Has The Media Research Center "Triumphed" Over Liberal Media?

File this one under the "we wish" category. Former New York Times and Washington Post reporter E. J. Dionne, Jr., now a columnist for the Washington Post, became the latest liberal writer to climb aboard the Tom Daschle-Al Gore-Bill Clinton bandwagon, arguing in Friday's newspaper that, since the Media Research Center has beaten the bias out of the liberal press, the only remaining media bias favors conservatives.E. J. Dionne, Jr.

Dionne argued that "Limbaugh's new respectability is the surest sign that the conservative talk network is now bleeding into what passes for the mainstream media, just as the unapologetic conservatism of the Fox News Channel is now affecting programming on the other cable networks."

"All this constitutes a genuine triumph for conservatives," Dionne admitted. "But rather than rest on their laurels, they continue to pound away at any media deviation from their version of political correctness. When Katie Couric had the nerve to ask some tough questions of EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman on Monday's Today show, the ever-alert conservative Media Research Center trashed Couric for bias....Editors who worry about conservative criticism are not paranoid. You just wonder: Where have the liberals been?

"It took conservatives a lot of hard and steady work to push the media rightward. It dishonors that work to continue to presume that - except for a few liberal columnists - there is any such thing as the big liberal media."

If only Dionne were right. Unfortunately, the "traditional news sources" like ABC, CBS and NBC - which he reveals feel "under constant pressure to avoid even the pale hint of liberalism" - still have massive audiences compared to their cable and radio competitors, and their liberal bias remains as full-throated as ever. The key difference now is that the public has become aware of the media's liberal bias and has the opportunity to seek alternatives.

The problem isn't Katie Couric's "nerve," it's that her questions always start from a liberal perspective. Why didn't she grill Whitman about the onerous burden of her EPA's regulations on business during a time of weak economic growth? Such a display of independence from the prevailing liberal media mindset would really show some nerve. - Rich Noyes