Byline: James Kuhnhenn
WASHINGTON _ With the presidential election likely to turn on developments in Iraq and the U.S. economy, one of the summer's hottest political issues is whether news-media coverage of those topics is fair or biased.
Conservatives across the country decry news coverage of the war as relentlessly and unfairly negative. Last month Brent Bozell, a conservative activist, launched a $2.8 million advertising and talk-radio campaign to discredit the "liberal news media."
Such complaints are escalating _ and increasingly conveyed in e-mails to journalists, letters to the editor and even in social settings with news executives _ a phenomenon that appears to have been aroused in part by the Republican Party, President Bush's campaign and leading conservatives on talk radio, the Internet and cable TV.
"The bias that's been there is now simply out of control," said Bozell, whose conservative Media Research Center is running newspaper and billboard ads accusing the press of lying. The ads show a stern-faced Uncle Sam warning: "Don't believe the liberal media!"
Protests about media coverage have surged as bad news from Iraq and worries about jobs here at home have driven Bush's approval numbers to all-time lows. …