Commentary

Leftist Professor’s Bias Gets in the Way of Her CNBC-Style Conservative Critique

By Jen Kuznicki | November 3, 2015 | 5:03pm EST
The moderators of CNBC's GOP debate. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Salon ran an article by Heather Cox Richardson, a professor from Boston College, that says the Republican Party is afraid of the media because the media shines a light on the Republican Party’s fear of being exposed.

Richardson has several writings that supposedly expose the Republican Party, like her book on Republican history, columns telling of the “Stupid Party,” and so on, showing that she is, in her view, helping expose that party for what she believes they are.

Her recent column shows her bias while she is supposedly trying to show the bias against the media that Republicans allege.  Lines like, “Transparency threatens their power,” leads the reader to wonder if there is only one dishonest party, if there is only one lineage of thought that is always, always correct.

The problem with ideological bias, which is shown when there is a placement of “all” or “every” or “always” in an open discussion, is that the person alleging bias has little to no introspection into the matter.  That is, Richardson is doing the same thing the CNBC “moderators” did – using a politically motivated application of thought.

The New York Times, in reviewing her book, slammed her for not “check[ing] her politics at the door,” showing the inherent bias of her work.  The Washington Post also said that Richardson, “overstates her case,” and “ultimately finds herself caught in the partisan trap, blaming Republicans — albeit only the conservative ones — for ruining the economy, fomenting racism, damaging American democracy and betraying their progressive roots.”

A fair minded analysis of the Republican Party would probably not stray so far into hyperbole to say that the “GOP hates the media because they are liars: The damning, evil history of the right’s war on a free press.” Yet, that is the headline of her piece.

There are party adherents on both sides that use politically motivated hyperbole to damn the other.  The recent debate at CNBC was widely viewed as biased because of the types of questions the “moderators” asked.  Since Richardson isn’t a “journalist” per se, only a commentator and writer, her bias is fine in the context that she has offered it.  However, to suggest that there is no media bias while, at the same time, displaying such same bias hurts Richardson’s fair examination of clashing ideas due to political motivation.

This exercise shows another bias too – the fact that Richardson somehow only zeroes in on the history of one party using her own worldview, while sitting as a history professor, which supposedly lends credence to her words.  She’s a history professor. She must know history, correct?

But history has been rewritten by political bias innumerable times.  It’s not hard to tell who is coming at it from a political viewpoint when evidence is presented contrary to that viewpoint.

For example, The New York Times noted that Richardson’s book praised Abraham Lincoln for starting the income tax and focusing on economic inequality, but that he failed to stop the super-wealthy.  Meanwhile, the small detail that a Civil War was threatening to rip apart the United States, for Richardson, isn’t a big part of the Lincoln era.

Would you disagree with Richardson’s analysis, even though it is somewhat simplified for space in the New York Times review?  If you do, you must be one of those evil Republicans she keeps talking about.

The fact is, plenty of people in America don’t really side with one party or the other.  It has come to light in the eyes of a lot of folks that both parties are heading straight for the same goal: to take the liberties away from the people and hand authority over to a centralized power in government.

For many Americans, it’s no longer about party, it’s about freedom.

Jen Kuznicki is a wife and mother, seamstress by trade, and American patriot who says, "Now is the time to act."

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