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Monday, February 07, 2005

Today's Must Read II: Powerline's Deacon Exposes CBS Bias in Weekly Standard

There is a law of logic that A cannot be non-A. That simple assertion of fact is the basic building block of inferential reasoning. Such reasoning is found at its most sophisticated levels in philosophy and law. Thus, it ought not surprise that Powerline's Deacon - a consumate practioner of the law in the nation's capitol - reads the recent CBS Rathergate report and concludes there was clear evidence of political bias in Dan Rather's Sept. 8 "60 Minutes" segment based on forged documents regarding President Bush's military service in the Texas National Guard.

Deacon's brief piece is scathing in its assessment of the Thornburgh/Boccardi "investigation" of Rathergate report and its conclusion that it could find no evidence of political bias influencing the Sept. 8 segment. Boccardi even said proving bias was rather difficult.

Nonsense, notes Deacon, citing the body of civil rights law and the Supreme Court's three-tiered test for inferring the presence of racial bias in a decision or action with negative consequences or effects on minorities:

"Yet questions about motivation lie at the heart of many garden-variety legal disputes, most notably cases involving issues of unlawful discrimination under various civil rights statutes. Recognizing that very few employment decision-makers will admit to bias, the Supreme Court quickly developed a construct for inferring the existence of bias through "indirect" evidence. "Proving bias thus became no more difficult than proving other allegations of fact, a state of affairs consistent with Chief Justice Rehnquist's comment that the state of one's mind is just as much a factual issue as the state of one's digestion."

Click on the headline above to go to the full column. After reading Deacon's Weekly Standard column, a lot more folks are probably going to conclude the CBS investigation was itself evidence of bias within the network.