Heaven knows, CBS News has had its issues over the years with leftist bias infesting its journalism. Perhaps the most notorious example occurred when internet bloggers exposed the shoddy reporting practices of Dan Rather and the 60 Minutes II staff, when they accused George W. Bush going AWOL from the Texas Air National Guard using shady sources and obviously forged documents. That debacle ended Rather’s storied career at CBS—and revealed some ugly truths about how a once trusted network news division abused its position in an attempt to swing a presidential election away from a Republican incumbent.
Still, for all its problems, the culture at CBS News has managed to produce a few reporters who still believe in standards of objectivity and understand their responsibility in upholding them. They also recognize the danger that a biased news media represents to our core freedoms and our system of representative government, and have been willing to take the considerable risk of calling out that bias when they see it. Bernard Goldberg is one name that comes to mind, when he wrote about the subject long before #FakeNews became a thing. Sharyl Atkisson is another, who refused to be intimidated when she found herself stonewalled by her own bosses while reporting on malfeasance in the Obama administration.
Now we can add to that list the name of Lara Logan, who has been no stranger to putting herself on the line when it comes to reporting a story. A veteran foreign correspondent with CBS News, she was one of many journalists on the ground in Tahrir Square during the riots that accompanied the fall of Hosni Mubarak and his government in Egypt. It was there that a large group of men dragged Logan away from her crew and then brutalized her over the course of nearly half an hour before she could be rescued. The trauma from that event was terrifying—but Logan refused to let it break her, and in short order she was back on the job, sharing her own experience along with the other stories shaping our times.
Just the other day, however, one of those stories turned to the subject of liberal bias in the news media—and, as one might expect from a truly courageous reporter (not some poseur like Jim Acosta), Logan pulled no punches assessing the state of her profession:
In a recent interview, CBS News Foreign Correspondent Lara Logan critiqued the international “liberal” media while holding up outlets like Breitbart and Fox News as the opposite side of the coin.
Logan spoke to retired Navy SEAL Mike Ritland about a variety of topics on Friday for his Mike Drop podcast, and the conversation eventually turned toward her agreement with Ritland that “the media everywhere is mostly liberal, not just the U.S.”
Logan went on to say:
And that’s a problem for me, because even if it was reversed, if it was vastly mostly on the right, that would also be a problem for me. My experience has been that the more opinions you have, the more ways that you look at everything in life.
In other words, Logan doesn’t want the media to tilt right or left. The truth is nonpartisan—and the public is ill-served when news people take it upon themselves to weigh stories based on their own ideological agendas.
As she argued that media sources on the left and right regularly push their preferred narratives and “do terrible things,” Logan determined that the weight of the liberal media overwhelms “the other side” unless people actively seek [other] outlets.
The discussion continued with Logan trashing news reports based on single, anonymous government sources, calling it an abandonment of journalistic standards.
“That’s not journalism,” Logan said. “Responsibility for fake news begins with us. We bear some responsibility for that, and we’re not taking ownership of that and addressing it. We just want to blame it all on somebody else.”
Seeing this, I couldn’t help but think of CNN’s media analyst Brian Stelter, who actually said with a straight face of the Jussie Smollett hoax, “This is not about the media.” To those of us watching from outside the bubble, though, this is is a prime example of what Logan is talking about. Whether they’re parrorting Smollet’s unlikely tale of a hate crime, or smearing the Covington kids as racists, or branding Brett Kavanaugh as a sexual predator without evidence, or spreading unfounded stories of Russian collusion, the media have refused to shoulder any blame for their mistakes.
Which, as the same ones keep happening over and over again, seem less like mistakes and more like a deliberate effort to ditch the news in favor of a preferred narrative.
Logan, of course, is very much aware of the dangers involved in speaking out. “This interview is professional suicide for me,” she observes during the course of her talk with Ritland—but for a woman who has faced down far scarier mobs than the ones online, this is all in a day’s work. As George Orwell once wrote, “During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.”
And such acts are not for the faint of heart.