There was a time when a dispassionate news media would not volunteer its leanings. Or, perhaps, the best-known voices of my youth were better at hiding their disdain for conservatives. I recall that CBS' Walter Cronkite did a fair--if not flawless--job of masking his bias, while John Chancellor over at NBC was less successful at the task. There was just something about the man's condescending delivery that made it fairly clear Chancellor believed he was talking to an audience with the analytical prowess of a single-celled amoeba.
But on his worst day, Chancellor never communicated his personal worldview as blatantly as do Katie Couric and Matt Lauer. The current hosts of the Today show seem almost unable to contain themselves, as they twist and stretch even the simplest packaged reports into Bush-bashing bombast. Tuesday morning's preview of the State of the Union featured the voices of--would you believe--Tom Daschle and Sam Nunn? Hardly relevant choices for a 2006 presidential address! "Chief obstructionist" Daschle, you recall, was swept from the Senate by the Bush reelection juggernaut in 2004; Nunn co-founded the Democratic Leadership Conference, and voted against Bush Senior’s Persian Gulf War in 1991.
So why would a 21st-century Today broadcast seek their input? To offer a chance to gloat about poor presidential approval ratings, perhaps? Why would such be deemed an essential part of a news broadcast? And where were the representatives of the Administration--or even the GOP? In fact, the piece offered only one Republican voice: a 5-second blurb from a pollster, who was explaining that the President's approval ratings were low primarily because of Iraq. They needed an expert for this? Sadly...even in their ample coverage of the plight of a competing network’s news anchor--ABC's Bob Woodruff--one got the sense that Today was primarily taking advantage of the opportunity to remind us that people are getting hurt in George Bush's pointless, illegal war. But even in that, they wouldn't have been the first; CNN's Christianne Amanpour beat them to the punch, on Monday night's "Larry King Live."
So tonight, you can be sure...despite another successful Supreme Court appointment, a fairly solid stock market, good economic numbers, a war on terror that has yet to revisit American soil, and half a hundred other stellar achievements...the drumbeat you’ll hear is falling poll numbers, rising casualties, and an Administration mired in a "culture of corruption." But I hope and pray that Americans will continue to sit back and take in the bigger picture of a world that will never be the same again, until the Lord returns. Truly, no matter who occupies the White House between now, and that glorious day, he or she will preside over a nation—and a world—in chaotic freefall.
We can only speculate how others may, or may not, have risen to the challenge. George W. Bush has outperformed all expectations in a thankless, impossible job. In many ways, he has restored character to an office--and a political process--that had come to represent the worst of what America had to offer. The President has earned our undivided attention tonight, as he reminds us all of what's at stake for our nation's—and our children's--future. We owe him, at least, the opportunity to make his case.
At the very least, I hope the Today show will listen what Mr. Bush has to say, before they disagree with it.
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About Mark Daniels
Mark Daniels is a broadcasting veteran of more than 30 years, and currently serves as the Programming and Marketing Manager of WFIL/WNTP in Philadelphia. His daily talk show and On the Mark commentaries have consistently won top honors from the PA Association of Broadcasters, as well as past awards from the Philadelphia Press Association, Excellence in Media, and others. Daniels serves as host of the nationally-syndicated Christian ministry program, The Bible Study Hour with Dr. James Montgomery Boice. He is a church elder and Bible conference president. Mark Daniels can be heard weekdays at 4pm ET on www.wfil.com, and The Mark Daniels Show can be seen weekly on WBPH-TV 60 (WBPH.org).
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