Deb emailed a response regarding my blog post. She wanted me to let everyone know that the proper credit for my quoted text should go to Human Events. However, she did include some words of her own:
Of course any business has the right to free speech to make its position known. It’s no coincidence that things like the September 11 attacks, the capture and beheading of American civilians by terrorists, and the threat of terrorism generally are blocked out by CBS, while pieces on the benefits of socialized medicine and gun control or the assumed evils of our current president are long and full of emotional appeals.
There is a clear political slant that no rational examination can deny. Some news outlets, like CBS or the New York Times, lean liberal; others, like Fox News or the Washington Times, lean conservative. Claiming either to be completely “fair and balanced” is ludicrous. Yet, I can’t help but believe that the news business, because it claims to report facts, has a responsibility to do so — otherwise, it violates every law ever created to prevent false advertising.
I don’t particularly agree with the assertion that truth is a subjective matter, though as a journalist myself I recognize the difficulty that sometimes exists in giving a full picture of an issue in a few hundred words or a minute and a half. Even so, facts are facts, only subjective in how they are analyzed and used.
When CBS chooses to report certain facts — that a majority of members of a third-grade class polled in Massachusetts believe that the war in iraq is bad (editorializing that we should oppose the war and the president) — and ignore other facts — namely a long list of horrendous acts of terrorism committed against our people and others (with no editorial becuase it is being ignored) — the packagers of news are intentionally, through their choices, setting up a skewed picture of reality for mass-consumption, under the guise of a full and factual news report. It is the most basic form of deception: claiming one thing while doing another.
As an independent-minded person who assesses things for myself (for example, I like some of the president’s policies and detest others), I am quite disturbed by such gigantic attempts by the “news” networks to change public opinion not through rational argument, but through omission of the news. I will gladly stand to face any challenge of logic, of reason, of principle — but instead of presenting such a challenge, the cowards at CBS and other news outlets instead try to win their cause by circumventing logic, by presenting things that you cannot argue with becuase they are not mentioned or becuase they contain not a single grain of disputable fact.
The trouble with CBS is not what it is saying, but what it’s not saying; it’s not that the network owners have an opinion, but that they are using their great power to restrict and prevent the transmission of facts in order to benefit what they see as the appropriate political ends. In so doing, they are not stating an opinion, not using their free speech but, by blocking certain parts of the news from public view, preventing people from the formation of well-informed opinions, even as they claim to inform. The issue here is not free speech, but rather large-scale deception.