Monday, March 14, 2005

Suppression of Knowledge By the Right

The right wing is continuing on a number of fronts to suppress free speech, unbiased news, and scientific knowledge.

Evidence of Fox New's bias is so strong that even Howard Kurtz, who is normally in bed with the right wing both ideologically and literally, had to acknowledge it. (Kurtz is married to Sharri Annis, who has worked as a Republican political operative and has written for the National Review and Wall Street Journal).

Kurtz discussed a report from the Project for Excellence in Journalism which found that:

In covering the Iraq war last year, 73 percent of the stories on Fox News included the opinions of the anchors and journalists reporting them, a new study says.

By contrast, 29 percent of the war reports on MSNBC and 2 percent of those on CNN included the journalists' own views.

These findings -- the figures were similar for coverage of other stories -- "seem to challenge" Fox's slogan of "we report, you decide," says the Project for Excellence in Journalism.
Kurtz also noted a quote in a Detroit News story last week regarding Fox's bias:

Speaking of Fox, a Detroit News story last week called it "consciously biased" -- without attribution -- and quoted onetime Fox producer Dan Cooper as saying: "In the morning, everyone is told what today's key issues are and how those issues are viewed by Fox News. The entire staff understands how the organization feels about them."

Cooper subsequently denied making this statement but Detroit News editor Mark Silverman reviewed the reporters notes and found "we believe his story accurately portrayed what you said to him."

Bob Edwards, former host of NPR's Morning Edtion and now a host for XM Satellite Radio spoke on the media at Centre College in Kentucky. Reportedly Edwards warned that the United States is in a period like the McCarthy era of the 1950s, in which the government is stifling political dissent while the news media and the public fail to speak out in vigorous opposition. He alsosaid the "Bush administration holds reporters in contempt" and has become the "all-time champion of information control."

The Washington Post also reviewed attempts by the religious right to prevent teaching of evolution. They note that "the growing trend has alarmed scientists and educators who consider it a masked effort to replace science with theology." They quote Southern Baptist minister Terry Fox, pastor of the largest Southern Baptist church in the Midwest, as seeing this as part of the culture war of the religous right, believing that"If you can cause enough doubt on evolution, liberalism will die."

Unfortunately, if these reactionaries get their way, not only will liberalism die, but so will modern civilization.


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