No fair — conservative pundits are caught in the act

A few weeks ago, Matt Esposito wrote an article in which he made some very good points about the unfair double standard to which the media holds President Bush.

However, he neglected to mention that right-wing pundits are no less hypocritical in their treatment of all things left.

Granted, the conservative media is not as sizeable as its liberal counterpart, but talk radio, combined with Fox News and publications such as The Washington Times, ensure that there is no shortage of conservative voices to be heard.

Battling what they perceive to be an overwhelming liberal bias, there is no limit to the depths to which some of these attention-mongers will sink to get their views across.

For the purposes of this article, I will not touch upon the ubiquitous Rush Limbaugh, as he is a wide (pun intended) and obvious target.

I will also overlook the inconsistencies of Bill O’Reilly, as he’s at least proven himself capable of setting aside partisanship in the interest of fairness. Fortunately, this leaves me with no shortage of frauds to expose.

First on the list is Sean Hannity, ultra-smug talk show host and Fox News darling. A few months ago, Hannity tore into Ted Kennedy because the latter called one of Bush’s Supreme Court nominees “a Neanderthal.”

Fair enough.

Hannity then invited Trent Lott on his show and allowed him to lie about his ties to Council of Conservative Citizens, a notorious white supremacist/white separist organization.

Let me get this straight: an inappropriate remark from a Democratic senator is reason for concern but the long-standing ties of a Republican senator to a racist group are nothing to worry about at all?

As if the inconsistencies of Hannity aren’t maddening enough, they are topped by the behavior of the aptly named Michael Savage. Savage, a radio talk show host, has regularly railed out against the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) for starting frivolous lawsuits.

Yet it was Savage himself who sued when he was not hired as dean of the Graduate School of Journalism at University of California Berkeley in 1996, citing discrimination.

Interestingly enough, the person who won the job he was vying for was also white. The difference is that Orville Schell actually has a degree in journalism whereas Savage does not.

Alas, both Hannity and Savage pale before the likes of neo-facist

lawyer/commentator Ann Coulter, a woman whose abrasive character attacks make even Al Franken look civil (no easy task given the latter’s shrill rhetoric).

Coulter’s book “Slander” is an indictment of liberal name-calling tactics, in which she calls liberals names!

Coulter claims to be a constitutional conservative and yet has also expressed support for such unconstitutional measures as the poll tax.

Most tellingly, in an interview with George Gurely of the New York Observer, Coulter said, “My only regret with Timothy McVeigh is he did not go to the New York Times building.”

Substitute ‘Ann Coulter’ with ‘Maureen Dowd’ and ‘New York Times building’ with ‘Wall Street Journal’ and the conservative media would have thrown a fit. Cries of treason would have been heard loudly and clearly.

However, because this quote came from Coulter and she “only” wished for the destruction of The New York Times and all its employees, no outcry was heard.

Conservative pundits also leave many questions unanswered and many stones unturned.

For instance, why is John Kerry’s participation in an anti-war rally more than 30 years ago “proof” that he is unfit to be president but Bush’s equally ancient drunk-driving arrest is of no consequence at all?

Why is Bernard Goldberg a hero for speaking out against CBS’s bias but Charlie Reina a man with an axe to grind for blowing the whistle on Fox?

Why are lies about an extramarital affair a matter of national urgency but distortions regarding weapons of mass destruction trivial and unimportant?

Of course, conservative pundits cannot answer these questions without maligning their fellow conservatives.

Thus, they keep their focus on the left. Liberals are to blame for America’s faults and failures. Liberals are to blame for the chaotic state of the world. Drop your wallet? Blame a liberal.

Sadly, it is more than just a fringe group of Americans who buy into their distortions. Hannity’s shows (on both the radio and Fox) have excellent ratings and Coulter’s books have made The New York Times bestseller lists (ironic given her disposition towards the company).

Many misguided souls feel these pundits represent traditional American values and turn their attention to them despite the fact that they attack those (ie: Joseph Lieberman or Jimmy Carter) who actually do have traditional values and integrity.

Granted, the fact that the right lies too doesn’t excuse or condone the misconduct of the left.

However, before adopting a holier-than-thou approach and pointing the finger, conservatives should clean up the filth on their own side of the fence.