The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

28 September 2009

Left-wing Anger Over Limbaugh Quote In WSJ's Ted K Obit


One Month Later, Left Still Obsessed With Kennedy Coverage

More than a month after his passing, the death of Senator Ted Kennedy has finally faded from the headlines. Now, the focus is on the battle for his seat in Massachusetts, which has temporarily been handed to a family crony.

But for some on the left, including their New York Times allies, there is lingering anger over the belief that weeks of fawning Ted K coverage wasn't quite positive enough. Apparently committing a cardinal sin was the Wall Street Journal, which dared to insert a single balancing paragraph, which happened to feature Rush Limbaugh's take on the media's excess.

As you may recall, the state-run media's Ted K insanity was so extreme that conservative talkers were actually taken off the air temporarily in Boston and replaced with pro-Kennedy alternatives.

From today's Times

Critics Claim Ideological Creep at The Wall Street Journal

By David Carr

Many fans of The Wall Street Journal worried that the newspaper would become a cat toy for Rupert Murdoch after he bought it, but the paper’s shift toward a more general interest newspaper has not been accompanied by tendentious politics, near as we can tell.

But the Full Court Press blog found deep meaning in a recent insert into the obituary of Sen. Edward Kennedy.

“When Teddy Kennedy died last August, the Journal posted a lengthy and balanced obituary on its website by Naftali Bendavid. But when the same article appeared on the front page of the newspaper the next day, the piece had a new seventh paragraph which hadn’t been there before:

Blasting what he called “slobbering media coverage” of Mr. Kennedy’s death that ignored his past “bad behavior,” conservative talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh on Wednesday said Mr. Kennedy was a politician who “uses the government to take money from people who work and gives it to people who don’t work.”

Journal reporters immediately started complaining to their friends at other newspapers that the Limbaugh paragraph had been inserted at the insistence of editors in New York. Naftali Bendavid and Journal Washington Bureau Chief John Bussey both refused to comment when asked by FCP about the change.”

For his part, Carr of the Times is somewhat dismissive of the assertion, yet he did find time to cover the "controversy" at length.

Is it really that hard to overcome the thought that not everyone loved Ted Kennedy? And what is wrong with 1% balance against 99% lionization?

Finally, the larger "issue" raised here, that right-wing "bias" has overcome the Wall Street Journal due to the insertion of a quote from Rush Limbaugh, is far too absurd to explore here in detail. While the editorial pages are largely conservative, its front page reporting remains safely left-of-center.

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