- TV critic for the Washington Post
- Calls the Patriot Act “a piece of emergency legislation that has had the effect of trampling civil rights into mush”
Tom Shales is the chief TV critic for the Washington Post and has been the film critic for National Public Radio’s Morning Edition since the program was created. His critiques also appear in Television Week (TVweek.com). He is a member of the Council for Excellence in Government Media, Citizens & Democracy Project’s advisory board. While Shales denies that liberal bias exists in the mainstream media, his own critiques drip with disdain for conservatives.
In an editorial lambasting Bernard Goldberg, who authored the bestselling book Bias: A CBS Insider Exposes How the Media Distort the News, Shales calls Goldberg a “no-talent hick.” He disputes Goldberg’s assertion that leftist bias has driven viewers away from network news programs, saying, “everyone knows the networks face more and more competition each year from the increased number of cable channels – news and non-news – that lure viewers away. Dan Rather and the CBS Evening News have lost viewers partly because of the horrendous mismanagement of former CBS Chairman Laurence Tisch . . . and the loss of affiliates in urban markets due to a raid by Fox.”
In assessing President Bush’s 2004 State of the Union Address, Shales called the President “cocky” and said, “The dividing line between the parties has rarely appeared so graphic. Republicans on one side of the House chamber couldn’t scramble to their feet fast enough to give Bush his obligatory standing ovations. He probably would have gotten one if he’d sneezed.” “The speech was pretty much so-so,” added Shales, “and Bush’s gung-ho delivery – something approaching the forced jollity of a game show host – lacked dignity and certainly lacked graciousness. Bush has never been big on those things anyway.”
Shales also characterized the Patriot Act as “a piece of emergency legislation that has had the effect of trampling civil rights into mush,” and called Fox News “a Bush cheering section.”