Helen Thomas: Exhibit A of Media Bias

John Rentoul

Helen Thomas in her front 010 300x180 Helen Thomas: Exhibit A of Media BiasGuest Post by Tom Doran

I just tweeted this 2006 piece by Jonathan Chait about Helen Thomas, the long-serving White House correspondent who recently died; she later gained some infamy with some appalling remarks about Israel, but this was written long before that.

You might find it interesting because it illustrates how extremism (if that’s the right word) isn’t just factually and morally wrong, it’s also pragmatically wrong. Thomas asked such provocative and emotive questions that the Bush administration was easily able to shake them off, all the while pointing to her as Exhibit A of media bias. In doing so, she became a great asset to the people she theoretically opposed.

The analogy with British politics should be obvious.

Photograph: Joshua Roberts/Reuters

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  • Hill244

    Yes apparently the Ashkenazim ought to “go back to Poland and Slovakia”. That is two blogs mentioning Jews Mr Rentoul – careful or we will have “Blair’s granny was Lipschitz from Donegal” Or was it Danzig?

  • Pacificweather

    The analogy with John Rentoul should be obvious.

  • Junius

    Lord Macaulay wrote of historians, in his essay on history: ‘The practice of distorting narrative into a conformity with theory is a vice not so unfavourable as at first it might appear to the interests of political science. We have compared the writers who indulge in it to advocates; and we might add, that their conflicting fallacies, like those of advocates, correct each other. It has always been held, in the most enlightened nations, that a tribunal will decide a judicial question most fairly when it has heard two able men argue, as unfairly as possible, on the two opposite sides of it… Sometimes, it is true, superior eloquence and dexterity will make the worse appear the better reason; but it is at least certain that the judge will be compelled to contemplate the case under two different aspects.’

    Substitute reader for judge, and the case is made for media bias. Most political journalists are overtly or covertly partisan. In theory they should, like Macaulay’s ideal historian, possess sufficient self-command to abstain from casting their facts in the mould of their hypotheses. In practice, hardly any journalists are entirely objective, impartial or disinterested. Perhaps it is expecting too much that they should even attempt to be so. That is why the sensible reader takes what he or she reads on politics in the Indy, Guardian, Mail or Telegraph with a sizeable pinch of salt.

  • Guest

    Yes, you are.

  • plumplum

    “.. she later gained some infamy with some appalling remarks about Israel..’
    She told the truth AND asked some unwanted questions, you nasty shill.
    Ohhhhhh… what a threat she was to the established propagandative..

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