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The Good Old Days, Again

July 03, 1994

In his laudatory review of Dan Quayle's "Standing Firm" (May 15), Hugh Hewitt endorses Quayle's claim that ". . . this nation's media elite has abandoned the old virtues of journalism; including objectivity, fairness, balance, context . . ."

Just when was that mythically Golden Age of objective journalism in American that conservative media critics always invoke? The turn of the century, when yellow journalism reigned and William Randolph Hearst used his newspaper empire to incite jingoistic support for the Spanish American War? The '30s, when the L.A. Times sabotaged socialist Upton Sinclair's run for governor of California?

It seems that Hewitt, Quayle and other conservatives simply equate objectivity and fairness with conservative biases, and that they define bias as any viewpoint that contradicts their own. To be sure, liberals are not immune from the equal but opposite bias, although it is more a liberal than a conservative principle to be skeptical of self-righteous claims to objectivity by any political camp including one's own.

DONALD LAZERE, SAN LUIS OBISPO

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