If there used to be a liberal establishment, how have things changed? There's Fox News, talk radio, and the Internet. Meanwhile, liberals plotting to undermine Fox News are itching to bring back the “Fairness Doctrine” to destroy talk radio and invoke campaign finance laws to restrict speech on the Internet.
Consider that the first small breach in the liberal media behemoth came about only because Ronald Reagan's Federal Communications Commission repealed the “Fairness Doctrine” in 1987. The Rush Lim-baugh show premiered on August 1, 1988. Illustrating the irony of its name, the “Fairness Doctrine” does not apply to TV stations, newspapers, magazines, or Hollywood movies. Only on the radio is the government required to enforce “fairness.”
By mandating that any political views disseminated over the radio be counterbalanced by the opposing view, the “Fairness Doctrine” not only requires radio stations to give boring crackpots airtime, it also creates a conceptual and administrative nightmare. What is fair? There are conservative and liberal views—but there are also libertarian, Green party, Federalist, and Marxist views. (Though the liberals will tend to have the Marxist arguments covered.) The problem isn't just the paperwork stations would have to fill out. It's also that radio stations would have to start balancing three hours of Rush Limbaugh (20 million listeners) with three hours of Randi Rhodes (6 listeners) every day. Reim-plementation of the “Fairness Doctrine” spells the end of talk radio.
So naturally Democrats are itching to bring it back! Democrats have already passed two bills reinstating the “Fairness Doctrine” since its merciful repeal—both vetoed, by Republican presidents Reagan and George H. W. Bush.34 Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi and Senators Jeff Bingaman, Richard Durbin, Dianne Feinstein, John Kerry, and Chuck Schumer—all Democrats—have said they want to reinstate the “Fairness Doctrine.”
A Clinton-appointed judge has found that speech on the Internet is also subject to federal control. In 2004, U.S. District Court judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly ordered the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to consider extending the McCain-Feingold speech restrictions to the Internet, saying that exempting the Internet has allowed the “rampant circumvention of the campaign finance laws.”35 Evidently, excluding Hollywood movies and TV shows, magazines, newspapers, and the broadcast and cable networks from federal speech restrictions poses no such threat to the campaign finance laws.
Once the government has muzzled speech on talk radio and the Internet, we can happily return to a world called “1984.” The establishment media will heave a sigh of relief and say, “Thank God that's over!” Then they can go back to insisting that the idea of the “liberal establishment” is a kooky conservative conspiracy theory. There's your liberal establishment that Gergen says “doesn't exist anymore.”
THE MEDIA ARE SO PARTISAN THAT MANY PEOPLE ARE UNDER the impression that they must take their marching orders directly from the Democratic National Committee. But journalists aren't merely the willing recipients of information from campaign consultants: They are active participants in Democratic campaigns. As difficult as it is to separate them, the Democratic Party is beholden to the media, not the other way around.
It wasn't the Kerry campaign calling in the Bush National Guard hoax in to CBS News. It was the reverse: Dan Rather's producer at CBS, Mary Mapes, called Kerry campaign official Joe Lockhart about Bush's fake National Guard scandal, imploring him to call CBS's trusted source and proven liar Bill Burkett.36
And it wasn't House Democrats who launched the Mark Foley e-mail scandal,37 that was ABC News. House pages had complained about receiving inappropriate e-mails and instant messages from Republican representative Mark Foley as far back as 2000 or 2001. House Democrats didn't care. The media did—precisely one month before a hard-fought midterm congressional election and one day after the deadline for removing Foley's name from the Florida ballot. (All I can say is, thank God a good, faithful Democrat took Foley's old seat so there won't be any more sex scandals in Palm Beach County!)
True, the Democrats and the media are generally fighting for the same thing: the total destruction of the United States of America. But when their interests collide, as they did when Hillary was in a primary against spine-tingler Obama, we see who wins.
In the 2008 election season, it wasn't the Obama campaign but the New York Times that put a thinly sourced article about an alleged John McCain affair on its front page. It wasn't the Democratic National Committee but a newspaper reporter, David Singleton of the Scranton Times-Tribune, who invented the story about Republican crowds yelling “Kill him!” about Obama at a Palin rally.38 It wasn't the Obama campaign but the Times that put an angry, and yet still pointless, Alaska ethics report on Governor Sarah Palin on its front page.
On the main charge against Palin, the firing of her public safety commissioner, the investigators found it “was a proper and lawful exercise of her constitutional and statutory authority” to fire her own department head. Though the report doesn't dwell on it, this particular public safety commissioner was badly in need of firing. In the midst of the Palin family's formal complaints about state trooper and former Palin brother-in-law Mike Wooten for threatening her family, drinking on the job, and Tasering Palin's nephew, the public safety commission asked the governor to sign a photo of a state trooper, in uniform, saluting the flag for the purpose of turning the photo into a poster. The trooper chosen for this photo was none other than … Mike Wooten!39
But the report also accused Palin of “abuse by inaction” for not preventing her husband from complaining about Wooten. Notwithstanding Palin's stated fear of the trooper, the report concluded that this was not a genuine fear because according to the geniuses on the investigating panel, getting Wooten fired would not make him any less dangerous. “On the contrary,” the report advised, “it might just precipitate some retaliatory conduct on his part.”
So whatever you do, do not complain about abusive cops: They might retaliate! Though I still think it might make them a little less dangerous to take away their badges and guns.
Out of more than forty newspaper and wire stories on the legislature's report the day after it was released, most with banner headlines declaring Palin GUILTY, only twenty documents even mentioned that the trooper in question had Tasered his ten-year-old stepson. The New York Times was not among them.
Instead, Times reporter Serge F. Kovaleski described the Palin family's interest in the trooper as resulting from “a harsh divorce and child-custody battle” with Palin's sister.40 This would be like describing Justin Volpe's sodomitic broomstick attack on Abner Louima as an “enhanced interrogation.”
One imagines a normal person trying to grasp what happened after reading the New York Times version of the story:
NORMAL PERSON: Why was Palin trying to fire this guy?
REPORTER: Because she's a horrible person.
NORMAL PERSON: Yeah, but what was her reason? She must have had a reason.
REPORTER: Don't worry, it's not important.
NORMAL PERSON: If you don't tell me, I'm going online to find
REPORTER: He Tasered her ten-year-old nephew, threatened to
kill his father-in-law, and drank on the job, but anyway,
she's a horrible person!
NORMAL PERSON: HE WHAT!
No wonder the establishment media are so frustrated with the Internet.
In any other connection, a woman going through a divorce from a cop who had made threats against her father and Tasered her son would be a Lifetime TV (for women) movie. The media had to do a highly unusual 180-degree turn on cops to make Sarah Palin the villain in this story. My own position is that sometimes cops are innocent and sometimes they are guilty, but I need to know the facts. It's good to know that the Left's new default position is: “We always believe the cop.” That represents a major policy shift.
The smear tactics used by the media against McCain and Palin show the absurdity of the Left's claims of perpetual victimization at the hands of th
Again: it wasn't the Democrats who started calling Sarah Palin a racist: It was the media. On October 5, the objective, nonpartisan Associated Press reported that Palin's statement that Obama was “palling around with terrorists”—referring to the white, privileged, cretinous member of the Weather Underground Bill Ayers—“was unsubstantiated and carried a racially tinged subtext that John McCain himself may come to regret.”41 The following week, Democratic politicians joined the media bandwagon, when Representatives Gregory Meeks, Ed Towns, and Yvette Clarke all called Palin a racist.
Apparently, in addition to raising Obama's fraternizing with a white domestic terrorist, Palin had used the racist code words “Joe Six-Pack” and “Hockey Mom.” If those were code words, they were extremely subtle. In fact, I think the NAACP would give you a pass on “Joe Six-Pack” and “Hockey Mom.”
But Representative Clarke demanded to know “Who exactly is Joe Six-Pack and who are these hockey moms?” The same people who said they couldn't have a conversation that didn't include the phrase “lipstick on a pig” now claimed they had never heard the expression “Joe Six-Pack.” Clarke continued, “Is that supposed to be terminology that is of common ground to all Americans? I don't find that. It leaves a lot of people out.”42 Many had hoped that the nomination of the first black man for president would end the playing of the pinot noir card, but it was not to be.
It's a symbiotic relationship the Democrats and the media have, with the media sometimes concocting their own rogue attacks on Republicans and sometimes getting their arguments directly from Democratic talking points. Take the New York Times's Katherine Q. Seelye, for example.
On October 15, 2008, the Obama campaign's internal predebate talking points were inadvertently released to the media. They said:
This is John McCain's last chance to turn this race around and somehow convince the American people that his erratic response to this economic crisis doesn't disqualify him from being president.
Just this weekend, John McCain vowed to “whip Obama's you-know-what” at the debate, and he's indicated that he'll be bringing up Bill Ayers to try to distract voters.
So we know that Senator McCain will come ready to attack Barack Obama and bring his dishonorable campaign tactics to the debate stage.
John McCain has been erratic and unsteady since this crisis began, staggering from position to position and trying to change the subject away from the economy by launching false character attacks.43
Katharine Q. Seelye's October 15, 2008, New York Times article, “What to Watch for During the Final Debate,” included the following points in her news analysis—observations that were uncannily similar to the Obama campaign's talking points:
“Tonight's debate provides Senator John McCain with his last, best hope of reversing the tide that appears to be running against him.”
“Mr. McCain has already vowed to ‘whip’ Mr. Obama's ‘you-know-what’ tonight. At the same time, watch to see if Mr. McCain raises the matter of Mr. Obama's past association with William Ayers, the former 1960s radical.”
“Watch for the degree to which Mr. McCain dials back his attacks, as he has on the campaign trail.”
“His behavior during the current crisis—from announcing a brief suspension of his campaign to offering a plan during the last debate for buying up bad mortgages—appeared to have the effect of undermining voter confidence and driving away independents.”
One would hope that professional journalists wouldn't typically reprint Democratic talking points as news. More often, what professional journalists do is manufacture their own mock outrages against Republicans and then hand-deliver the fake scandal to the Democrats, who act dutifully shocked.
According to his devoted media claque, Obambi was a victim of “guilt by association” whenever anyone mentioned his two-decade association with a racist preacher or his ties to an unrepentant domestic terrorist. Being offended by “guilt by association” was another new posture for liberals, who heretofore had specialized in making guilt-by-association charges.
Republican politicians who had given speeches to a conservative group, the Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC), were branded sympathizers of white supremacists because some of the directors of the CCC had, decades earlier, been leaders of a segregationist group, the Citizen Councils of America, which were founded in 1954. There is no evidence on its Web page that the modern incarnation of the CCC supports segregation, though its “Statement of Principles” offers that the organization opposes “forced integration” and “efforts to mix the races of mankind.” But mostly the principles refer to subjects such as a strong national defense, the right to keep and bear arms, the traditional family, and an “America First” trade policy.44
Apart from some aggressive reporting on black-on-white crimes— the very crimes that are aggressively hidden by the establishment media—there is little on the CCC website suggesting that the group is a “thinly veiled white supremacist” organization, as the New York Times calls it in one of its more charitable descriptions. At least the crimes reported on the CCC's Web page actually happened, as opposed to the Reverend Jeremiah Wright's claim that the U.S. government invented AIDS to kill blacks.
Republicans Senator Trent Lott and Representative Bob Barr did nothing more than give speeches to the CCC, yet they were forever damned by their association with it. Neither man even belonged to the CCC, nor did they attend CCC meetings once a week for twenty years. They certainly didn't have their daughters baptized by CCC activists.
But according to the establishment media, Lott and Barr were fully responsible for the decades-old affiliations of some of the directors of a group … because they spoke at the CCC. As the media's hysteria about the CCC reached a fever pitch, a Times editorial howled about “fresh evidence of the persistence of racism” on the part of Lott based on his “links to the white separatist group called the Council of Conservative Citizens.” The New York Times was shocked by the group's “thinly veiled white supremacist agenda,” but was somewhat more accepting of the completely unveiled racism of Obama's preacher.45 One surmises that the CCC's thin veil of white supremacy would have become a bit thicker had Democratic congressman Dick Gephardt ever been a serious candidate for president. In the 1970s, he had spoken to a branch of the related, but more outré, Citizen Councils of America.46 That, and the fact that he's a preposterous boob, are probably the only two things that kept Dick Gephardt out of the White House.
After the initial flurry of articles, editorials, and news stories in the Times excitedly reporting that Barr had spoken to the CCC, Democratic representative Bob Wexler introduced a resolution in Congress for the sole purpose of denouncing the Council of Conservative Citizens.47 Other than the 9/11 terrorists, the CCC may be the only group ever singled out for denunciation in a congressional resolution. How about a resolution from Obama pom-pom girl Wexler on Obama's Trinity United Church of Christ?
When Barr later gave a speech on the House floor favorably citing President John F. Kennedy, Senator Ted Kennedy's son, Representative Patrick Kennedy, got in Barr's face, shouting, “How dare you! Anybody who has been to a racist group has no right invoking my uncle's memory!”48 Liberals are now reserving the right to tell us which former presidents we can mention by name.
Barr had given a speech to a group that, even assuming everything that the Southern Poverty Law Center says about it is true, does not hold a candle to the racism of Obama's Trinity United Church of Christ. Obama was married by the Reverend Wright, his daughters were baptized by the Reverend Wright, Obama gave his second autobiography the title of one of the Reverend Wright's sermons. And yet after decades of majoring in Guilt by Association, liberals were indignant when an ad on cable televi
Liberals, who will attack with whatever is available because they have no principles, were also appalled by any attempt to link Obama to Bill Ayers. In an op-ed so clever she couldn't stand herself, New York Times columnist Gail Collins wrote that if Obama was responsible for Ayers's actions then she was responsible for the banking scandals of the eighties by virtue of the fact that savings-and-loan king Charles Keating had spoken at her high school thirty years earlier. Collins's satirical chain of causation did not, however, apply to Republicans speaking to a group containing members who had belonged to a segregationist group thirty years earlier, which, come to think of it, pretty much describes Collins's connection to the banking scandals.50
Can Trent Lott and Bob Barr get an apology now?
THE ESTABLISHMENT MEDIA's MOST COMICAL DOUBLE STANDARD appears in their treatment of gays. Liberals claim to love gays when it allows them to vent their spleen at Republicans. But disagree with liberals and their first response is to call you gay. Liberals are gays’ biggest champions on issues most gays couldn't care less about, like gay marriage or taxpayer funding of photos of men with bullwhips up their derrieres. But who has done more to out, embarrass, and destroy the lives of gay men who prefer to keep their orientation private than Democrats? Who is more intolerant of gays in the Republican Party than gays in the Democratic Party?
Speaking of very gay people, take New York Times columnist Frank Rich. In a blind rage at Karl Rove, Rich announced that Rove's late father was gay, citing a book by the Rove-obsessed authors of Bush's Brain, one a columnist for the Huffington Post.