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February 10, 2004

ABC'S "THE NOTE" EXPLAINS THE WAY THE WORLD WORKS:

Like every other institution, the Washington and political press corps operate with a good number of biases and predilections.

They include, but are not limited to, a near-universal shared sense that liberal political positions on social issues like gun control, homosexuality, abortion, and religion are the default, while more conservative positions are "conservative positions."

They include a belief that government is a mechanism to solve the nation's problems; that more taxes on corporations and the wealthy are good ways to cut the deficit and raise money for social spending and don't have a negative affect on economic growth; and that emotional examples of suffering (provided by unions or consumer groups) are good ways to illustrate economic statistic stories.

More systematically, the press believes that fluid narratives in coverage are better than static storylines; that new things are more interesting than old things; that close races are preferable to loose ones; and that incumbents are destined for dethroning, somehow.

The press, by and large, does not accept President Bush's justifications for the Iraq war -- in any of its WMD, imminent threat, or evil-doer formulations. It does not understand how educated, sensible people could possibly be wary of multilateral institutions or friendly, sophisticated European allies.

It does not accept the proposition that the Bush tax cuts helped the economy by stimulating summer spending.

There's more, leading reader Todd Kiehn (who calls this "the most remarkable admission of liberal media bias I have ever read") to observe:

No wonder the White House is trying to circumvent the filter, as it were.

Nope. No wonder at all. But let's give The Note credit for the kind of unflinching honesty that's rare in its profession.