Imperceptibly, we’ve slipped into a new era on the media bias issue. Conservatives don’t bother to mention it much, because they know it’s true, while the media makes far less effort to hide their bias, because they’re shrinking, and increasingly appealing openly to their liberal “base.”
To see the state we’re in, have a look at the front page story in today’s NYT by Linda Greenhouse: “Oral Dissents Give Ginsburg A New Voice.” This article is a barely disguised defense of, and paean to, Justice Ginsburg. Greenhouse answers the charge that Ginsburg is being petty or thin-skinned–on the justice’s behalf. Yet Greenhouse doesn’t even acknowledge the charge that Ginsburg is engaging in politics (except insofar as she seems to praise the justice for doing so). Almost everyone interviewed for the piece is either a personal friend of Ginsburg or a sympathetic scholar.
What makes this so revealing is that, over the years, Greenhouse has openly emerged as a politicized reporter. First there was her controversial decision to participate in an abortion rights rally in 1989. Then came her deeply political talk at Harvard last year. So here we have a reporter who’s openly rejected the old journalistic ethic and declared her partisanship–on precisely the issues that matter most to Ginsburg. Greenhouse then writes an utterly one-sided puff piece on Ginsburg’s controversial new, and more openly political stance, for the front page of the New York Times. Liberal political bias? Sure. But the point is, neither Greenhouse nor the Times (nor Ginsburg?) any longer care to deny it. At this point, anyone remotely in the know simply expects it.
For a very different view of Ginsburg’s latest actions, check out Matthew Frank and Ed Whelan at Bench Memos (see their posts from Wednesday, as well as today).