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Reality's Liberal Bias again

Glenn Greenwald:

The new CAF study [detailing the recordbreaking Republican obstructionism going on in Congress this session] led to this exchange during the chat of Washington Post congressional reporter Paul Kane today -- a perfect museum exhibit for the journalistic fetish for "balance" at the expense of truth:
Prescott, Ariz.: I saw at the Center for American Progress website that yesterday the Republicans in the Senate broke all previous records for obstructing legislation (the metric was cloture votes)...

How can you guys not mention this obstruction rate in every single story about the Senate?...

Paul Kane: This is a running theme among liberals who are defenders of Harry Reid and Senate Democrats, blaming Republicans and filibusters for everything that's gone wrong with the Democratic agenda. Yes, the Senate has essentially set a record for the number of votes to cut off filibusters in 1 year, already breaking the record for a 2-year Congress. In almost every story we write in the Post, we talk about the need for 60 votes to break GOP filibusters. Do we need to cite this statistical record in every single story we write? I think not.

Whereas filibusters were previously used as an extraordinary tool to preserve minority rights in the Senate, and were routinely depicted as "obstructionist" by the press when wielded by Democrats, they have now become the standard course for Republicans. Yet Kane, and most other Congressional reporters, simply refuse to point that objective fact out -- that Republicans are using this obstructionist tool on virtually every issue at a record rate -- because to point that out would be to violate the Sacred Law of Balance, even though it is true.

Indeed, Kane, amazingly, goes so far as to describe the objective facts as nothing more than the "running theme among liberals who are defenders of Harry Reid and Senate Democrats." Thus, because it is "liberals" who point these facts out, Kane can't report them that way, lest he be accused of being unbalanced and "biased." Here we have the perfect expression of the mockery Stephen Colbert delivered to the White House press corps: "reality has a well-known liberal bias."

Worse still, Kane defends himself and this fact-free reporting by noting that "we talk about the need for 60 votes to break GOP filibusters." But that's not a defense of the reporting; it's an indictment of it.

Because of that, the public is largely unaware of just how obstructionist the Republicans have been because most Beltway journalists haven't reported it. And they haven't reported it because the rule they follow most religiously is that they never will describe the facts as they are if those facts reflect poorly on Republicans, because to do that means that they are "unbalanced" and "biased" and will be attacked as such. In Beltway journalism circles, misleading though balanced accounts are always preferred to factually truthful, "unbalanced" ones. Republicans always have a valid point, their version is always reasonable and worthy of respect, even when false.

Also don't miss the new definition of the word "rumor". (And the Krugman twist.)

By fnord12 | December 20, 2007, 4:36 PM | Liberal Outrage