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Media bias in the eye of beholder
Whoa, Jesse--say what you want, but don't expect to earn any respect.

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Date published: 2/16/2003


DID YOU CATCH Jesse Ventura on Jay Leno the other night? Leno invited the outgoing Minnesota governor because he knows this bizarre hybrid of showman/politician likes to say what he thinks.

Such a combination is likely to add spice to the usual late-night television celebrity mix.

He came through. First, Leno recalled that when he initially tried to contact Ventura to invite him, Ventura's wife answered and said that he was out riding around while she was left to shovel snow. Leno asked the former professional wrestler why he would leave his wife to do that hard work.

"Isn't that the way it should be?" Ventura responded. There's a knee-slapper. At least we know his reputation as a Neanderthal is intact.

Then he went on to say the worst part of being governor was the press. I wasn't taking notes, but he said something to the effect that the press no longer reports the news but makes up its own version of events and reports that.

Then there was a round of applause. The crowd's reaction was probably based on some herd mentality, adding an exclamation point to Ventura's comment. I really don't think the audience as a whole is as stupid as Ventura.

After doing this sort of work for some 27 years, I have yet to figure out where people get the idea that the serious media have some sort of preconceived agenda in their day-to-day reporting.

You can question the validity of the tabloid newspapers and television programs. You can question the credibility of media that are run by personalities of religion such as Pat Robertson or the Rev. Sun Myung Moon.

I am sure many people find what they believe is slanted information in the news columns of some mainstream newspapers. But that is often more in perception than reality, and the great thing about newspapers is that anyone who disagrees has a choice of alternatives: He can throw down the newspaper in disgust, write a letter to the editor, or call the newspaper to complain. I've been on the receiving end of some of those.

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