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What Took You So Long?  And What’s the Real Problem?

Slate’s Jack Shafer [1] wails…..

“Rather appears to have been guided by the belief that he was doing his institution a great favor by holding out instead of retracting the story. Why any institution should believe that shirking the truth in the short run is a path to strength in the long run is beyond me.”

Trouble is…. What Shafer and others like him do not understand is that he, too, is running away from the truth of the matter…. That being that Rather operates from the bias that everyone outside the world of the Fifth Estate have always known was there. Rather thinks, in his heart of hearts that the purpose of the press isn’t truth telling, but IS about being a force for Leftists.  Rather, in particular still is operating under the idea that the fake documents are telling the truth…. Because he’s always seen their story as the truth. What drives that vision? A hatred… A blistering, scathing hate of anything to the right of Fidel Castro.

Only when you accept this basic premise, does the answer to Shafer’s question become available. Under no other conditions does it mesh with what we know of Rather’s history and motivations.

When I pointed out such biases at the New York Times during the Blair Bitch Project [2]of just over a year ago, I suggested that the elimination of Blair wasn’t the answer, nor was the elimination of his editors, though both were done in a clear effort to restore credibility to the Times. I pointed at the owner of the Times, and said the reason that people such as Blair and his editors had their jobs, despite their bias, was because the owner of the Times, Arthur Sulzberger, shared that biased worldview.

With that in mind, Ladies and Gents, I give you Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer, Viacom Inc, Sumner M. Redtsone. (Viacom owns CBS) Here’s a quick look at his list of Political contributions, from the FEC courtesy of The American Thinker [3]:

REDSTONE, SUMNER
NEWTON, MA 02459
VIACOM KENNEDY, EDWARD MOORE SENATOR (D)
Senate – DC
KENNEDY FOR SENATE 2006 $1000 05/13/04

Redstone, Sumner
Dedham, MA 02026 KERRY, JOHN F (D)
President
JOHN KERRY FOR PRESIDENT INC. $1000 02/03/04

Redstone, Sumner M
Dedham, MA 02027
National Amusements Inc. & Vaaem I/ KERRY, JOHN F (D)
President
JOHN KERRY FOR PRESIDENT INC. $1000 12/05/03

REDSTONE, SUMNER
NEW YORK, NY 10036
VIACOM INC DASCHLE, THOMAS ANDREW (D)
Senate – SD
A LOT OF PEOPLE SUPPORTING TOM DASCHLE INC $1000 09/26/03

REDSTONE, SUMNER
NEW YORK, NY 10036
VIACOM INTERNATIONAL
DEMOCRATIC SENATORIAL CAMPAIGN COMMITTEE (D) $5000 04/10/03

REDSTONE, SUMNER M
NEW YORK, NY 10036
VIACOM LEAHY, PATRICK (D)
Senate – VT
LEAHY FOR U.S. SENATOR COMMITTEE $1000 03/28/03

REDSTONE, SUMNER
NEW YORK, NY 10036
VIACOM TORRICELLI, ROBERT G (D)
Senate – NJ
TORRICELLI FOR U S SENATE INC $1000 09/21/02

REDSTONE, SUMNER
NEW YORK, NY 10036

VIACOM INC DASCHLE, THOMAS ANDREW (D)
Senate – SD
A LOT OF PEOPLE SUPPORTING TOM DASCHLE INC $1000 06/03/02

Redstone, Sumner M.
Newton, MA 02459
National Amusements Inc./Media Exec DINGELL, JOHN D. (D)
House (DC 15)
JOHN D. DINGELL FOR CONGRESS COMMITTEE $1000 04/25/02

REDSTONE, SUMNER M
NEW YORK, NY 10036
VIACOM LEAHY, PATRICK (D)
Senate – VT
LEAHY FOR U.S. SENATOR COMMITTEE $1000 11/24/01

Redstone, Sumner M
Dedham, MA 02026
Viacom International Inc./Chairman MARKEY, EDWARD JOHN (D)
House (MA 7)
MARKEY FOR CONGRESS COMMITTEE $1000 07/24/01

REDSTONE, SUMNER M
NEW YORK, NY 10036
VIACOM INC SCHUMER, CHARLES E (D)
Senate – NY
FRIENDS OF SCHUMER $1000 12/13/00

REDSTONE, SUMNER M
NEWTON, MA 02459
VIACOM KERRY, JOHN F (D)
Senate – MA
KERRY COMMITTEE $1000 11/30/00

Here’s a more complete list, done in HTML tables. [4]
The trend here is undeniable, and yet, we hear nothing of this.
It should also be pointed out that Redstone has within the last few days, since Rathergate broke (September 14th, I think) has dumped something like $12 million worth of Viacom stock…. a move which will doubtless cause some serious legal questions particularly with the FEC and the SEC, since as Thinker puts it:

“Without even needing a criminal conviction of the parent company, the FCC has raised a high standard of corporate good behavior.

Given that concerns have been raised about the applicability of forgery laws (…with the Rather Documents–Bithead), and reports that CBS knowingly disregarded warnings from document authentication experts in going ahead with a report potentially able to change the results of a presidential election, Viacom needs to exercise careful supervision in this sensitive area, since it has billions dollars of broadcasting assets potentially at risk, should the FCC examine its behavior critically. The value of those broadcasting licenses is material to Viacom.”

Read the Thinker’s whole article, to get a better picture of that portion of the background.

The trends, though, with regards to press bias, are clear. The left, particularly the far left has for years been screaming that the ownership of the press is vastly right-wing. And yet, where does the problem lie? In the two most recent press scandals, The Times and CBS, both press orgs long known as being far leftist in leanings are involved Both have owners that are similarly disposed, politically.

I submit that in both cases the ownership needs to be called to account.