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Top Ten most Left-Biased American Journalists – #7: Howard Fineman, Newsweek

Written By : Warner Todd Huston
July 17, 2010

As we continue our Summer series of the most left-biased journalists working in the Old Media today it’s time for number seven on the list. We’ve done Cable TV, we’ve done a wire service, and we’ve done a newspaper, so now it’s time to turn our attention to the wonderful world of magazines where we find a worthy candidate in Howard Fineman of Newsweek.

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The venerable magazine has been around since 1933, but a bit of its long-time luster has faded of late. Not long ago the news mag tried a revamping under the guiding hand of wunderkind Editor Jon Meacham, but the new take didn’t… take, I mean. For some time Newsweek has been steadily losing readers and money (it lost about $29 million in 2009 alone). Perhaps it is because some of its writers are so hopelessly biased?

Enter Howard Fineman.

One of the first strikes against Fineman is that he’s a constant presence on the most left-wing entertainment/news cable networks in America. A day hardly passes when Fineman isn’t seen on MSNBC and that right there bodes ill for his status as a non-partisan journo.

But even if were possible to maintain a good, unbiased status while still making the cut to appear on MSNBC — a dubious proposition in itself — Fineman isn’t able to toe that line.

As all those that appear on our top ten list, Fineman is an apologist for The One. Even as he scolded the president for misfiring on his response to the BP Oil Spill mess, for instance, Fineman praised Obama for being “sincere.” In a June 15 appearance with Chris Matthews on MSNBC, Fineman scolded Obama for not being specific enough in his June address to the nation on what he wanted to do in the Gulf and that would be enough for most folks to find Obama’s performance unsatisfactory and worthy of criticism. But Fineman couldn’t resist trying to cover for the Obammessiah to soften the blow of Obama’s failure.

“I think it was earnest enough,” Fineman gushed. “And let’s give the President credit for wanting to do the right thing,” he said. “Earnest enough”? “Credit for wanting to do the right thing”? One wonders how many times Fineman wanted to give George W. Bush “credit” for “wanting to do the right thing”?

This from the same guy that thought Obama deserved to be placed on Mount Rushmore just for the president’s 2010 state of the union speech. Not too much effusive hyperbole, eh?

While Fineman may fall all over himself to cover for Obama, he’s not so inclined to do so when it comes to Republicans. In May, as the media stirred the Rand Paul controversy to a boil, Fineman was less inclined to wax poetic about Paul’s “good intentions” and more intent on ascribing things that he never said to Kentucky’s GOP Congressional candidate.

In a Newsweek blog post Fineman called for censure against Rand Paul because the candidate supposedly opposed the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Paul, however, never said he “opposed” the act nor did Paul campaign on repealing the landmark civil rights act or even re-assessing it, for that matter. Paul did express his libertarian-minded idea that local control is often a better method of governing, but he did not say he actually opposed the 1964 Civil Rights Act. But with Rand Paul Fineman seemed to have quite a bit less charity than he had for Obama, for sure. (Paul has since reaffirmed that he supported the Act, by the way.)

Back in January Fineman also took a few minutes from his busy MSNBC schedule to attack Fox News chief Roger Ailes.

Claiming that Ailes is the “real head of the GOP,” he slammed the cable king for his “shaky fealty to the facts” as he led tea partiers and the voters by the nose. One wonders how many times Fineman has ever found that propensity toward a “shaky fealty to the facts” on the various MSNBC shows he populates? Probably not once he’s so sold out to the left.

And do you want Democrat talking points? Well Fineman throws the race card with the best of them. Again on MSNBC, in January Fineman claimed that “everyone” just knows that the GOP is filled with racists and the party can’t win the argument on race.

“If you really want to get into a discussion of race relations and racial sensitivity, then the Republicans are going to lose… They have a terrible record,” Fineman said.

Yeah. A terrible record. That whole freeing the slaves and being the deciding vote on the 1964 Civil Rights Act is just so terrible, isn’t it?

But Howard Fineman is all about the big issues, ya know? He’s a big time journalist that is charged with reporting on history, after all.

Speaking of history, Fineman recently tried his hand at contributing to the great American debate in a book titled, “The Thirteen American Arguments: Enduring Debates that Define and Inspire Our Country.” (Random House, 2008)

His intention was to explore the thirteen major American discussions, debates and ideas that keep us all talking and striving to make America great. Unfortunately, his liberal bias crashed the discussion. As the book progressed Fineman’s “arguments” degraded from those meaningful, everlasting American discussions to mere contemporary political attacks. Fineman’s penchant for injecting current liberal political trope into his book badly mars its grand concept.

There are a few factual errors, too. In this book, for instance, Fineman claims that Nixon was the first president in a hundred years to be impeached. This, of course, isn’t true. Nixon resigned before those procedures were undertaken. In fact, Bill Clinton, not Richard Nixon, is the first president since Johnson (1868) to be impeached — though neither of them was convicted by the Senate. Fineman also mars his book with his global warming assumptions saying that “carbon” is our “argument.” But carbon can only be a legitimate argument if the theories of global warming aren’t globaloney and increasingly we are discovering that the “argument” is false. Not that Fineman would tell us that, of course.

In fact, when it comes to the environment, his book veers off the course of “American Arguments” — meaning those perennial American discussions — and towards an outright attack on Dick Cheney. Sadly, Fineman starts with a grand, overarching idea but ends up in the muck of current left/right politics thanks to his overwhelming left-wing bias.

Sadly, this is true about his entire career in journalism. And so, Howard Fineman finds his place secured on our top ten left-biased journo list.

Please check back tomorrow for left-biased journalist number six.

Be sure and Visit my Home blog Publius’ Forum. There is a lot more going on there each day… It’s what’s happening NOW!

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