A common mantra from the right-wing blames the media for a lot of what’s gone wrong with the Republican Party and the conservative movement in recent years.
The media is left-wing, they whine. The media loves Barack Obama, they claim. The media determines the outcome of elections.
I’ve heard these complaints for most of my 40 plus years of working in both journalism and politics. Hell, I even used to use the media as the bad guy in campaigns when I worked for the Republican Party in the 1980s. To paraphrase an old lawyer’s axiom:
When the issues are against you, argue the facts.
When the facts are against you, argue the issues.
When both the facts and the issues are against you, pound the table and blame the media.
As Seinfeld used to say: Yada, yada, yada.
According to most polls, the American public distrusts the media almost as much as they distrust politicians. The approval ratings of journalists rank just a little higher than Congress and the President and both of those ratings are at the lowest point in decades.
At this point, somebody will jump up and say "yeah, but the approval ratings of both Congress and the President are at all-time lows because of the media.
Bullcrap. As my granddaddy used to say: Don’t piss down my back and tell me it’s raining.
- George W. Bush’s approval rating is the lowest in history because he’s a lousy President, perhaps even the worst in history;
- Congress is held in such low esteem by the American public because it is, by and large, an ineffective legislative body;
- The media didn’t elect Barack Obama President. He ran an incredibly effective campaign that registered with 53 percent of the voters. John McCain ran an incredibly stupid campaign and compounded it by picking the bimbo of the century as his running mate.
McCain came under fire from many prominent media conservatives. As Brian Normoyle wrote in The Huffington Post:
Traditional media conservatives abandoned John McCain like rats deserting a sinking ship. Andrew Sullivan questioned his integrity, Peggy Noonan and Kathleen Parker his judgment. William Kristol advocated McCain fire his entire campaign and start from scratch and even Charles Krauthammer seemed perplexed by his frenetic behavior while admitting Obama passes the Reagan presidential-mettle test. Stinging as those resounding critiques may be, the final nail in the campaign coffin may have been hammered in by endorsements.
Andrew Bacevich endorsed Obama in March and Wick Allison did it in September. Then there were the two iconic Christophers: Hitchins and Buckley, son of National Review founder William F. Buckley who is widely credited as the father of modern conservatism. The nation also heard earlier this month from the Chicago-Tribune, who endorsed a Democrat for president for the first time in the 161-year history of the paper. And this was all before the middle of October. As if it couldn’t get any worse for McCain, none other than Colin Powell offered a full-throated, unequivocal and irrefutably measured endorsement of Obama on Meet the Press.
I’m a libertarian by philosophy. I’ve always been a political independent but I worked on the 1984 Reagan-Bush campaign, helped elect several Republicans to Congress and served as a political field operative for both the National Republican Congresional Committee and the Republican National Committee.
But I walked away from politics when the GOP let the radical elements of the right-wing take over and turn the party of the elephant into a haven for homophobes, bigots and intolerance. I walked away from George W. Bush when he shredded the Constitution and used the USA Patriot Act to destroy the personal liberties that once provided the foundations of this country.
I returned to my first love — journalism — but I did not return as a liberal or a conservative, right-wing or left-wing, Democrat or Republican.
I returned as an American…and in these petty, partisan political times there is a difference.