Guard officer.  Now we know that those memos were fakes, and it is becoming increasingly clear that CBS, Dan Rather and his producers knew they were questionable.  This is serious stuff – using forged documents in an attempt to change the election of the most powerful person in the world.  But they ran them anyway, and now they are taking heavy fire from conservatives and liberals alike.

The claims about Bush not completing his National Guard service have been around for years, even back to his gubernatorial races in Texas.  Yet these latest memos, which we now know were fakes, and for which CBS and Rather have apologized (finally), raised the issue again. 

And it couldn’t have come at a better time.  With Kerry’s poll numbers plunging, a diversion was desperately needed to take the focus off of questions about Kerry’s service and turn it toward Bush.  That diversion miraculously appeared in the form of four memos supposedly from the private file of deceased Lieutenant Colonel Jerry Killian, Bush’s National Guard commander.

As the Saturday Night Live character, the “Church Lady” would say, “How convenient!”

While the presence of dirty tricks in politics is legend, we have been led to believe that the press stands ready to separate the wheat from the chaff and present the truth in their articles and broadcasts.  If they did report on something that wasn’t yet verified, we expected them to tell us that.  Yet for whatever reasons, CBS and Rather chose to air the memos even though they were warned in advance by experts that the documents could be fakes.

The sad truth is that many in the mainstream press have now abandoned any appearance of objectivity in their efforts to insure that President Bush is not re-elected.  Any group or individual critical of Kerry is immediately subjected to ridicule, or extensive questioning of their motives, or in some cases being totally ignored by the mainstream press.  On the other hand, any off-the-wall character with a new book or story to tell that is critical of President Bush or his administration is given instant credibility.

As noted above, CBS and Dan Rather have reluctantly apologized for airing the story using documents that they had been led to believe were real.  They said they reported the story in “good faith,” and the real bad guy is the person who misled them, retired National Guard officer, Bill Burkett, a long-time partisan antagonist of President Bush. 

If you believe this, folks, you’ll believe anything.  The major news outlets are continually besieged with misleading documents offered up by partisan hacks of all kinds.  Normally, the networks investigate these claims to determine if they are credible or not.  Yet in this case, CBS chose to air the faked documents despite questions about their validity.  Why?  Because Mr. Burkett’s documents supported the liberal bias of Dan Rather and his producer.

CBS Shared The Memos With The Kerry Campaign

As the firestorm over the faked National Guard memos mounted, rumors swirled over whether or not the Kerry campaign had anything to do with the memos.  Some in the Bush camp wondered if the Kerry folks had contrived the documents and then gave them to CBS.  Well, on Tuesday on the FOX News cable channel, senior Kerry advisor Joe Lockhart cleared the matter up.  Clear as mud, that is!

Lockhart said on FOX that CBS called him - before they broke the story on 60 Minutes - and told him the content of the memos.  Lockhart said that CBS also told him who the source of the documents was (Burkett), and suggested that Lockhart should speak with him.  Lockhart stated that he did speak briefly with Burkett by phone before the story broke.  What Lockhart didn’t say was that Burkett agreed to give the memos to CBS only in return for the network putting him in touch with the Kerry campaign.

One would assume that Lockhart would have quickly checked to find out that Burkett has carried on a vendetta against Bush for years, and that he was not credible.  One would think Lockhart would have called CBS back and urged them NOT to run the story, since it could backfire on them.  But according to Lockhart on Tuesday, he did not make any attempt to convince CBS not to run the story. 

Instead, the Kerry campaign launched a new series of ads – deemed “Operation Fortunate Son” – claiming once again that Bush got into the National Guard only because of his family connections.  The timing of this new ad campaign raises serious questions about whether or not the Kerry campaign had anything to do with the faked memos from Burkett.   We will probably never know.

[Once again, this makes me wonder if the former Clinton advisors, who have been hired to save Kerry, may be scheming to insure he loses, so Hillary can run in 2008.  But that misses the point.]

The point is, CBS felt obliged to contact the Kerry campaign in advance to let them know, in advance, that they were running with the National Guard memo story.  If that is not blatant liberal bias, I don’t know what is!  Do you think CBS (or any major mainstream news outlet) would have called the Bush campaign if they had some dirt on Kerry?  No way.

More Examples of Liberal Media Bias

While the CBS memo scandal is the latest, and possibly most damning evidence of liberal bias in the mainstream press, it is by no means the only evidence.   Over the past year or so, there have been a number of very obvious instances where the mainstream press has given instant credibility to individuals who later turned out to be peddling falsehoods.  Here are just a few examples.

Swift Boat Veterans vs. Texans For Truth.    You may agree or disagree with what the Swift Boat Vets are trying to do, but their story is a great example of media bias. While this group did eventually get a lot of airplay on the major networks, it is not as well known that they were virtually ignored by the mainstream press after they had their first press conference in May of this year.  Yet when the first Swift Boat ads appeared, the Kerry campaign complained, and the mainstream press jumped into action.  A media smear campaign followed to discredit them, including re-naming them the “Swift Boat Veterans for Bush” in an obvious attempt to jeopardize the group’s Section 527 status.

Then, when a rival group of veterans called Texans For Truth emerged, their story was given instant credibility.  Why?  Because their story contradicted the Swift Boat Veterans, and even more importantly, agreed with the liberal bias and pro-Kerry stance of the mainstream media.  Whether you agree with the Swift Boat Veterans or not, there is no argument about the difference in media coverage for them versus the Texans For Truth.

Michael Moore’s film, “Fahrenheit 911”:   The media gushed and applauded this film, even though it was panned and discredited by some of the more courageous liberal pundits.  Moore appeared at the Democratic convention as a superstar, and yet again as a USA Today reporter at the Republican convention.  His film is riddled with misrepresentations and innuendoes, and even though some liberal journalists admit to the inaccuracies, they say it’s OK because his motives are right.   In other words, the end justifies the means.

Joseph Wilson criticized Bush and got immediate credibility.   Wilson’s book criticized the Bush administration for the war in Iraq. Wilson, you may recall, disputed Bush’s claim that Saddam Hussein was trying to buy yellowcake uranium from Niger.  All the major TV networks promoted Wilson, and he was the darling of the talk shows.  However, the final 9-11 Commission report and a Senate intelligence report from July 9 contradict what Wilson said and essentially exposed him as a fraud.  Yet, there has been little mention of this by the press that once fawned over him, and no apologies.

I could go on and on with similar examples, but that brings me to another point.  Some in the mainstream press actually apologized publicly for not questioning the Bush administration more rigorously on the issue of WMDs in Iraq before the war.  Here are two examples of mea culpas:

Yet none of these media outlets apologized for being taken in by Michael Moore, Joseph Wilson, Richard Clarke, etc., etc.  The message is: “ We want to make sure our audience sees that we are sorry for even having an appearance of objectivity, but if we make mistakes that promote our liberal bias, that’s OK.”

The latest apologies by CBS and Dan Rather are about the same.  It amounts to, “We didn’t intentionally mislead you, we just passed along information that was given to us.”  The truth is, CBS was not mislead – they were caught!  We now know that Dan Rather and his producer had been working on this story for years.  They knew there were questions about Burkett’s credibility.  Yet they were intent on bringing Bush down, and with Bush’s poll numbers going up, they were desperate enough to do what they did.

It’s The Stupid, Stupid

Many in the mainstream press assume certain things about their audiences.  First, they count on their audience not questioning what they say or taking the time to actually check out a story.  Second, they count on their audience having a short memory.  Third, they count on their audience not getting other points of view from competing media outlets.  In short, they assume we are stupid.

They even use ridiculous arguments to try and convince us that they do not have a liberal bias.  The one I like the most is that the press MUST be conservative because the major media outlets are all owned by large corporations.  Yeah, right.  As I have written before, if the major corporations that control the media are so conservative, why can’t I let my kids watch network TV at night?  In addition to the filthy language, they continually push the envelope on nudity and sexual situations and innuendo.  Sorry folks, that’s not conservative!

Yet the reality is that most Americans have become so lazy that they assume the information we are force-fed by the mainstream media is accurate.  They do not take the time or effort to check it out.  They just assume it is true.  But then a story like the CBS fiasco comes along, and it blows up in the media’s face.  Now, even the man on the street knows the media is biased.

I have often recommended that you frequent one of my favorite websites – the Media research Center at  On a daily basis, MRC monitors the major networks and documents the many instances of liberal bias.   Just one visit to the MRC website will show you how pervasive liberal bias is in the mainstream press, and especially in the various network news programs.

Bloggers To The Rescue

An under-reported part of the CBS News scandal is the fact that the memos were first discovered to be fakes by Internet “bloggers.”   A blogger is a person or organization that maintains what is known as a “weblog.”  These weblogs are essentially chat rooms offering a free exchange of ideas and information.  In the oft-abbreviated world of the Internet, the term weblog was eventually shortened to “blog,” and anyone frequenting such a site is a “blogger.” The collection of weblogs is known as the “blogosphere.”

The questions raised by the bloggers about the CBS memos were transmitted across the Internet with lightning speed.  Within hours, certified document experts were weighing in on the validity of the memos (or lack thereof).  Without the diligence of these Internet newshounds, it’s possible that CBS could have gotten away with using the bogus documents to attack the president.

Each weblog has a guide, or sponsor, of the site.  Major corporations, news media outlets and political campaigns all have weblogs.  However, some of the most frequented sites are those run by individuals with no journalistic ties, other than a desire to make their opinions known.  The bloggers credited with breaking the CBS News fake memo story are actually attorneys.


Every time I write about politics or media bias, I get tons of responses from liberal readers who simply cannot see the liberal bias of the mainstream press.  They do all sorts of mature things -like call me names, use profanity, cancel their subscriptions, etc.  They can watch Fox News and readily pick up on the fact that FOX has a conservative slant in some of its programs.  Yet they cannot bring themselves to admit that the major networks, as well as most of the cable news media and most major newspapers, have a liberal bias.

By the way, if any liberal readers have gotten this far, I do actually read your responses, even if you vehemently disagree with me.  That’s what makes America great - the ability to disagree.  However, my staff reads through them first and deletes any that have profanity or abusive language.

To all those who have argued that there is no liberal bias in the mainstream press, what do you say now?  Here we have a compelling case for how the liberal media, in this instance CBS, intentionally put out false and misleading information in the guise of objective reporting.  Their hope is that the public will not try to check them out, and will just believe whatever they say.  They don’t just think their audiences are stupid and lazy, they count on it.

The examples I have presented are ample evidence of the intellectual elitism that has taken over liberal thought.  They believe that the public is indeed too ignorant or lazy to make their own decisions, and that they need the media and the government to make their decisions for them.  Thus, it doesn’t matter what means are used to convince the electorate to put them into power, as long as they do so.  Lying, misrepresenting, and fabricating documents are all OK as long as there is a justified liberal goal.

The Internet “bloggers” have now shown the mainstream media that they are an alternative source of information to be dealt with.  My hope is that this CBS firestorm will be a wake-up call to the rest of the public who have outsourced their responsibility for being informed to the mainstream media.

If you are frustrated with the liberal bias in the mainstream media, just turn it off.  I rarely ever watch the major television networks anymore.   I usually surf between FOX and CNN to get both sides of the issues.  If you are so inclined, you can also write to the advertisers on the major networks and let them know you have switched and why.  After this latest CBS flap, and its plunge in the ratings, advertisers will be much more sensitive to our issues.

Very best regards,

Gary D. Halbert


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Michael Moore calls Kerry a "lousy candidate."

Fed raises interest rate again.

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Forecasts & Trends E-Letter is published by Halbert Wealth Management, Inc. Gary D. Halbert is the president and CEO of Halbert Wealth Management, Inc. and is the editor of this publication. Information contained herein is taken from sources believed to be reliable but cannot be guaranteed as to its accuracy. Opinions and recommendations herein generally reflect the judgement of Gary D. Halbert (or another named author) and may change at any time without written notice. Market opinions contained herein are intended as general observations and are not intended as specific investment advice. Readers are urged to check with their investment counselors before making any investment decisions. This electronic newsletter does not constitute an offer of sale of any securities. Gary D. Halbert, Halbert Wealth Management, Inc., and its affiliated companies, its officers, directors and/or employees may or may not have investments in markets or programs mentioned herein. Past results are not necessarily indicative of future results. Reprinting for family or friends is allowed with proper credit. However, republishing (written or electronically) in its entirety or through the use of extensive quotes is prohibited without prior written consent.

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