President Bush disparaged the media at a Republican fund-raiser the other night — rather ungrateful behavior for a man who has been so fawned over. The Fox television network exists largely to praise Bush and assault his critics, and even the networks that make some pretense of objectivity are not a lot better, heavily weighting their news programming toward Bush/Republican positions.

As for the print media, there has never been a presidential campaign in which reporters were so openly biased in favor of one candidate and so fiercely opposed to the other as in 2000. The press put words into Al Gore’s mouth and refused to extract them, even when it was proved the words had never been spoken by the candidate. Any incident or remark that could be interpreted as unfavorable to Gore was exaggerated and repeated. Bush’s often perplexing utterances and actions were ignored. Today, the press still allows Bush to lie about the invasion of Iraq, his distortions of the record going uncorrected.

But are the media doing enough? Perhaps it takes more than slanted journalism to win the president’s favor. Bush’s idea of a really good newspaper is the Washington Times, owned by followers of the spooky Korean evangelist Sun Myung Moon, a patron of the Bush family. In 2004, the Moon-owned Washington Times Foundation gave $1 million to a Houston foundation that sent the money on to the presidential library of George H. W. Bush, father of the current president. In 2005, another Moon front group gave $1 million to the elder Bush’s Points of Light Foundation, supposedly for Hurricane Katrina relief. The Washington Times Foundation recently purchased educational materials from a company owned by Neil Bush, the president’s brother, and is trying to insinuate them into the public schools. The Washington Times was a corporate co-sponsor of a fund-raiser for a foundation headed by former first lady Barbara Bush.

Moon, a self-proclaimed “messiah,” may want something in return. He was convicted of income tax evasion in 1982 and served 13 months in a federal prison. A presidential pardon would clear his name, at least on that particular offense. Knowing Moon, knowing Bush, it sounds like a wise investment.

We’ve hungered for the chance to say something nice about U.S. Rep. John Boozman, and at last we have it. Like his congressional colleagues from Arkansas, he voted for extension of the federal Voting Rights Act and against destructive amendments, sponsored by members of his own party, that would have permitted renewed discrimination against black voters. And Boozman represents the whitest, most conservative district in the state. Good show.


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