What Liberal Bias?

I saw something on TV last night that was just too funny to pass up. When I got home from teaching CCD, my wife had the TV on, watching a nice 60 Minutes character piece on an Afghan vet who is being awarded the Medal of Honor, and I milled around to watch it. Then Andy Rooney came on.

Rooney started complaining about a recent Gallup poll showing pretty broad dissatisfaction with President Obama and his performance. Rooney contrarily said he had gone and asked nine of his friends what they thought, and they all thought Obama was doing a terrific job. Well, duh! I have no doubt that if Rooney had spent an entire afternoon polling his friends and co-workers, he would have had a hard time coming up with anyone dissatisfied with Obama – except for those perhaps who think Obama has been too much of a middling moderate! “They polled 90, 000 people!”, he crowed: “Where do they find these people?”

I was just a little bit too stung by this man’s naivety to laugh out loud. If someone had hired an actor to portray the stereotype of mainstream media figures as a collection of smug, condescending liberals, living a secluded existence completely out of touch with the American people, he couldn’t have done better than Rooney did.

The point is not whether Rooney and his nine friends, or the 90,000 Americans, are better judges of Obama’s presidency. The point is how funny it is that a guy like Rooney apparently genuinely has no idea how much farther to the left the insular world of liberal “opinion” institutions is from mainstream America.

How is this ignorance cultivated? How about, for an example, we take Ted Koppel’s musings the same day on the sad demise of the nobly objective media institution his rose-colored way-back glasses remember from back in the day – like, you know, the days when Koppel held court and people listened. The three-step formula? Find someone else even more egregiously leftist to serve as one punching bag (MSNBC fits the bill nicely here). Then, to serve as the main punching bag, find someone who seems quite out of place in the whole media mix because they’re not particularly leftist at all (this is the FOX News role, since they’re not leftist – though they are pretty libertarian, which is something of a cross between being a liberal and being a tightwad, but that’s what passes for “conservatism” in a lot of circles today). Finally, declare yourself a centrist, or “normal,” or the only ones without an accent, etc.

But back to philosopher number one: the final punch line has to be Rooney insisting that there just must be something wrong with polls that reflect views so contrary to the prevailing view within the hallways of places like CBS. “They never ask me what I think,” he huffs.

So then, why do you keep telling us, Andy?