“Commentary or not, your bias shrieks out at the reader …”
— A Reader
Reader letters are one of the more enjoyable aspects of the commentating business. Opinion writers, by definition, have opinions, yet some of us are still on the lookout for information that indicates we just might be wrong about some of our beliefs. Not opinions that indicate we are wrong about our beliefs – but hard facts. We are, at heart, explorers of the intellectual landscape.
Call it a self-editing process. Today it’s the hard facts that distinguish conservatives from the left. As conservatives, our commitment is to the truth – because we believe that truth exists. When the facts no longer support our worldview, something has to give. I think that’s why conservatives and Republicans turned on Nixon and forced him to resign the presidency.
Compare that with Clinton, where every Democratic senator stood shoulder-to-shoulder (or however they stand these days) and said that the president’s lying under oath didn’t “rise to the level of an impeachable offense.” Pity poor Ken Lay and Martha Stewart: They believed the Democrats.
The left by contrast filters reality through their worldview. If the facts don’t fit, toss them into the dustbin or rearrange things until the discomfort disappears. Truth is relative – so what if the dots don’t line up, time to move on. The ideology is the important thing – can’t let that pesky little reality get in the way of what really matters.
This point was brought home to me by a recent reader letter:
I just read your article and found it appallingly biased. Where in hell do you get off being so damned critical of what you see as one sided, when in fact your own article leans so far to the right it staggers. Shades of the pot calling the kettle black. You sir are one crappy journalist.
— A Reader
I thought the issue here could be a misunderstanding about the differences between the news and commentary pages. Wanting to be helpful, I responded:
Columnists (I do appear on the commentary page) are expected to express opinions. Journalists (like “60 Minutes” folks) are expected to report what they see and hear, and to be objective. In fact, Mr. Rather presented forged military documents as if they were real to bolster his opinion that GWB should not be re-elected.
To my surprise, I got this in response:
That still does not answer why your piece is so far to the right it stands to topple. And commentary or not, your bias shrieks out at the reader.
Nothing “is” what it “is” if it endangers a leftist’s worldview. Not only is the left ill-informed, it’s also unbelievably stupid. Thus opinion writers are faulted for having opinions, while journalists are given a free pass for using forged documents to broadcast their opinions. Go figure.
Conservatives have made a grievous error in trying to carry on a dialog with the leftist-progressive-socialist-communist 42 percent of America. Leftists are simply not up to the task. I can count on one hand the number of occasions during my lifetime when I’ve been able to engage in a reasoned and civil discussion with a leftist about anything. That includes my own family.
So there you have it: Facts don’t change the left’s view of their ideology as the world’s savior (a job taken some 2,000 years ago), and contrary opinions are simply “mean and spiteful,” which means they can be safely ignored. Like all tyrants, however, the left does understand power. A conservative landslide this fall is a far more productive goal than dialog.