The new “liberal bias”

RUSH LIMBAUGH IS A NEO-CON, partisan idiot. That doesn’t stop him from being right once in a while.

Our news media is biased.

Where he’s wrong, of course, is when he charges a “liberal” bias. News media, as a marriage of generally liberal individual reporters and generally conservative corporate interests, has generally avoided outright partisan bias. American news leaves that to Fox News and The New York Times.

For this tally, also forget hotheads like Bill Maher and Ann Coulter — their broadcasts are many things, but they aren’t news.

Let’s talk ABC, NBC and CNN. Let’s talk real newspapers, or the wire services. Surprised? Here’s a hint: This bias is more intrapartisan than anything.

News organizations are now slanted against — drumroll, please — Democratic presidential contender Hillary Clinton.

Big surprise. Not.

If you’ve seen, read or heard any election coverage of the last month-and-a-half, this is nothing new to you.

Whatever the content of the articles, the latest Newsweek’s headlines referred to the Clintons with a hearty, “How they have lost” and “Hillary should get out now.”

MSNBC described Clinton’s debate challenge to Obama — “Meet me in Ohio.” — with the word “snapped.” CNN went out of its way to report that Obama was in Ohio at the time.

If you care at all about late-night television, the joke’s on Hillary Clinton. According to the same issue of Newsweek, Clinton weathered 68 late-night jokes about her during the writer’s strike, while Obama has had just 18.

Don’t get me wrong: When it comes to the Democrats, I’m an Obama guy all the way. His candidacy is probably the best thing since sliced Jesus. Moreover, I’d probably vote for Chthulu before I’d vote for either Clinton to any elected office.

Even I, self-described Clinton bigot, acknowledge that the media has some sort of grudge.

Is the media’s bias a sexist bias? Excluding the Limbaughs of the world, probably not.

Sexism is against AP Style, and overt sexism is simply passé.

What has Clinton done, then, to deserve this bias against her, if the arbitrary distinctions are a no-show? It was as recently as her husband’s administration that CNN was lambasted as the “Clinton News Network,” and all of a sudden it seems as if the cable news agency will have to change its name to ONN.

Why fault the media more than we fault anyone else? Bias, after all, is in human nature. Some might argue that it is human nature.

The same latest issue of Newsweek with the “Hillary should get out now” headline had another article that addressed how the brain plays with favoritism.

Human brains are biased in favor of those we see as on “our team,” it says, and biased against those on “the other team.”

Bias, therefore, is unavoidable. Despite whatever efforts the media could spearhead to avoid bias, at least some will slip through. The only variable is how the subject of the media’s attention deals with the coverage.

Hillary Clinton’s shrewd pragmatism and self-lauded experience should have recognized that. I say she has nobody but herself to blame.

In an election season where as recently as last fall she was coronated as the presumptive Democratic nominee and next president, she let up. Her campaign didn’t see a protracted fight for the nomination likely, and they don’t seem to have had a back-up plan.

That pokes a big hole in her presidential readiness argument. If she’s worth her salt in experience and judgment, she could have seen it coming and take steps to avoid it. Either she isn’t, or she didn’t. Pick one.

Interestingly, no credible news organizations especially have it out for Republican presidential contender John McCain.

The Arizona senator has, remarkably, stayed aloof from any en masse media bias, whether due to artful handling on the part of his campaign staff, or simply the overwhelming, overbearing interest in the Democratic race.

Sure, The New York Times used anonymous sources to allege that McCain almost had an affair with a lobbyist, but that’s The New York Times. We expect that sort of thing from them.

The bias against Clinton? Now that’s special.

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