The 2008 campaign’s People’s Choice and Runner-up were decided Election Day. The second-largest winner and loser were chosen long before: Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew, who died in 1994 and 1996, respectively; and the national media, most of whose honor died long ago.
As President, Nixon famously deemed the media as fair as crooked cards. At one time or another, his 1969-73 Vice-President lashed an ”effete corps of impudent snobs” and “radiclibs” and “rotten apples” and “nattering nabobs of negativism.”
Many felt that Agnew exaggerated. This election suggested that he and Nixon understated. How much were television, newspapers, and magazines in Barack Obama’s tank? “The Nation’s newsrooms look like overcrowded aquariums at PetSmart,” marvels columnist Michelle Malkin.
Liberal prejudice is hardly new. Every national survey shows most national journalists lurching to the Left. What startles is bias’ new brazenness, ideology impervious to fact. Wherever they are, Nixon and Agnew must be chiming, “I told you so.” Never have so many flacked so often for so long.
“The Obama campaign and mainstream media are one and the same,” notes Charles Krauthammer. Only a few showed neutrality: NPR’s Juan Williams; New York Post ‘s Fred Dicker; Washington Post‘s Dan Balz; U.S. News’Michael Barone; The New York Daily News’ Tom DeFrank and Michael Goodwin; several others. The list’s brevity astounds.
“By … 70 to 9 percent, Americans say most journalists want to see Obama win,” says the leftist Pew Research Center, surveying papers, magazines, online, talk radio, and cable and network TV. Compare Obama’s 71 percent positive/neutral coverage to John McCain’s 57 and Sarah Palin’s 64 negative, respectively. If this is objectivity, Bill Clinton is Husband of the Year.
In 1992, Nixon wrote me after Clinton beat George H.W. Bush. “You and I know that the media was blatantly biased,” he said. “No President in my lifetime has been more considerate of the press than Bush. Yet, when the chips were down, they showed their liberal bias and then compounded the injury by sanctimoniously claiming they were always fair.” Amazingly, they seemed fair v. 2008’s.
CNN’s John Roberts calls himself and Barack “we.” On Obama’s press plane, writes Malkin, cable video bares female “journalists” ogling the jeans-wearing candidate. “You’re killing us,” a groupie, panting, tells him. Others tell a Secret Service agent to “sit down” so they can see. Congressman John Lewis likens McCain to segregationist George Wallace. In response, Newsweek editor Jon Meacham dubs Lewis ”a saint.”
In the tank. The Times invents a McCain affair, which didn’t exist, ignoring John Edwards’, which did. The Washington Post breathlessly reports a man shouting “Kill him! [Obama]” at a McCain rally. He is still unfound. A journalist bays “He touched me!” at July’s minority journalists’ convention. NBC’s Lee Cowan admits, “It’s hard to be objective,” barely trying. An MSNBC producer breaks down, crying, as Obama becomes the nominee.
The tank overlooked Biden’s gaffe machine: the U.S. drives Hezbollah from Lebanon; Hillary Clinton should be Obama’s No. 2; a foreign crisis will soon “test” young Barack. By contrast, smearing Palin, the aquarium overflowed: ”Babies, Lies, and Scandals,”
“Christian Stepford wife, “Jesus freak,” “fatal cancer to the Republican Party,” “a national disgrace.” The true disgrace was on the air and printed page.
When GOP onlookers interrupted a Palin rally, columnist Frank Rich chanted “Weimar-like rage.” Antipodally, media silent treatment ignored: in Manhattan, a McCain march pocked by jeer and vulgarity; in Seattle, “ABORT Palin” graffiti; in Philadelphia, Obamaiacs screaming, “Let’s stone [Palin] her, old school.” If favoritism is an art form, the press aped Cezanne, meet Monet.
Tellingly, McCain refused to discuss Obama’s ex-minister, Jeremiah Wright, even
defending the candidate at a rally. The Philadelphia Daily News rewarded his nobility by predicting a “race war” if the GOP won. Any criticism of Obama – gaffe, policy, bottom-dwelling bud – was seen through a warped black-white prism, derided and dismissed.
Samuel Johnson called patriotism “the last refuge of the scoundrel.” Crying racism is now the media’s last refuge of the hypocrite. Most of us pine to move beyond race. Liberals are obsessed by race. Ironically, they ape bete noire George W.Bush, unwilling to eye a mirror; unable to learn, thus grow.
In 1971, Agnew mocked the counterculture. ”Yippies, Hippies, Yahoos, Black Panthers, lions, and tigers alike – I’d swap the whole damn zoo for a single platoon of the kind of young Americans I saw in Viet Nam.” Today, many would swap the whole damn press for a single platoon of American soldiers in Iraq.
Barbara Bush said of Geraldine Ferraro, “Her name rhymes with rich.” Like no campaign in memory, 2008’s national media rhymed with floor.
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