Don Rogers: Where the bias really lies
The Union is not a partisan paper. We do not plan coverage through an ideological lens. That’s the simple truth. Honestly, I don’t care what you believe.
I’m not partisan myself, either. I wouldn’t say non-partisan. No, that’s not quite it. More anti-partisan.
The way I’m seeing this, forget money as the root of all evil. It’s rank partisanship, that craving for political power and/or tribal substitute for belonging in our society. There’s the real poison.
Consuming the fruit of this twisted tree turns formerly rational people into zombies. It’s a sickness. A virus that eats brains alive, starting in the area governing critical thinking and moving on quickly to gobble up common sense, anger management, respect for good neighbors who hold different views. Mass delusion is not unheard of in more serious outbreaks.
The infection lately has been running particularly deep and hot, so hot. The inflammation, this fever, the ugly, ugly pus, red rimmed. Zombies swollen with rage, so credulous, so caught up.
Our nation is ill. COVID-19 isn’t the only disease surging these dark days. This contagion doesn’t care about red or blue, either. Both sides are susceptible.
On a related note, let’s talk about that evidence of widespread election fraud. Every specific example has been shown to be utterly false. Attorney Sidney Powell failed to produce her promised “massive” proof in time to turn the presidential election results, or to this day. But indeed it looks like she’ll get her day in court — defending herself in a massive libel case.
What’s left to still-believing Republicans is ever more complicated fantasies about what must have happened from increasingly fertile imaginations, heaps of innuendo, and what judges — even Trump judges — name politely as “hearsay” unacceptable in court. It’s what serves as “proof” for Bigfoot, alien abductions and Elvis sightings. Here, just sign the affidavit.
Judges in cases that would have standing asked for evidence and didn’t get any. Most cases were so shoddy they didn’t even meet the basic standard to be heard. The U.S. Supreme Court justices didn’t turn liberal or lazy in rejecting the appeals to them. The hallowed and now heavily conservative court did its job, and will continue doing so with litigation still in the docket testing constitutional matters that will not change the outcome of the election.
The claims lacked merit all the way through elections offices, prosecutors put on alert to look specifically for fraud, all the civil remedies in place to deal with legitimate allegations. The U.S. attorney general was only the most prominent among early Republican leaders to spell this out clearly. There was no widespread fraud.
At the heart of all this mess are well-established liars: the president and a few of his allies, along with politicians with no qualms about promoting the big lie. This hasn’t been difficult to see through.
Mainstream news media bias has precious little to do with it. Journalists and pundits often mistaken for journalists bear witness and opine, last I looked, but they don’t hold actual political power.
In any case, the reporters covered the you know what out of the claims, the sometimes surreal press conferences, the courts where hot accusations shriveled into “No fraud, your honor,” from attorneys suddenly protective of their licenses in the face of oaths before God and potential disbarment.
The truth here is that Trump supporters were duped, “fed lies,” as now-former Senate Leader Mitch McConnell acknowledged this week.
The full scope of the lying will only become clearer with time, much like the wake of the McCarthy era, except no one back then overran the U.S. Capitol. Republicans have yet to grasp the full depth of that outrage. The stain will linger. There is no excuse.
We all have our biases, our blind spots. No doubt you’ve picked up some of mine.
But partisan readers are far, far more biased than journalists could ever be. These readers already are camped deep in left or right field when they open a paper, check their phone, flip on a newscast, so quick to rail and pontificate about “objective” news and “fair” reporting as they cherry pick from the day’s report. But how would they even know?
Well, here’s a way: How did you react to the section above? Just a pack o’ lies, piling on, and leaving out all the exculpatory stuff? Conservative still bought in. Thrill at the truth put so bluntly, or maybe find it too gently put? Liberal. Careful thought about this and the weight of the full scope of reporting — from the left and the right of the legitimate press — and what it all might mean? You probably are closer to my point of view.
Partisans on the left might be tempted to gloat, but they shouldn’t be. Different words, viewpoints, sure. But they are just as vulnerable to the same issues with groupthink, repeating falsehoods, and wild exaggeration, if only occasionally lying outright. I’d like to hope this latest eruption was so heinous the habit passes and we all at last grow up. No, not holding my breath.
I’m gunning here for a glimmer of self-awareness, hardly the mark of a partisan today, left or right.
Socrates said, “Know thyself.” In this age, understanding how partisan instincts blind us would be a big step toward personal responsibility. We don’t have to be zombies for anyone.
Don Rogers is the publisher of The Union, Lake Wildwood Independent, and Sierra Sun. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 530-477-4299.
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