My recent article on media bias ["Label Whores: Bernard Goldberg may not be wrong about the presence of bias in the media -- he's just wrong that it's 'liberal,'" TAP, May 6, 2002] touched a number of conservative nerves, as people variously disputed or pooh-poohed my finding that the average liberal has a thirty percent greater likelihood of being given a label in the press than the average conservative does.
Listening to people complain about bias in the media, you're reminded that there is more than one paranoid style in American politics. While the left has busied itself unpacking interlocking directorates and corporate ownership, the right has made a specialty of close reading, with an extraordinary attentiveness to the nuances of usage and address.
In 1898, when Otto von Bismarck was an old man, a journalist asked him what he took to be the decisive factor in modern history. He answered, "The fact that the North Americans speak English." In retrospect, he was spot on the mark about the political and economic developments of the twentieth century, and up to now he seems to have been prescient about the development of the technologies that will shape the next one.
Rumors of the death of the brick-and-mortar library have been greatly exaggerated. Yes, the digital age has transformed the nature of data storage. But the public library will be a chief agent in providing access to digital information.