Saying he had concerns about their "commitment to objectivity,"
Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) took the occasion of a Media Institute
luncheon in Washington, D.C., to criticize the mainstream media.
Pointing to a just-released Pew Research Center survey that found that 53% of Americans
believe news organizations are politically biased, Smith cited three examples of
what he felt were journalists providing "only part of the information you
- A Barbara Walters interview with Fidel Castro in which Smith quotes her as
saying that if education were the yardstick of freedom, "Cuba would rank as
one of the freest nations on earth."
- A Newsweek assistant managing editor, talking about Sept. 11, saying "the
German prosecutorial system was pretty laid back and didn't want to be John
Ashcroft, you know, they didn't want to be the SS."
And a Cable News Network anchor reporting on President Bush's fund-raising: "It is
inherently a shakedown?"
Saying those had been offered as news, not opinion, Smith said: "Americans
who only receive their news from these media outlets could reasonably conclude
that Cuba is a virtual democracy, John Ashcroft is a Nazi and President Bush's
fund-raisers are nothing more than extortion rackets. How wrong and how
Smith did single out Tim Russert as one of the journalists "who serve the
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