Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Dem whine for the holidays

Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby has a secure place on my “10 Favorite Pundits” list.

Here are excerpts from his June 2, 2005 column in which he reviewed a number of Dem whines including a just released Kerry ’05, a Gore ’02, and the Hillary Clinton “Vast Right Wing Conspiracy” classic which is still available at the NY Times, NPR, the AP, and other leading liberal vendors.

Jacoby begins:

John Kerry had a complaint. Six months after winning more than 59 million votes in his bid for the White House, the Massachusetts senator was lamenting to a roomful of columnists and editorial writers that voters can't hear Democrats above the roar of the GOP spin machine.

The right, he groused, is far more effective than the left at making itself heard.

To peddle their ideas, Republicans and conservatives have assembled an elaborate communication network, one that relies on the likes of ''Cato and Heritage and Grover Norquist" -- two think tanks and a well-connected Republican lobbyist -- to make sure its messages get plenty of attention.

''Several times a day, their message is amplified," grumbled the former Democratic standard-bearer. ''We don't have anything like that."

Now, where have we heard this before?

Well, last year we heard it from Democratic operative Rob Stein, creator of a much-discussed presentation called ''The Conservative Message Machine's Money Matrix." As The New York Times Magazine summarized it, Stein ''essentially makes the case that a handful of families -- Scaife, Bradley, Olin, Coors, and others -- laid the foundation for a $300 million-per-year network of policy centers, advocacy groups, and media outlets that now wield great influence over the national agenda.

The network, as Stein diagrams it, [is] . . . linked to a massive message apparatus, into which Stein lumps everything from Fox News and the Wall Street Journal op-ed page to Pat Robertson's '700 Club.' " …

In 2002, Al Gore declared, ''The media is kind of weird these days on politics, and there are some major institutional voices that are, truthfully speaking, part and parcel of the Republican Party." He indicted several by name. ''Fox News Network, The Washington Times, Rush Limbaugh -- there's a bunch of them, and some of them are financed by wealthy ultra-conservative billionaires . . . Most of the media has been slow to recognize the pervasive impact of this fifth column in their ranks."

Earlier still, first lady Hillary Clinton pooh-poohed reports of an affair between her husband and Monica Lewinsky as the delusions of a ''vast right-wing conspiracy." …

If nothing else, [Kerry’s and the others’ whines make] it clear that the paranoid style in American politics is alive and well.

Thirty years ago, it was Richard Nixon who fumed at the media and compiled an enemies list. Today it is in the upper ranks of the Democratic Party that unflattering news coverage is blamed on ''conspiracies" and subversive ''fifth columns."

But there is a difference. Nixon really did a face an overwhelmingly hostile press corps. Kerry, Gore, and Clinton, by contrast, benefit from a news media that is overwhelmingly liberal, as countless surveys have shown.

To cite just one: When a New York Times reporter polled journalists covering the 2004 Democratic National Convention, those from around the country favored Kerry over Bush by a ratio of 3 to 1.

Among the Washington press corps, the results were even more lopsided -- 12 to 1 pro-Kerry.

What Kerry and the others object to is not that there are only conservative voices in media circles these days but that there are any such voices.

The right-of-center Fox News cannot hold a candle to the combined left-of-center output of ABC, CBS, CNN, NBC, and PBS.

Scaife, Bradley, and Olin money helps leverage Republican messages, but its impact is dwarfed by the Ford, Rockefeller, Pew, Heinz, MacArthur, Carnegie, and Soros fortunes.

The Washington Times is conservative? Yes, but The Washington Post is liberal -- and its circulation is eight times as large.

But for Kerry, Gore, and Clinton, even a few conservative outlets are too many. …
There’s more to Jacoby’s column which you can read here.

I wonder what liberals who champion press freedom tell themselves when they hear Al Gore, the man most of them wanted to be President, complain that most of the media have been “slow to recognize the pervasive impact of this fifth column in their ranks?"

What does Gore think should be done with these “fifth column” journalists who don’t toe the NYT/WaPo/AP line?

If ratios of journalists at 3 to 1 and 12 to 1 favoring them don’t satisfy the Democrats, just what ratios will?

And if we ever reach those ratios, will there by any news organization left willing to report John Kerry still hasn’t released to the public all his Navy records as he said he would years ago.

And BTW – Is it true Kerry’s spending Christmas in Cambodia with Dan Rather and Paul Krugman?