But when donkeys act like donkeys, the press has no such problem, as illustrated by the allegedly liberal New York Times with a story headlined "Democratic Fund-Raiser’s Trial Starts in Illinois".
A prosecutor on Thursday described Antoin Rezko [photo], a businessman and political fund-raiser, as “the man behind the curtain, pulling the strings” in an influence-peddling scheme to extort millions of dollars from companies that wanted to do business with the State of Illinois.You see how it works, don't you?
In her opening statements at a much anticipated trial here, the prosecutor, Carrie E. Hamilton, told how Mr. Rezko and Stuart Levine, a lawyer who was on two state boards, tried to use Mr. Levine’s positions and Mr. Rezko’s influence to obtain kickbacks.
The trial has attracted national attention because of Mr. Rezko’s relationship with Senator Barack Obama, who has not been accused of wrongdoing.
The trial will revolve around the administration of Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich, a Democrat like Mr. Obama, who has promised to clean up corruption in the state. Mr. Blagojevich is not charged with wrongdoing in the case.
If you don't -- or even just for fun -- it helps to imagine the shoe on the other foot. Or, in this case, the shoes on the other feet.
Suppose, just for grins, that two prominent political types were caught doing the sorts of corrupt things that prominent political types do.
Suppose one of them was an elephant-sympathizer and the other was an elected donkey.
Suppose a local TV station ran a story on the elected donkey's arraignment but didn't mention his party; suppose this sort of coverage was considered "mainstream".
Now suppose a national newspaper ran a story on the elephant-sympathizer's trial and in addition to using the word "Elephant" in the headline, also managed to cast sideways aspersions on two even more prominent elephants, neither of whom had been accused of any wrongdoing. Would this paper be called "conservative"?
You have to be able to answer "yes" to the previous question if you want to characterize the New York Times as "liberal media".
Or else you can do it, as I do, as a term of derision.