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I wrote this piece for another venue (it was "give a conservative the mike night" at Osler's Razor). But I thought some of you might find it interesting.

Recently, a Saturday Night Live skit skewered Nancy Pelosi, Barney Frank, George Soros, “deadbeat” homebuyers, speculators, and Herb and Marion Sandler for their roles in the mortgage meltdown. Pretty clever. To my great surprise, it proved insightfully critical of Democrats.

Then, last week, without explanation, the clip disappeared off the program's website. Why? According to spokespersons from SNL and NBC, when pressed for answers, the bit "didn't meet [their] standards."


It did not meet SNL standards? Really!?!

What standards exactly? Standards of accuracy? Good taste? Fairness? Standards? Really!?!

Do you remember the one about (fill in your favorite tasteless SNL moment here)? But this one did not meet your standards?


No harm, no foul—I suppose. After a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth on the conservative blogosphere, the skit is back on the website—but, come now, standards?


The Good News: the Tina Fey/Sarah Palin material, evidently, continues to live up to all aforementioned SNL “standards.”

Does the Media lean left? Pretty hard to name a sitcom or drama with a conservative undertone. There is no conservative late night talk show or equivalent to SNL. I cannot think of a conservative David E. Kelly or Aaron Sorkin. Or, for some of us old timers, a conservative Norman Lear. Anybody?

Are there logical reasons for this? Certainly. Creative folks are naturally more prone to a “liberal” sensibility. Entertainment is a product of New York and L.A. Conservatives just aren’t that funny?

Am I whining? I don’t think so. I don’t mean to be. I have come to accept the world as it is. I am not one to rail against the liberal bias of the mainstream media. I am, in fact, a big fan of Saturday Night Live, and I have been, literally, since the very beginning.

I suffer their politics because I enjoy their art. Such is life. The perfect is often the enemy of the good.

Important Confession: I am also a big fan of NPR. I admire their artistry. I acknowledge their left-leaning bias, which often colors their coverage of Republicans and conservatives in unflattering and unfriendly ways. Nevertheless, I appreciate the skill and erudition that permeates every aspect of their operation.

However, there are times when the subtle bias of NPR makes me cringe. The other morning I was listening to a story about a bell-weather county in Indiana in which the poor NPR correspondent, Howard Burkes, dutifully reported on three ignoramuses who wondered whether they could vote for a Muslim. Berkes immediately inserted into the audio narrative, with his well-modulated authority, a correction: “of course, he [Obama] has always been a Christian.” Later, a more enlightened white voter asserted (without challenge): "If Obama were a white man, I'd say he'd be way out in front here and nationally."

According to reputable national polls, approximately 90 percent of voters understand that Barack Obama is a professing Christian. Give national news organizations credit for digging up the ignorant tenth in disproportionate numbers to buttress the obligatory mention of the most famously false accusation in American history. Then, the corrective from Berkes: “he’s always been a Christian.” From birth? Funny—but also a cultural commentary that even this basic fact of Protestant Christianity somehow eluded this top national reporter. This is a mistake you might expect from one trying to make sense of a foreign culture. More importantly, it also omits a telling episode in the life of the candidate (the way in which Obama came to Christ). And then there is the ubiquitous assertion that “race” is somehow holding back this candidate. Presumably, if he were white (like John Kerry, Al Gore, Mike Dukakis, Walter Mondale, or George McGovern), Barack Obama would be fourteen points ahead by now.

As I say, I love NPR—but this story is just another example of the unexamined assumptions that permeate even the best reporting in America.

Again, don’t hear me complaining. But I do get a little frustrated when I hear liberals rail against FOX News and other arms of the conservative media as somehow egregiously biased (compared, presumably, to the mainstream media culture).

FULL DISCLOSURE: I should mention that I do not watch FOX News on a regular basis. Why? I have an ultra-frugal cable package, which, blessedly, does not offer FOX News, CNN, MSNBC, or the Cartoon Network. Thanks be to God. However, my package does come with C-SPAN 1 & 2 (my wife has long suspected some kind of conspiracy regarding that piece of good fortune). FYI: there is no skullduggery involved—I am just lucky that way.

Having said that, I do monitor FOX News—and feel competent to comment on the following question:

How is FOX News different from the other network and cable news organizations?

Fox is not under the delusion of "objectivity." The liberal mainstream media labors under the self-serving certainty that they are reporting the news of the day in an objective way.

No matter how many studies show that an obscenely high percentage of "Beltway" reporters vote for Democratic candidates, mainstream reporters continue to argue that their personal politics do not impinge on their ability to report the news in a detached manner. They are professionals. In their own minds, they are expertly objective.

I have always believed that the FOX News slogan, "fair and balanced," was partly a parody of the mainstreamer’s tortured self-perception.

What do I mean by that?

Most of the Fox pioneers were veteran reporters and producers from the mainstream orgs (think Britt Hume formerly of ABC News). They had toiled in the fields of their oppressors for years. When they broke free and raised their own flag, they signaled their independence and defiance with a series of slogans like "We Report, You Decide" and "Fair and Balanced."

Moreover, they knew well that the competition would see FOX as conservatives reporting the news through a lens of conservatism. But they also knew that their liberal counterparts would NOT see FOX as their mirror image; the established media would continue to see themselves as faithful adherents to the sacred calling of objectivity; they would see FOX News as unwashed infidels desecrating the holy temple of objective journalism.

The FOX News brain trust fully expected that their conservative cable news network would make the mainstream newspersons apoplectic. Furthermore, I am convinced that they think the whole situation is quite hilarious.

Bottom Line: it really comes down to whose ox is getting gored. FOX viewers appreciate a reading and framing of the news sympathetic to conservatism. This makes some non-conservatives very angry. Liberals should calm down, be more generous, and let conservatives have one news outlet.
I am not sure what this is worth, but will offer the following for consideration.

I teach an American History Course on Ft. Sill over the lunch hour. The class is mixed military and civilian, many of the civilians being post workers or military spouses.

I was surveying the 90s today, and the Clinton Administration. I remarked about Clinton still providing fodder for late-night comedians. Blank looks. I asked, "You folks have heard the Clinton jokes on late night TV haven't you?" Negative response. "Do any of you watch Letterman, Leno, Conan, Ferguson?" Negative responses.

It turns out that NO ONE in my class watches the late-night comedy/talk shows, even on Friday night. It's not that they did watch and for some reason quit watching. They just do not and have not watched these programs.

I knew that today's youth watch far less TV than previous age cohorts, instead playing video games, chatting on the internet, or watching videos. But I had no idea so many are unaware of the monologues.

If my class is anywhere close to representative, then the late-night comics are not affecting the youth vote by their monologues on Old McCain, Moose Hunter Sarah, or Hair Plug Biden. (Rarely do I hear or read jokes about Obama on late night.)