on the off chance

I doubt that anybody else besides Andrew and I cares much about the Whitewater debate (my side=whitewater was a desperate but clever right-wing attack on what republicans then saw as a dangerously popular and effective Democratic president. The plan was orchestrated by Newt Gingrich and implemented by Ken Starr, whose primary technique was to leverage Clinton's friends and associates with the threat of prosecution to get them to testify against Clinton, regardless of the truth or falsity of their testimony. And when Clinton came out clean from these approaches (only after many lives lay in ruins), Starr cynically exploited Clinton's sex-life to embarass him, again for obviously political purposes, and these events, at least the sex part, were overcovered by the media). (His side=Whitewater was a legitimate investigation, occasioned by compelling evidence of wrongdoing, carried out in a fair and professional way by Ken Starr, who aggressively but dutifully did his job, who uncovered substantial evidence that Clinton was engaged in criminal behavior, and who prosecuted those crimes that he came across during his investigation. Finally, the media under-covered these events due to their liberal bias.)
If, on the off chance you do care, I found an interesting interview with Susan McDougal, whose husband went to prison and died there, and who herself was inprisoned for refusing to testify against Clinton. In the interest of finding multiple points of view, read her version and decide for yourself if you believe her.



There's some lively discussion in the comments section of the "Rover on the Media" post that's worth browsing, if at least, to see what works and what doesn't. I threw the past two posts up with the intent of sparking something, and was pleasantly surprised to see those comments brew. Initially I thought the post full of Drezner links had more to run with, and I put Rove up there mostly because it seemed amusing that this political operator could sound so apolitical (i.e. reasonable).

Of course there's a good chance the quotes tone was entirely the point. As with so many of the administration sound bites, Karl's no doubt had a hand in, it seemed designed to put him just above the fray. Rove is no less shrewd than Clinton (in fact, I'd say he's more), and put into that context, his statment became more interesting. It felt like he was goading me (or you, but mostly the press) into giving that blurb some strained meaning. The actual topic of Media Bias drifted away and became irrelevant (though you probably found some in that very article).

Maybe that's just because I'm biased.

Blogs have drastically changed my outlook on the Mainstream Media (MSM). The tendencies of poorly written material, which poses as news but oozes it's author's opinion, to survive and thrive in certain markets is pretty appalling. When I started looking, I couldn't help but find it everywhere. I don't have any examples, so don't take my word for it. Read your newspapers with a healthy dose of skepticism, then follow up on it. Read stories on the same subject from other publications, take in some undisguised editorial opinion, and think about where you stand.

Blogs make it infinitely easier to do that. On a personal scale, bias has turned into an annoyance, though on a broad, societal scale its presence will always be troubling no matter which side it comes from. In the end, I rarely dwell on it anymore as it hardly seems worth my time. If I'm reading a shitty article, once I become aware of it's shitiness, I know it's time to move on.

This seems as good a point as any to give a question of Joe's some air, and let it breathe:

"It occurs to me that all of the newspapers that Andrew cited as liberal are from liberal areas (new york, chicago, washington). What about the Indianapolis Star, and all of the thousands of newspapers from smaller markets all over the country. The Star's editorial page is much more conservative than it is liberal, and I at least detect a slight conservative edge to its reporting. I wonder if other smaller market papers, particularly in the midwest, are similar?"

It doesn't have to do with bias, but hopefully this article by Andrew Sullivan on "the fundamentalist threat to the conservative coalition" will stir up more conversation. I found the article terribly well done, so please, don't be put off by registering at The New Republic (if you even have to register it will be free) or the article's length. It's worth the while.