Why Is ABC Paying Laura Ingraham Lots of Money to Be a Racist?
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It was once an article of faith among many Americans, including many members of the press, that the news media was a hotbed of left wing propaganda, so filled with liberal bias that one had to use a decoder ring to get the truth. There may have been a grain of truth in it during the early days of Camelot and perhaps in the immediate aftermath of Watergate, but for the most part the media has always shown a bias toward the establishment, regardless of which party or ideology is dominant at a particular time.
However, the modern conservative movement, believing as it does in the All American capitalist maxim “there’s a sucker born every minute” used this perceived bias as a political tactic, what wags called “working the refs,” wherein they would accuse the press of being liberal so often that reporters would second-guess themselves and bend over backwards to accommodate a more conservative viewpoint. Despite the rise of FOX News and hundreds of right wing talk show hosts dominating much of the airwaves, they are still able to convince mainstream news organizations that they are biased and lacking in authentic conservative voices. Recall a few years back when even the New York Times ostentatiously declared that it planned to devote significant resources to covering “the conservative beat” (which might have been just a bit more understandable if it hadn’t come immediately in the wake of its credulous reporting on the Bush administration’s push for war with Iraq.)
Nobody has been more of a vociferous critic of the news media’s alleged liberal bias than talk radio host and conservative commentator Laura Ingraham. Going all the way back to her years as a notorious campus activist making her name as a vicious homophobe (since partially recanted,) she has been hitting the mainstream media for its so-called liberal bias. This “Reliable Sources” exchange with E.J. Dionne from early 2003 is an amusing example of how the best of them get the job done:
KURTZ: Let’s turn now to media bias. E.J. Dionne, you wrote a column recently saying there is no longer any such thing as the big, liberal media. Is this a fantasy we’ve been talking about for some years now? … You’re saying that the “New York Times” and the “L.A. Times” and “The Washington Post” and the networks and magazines have been intimidated and they’re cowering and they can’t do their jobs anymore?
INGRAHAM: I must have missed that.
DIONNE: That’s not what I said…
INGRAHAM: When they cover a Bush press conference, how is it covered? Is it covered in a fair and balanced way…
DIONNE: Bush has gotten an extraordinarily good press. I challenge you to compare…
INGRAHAM: He’s been an extraordinarily good president, much to the media’s chagrin.
You see, when a Republican president gets bad coverage it’s because the press has a liberal bias. When he gets good coverage it’s because he’s so good.
Ingraham must be feeling some sort of vindication today. ABC News has announced that she is their newest contributor. And she’ll be allowed to keep her job at Fox News subbing for Bill O’Reilly and also her daily radio show. Perhaps conservatives can finally relax a little bit about being so marginalized. It would appear we won’t be able to escape them.
One hopes that Ingraham will get along better with ABC than she did with FOX in the early days when Harry Shearer’s My Damn Channel posted behind the scenes footage of her frustration with the staff of her soon to be cancelled show, (especially a mysterious “Hispanic man” who kept spontaneously appearing in her teleprompter.) It occasioned James Walcott to comment: