This article appeared online at on Tuesday, May 26, 2020:  

Van Gordon Sauter, a former president of CBS News, was caustic in his opinion piece that appeared in the Wall Street Journal on Monday: “The media seems uninterested in … issues of bias.… The news media seems very comfortable with its product and [its] ability to sell it.”

Long gone, says Sauter, is any semblance of fairness or balance:

To many journalists, objectivity, balance and fairness — once the gold standard of reporting — are not mandatory in a divided political era and in a country they believe to be severely flawed.


That assumption folds neatly into their assessment of the president. To the journalists, including more than a few Republicans, he is a blatant vulgarian, an incessant prevaricator, and a dangerous leader who should be ousted next January, if not sooner.


Much of journalism has become the clarion voice of the “resistance,” dedicated to ousting the president, even though he was legally elected and, according to the polls, enjoys the support of about 44% of likely 2020 voters.

How can the media restore its lost credibility? Sauter says it should just admit to its blatant bias instead of trying to hide behind whatever might be left of its former credibility. Remarked Sauter, “It would be delightful if a publisher, an editor, would just say: “Yes, I am left of center! I’m proud of it. I think our reporting is accurate. It best serves the public … and the credibility of the media. So there!”

Sauter admits to an obvious fact: “The highly influential daily newspapers in New York, Washington, Los Angeles and Boston are … decidedly liberal.… The three broadcast network divisions … have their tilt. Two of the three leading cable news sources are unrelentingly liberal in their fear and loathing of President Trump.”

None of this is new news. Sauter should know: As a two-time president of CBS News (1982-1983 and 1986), he belongs to the “media elite.” He married into the political California Brown family (his wife, the former Kathleen Brown, is the daughter of former California governor Pat Brown, and the sister of former California governor Jerry Brown). She also has connections to the international firm Goldman Sachs, heading up key divisions for it from 2001 to 2010.

The of which he speaks was early revealed in all of its tawdriness by Robert Lichter in 1980 with the publication of The Media Elite. Lichter was also in a position to know: A graduate of Harvard, he taught political science at Princeton, Georgetown, and George Washington Universities and was a research faculty member at Yale and Columbia.

Lichter revealed then what is common knowledge now: The individuals making up the media by and large are remarkably similar to each other in their backgrounds (well-to-do), status (well-connected), and beliefs (secular), which diverges sharply from that of the general public.

Other groups have sprung up exposing further the media bias, including Accuracy in Media, founded by Reed Irvine 10 years before Lichter’s revelation, and the Media Research Center, founded by Brent Bozell in 1987.

Helping the exposure of bias was Bernard Goldberg, who, in 2001, published the blockbuster Bias: a CBS Insider Exposes How the Media Distort the News. Goldberg spent nearly 30 years at CBS and complained frequently about its bias. He appealed repeatedly to reporters, producers, and top executives to provide more balanced reporting, but to no avail. They remained happy and content in their bias.

One legacy of President Trump’s first term is that the public has become increasingly aware of that bias. A comprehensive survey by pollster John McLaughlin (reported by the Washington Times) revealed the public’s awareness of the bias. When asked “Regarding the national media’s coverage of President Trump’s handling of the coronavirus emergency, would you say that too many members of the media have been unfair, biased and even disrespectful to the president?” almost half of those polled agreed.

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