(June 8)  The Associated Press this week features a series evincing both what is wrong with liberal establishment media today and also how misinformation needlessly exacerbates racial tensions.

From an organization still advertising itself as “the most trusted source of … unbiased news,” the very framing of the series is shameful. In the series of promotional materials that the Associated Press sent to news organizations, every single element takes sides, tendentiously, rather than taking an unbiased position. Worse, the side it takes actually misrepresents key, indisputable facts.

The promo begins like this: “It has been a decade since the U.S. Supreme Court issued a milestone ruling that overturned the heart of the Voting Rights Act.”

Really? Surely not a single person who voted for the act in 1965 considered the excised portion to be the legislation’s “heart.”

The law’s purpose was to force the elimination of tactics, such as poll taxes and literacy tests, used by some states and localities to keep black citizens from voting. The Supreme Court decision 10 years ago, Shelby County v. Holder, merely struck down one small provision in a much larger act. That provision, Section 4B, provided a formula by which another controversial provision, Section 5, was to be applied. Section 5 requires that certain states which habitually limited black voting rights must have any change in their election laws “pre-cleared” by the Justice Department. Section 5 itself, in the original law, was specifically designed to expire after just five years. Each time Congress subsequently renewed that provision, it applied a new time limit. If a small part of a much larger law is designed to expire while the rest of the law continues in force, the small section obviously is not “the heart” of the law.

An “unbiased” news report might say many analysts consider the provision an extremely important part of the law, while other analysts adamantly disagree. That would be unbiased. To state as fact, however, that the time-limited provision is the heart of the law is to choose sides from the beginning….. [The full column is here.]


Tags: ,