In plain view

My 17 year-old daughter is conservative but not across-the-board, and she has a very open mind. In fact, she led the family rebellion that caused us to re-subcribe to the Washington Post after I had cancelled our subscription in the summer of 2004.

I’m glad she did. Now, every morning she reads the headlines from both the Post and the Washington Times. Often the bias of the Post headlines leaves her shaking her head.

Today, the Post’s headline for its story on Vice President Cheney’s speech was “Cheney Again Assails Critics of War.” (The Times said “Cheney hits Democrats on war tack). By using the word “again,” the Post signaled to its readers that there was nothing new to report, and that Cheney was merely up to his old tricks. Nowhere in the article, however, does the Post make any mention of a prior instance in which Cheney “assailed” war critics.

The article, in fact, has little to do with Cheney’s speech. Instead, it focuses on Cheney’s poll ratings. Indeed, the subtitle of the piece is “Rejection of ‘Revisionism’ Comes as His Standing Drops in Polls.'” Here the Post signals to its readers that, even if they don’t mind Cheney’s alleged repetition, they should ignore the substance of the speech (as the Post does) because it’s the work of a desperate man.

The Post also works Scooter Libby into the piece. Writers Michael Fletcher and Jim VandeHei claim that unnamed White House officials were surprised that Chaney replaced Libby with advisers who share his views on detainee policy and the war, and who testified before Fitzgerald’s grand jury. Such officials, if they exist, are morons. Why would the indictment of Libby for perjury cause Cheney to appoint advisers who disagree with him on policy matters, or to shun aides who are not accused of perjury?

The Post also suggests that Cheney erred in describing the people who blow up innocent civilians in Iraq as “terrorists.” It cites evidence that most of those fighting against the U.S. and the Iraqi government are not foreigners. But why does their status as Iraqis make them other than terrorists? Apparently, the Post takes offense that Cheney is assailing Iraqi killers as well as Democrats.

In any case, I’m not displeased that the Post is willing to risk sacrificing its credibility with a new generation of potential readers by failing to keep its bias out of their plain view.

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