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NBC Breaks with Truthiness

November 28th, 2006

NBC News has made an editorial decision to call the Iraqi internal conflict a “civil war.” No doubt the right wing will attack this as an example of the “liberal media,” but quite frankly, it’s the other way around. For major news organizations to go along with the White House and even question that this is a civil war when it so obviously is (former Iraqi prime minister even said so eight months ago) is a sign of how they have been all too eager to toe the conservative line–something the media seems to think is necessary in order not to appear “biased.”

And that is what it has come down to: since the right-wingers come down on and attack so vociferously anyone who challenges their extremist views as “liberal” and “biased” (remember, in their world view, Fox News’ “fair and balanced” is not ironic), the media has been cowed to the point where they feel that if they do not give full credence to right-wing views as equal to reality, then they are indeed being “liberal,” and so in order to be “balanced,” they represent the right-wing worldview as equal to or stronger than the truth.

The question is not why NBC has made this decision at this time. The question is why NBC did not make it earlier, and why almost every other major news outlet has not yet made the same decision yet. The Washington Post (often characterized as “liberal”) says it’s not using the term because the Iraqi government is not using it–which is virtually the same as saying they won’t use it because the Bush administration won’t. A few people within certain networks are calling it for what it is, but even that is within the framework of the network posing it as a question and giving equal credence to the conservative side. Still, the conservative dam is holding in general.

The answer to the aforementioned question is, of course, that we have a conservative media, not a liberal one. Of course, no one can say that, because that would be too “liberal” and “biased.”

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