READER COMMENTS ON
"Fox Admits Backing Republican Agenda and Alignment with Rush"
(31 Responses so far...)
COMMENT #1 [Permalink]
said on 10/10/2005 @ 12:58 pm PT...
your NewsHounds link is not linked
COMMENT #2 [Permalink]
said on 10/10/2005 @ 1:04 pm PT...
At least these people are FINALLY admitting it.
People, all the other MSM won't even confess to their right wing bias.
But, the next domino is falling. I hope to see Faux "News" go the way of the DoDo here soon!
COMMENT #3 [Permalink]
said on 10/10/2005 @ 1:22 pm PT...
COMMENT #4 [Permalink]
said on 10/10/2005 @ 1:31 pm PT...
Alright, Fox News obviously leans to the right, we all know that. But I think there is a logical reason why they go that way - all of the other networks are so liberal that there was a market for people looking for balance in the news. I'm not arguing that Fox is balanced, just that they tend to bring more right-wing analysts in because the other networks refuse to. I watch Fox News because, in conjunction with watching CNN, it allows me to have more of an understanding of what is actually going on. But networks such as MSNBC have these rather obvious liberal agendas that promote only stories that attack the right, and are far more biased than Fox news is. The problem with most people that fail to recognize the overwhelming liberal bias in television news is that they refuse to watch the Fox News Channel to begin with, and only learn about certain fox stories from biased blogs like this. The only thing bloggers see is the conspiracy driven by web sites like this that are based on reports from one or two nameless Fox employees (who could be sweeping floors at a studio for all we know).
But the Bill Bennett travesty of reporting shows that the media still is mostly liberally biased. Bennett made that comment on his radio show trying to explain the theory of freakonomics to a caller, who argued that abortion should be illegal so that all the babies born will contribute to our economy in the future. Bennett argued against that line of thinking, saying that "If you abort all the black babies in the country, the crime rate would go down." He said this was morally wrong, and it shows how dangerous and absurd this line of thinking is, but some blog took it out of context (trying to show Bennett wanted to abort black babies to make him look bad.) Instead of using even a little bit of professional journalism, the news networks picked up on this blog, started showing the quote out of context, and invited as many Democrats on to criticize Bennett. This is just ONE example of how liberally distorted the media is.
My whole point on this is, good for Fox News for at least trying stop the monopolistic power of the liberal media. Since I am a fair minded person, I hope that liberals can find someway to make it into the radio sector of the media the way Fox has made its way into the television mainstream.
COMMENT #5 [Permalink]
said on 10/10/2005 @ 1:51 pm PT...
That's a pretty loaded post, so I'll just focus on the Bill Bennett part.
The controversy was not over abortion. The argumentum ad absurdum that the crime rate would go down if only there were less blacks is what caught peoples' attention. With this statement he, knowingly or not, implied that race and criminal behavior are linked, as if blacks are inherently criminal.
I guess my question for you is do you agree with this notion, or not?
I also welcome you to give more examples of how liberally distorted the media, as I could use a good laugh now and again.
COMMENT #6 [Permalink]
said on 10/10/2005 @ 1:54 pm PT...
Proof Through Repetition and the "Liberal Bias" of the U.S. Media
Eric Alterman's What Liberal Media? is a nice piece of work. It combines uncompromising passion with sardonic humor, careful research, and incisive prose. Alterman makes a solid case that the legendary left-wing bias of the big-time American media is a myth.
That so many people believe that myth is a testament to nothing more than the power of repetition--a constant drumbeat from the right that has, perversely, "proved" an utter falsehood. Conservatives produce an endless supply of books, position papers, speeches, and so on, repeating the same discredited stories and distortions as if they were true. Truth becomes whatever they say it is--at least until someone like Alterman comes along and shows otherwise.
Nevertheless, it might be argued that Alterman's point is, by now, too obvious to be interesting--that is, we've finally seen through this relentlessly repeated lie, and we've put it to rest. Granted, right-wing pundits are still gleefully saturating the media, claiming that left-wingers saturate the media. But the big news stories recently have focused, instead, on conservative media influence, from Rupert Murdoch and his Fox News Channel, to Ann Coulter, to Matt Drudge, to military-influenced embedded reporting, to the Washington Times.
It might also be argued that to the extent that the myth of liberal media bias persists, it's too late to debunk it. Those who might have been converted to the truth already have been. And those who persist in believing the lie will keep on doing so. Conservatives will always be able to claim that there's a liberal bias and get away with it.
Though both of these arguments have their strengths, ultimately they fail. Alterman's book is still, amazingly and disappointingly, all too necessary.
Even Conservatives Admit Liberal Media Bias Is A Myth, Yet They Perpetuate It
Alterman includes in his book quotes from both James Baker and William Kristol happily admitting that there is no meaningful liberal bias in the media. Instead, they and other archconservatives concede, they are simply "working the refs," in order to force the media to bend over backward to compensate for a bias that even they admit is, at the very least, grossly exaggerated.
One might think this kind of concession by the mythmakers would kill the myth. But it turns out that the myth is far too useful, and it continues to be purveyed to television viewers unlikely ever to open Alterman's work and read these concessions of its falsity.
For instance, consider Kristol's comments in late May of this year, when he appeared on Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Stewart started by commenting on how well things are going for conservatives in the U.S., and he asked: "Is there anything else conservatives want?" Kristol, without missing a beat, replied: "Well, the liberals still dominate the media." To his credit, Stewart was incredulous; but Kristol was unfazed.
-cont. if you wish to inform yourself NL... we're already on to "liberal media" myth thank you.
COMMENT #7 [Permalink]
said on 10/10/2005 @ 2:02 pm PT...
I will agree with you that there used to be a liberal media on radio, TV, newpapers, magazines, etc.
That all changed in 1996 when the FCC opened up the media so that companies can take over each outlet without limitations.
The FCC saw the error of their ways and, in 2003, reversed the decision.
However, the damage had been done. Now, a mere 5 or so media conglomerate corporations own something like 85% of the media.
And all 5 or so of these companies are beholden to the Republican Party. That's how Karl Rove was able to control (nearly) all the media on behalf of the White House and neo con Republicans in the Congress.
Today, I can only DREAM of a Liberal Media. So, I get about 90% of my news now from RAW STORY.
Open your eyes, Nittany. You've been lied to and under the control of propaganda the likes of which have not been seen since Nazi Germany.
COMMENT #8 [Permalink]
said on 10/10/2005 @ 2:12 pm PT...
SUKABI #1: News Hounds link is fixed. Thanks for the heads up.
Nittany Lion: Did you watch the video? Notice how many "liberal" news sources that are mentioned (WaPo, NYT) as leading with more pro-conservatives stories than they would have done just a few years ago... This is Fox news pundits admintting that the "liberal" news media is turning more conservative.
I often watch all three cable news networks in hope of balance but instead of balance I find that all three ignore or distort important stories.
Most Americans distrust the media nearly as much as politicians. We know we're being cheated out of the truth. We know the fourth estate is not fulfilling its' promise to the people it serves.
The media should be our watchdog against government and corporate corruption. Unfortunately, we now need a watchdog against media corruption and complacency.
COMMENT #9 [Permalink]
said on 10/10/2005 @ 3:40 pm PT...
A perfect example of slanting the news comes from a local CBS affiliate in the reporting of the lady who was removed from a Southwest Airline for wearing a shirt playing on the movie "Meet the Fockers" with pictures of Bush & Co.
They did a fair job of reporting the incident, but ended the story by stating: "She chose to get off the flight"
Yes she "chose to get off" by refusing to remove the shirt.
This was a coerced choice presented to her by the airline. Not one of free will, as the report implied by its closing sentence.
COMMENT #10 [Permalink]
said on 10/10/2005 @ 5:30 pm PT...
Duh??? I haven't watched network news, especially faux news, movies, etc. in almost a year. Just maybe they realize their credibility is in the toilet and the truth seems to be bubbling up in spite of all their cheating. The truth is on the internet!!!
COMMENT #11 [Permalink]
Robert Lockwood Mills
said on 10/10/2005 @ 6:28 pm PT...
What Nittany Lion isn't telling us is that the alleged liberal media have ceased to be so, not by what they report or how they report it, but by WHAT THEY NEVER REPORT IN THE FIRST PLACE OR REPORT FALSELY, BASED ON ADMINISTRATION LIES.
Example # 1: The bogus evidence of WMD. Nobody in the "liberal media" challenged Bush on this.
Example # 2: The evidence that Bush knew about 9/11 well in advance, and that a massive cover-up of the truth has taken place.
Example # 3: Dick Cheney's secret "energy task force" and the no-bid contracts to rebuild Iraq that flowed directly from it.
Example # 4: The stolen election of 2004. We heard all about Ukraine's fraudulent election, but little or nothing about our own. Kerry won, just as Gore won in 2000.
Example # 5: Billions of dollars missing in Iraq.
Example # 6: Jeff Gannon. Ask 100 people in the country, "Who is Jeff Gannon?" and 98 don't know.
COMMENT #12 [Permalink]
said on 10/10/2005 @ 6:32 pm PT...
Yeah right Nittany, the corporate whore media has not been anything but far-right since 1995.
COMMENT #13 [Permalink]
said on 10/10/2005 @ 6:49 pm PT...
You can't be serious.
Fox News: The most watched news media, and its so far to the right they don't even pretend anymore.
MSNBC: Chris Matthews uses democrats for punching bags. Next the Kieth Olberman show and Carlson Tucker are both conservative shows which pretend to be fair.
CBS: Usually gives Bush a pass and never asks any hard questions. Consistently has more republican pundits than democrats.
ABC: Much like CBS but with even less bite.
Rush: Most widely circulated radio talk show.
Washington Times: Conservative
Wall Street Journal: Conservative
New York Times: A one time Bush shill with Judy Miller at the helm.
Liberal media my ass.
COMMENT #14 [Permalink]
said on 10/10/2005 @ 7:13 pm PT...
Robert # 11 is right on. Here is a list of major censored stories of 2006. Doesn't look like a liberal slant to me (or true conservative, either, for that matter.)
COMMENT #15 [Permalink]
said on 10/10/2005 @ 7:15 pm PT...
Robert Lockwood Mills, #11
Many of those examples can be chalked up to sheer laziness, and the others can be blamed on the "corporate" media. I think Bill Moyers said it best, the right wing is afraid of the truth. When it does its job effectively and honestly, much of what investigative media uncovers is not liberal or conservative, its just the truth. When reality is thrown in their face, right wingers cry 'liberal!' and wish it all away.
COMMENT #16 [Permalink]
said on 10/10/2005 @ 7:34 pm PT...
What it amounts to, IMO, is a corporate takeover of our country. If there was a chance that the subjects of the censored stories would be popular and embraced by the population, they wouldn't have to be censored. But it is the same reason why bu$h lies and Rove spins - If the stories were put out by the corporate MSM, the people of this nation would feel very uneasy, would lose illusions that the government is working in their interest, or has any moral basis, and they would eventually put a stop to the depradations; so censoring is vital to oligarchic "interests".
That's what it amounts to, and to try to fit it into liberal/conservative, right/left is, IMO, not really probing very deeply.
COMMENT #17 [Permalink]
said on 10/11/2005 @ 1:09 am PT...
COMMENT #18 [Permalink]
said on 10/11/2005 @ 10:11 am PT...
Nittany Lion: Where have you been? The media is liberal??? I can't stop laughing!!! I'm going to the emergency room from laughing so hard.
1. Exit polls vs. final count.
2. Downing St. memos.
3. Recent march in NYC, claiming 9/11 was an inside job.
4. The huge protest in Washington.
5. Cindy Sheehan.
6. Hurricane Katrina death count.
7. Clint Curtis.
Reporting on these things would not be "liberal", by the way. Reporting news isn't liberal. Suppressing news is conservative/rightwing. Example: the Dan Rather escapade wasn't "liberal", it was faulty news. Furthermore, the story about Bush being AWOL was true, the documents were not. What's "liberal" about lousy verification of documents? That's not liberal, that's lousy journalism. Suppression of news is conservative/rightwing, and outright lies like FOX News/Limbaugh are conservative/rightwing.
Name some supposed "liberal lies" in the media? Go ahead!!! Then go to mediamatters.org, and check out all the documented conservative/rightwing proven LIES in the news.
I can go on and on...
Conservatives call truthful news they don't like, "liberal", by the way...there is no such thing as "liberal news".
Nittany Lion: What exactly is liberal news? Who are the liberals? What are they lying about? What news are they suppressing?
When pressed for specifics, there is NO LIBERAL MEDIA! It's a ridiculous accusation.
COMMENT #19 [Permalink]
said on 10/11/2005 @ 12:43 pm PT...
It is pretty telling when Andrea Mitchell even admits the media has been giving Bush the glove treatment since 9/11.
Liberal media, sure can't see it, just starting to make 15 second comments on the crap happening.
And only a 1 time 15 second comment.
Keith Olbermann, maybe Lou Dobbs, definitely Maureen Dowd and Paul Krugman, but they have been shushed by NYT charging to read their columns on the net.
Yeah, real liberal out there in media land.
COMMENT #20 [Permalink]
said on 10/11/2005 @ 3:10 pm PT...
COMMENT #21 [Permalink]
said on 10/11/2005 @ 4:27 pm PT...
"It has long been the goal of the Republican Party to push the courts to the right by stacking them with radical conservatives."
I do not accept your premise. The Republican's goal is to put people on the bench who will follow the constitution. They don't like "radicals" of any stripe on the bench. And Liberal judges are by definition activist judges.
I agree with everything you said.
Robert Lockwood Mills:
The stuff you believe is whacko. You are a conspiracy nut living on the fringe, in among the weeds and poison toads. When was last time you had sex?
You like my name?
My name Jose.
COMMENT #22 [Permalink]
said on 10/11/2005 @ 6:36 pm PT...
Oh well, I withdraw from my campaign to change our perspective from liberal/conservative, right/left to oligarchic/democratic or some such thing. I think it is a losing cause. I still think we could be more precise, however, and that so much hangs on the old terms that we are unnecessarily working in muddy water.
Whatever - The corporate MSM has very little relation to news and assiduously avoids the issues that really matter - It's relevance and purpose is PR and propaganda. We can talk liberal and conservative forever, but take a look at some of the censored stories linked in my comment #14. That's what we should be talking about. Why were not these vital issues thoroughly covered? Should they be?
COMMENT #23 [Permalink]
said on 10/11/2005 @ 7:03 pm PT...
I think I mixed my metaphors.
COMMENT #24 [Permalink]
said on 10/11/2005 @ 10:07 pm PT...
I'm going to start this by answering #5, since I put up a rather obvious defense of Bill Bennett.
I'll preface this by saying I don't like Bill Bennett much as a politician. He's close to being a radical conservative like most of you are close to being radical liberals. But he was given a raw deal with this quote taken out of context. Clearly, the media tried to villianize him by making it seem that he supported aborting black babies. Most of the media loves to make Republicans look bad. But I will also say that he was not wrong to make an inference like this, just that he was damn STUPID. I'm sure he wants to take this one back. The media just changed gears after we all discovered that he was taken out of context, and tried to show that race and crime are linked.
I guess I might as well put up a defense of that too. I don't believe that blacks are genetically predisposed to crime. But statistics have clearly shown that a person is more like to commit a crime if she/he is in poverty. Due to centuries of discriminatory policies in this country (including slavery), blacks are disproportionately in poverty. Because of this, they also have a disproportionate level of crime attributed to them. Basically, it is true that less blacks mean less crime, but at the same time less poor whites, hispanics, etc. would cut the crime rate down. The real problem with crime in this country is poverty. So I think that at worst Bennett was just not politically correct with his assessment of freakonomics (but still dumb nontheless.)
I'll do another post for the liberal bias examples.
COMMENT #25 [Permalink]
said on 10/11/2005 @ 10:38 pm PT...
#17 - Is that opposed to NYET!!!?
COMMENT #26 [Permalink]
said on 10/12/2005 @ 2:55 am PT...
Alright, here we go with the examples of liberal bias in the media. Would have gotten to this earlier, but I had to write a paper on social policy in the U.K. (damn public policy classes).
First, an indictment on you who think that it's conservatively biased. You all are so left-wing that moderate reporting strikes you as conservative.
Second, an admission by me about talk-radio. Conservatives have a stranglehold on it, especially Rush and Hannity. No argument there.
Third, here's some examples...
Lets start with recent news - Matt Lauer (Today Show host) interviews Bush about helping out with building a house in the Katrina effected area, and immediately accuses him of using it as a photo-op. Lauer had recently been helping build a house for habitat for humanity on the Today Show, even though the house was being built off-site and was going to be dismantled and rebuilt where it was needed.
Keith Olberman calling terror alerts politically motivated (why can't he just go back to ESPN? I loved him there)
Katie Couric blasting Louis Freeh about his book on the Today Show
Chris Matthews going after Rove on Hardball like he is already guilty in the CIA leak yesterday.
Dan Rather saying he was skeptical of the forged documents, media gives him a pass on it.
This is just some of the stuff I noticed watching TV yesterday. If any of you want more from the past, I'll be happy to give it to you.
Now to answer your posts -
#7 - It's true that the heads of the media are conservative. Thats simple - they make lots of money. What CEO's aren't conservative? But close to 80% of the people who work for them are liberal (from several studies), and liberals have a stranglehold on journalism schools. The CEO's don't review the stories, they just want to make money. (But they do have a very important bias - to be sensational, and not correct - case in point, Hurricane Katrina. That kind of bias knows no politics.)
#8 - Liberal media is losing out to Fox News, so they are moving a little closer to the center to try to get back viewership. Remember, it's all about the bottom line.
#9 - That woman had a shirt that said "meet the f---ers" on it. They asked her to get off because it was profane and there were kids on the flight. BTW, Hannity took the stance that they should have left her alone.
#11 - There's even more conservative friendly stories that get left out. Great post though. The WMD argument doesnt get me though - even the Dems in Congress bought it.
#13 - You're basing your analysis on whether they bash Bush enough (and any sensible person knows he's an idiot, you don't need to beat a dead horse). You lost me on Tucker Carlson and Olberman, I guess they're just not liberal enough for you. And Judith Miller didn't care about Bush, she just wanted a story. The NYT is still extremely secular progressivist (just look at the Pope bashing they did after John Paul II died)
#16 - You just want them to come out with the same stands you take on these liberal blogs, that all of these Republicans are criminals (granted, some of them probably are.) Take the Rove story, the facts aren't all out yet, and there's no proof that he did anything illegal yet. But this 4th testimony he's about to give, most of the media automatically assumes that he is about to get nailed on this, when he asked to do this testimony and is just trying to cooperate. Don't think everything is a conspiracy to cover up something until there is actual proof. The media for the most part is just being responsible about this.
#18 - Most of what you list there are conspiracies. The media doesn't like that. There's plenty of crack-pot conservative conspiracies they don't report on either. As for Cindy Sheehan, they've over covered her. During her march on Washington, the AP and Reuters released like 30 bulletins each about what she was doing, claimed that she had a ton of supporters with her, when in reality, she had about 15 people with her (and some might have been paid to be there) And the Katrina deathcount, the media doesnt cover it because they initially predicted between 10 and 20 thousand deaths, and in reality its just over 1000. They're covering up for being sensational, that has nothing to do with politics. As for the Rather thing, he was quick to allow it because it excited him that it could kill Bush, not because he just made a mistake. I don't believe Rather intentionally did anything wrong, just that his bias blinded him to the legitimacy of the memos.
I think thats enough. I'll apologize to all of you for the length of this, but its 10 on 1 here, and I don't like running away from a good debate. Please keep this going!
COMMENT #27 [Permalink]
said on 10/12/2005 @ 9:05 am PT...
Look deeper, guys. The MSM is protecting an agenda - a deeply undemocratic agenda. The USA"PATRIOT" Act shredding the Constitution is not a conspiracy theory. Global warming is not a conspiracy theory. Unverifiable vote counting is not a conspiracy theory. No-bid contracts to corporate cronies is not a conspiracy theory.
The excuse is always that people are not interested - They are more interested in lost brides, etc. That is bullshit and just an excuse. A reporter's responsibility is to sort out what is important and to present it in a way that enlightens and interests people. They are not doing it. There is no Edward R. Murrow. There are no shattering exposes. Of course not. The corporate MSM is literally part of the same power elite that is smothering our democracy.
COMMENT #28 [Permalink]
said on 10/12/2005 @ 9:02 pm PT...
The Patriot Act was a natural overreaction to what happened post 9/11. There is plenty of support against it, and the media does not ignore it.
Global warming is also not ignored. I think that 40 years from now we are going to view our current environmental policy the same as we now view discriminatory policies in the south in the 1960s.
Unverified vote counting theories are discredited by even expert political scientists in Universities. The media doesn't report it because most people would consider them crazy.
No-bid contracts were not ignored. Thats why Chetnoff had a change of heart and wanted to redo the contracts. The government was just reacting to the intense pressure to handle the Katrina situation quickly after they initially goofed.
As for the corporate MSM, no one denies that they are biased towards the sensational. People watch sensational stories. Are people more likely to watch the news on Hurricane Katrina if there are reports of rape, dead bodies everywhere, and a possible death toll over 10,000? Of course. They are in the market to make money. More viewers means more money from sponsors. My argument is that the media is not conservatively biased, but split between some outlets of liberalism and some outlets of conservatism, all of which are just trying to be more sensational than the others. Journalists in TV are typically liberal, Fox News is conservative, and radio is conservative. I believe that overall the media is liberal, but that's not what the problem is. If you want to fix the problem, you need to recognize what it is.
COMMENT #29 [Permalink]
said on 10/12/2005 @ 10:56 pm PT...
#28 - The problem is just what I've indicated - centralization and homogenization that comes with corporate culture. Fewer and fewer MSM sources mean less and less diversity. Interlocking corporate directorships mean corporate interests come before news. That is a fact.
Of course, you can find a few stories on the subjects mentioned. Every PR organization has to "play the issues" and that's what the corporate MSM does. That doesn't mean it qualifies as good investigative reporting. Honestly, I don't think you have a clue to what good reporting is.
It is silly to say that the USA"PATRIOT" Act - a piece of legislation that virtually nullifies certain amendments to the Constitution, has had adequate coverage. I haven't heard or read anyone on MSM analyze the Act in regard to its actual effects on the Constitution, other than a few bland remarks. This should be one of the primary stories of our time. ..."natural overreaction..." Please. The Bush administration wants to expand it and is nullifying our liberties through executive orders and blanket secrecy. Do you see the great exposes about this? I think my view that the PA is part of a larger plan looks much more reasonable from the evidence than your watery idea of a "natural overreaction."
Global warming - yes, there has been some coverage. But I doubt if you will see a story about the urgent need to restructure our society in a decentralized, sustainable way. No - the subject is verboten.
Your comment about unverified vote counting is just plain dumb. Not much I can say. Proprietary software doesn't allow for verified vote counting. (Just saying "recounts" come out the same - if they do -is not verified vote counting.) I didn't say Kerry won. I didn't identify a specific instance of fraud. I said the corporate MSM was not covering the fact that the vote count cannot be verified. That's a fact and another instance of corporate malfeasance, IMO.
You are very naive if you believe the American people are well-informed of the no-bid contracts in Iraq or even in New Orleans. Yes, the MSM sure has been doing its job. Also, billions lost, unaccounted for. Sure good the people of the country didn't let that get past them.
These were just some instances of corporate MSM diddling while Rome burns. It is somewhat misleading because there are so many others to talk about. WMD's, closing of presidential documents, corporate extortion of Iraqi farmers...it's endless.
Your last paragraph indicates you didn't even hear what I said. You are only describing news as entertainment. I'm saying that it doesn't have to be that way, and, in fact, it is part and parcel of corporatization of our culture - news included.
I don't agree with you whatever that the MSM is liberal. That is absurd. But, as you know from my other postings, I think the liberal/conservative discussion is a smokescreen and a dangerous diversion (but easy to fall into as they are the terms we are used to thinking in)...when we should all be pulling together to retrieve our society from being institutionalized into a profoundly undemocratic monolith - which is precisely what we don't need for a society that can sustain itself the rest of this century.
Read up on corporatization, on the effect of corporate personhood on political funding (free speech, you know); read Alterman's "What Liberal Media?" - even though I would prefer the author would have a broader, deeper outlook; read David Korten's books about global corporatization.
Sorry to say, I think you are living in a golden cloud of naivete, smugness, and wishful thinking. You don't have to buy into every "conspiracy theory". Just learn a little something about the world.
Das ist alles from me to you.
COMMENT #30 [Permalink]
said on 10/14/2005 @ 7:51 am PT...
Jose Chung #21
I have an article to recommend. An article written by a federal prosecutor, law professor, and legal writer (link here).
It will give you an accurate picture of what you think you know about the judicial branch. You have been mythified and probably mystified as well by the law and discussion of it.
If you would care to debate the issue I will participate.
COMMENT #31 [Permalink]
said on 10/14/2005 @ 3:57 pm PT...
Since the late 1970's there has been a group of legal scholars and law professors (some of the "Crits") who have been developing a theory called Critical Legal Studies. They have argued that the law is indeterminate and many discriminatory decisions (for instance, blacks being more likely than whites to get the death penalty) come from this indeterminacy. This theory comes from four main sources -
(1) Language is indeterminate. Laws and statutes are described by words, words that can be defined in many different ways. It is the job of appelate courts to interpret these words, and their interpretations become law via stare decisis. Therefore, judges do "make" the laws.
(2) Some rights and laws are in conflict. When each side argues for guarenteed rights, these rights will sometimes conflict with each other, and its up to the judge to decide which rights are more important.
(3) Gaps in the law exist. Sometimes situations arise that were not thought of by lawmakers, so its up to the judge to determine what the law should be.
(4) Legal representation varies. Each lawyer has different levels of knowledge and competency. It's up to the judge to decide the leeway that is given to an underrepresented party.
These subjective qualites in the rule of law make it impossible for judges to make decisions based on objective truths and neutrality. I believe that a judge should be as objective as possible in deciding cases, but a "strict constructionist" interpretation of the Constitution is downright impossible to implement.