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Whew! A scathing editorial by Orson Scott Card pleads, Would the last honest reporter please turn on the lights? The piece, originally published in the Rhinoceros Times of North Carolina is spreading across the Internet and radio talk shows like a California wild fire.

Some of Card’s charges include:

This housing crisis didn’t come out of nowhere. It was not a vague emanation of the evil Bush administration.

This was completely foreseeable and in fact many people did foresee it. One political party in Congress and in the executive branch, tried repeatedly to tighten up the rules. The other party blocked every such attempt and tried to loosen them.

Isn’t there a story here? Doesn’t journalism require that you who produce our daily paper tell the truth about who brought us to a position where the only way to keep confidence in our economy was a $700 billion bailout? Aren’t you supposed to follow the money and see which politicians were benefiting personally from the deregulation of mortgage lending?

I have no doubt that if these facts had pointed to the Republican Party or to John McCain as the guilty parties, you would be treating it as a vast scandal. “Housing-gate,” no doubt. Or “Fannie-gate.”

Instead, it was Sen. Christopher Dodd and Congressman Barney Frank, both Democrats, who denied that there were any problems, who refused Bush administration requests to set up a regulatory agency to watch over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and who were still pushing for these agencies to go even further in promoting subprime mortgage loans almost up to the minute they failed.

Card fuels the fire by accusing mainstream media of being “just the public relations machine of the Democratic Party.”

It’s time you were all fired and real journalists brought in, so that we can actually have a daily newspaper in our city.

Card is not just blowing smoke. A Washington Post headline announced, Study: Coverage of McCain Much More Negative Than That of Obama:

Fifty-seven percent of the print and broadcast stories about the Republican nominee were decidedly negative, the Project for Excellence in Journalism says in a report out today, while 14 percent were positive. The McCain campaign has repeatedly complained that the mainstream media are biased toward the senator from Illinois.

Obama’s coverage was more balanced during the six-week period from Sept. 8 through last Thursday, with 36 percent of the stories clearly positive, 35 percent neutral or mixed and 29 percent negative.

And, as I mentioned in the last Random Rant Friday, the mainstream media’s poll numbers tend to have Obama with a larger lead than the more independent polls.

No wonder the network nightly news anchors have seen their numbers plummet this election season: CBS News has fallen over the year from 6.4 million viewers to 5.9 million; ABC News from 8.1 million to 7.6 million and NBC News from 8.2 million to 7.8 million.

Those of us who like our news “fair and balanced” turn to the Internet in an attempt to get a better understanding of the truth. Somewhere between The Drudge Report and The Huffington Post, CNN and Fox, there are clues! Keep looking!