Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Boogie Man Is Real (if you are a Republican) 

Republicans, knocked completely out of power for the first time since 1994, are looking for a foothold to relive those glory days leading up to the 1994 election when everything seemed to break their way. Having lost in 2006 and 2008, and gaining no traction in the first 6 months of a new presidency, they have come up with the solution to their problems: They are doing nothing wrong, but instead have been conspired against by the liberal media.

First, to "operationalize" their terms: The liberal media equals ABC, CBS, and NBC. It also sometimes includes the NY Times and the Washington Post, but to be honest, the newspaper industry has been so devastated, it seems that they are no longer directly in the sights of the conservative right. Not included in the media is Fox News, talk radio like Rush, Hannity, and others, and conservative opinion writers such as George Will and Charles Krauthammer. And, to add to the hypocracy, none of these Republicans raised a peep when George Bush or Dick Cheney camped out on Fox News when they wished to spin a negative story or attack their opponents, or when the Bush administration fed disinformation to conservative outlets like the Drudge Report. AND, to make their case about liberal bias, they did so on Fox News, all with the nodding approval of the morons who anchor Fox News segments.

Here is what I mean. In early June, intellectual heavy weight and Texas Republican Representative Lamar Smith announced the formation in the Congress of the "Media Fairness Caucus" because of concern surrounding "unfair reporting by the mainstream news media." And, for those of you who think there are limits to Republican hyperbole, try this one on for size--Representative Smith told knucklehead Fox News anchor Bill Hemmer that the danger of liberal media bias is a greater threat than "a recession or another terrorist attack..."! Worse than 9/11! This is how eyes wide shut some Republicans and conservatives have become.

The goal behind the MFC is similar to the goals of the "Conservative Opportunity Society" of the 1980s--then it was the goal of backbench Republicans to be as outlandish as possible and to pick high profile fights with the Democratic Leadership in order to draw media attention. Once they garnered the media attention, they could then use that platform to highlight their policy differences with the Democrats, and if successful, parlay that into wins at the ballot box. Thus if you are looking for a rationale behind "liberal bias is more dangerous than terrorism," there you have it.

The most recent high profile fight (with conservative media providing as much attention as possible) is with ABC, and its devotion to the Obama health care reform plan. The MFC has begun to run ads attacking "a national TV network," or ABC, for turning over control of the network news to the Obama administration. The MFC sent off a letter to ABC News President David Westin, complaining of the "exclusive arrangement from which the President and his viewpoint stand to gain." To his credit, Westin came back swinging:

Sadly, some inside government and within the private sector see every issue as material for a sort of political high theatre, to be used to gain votes or energize political bases or simply to raise funds. I would have thought that a subject as important as the health care received by the American people would rise above this sorry spectacle. Our citizens need and deserve more.

Smith's MFC began with a dozen lawmakers signing on, but have since grown to 40--good luck reading most of their names!

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