Miss Laura Ingraham, wearing the face that she keeps in a jar by the door
The plight of those who still would have you believe there's such a beast as the "liberal media" has become so sad to watch. Late last week, they had another setback when they declared an internal State Department memo "fake" because of a cheesy eagle graphic stuck at the top of the page. It wasn't a fake, but just another example of someone with no design skills trying to brighten up dry documents. If you've worked in or around government, you see that sort of thing all the time.
Then, this morning, Laura Ingraham made snide comments about the supposed liberal slant of CNN to American Morning host John Roberts. She even had proof from that very interview, in fact: John Roberts had called her outspoken. Never mind that Al Franken was called an "outspoken comedian and liberal" by CNN. Or that Hugo Chavez is an "outspoken leftist". Or that Cynthia McKinney, Michael Moore and Nancy Pelosi were all referred to as "outspoken liberal(s)." None of those things matter. In the minds of the Republican hothouse flowers, any word used to describe them--other than heroic or beloved--can be seen as an attack by the dastardly liberal media.
It's even more sad to watch Ingraham and her ilk grasping at straws when you consider that the myth of a liberal media died an ignominious death in 2006. Certainly the myth had been ill--what with Eric Alterman, Gene Lyons and others chipping away at it for years--but on October 24th of last year, the myth lifted its weak head, smiled and expired when Karl Rove accused NPR's Robert Siegel of "exhibiting a bias" by pointing out that Rove seemed overly "optimistic" in predicting Republicans would hold onto the House and Senate in the midterm elections. Rove claimed to have access to more polls than the average American (which wasn't true, thanks to Josh Marshall's Election Central Poll Tracker") and famously told the All Things Considered host, "I'm looking at all these, Robert, and adding them up and I add up to a Republican Senate and a Republican House. You may end up with a different math, but you're entitled to your math and I'm entitled to the math."
At that moment, the myth died.
It didn't pass on because Rove was proven to be wrong by the election which followed, but because Rove, in that interview, provided proof positive that when people like him speak of "liberal media bias," they really mean that members of the media sometimes say things the members of their party don't like to hear.
Don't expect to quit hearing about liberal bias, of course. Some people just can't face certain types of loss. So just like the woman I met who refused to give up on either the beehive hairdo or the idea that Elvis is still alive, people like Ingraham will continue talking about the Myth of the Liberal Media as if it's still here with us, perhaps just waiting in the other room to reappear.
We should show her some compassion. She can't help it.
Update: By the way, Ingraham was also called "outspoken" by the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, Michael Medved and Fox News' Chris Wallace. Doesn't seem like she got all pissy about those references.
Update: CNN has the transcript up now.
INGRAHAM: It's absurd (for Bush to accuse critics of the immigration bill of being patriotic). I think it was a bad, tactical decision for him to say that. The way to get people on your side is not to insult them, especially people in the conservative movement, who worked tirelessly to get him re-elected. The president has been consistent on supporting this. You have to give him credit on that. I've never questioned his motives in pushing for this type of comprehensive reform. But to insult his base, I mean, I hope he thinks he's going to be saved by the liberal elites at CNN, John, because if he is, then I'll be wrong about this. But I think it's kind of silly.
ROBERTS: Excuse me, what was that last comment?
INGRAHAM: By the way, John, how did you introduce me for this segment before the break. The outspoken Laura Ingraham. Do you guys introduce liberal commentators that way? I'm going to check.
ROBERTS: Yeah, we do actually.
INGRAHAM: OK, I'm going to check that.
ROBERTS: Are you denying that you're outspoken Laura?
INGRAHAM: No, why would you say that?
ROBERTS: I just think that we're appropriately characterizing you.
INGRAHAM: OK, got it.
ROBERTS: You're definitely outspoken. You were outspoken about immigration on Wednesday's show.
INGRAHAM: How about radio talk show host and author. That's quite effective.
ROBERTS: This isn't about a disagreement between you and I. This is about you and your views here. [snip] All right, Laura Ingraham, as always, thanks for being with us, appreciate it.
INGRAHAM: Never outspoken.
ROBERTS: I somehow think that you and I will be exchanging e-mails later on this morning.
INGRAHAM: Yes we will John.
ROBERTS: Appreciate it.