The sleep of the just

Over at Fox News, Chris Wallace is complaining about liberal bias.  He does so in a way that reminds one of Steve Colbert's allegation that "reality has a well-known liberal bias."  Here's how Talking Points Memo reports it:

Chris Wallace appeared on Friday's Fox and Friends and assailed NBC's Brian Williams over his question to Rick Perry about whether he ever struggled to sleep at night over the potential innocence of one of his many executed inmates, calling it an example of a "liberal bias."

"Would you ask a liberal politician about sleeping at night if they favored abortion or choice? " Wallace argued. "It is so built into the drinking water, if you will, in some of these liberal outlets that they don't even understand it happens."

To be fair, Wallace was merely agreeing with the even more clownish Bernie Goldberg on the idea of persistent liberal bias in the media; and the video at the link makes this claim even more obviously silly.  The difference, in case you don't just grasp it out of hand, concerned whether Perry worried about the actual non-guitiness of anyone convicted of the death penalty in his death-penalty granting state.  Up or down innocence of an actual convicted criminal can be determined in a rather different manner than whether the fetus has moral personhood.  While the latter might be a true or false question, one must at least admit that it is not super obvious how one might determine that–i.e., in a way strictly analogous to whether someone committed a crime.

Had, of course, Williams asked Perry about whether the death penalty was just, that would have been different.  But he didn't.

2 thoughts on “The sleep of the just”

  1. Left-wing politicians have been asked to defend their positions on abortion for many decades and, if question is no longer asked with much frequency, it's likely because everybody anticipates a standard, "it's horrible but women should have a right to choose, let's work to reduce the number"-type answer.

    If asking a general question about the death penalty would be a better analogy, would Wallace complain that the media displayed right-wing bias and was unfair to Mike Dukakis, who was asked about the death penalty in a highly sensational, personalized manner?

  2. Good points Aaron.  The Dukakis example is especially apt, as it was a counterfactual about whether certain facts would alter his principled stand. 

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