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4/18/2008
THE LEFT TURNS ON THEIR OWN CREATION
CATEGORY: Decision '08, Media

The left’s towering anger that exploded onto the internet after the Philadelphia Democratic debate is a little misplaced aggression in my opinion. The fact of the matter is, this is the kind of press the left created, nurtured, supported, and lionized for the last half a century.

The modern American media has its roots in the way news was first delivered over television. And the granddaddy’s of TV journalists - the men most responsible for the way that television, print, radio and now internet news operates in tone and content - were Edward R. Murrow and Fred Friendly.

In many ways, those two brilliant gentlemen, both with enormous professional integrity and a keen sense of the way that news was important to the American people, made it impossible to escape the “gotcha” mentality that would dominate the news landscape for the next 50 years. Friendly and Murrow were both classic FDR liberals - perhaps a little farther left in Friendly’s case - and saw the drama inherent in media confrontations as the best way to get eyeballs in front of the screen. Beyond that, Murrow especially was on a quest to destroy his ideological foes - and not just McCarthy who Murrow delayed skinning until the beast was already cornered and gravely wounded but also other cold war figures who he believed stood in the way of the naturally friendly relations with Soviet Russia we should be enjoying.

Nixon, Acheson, and the Dulleses were also damned by Murrow and Friendly and thus began a tradition in news reporting that continues to this day; savaging conservatives.

If you can name one prominent conservative figure of the last half century who has not been subject to the most unflattering, scathing, unfair and ultimately dishonest portrayal in the media then I will eat my skimmer. On the other hand, of course, the left has a pantheon of heroes from Kennedy to Kerry who have gotten the kid glove treatment from the press. Yes there was occasional criticism. But this was mostly pro-forma and somehow never quite made it into election campaigns. Curious, that.

The CBS Show “60 Minutes” refined this tactic using new technologies and added “ambush journalism” to the mix. Now it wasn’t simply a case of “gotcha” but also watching the target of the hit piece jump around like a bug on a hot griddle trying to avoid reporters running after them with camera and mike in tow. It made for wildly successful television and “60 Minutes” became the #1 show in the country for decades.

This is not to say that most if not all the subjects ambushed by “60 Minutes” didn’t deserve every squirming second they spent in front of the cameras. But one may have asked at some point, “Is this journalism?” Or is this a circus? The imitators came fast and furious on the other networks followed by investigative reporting outfits at both the national and local levels of broadcast news, radio, and finally newspapers. Much of the work done by these units was vital and necessary. But some of it was trivial and titillating rather than newsworthy. No matter. It all went into the great maw of the information delivery systems of the day and was swallowed up by the people.

The crowning moment for this news culture was Watergate. Ironically, at a point where this creation of the left reached its zenith, real journalists began to ask questions about the power of the press and the potential for abuse. But the pattern had been set and from then until now, news coverage of our politics has become more and more concentrated on digging for dirt and hopng to expose embarrassing facts about a candidate’s past which used to be the job of the political opposition but is now an obligation of the press corps.

The “gotcha” political culture is an outgrowth of all this. So why is the left complaining? They created this creature to devour their ideological enemies. Should they be so surprised that it has turned on them and is now devouring their candidate of choice in the most hotly contested primary race in decades?

Admittedly, both Clinton and Obama are sitting ducks. There literally is no one else to target at the moment. McCain is off in the shadows, largely ignored as Hillary and Obama gore each other. Also, McCain has something of a special relationship with many in the press that for the moment is allowing him to operate as he wishes. I imagine once the outlines of the general election race takes shape that will change and the press will be an equal opportunity destroyer. At least, that’s how it’s been in the past.

Not only are both candidates tempting targets but they themselves have given the press the ammunition to attack them. Hillary’s serial fibbing and Obama’s stammering excuses for his past problem associations have left the candidates wide open to the kind of “How many times have you beaten your wife today” questions that were asked by Gibson and Stephanopolous. Both journalists were doing their jobs - probing and prying, looking for soft spots. In Obama’s relationship with Ayers, they struck jello. And Obama’s dismissive answers as well as his comparing a Senate colleague to an anti-social domestic terrorist only served to highlight the candidate’s lack of understanding of why people might see a potential president of the United States being on a first name basis with Bill Ayers in the age of terror would be a shocking thing.

For those on the left who feel betrayed by the media, I would say don’t worry. By the time the leaves begin to turn the press will be back right where they always have been; standing shoulder to shoulder with the Democratic party and working to belittle, injure, and destroy conservatives and Republicans running for office.

UPDATE: Stupid Liberal Comment of the Decade

The comment by “Bobwire” I am reproducing below will cause any conservative in America to burst into laughter. I reproduce it and urge you to congratulate Bobwire on his perspicuity:

bobwire | bobnoxious@lycos.com | IP: 72.173.105.69

“If you can name one prominent conservative figure of the last half century who has not been subject to the most unflattering, scathing, unfair and ultimately dishonest portrayal in the media then I will eat my skimmer.”

Arlen Spector
Mark Hatfield
Lowell Weicker

You have been pwned. You exist only as a button pusher.

By: Rick Moran at 4:42 pm
10 Responses to “THE LEFT TURNS ON THEIR OWN CREATION”
  1. 1
    Aaron Said:
    5:21 pm 

    Even if the Left did create this creature, they lost control of it a long time ago. It is now run by the free market — ratings and advertising rule the day. Conservatives should rejoice.

    I’m an Obama supporter, but I wasn’t particularly offended by the questioning the other night. There have been a ton of debates, and some of the moderators are bound to ask questions that some people don’t like.

    The Right’s view that the media has an overall leftward bias is absurd. There is plenty of evidence for “bias” on both sides of the aisle. During the leadup to the Iraq war and the 2004 election, I remember fuming about the media’s rightward bias. But I was wrong. The fact is that there is no bias. If something makes people sit down, watch the news, and not change the channel, then it makes money for the network. And that’s all that matters.

    “Gotcha” politics is perfect for the type of sensationalist news coverage that we have today. “Gotcha” politics has destroyed the emphasis on objectivity that used to exist. It’s the free market at work. What could be better?

  2. 2
    Gerry From Valpo Said:
    9:25 pm 

    “McCain is off in the shadows, largely ignored as Hillary and Obama gore each other.”

    Sure hope this pun was intended.

    Outstanding essay as always, sir.

  3. 3
    Pinch Sulzberger Said:
    9:26 pm 

    “It is now run by the free market—ratings and advertising rule the day”

    Over my dead body!!!!!!

  4. 4
    bobwire Said:
    9:41 pm 

    “If you can name one prominent conservative figure of the last half century who has not been subject to the most unflattering, scathing, unfair and ultimately dishonest portrayal in the media then I will eat my skimmer.”

    Arlen Spector
    Mark Hatfield
    Lowell Weicker

    You have been pwned. You exist only as a button pusher.

    BWHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH! ARE YOU SERIOUS? ARE YOU OBLIVIOUS?

    Each of those gentlemen are about as “conservative” as Ted Kennedy.

    You are the laughing stock of every conservative who reads this. In fact, I am going to make your incredibly stupid comment an update to this post.

    I actually burst out laughing when you listed those guys. UNBELIEVABLE!

    ed.

  5. 5
    bobwire Said:
    10:15 pm 

    “For those on the left who feel betrayed by the media, I would say don’t worry. By the time the leaves begin to turn the press will be back right where they always have been; standing shoulder to shoulder with the Democratic party and working to belittle, injure, and destroy conservatives and Republicans running for office.”

    How then on God’s green earth have we eight years of someone stupider than Rick Moran?

    What legs do conservatives have to stand on? Uhm..hello?

    You consign yourselves to your own manipulation. I will see all of you in hell.

  6. 6
    Denny Said:
    12:22 am 

    Rick,

    I can’t seem to get your contact form to work, so I will correspond with you here. Hopefully, you won’t mind.

    My previous site called, ‘For Your Conservative Pleasure’ is no longer running and has been shut down. I have a new blog called, ‘New Republican Party Blog.’

    I do want to thank you for putting my previous site up on your site, even though I was brand-new. I do appreciate that fact.

    In case you are interested,

    http://777denny.wordpress.com/

    Thanks again for believing in me.

    Denny

  7. 7
    Juan Paxety Said:
    6:00 am 

    In my many years in the media, I’ve always been amazed at the number of reporters, producers and anchors who say they “love” McCain. I was never able to get them to articulate a specific reason, but the affection certainly showed in the stories they wrote.

    Will it carry over to the general election? That remains to be seen, but I wouldn’t be surprised if McCain gets much fairer treatment than any Republican since Eisenhower.

  8. 8
    retire06 Said:
    5:48 pm 

    How typical of the rightwing to lower discourse by calling bush critics unamerican and 9/11 widows whores, and create an entire scaffolding of bigotry and slime and blame it on the left.

    This is what I think is awesome.

    I was in Philly last night and 40,000 people showed up to see the next and actually elected President of the United States.

    when was the last time 40,000 wingnuts ever did anything together and spontaneously other than show up and get drunk the night before first day of hunting season?

    smear
    whine

    squirm

    President Barack Hussein Obama

    two terms

  9. 9
    hoody Said:
    10:20 am 

    Bobwire: You are partially correct in saying the following: You consign yourselves to your own manipulation. I will see all of you in hell.

    If complete intellectual cluelessness is a requisite for damnation, you sir amply qualify. You are correct, then, in that you are going to hell.

    And you forgot to put Bob Packwood on your list of “conservatives” who were raked by the media.

  10. 10
    hoody Said:
    10:26 am 

    And as for retire; 40,000 people responding to naked demagoguery is no new thing, and not something to be proud of. Review your history texts for other examples: Paris, 1780s; Moscow and St. Petersburg, 1917; Nuremburg, 1930s. It is easy to whip the proles into a frenzy. It is much more difficult to lead with integrity.

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