Fox News
April 22, 2011

'Behind the Bias': How Media's Hostility Towards GOP Began

Guests: Brent Bozell, Media Research Center; Gerard Alexander, American Enterprise Institute; Juan Williams, Fox News political analyst

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," April 22, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: And welcome to this special edition of Hannity, "Behind the Bias," a close-up look at the Obama-mania media's liberal bias.

Now, it is common knowledge that the mainstream media from the major television networks to the country's most influential newspapers are biased against the GOP. Tonight, we'll examine some of the major scandals that resulted from this bias, and the victims that it has left in its wake.

But first, how and why this bias began?

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC ANCHOR, FEB. 12, 2008: I felt this thrill going up my leg. I mean, I don't have that too often.

BRYANT GUMBLE, FORMER "TODAY" CO-ANCHOR, JULY 17, 1989: Largely, as a result of the policies and priorities of the Reagan administration, more people are becoming poor and staying poor in this country than at any time since World War II.

CHARLES KURALT, FORMER CBS ANCHOR, MAY 4, 1994: It is liberalism, whether people like it or not which is animated, all the years of my life. What on earth did conservatism ever accomplished for our country?

HANNITY (voice-over): Republicans may have learned to live with media bias and even to fight against it. But to many the roots of this bias remains a mystery. The media's hostility towards the GOP first emerged as a bizarre tendency to apologize for America's enemies.

JERRY KING, ABC NEWS CORRESPONDENT, APRIL 6, 1992: Under the communists, women in the workplace were glorified.

HANNITY: And as Republicans gained power, the media turned its sights on them, portraying the GOP's most influential figures as he either evil or stupid.

This bias goes all the way back to the 1930s when New York Times reporter Walter Durante traveled to Stalin's Soviet Union. Now, during the Ukrainian famine that killed millions, he told his readers that quote, "Any report of a famine in Russia is today an exaggeration or malignant propaganda." In a socialist utopia like the Soviet Union, Durante argued, quote, "You can't make an omelet without breaking eggs."

BRENT BOZELL, MEDIA RESEARCH CENTER: The New York Times sends a reporter over there who goes back and says, he's seen the future and it works.

GERARD ALEXANDER, AMERICAN ENTERPRISE INSITUTE: To have a fundamentally conflicted attitude about not just the United States, but whether the United States is a constructive force in the world, that is something that I think really does separates a lot of liberals and conservatives.

HANNITY: The media have been apologizing for America's enemies from the Cold War through the war on terror.

MIKE WALLACE, FORMER CBS NEWS CORRESPONDENT, FEB. 11, 1990: Many soviets viewing the current chaos and nationalist unrest under Gorbachev, look back almost longingly to the era of brutal order under Stalin.

BERT QUINT, FORMER CBS NEWS CORRESPONDENT, MAY 9, 1990: Communism is being swept away, but so too is the social safety net it provided.

BARBARA WALTERS, ABC NEWS ANCHOR, OCT. 11, 2002: For Castro, freedom starts with education. And if literacy alone were the yardstick, Cuba would rank as one of the freest nations on earth.

BOZELL: There was an element on the left, particularly in the news media that saw the Soviet Union as a wonderful experiment. They were just simply blind to the tens of millions who were massacred.

ALEXANDER: They tend to think of the United States as having had influences on the world that are at times quite destructive. I think, for example, they found it easy, liberal journalists to develop a posture whereby they weren't American journalists, their job was to be neutral, not just about any given story that they were covering, but even about the United States.

HANNITY: This left wing biased emerged in the mid 20th century when liberals dominated most of American intellectual and public life, that dominant shaped, the media's portrayal of the GOP.

ALEXANDER: That long liberal dominance over intellectual life, over government life, over parliament, you know, legislative majorities in Congress, that bred a complacency and self-righteousness that I think really affected media coverage, including especially the conservatives in their rising years, and is still with us today.

HANNITY: This liberal dominance also affected the media's attitude towards conservative policies and ideas.

ALEXANDER: Liberalism is treated as the natural default. Its conservatism that needs to be explained. It's conservatism that needs narratives.

HANNITY: Ironically, it was the emergence of a muscular conservative movement in the mid-1950s led by William F. Buckley and his National Review magazine that bred hostility towards conservatives on the part of the mainstream media.

ALEXANDER: It was very threatening for them when conservative voices began to rise in 1950s, 60s and 70s, challenging their interpretations of a great number of things.

JUAN WILLIAMS, FOX NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: That ability to puncture a lot of liberal myths is in the court of Bill Buckley and later people like Irving Kristol, you know, that people were coming along and saying, hey, wait a second, there isn't just one way of thinking in America.

ALEXANDER: Their rising confidence and the reach of their voices did provoke a backlash.

HANNITY: That backlash lead to a simplistic portrayal of conservatives in the media. Many are depicted as evil, from Ronald Reagan...

HOWELL RAINES, FORMER NEW YORK TIMES EXECUTIVE EDITOR, NOV. 17, 2003: The Reagan years depressed me because of the callousness and the greed and the hard-hearted attitude towards people have very little in this society.

HANNITY: To Dick Cheney...

DAVID GREGORY, NBC NEWS ANCHOR, SEPT. 1, 2004: He has become a dark figure.

HANNITY: And of course, Karl Rove...

WALTER CRONKITE, FORMER CBS NEWS ANCHOR, OCT. 29, 2004: He probably set up bin Laden to this thing.

BOZELL: They would not allow that conservatives might be wrong but are driven by noble intentions, they won't even allow that. Conservatives have to be described as being wrong and being evil at the same time.

ALEXANDER: There is a self-righteous streak that runs through a great deal of liberal and progressive policy making from the New Deal through the 1960s and 1970s in which they were convinced that they really had the solutions to problems. In which case, if you disagreed with them, you probably didn't want to solve that problem and for some reason you were uncaring.

HANNITY: And if conservatives aren't evil and heartless, then they are just stupid.

TOM FRIEDMAN, NEW YORK TIMES COLUMNIST, MARCH 14, 1999: When I listen to the Republicans in Congress on foreign policy, there is such an I'm stupid and proud of it attitude.

KATIE COURIC, FORMER "TODAY" CO-ANCHOR, SEPT. 27, 1999: Good morning, the Gipper was an airhead.

HOWARD FINEMAN, NEWSWEEK SENIOR EDITOR, AUG. 29, 2008: Sarah Palin makes Barack Obama look like John Adams, I mean, it's just, no contest.

WILLIAMS: The New York Times, the L.A. Times, the Washington Post, CBS, NBC, ABC, run by the Ivy Leaguers and that liberal elite, they get certifications from those schools, right? So, guess what? When they are talking to Al Gore, when they are talking to Barack Obama, the assumption is, you're one of us. You're no dummy, you're a smart guy. And then they start talking about everything that goes, let's say with a George Bush who went to Harvard Business School and Yale undergrad. But again, the assumption is, you know, what? You really got in there because of your parents. You don't really belong. You are not one of us.

BOZELL: They see themselves as enlightened, they see themselves as intelligent. And they see themselves as good. And therefore, conservatives are the opposite.

WILLIAMS: The story time and again is, Republicans don't know what they are talking about. They are ill informed, i.e., they're dummies, they're a bunch of stupid people, and they're bunch of ignoramuses who react on the basis of emotion, say the most outrageous and provocative things, but really don't know what they are talking about.

And, oh gee, was Democrats come out of the top schools in the country, they are all the Ivy Leaguers, they're the ones who really are bookish and geekish and they may not exactly get it right, but they are really the smart ones.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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