Monday, April 11, 2005

Bias? Don't believe your lying eyes.

Let me get this straight.

The Roanoke Times is owned by Landmark Communications, a company based in Norfolk, Virginia.

Landmark's Chief Operating Officer, Decker Anstrom, worked in the Carter White House (scroll down for Anstrom).

Landmark's executives include two Frank Battens -- Senior and Junior. One of them, apparently Frank Batten Senior, Landmark's Chairman of the Board's Executive Committee, donated $50,000 dollars to the "Leadership for Virginia" PAC which played a key role in electing Democrat Paula Miller last year. And similarly, before Virginia's gubernatorial campaign officially kicked off, Mr. Batten donated $25,000 to Tim Kaine to run for Governor.

Moving down from top management into the editorial staff, we find that Roanoke Times' senior editor Tommy Denton, served as an aide to Democratic Senator Lloyd Bensten and routinely writes anti-Bush columns.

During the last presidential election cycle, every member of the Roanoke Times editorial staff wrote commentary that included ad hominem attacks on George Bush. One editorial referred to him as a "turkey" when he visited troops in Iraq at Thanksgiving 2003. As Salt Lick has documented, the attacks on Bush consistently go beyond mere criticism of policy ("reasonable men can differ")to true hatred. And to a disturbing degree, Roanoke Times editorials cite as support for their assertions opinions of liberal publications and institutions.

On top of this, nearly all of the political cartoons run in the Roanoke Times are anti-Republican (here's a week's sample and for the masochist, another).

Likewise, the paper's "news side" reflects liberal bias in its selection of wire stories and headlines crafted for those stories. Look at this and this and the lack of coverage of the largest scandal in history.

It's possible that these things -- service in Democratic administrations, donations to Democratic Party candidates, editorial endorsements of Democratic candidates and liberal policies, political cartoons weighted heavily against Republicans, slanted news headlines prepared for carefully selected wire stories -- do not combine to create "bias."

Then again, when Salt Lick is told "bias is in the eye of the beholder," he feels like the man who caught Groucho Marx kissing his wife. Groucho exclaimed, "I wasn't kissing her, I was just whispering in her mouth!"

Uh huh.