Certain groups and individuals regularly accuse the big media of bias. Almost always the accusation is of bias in a liberal direction. "Not so," say the accused. But here's some more evidence that the accusers may be right. It's from the Media Research Center -- admittedly a conservative organization -- but the quotes speak for themselves.
This year's MRC "Media Hero Award" goes to ABC's Barbara Walters, who, in narrating her interview with Fidel Castro last October said, "For Castro, freedom starts with education. And if literacy alone were the yardstick, Cuba would rank as one of the freest nations on Earth. The literacy rate is 96 percent."
I wonder if the literacy rate in Castro's prisons is included in that figure.
The "Ashamed of the Red, White and Blue Award" goes to our friend Phil Donahue, who told fellow NBC-er Tom Brokaw last July, "Let me tell you what is impressive. You're not wearing a flag. Well, I don't want to damn you with my praise, but I say hip, hip, hooray for that."
Donahue's point, evidently, was that it's wrong for journalists to display their patriotism. Well, I say even some journalists are Americans -- so hip, hip, hooray for the flag.
The MRC's "Blame America First Award" goes to Walter Cronkite, the former CBS anchorman who some still call "The most trusted man in America." Well, just after the Sept. 11 attacks, Cronkite told CNN's Larry King, "I think very definitely that foreign policy -- meaning U.S. foreign policy -- could have caused what has happened."
The world, said Cronkite, is "suffering from a revolution of the poor and have-nots against the rich and haves, and that's us."
Uh, Walter, just a suggestion, but why don't you donate your yacht and house in Bermuda to charity, then tell us about the rich and the poor?
Then there is retired UPI correspondent Helen Thomas -- no relation -- who appropriately gets the "Mt. St. Helen Award for Helen Thomas Eruptions." Speaking last month to students at MIT, Thomas said, "I censored myself for 50 years. Now I wake up and ask myself, 'Who do I hate today?'"
Well, guess who? She goes on to say: "I have never covered a president who actually wanted to go to war. Bush's policy of pre-emptive war is immoral." And she concludes: "Where is the outrage?" Where indeed, Helen?
By the way, full disclosure: I was one of the 50 bias- award judges for the Media Research Center this year.
There's more on their Web site www.mrc.org.