Four years ago when John Kerry was running for president, he got caught up in the Swift Boat controversy. He blamed his defeat on his failure to respond promptly and forcefully to the allegations. What was really at play here was he felt confident the story would be spiked by the MSM and never get legs. But that didn’t happen. Through conservative websites, Fox News and talk radio, the myth of war hero John Kerry was quickly demolished. The first to go was the Christmas in Cambodia fairy tale. Here Kerry blamed President Nixon for ordering him into Cambodia during Christmas 1968. His oft repeated story was “etched in his memory.” Only problem, Nixon wasn’t President yet and couldn’t have ordered it. The iron wall of media silence cracked and the story did get legs.
Not so in 2008. When John McCain recently accused the NY Times of being an arm of the DNC, he just scratched the surface. Hot button stories, harmful to Obama, are simply ignored all over. When KMOV TV in St. Louis picked up on the fact St. Louis law enforcement officials were forming “truth squads” to actively challenge and prosecute “lies” by Obama opponents in political ads, the story went unreported in the St. Louis Post Dispatch. When Missouri Republican Governor Blunt issued a strongly worded press release condemning the strong arm tactics, again the Post Dispatch ignored it. The most recent example is the handling of the Ayers/Obama connection. This has been a no-go area for the media up to recently. Now the NY Times has taken a new tack. It now publishes “whitewash” stories to preempt any valid criticism. Here’s an example from today’s Times.
Mr. McCain’s reference to Mr. Ayers’s desire to carry out more bombings was from an article in The New York Times, published by chance on Sept. 11, 2001, about Mr. Ayers and his memoir, “Fugitive Days.” The article opened with a quotation: “I don’t regret setting bombs. I feel we didn’t do enough.” Three days later, Mr. Ayers wrote on his Web site that the meaning of his remarks had been distorted. Most of the bombings attributed to the Weathermen were meant to damage only property, but a 1970 pipe bombing in San Francisco attributed to the group killed a police officer and severely hurt another. Mr. Ayers is now a professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago and lives in Mr. Obama’s neighborhood. He was named citizen of the year in Chicago in 1997, has worked with Mr. Obama on a schools project and a charitable board, and gave a house party when Mr. Obama was running for the State Senate.
This is laughable. McCain quotes the NY Times, and the Times tries to refute its own story by saying Ayers wrote on his own website it was distorted. Wow! This is almost as bad as the Washington Post calling McCain a liar (two Pinocchios) when he quoted a Post story word for word that former and discredited Fannie Mae chief Franklin Raines was giving financial advice to the Obama campaign. I guess the lesson here is that the two leading papers consider themselves unreliable. The world is coming around.
How does the MSM maintain such discipline? Part of it is the liberal monoculture at the top levels of the news gathering organizations. You simply won’t get ahead as an aspiring reporter if you stray too far from the plantation. Rush Limbaugh has another take. He see evidence of “Democrat talking points” being shared and repeated by the networks. The most dramatic evidence of this was in August 2000, when network news commentators started accusing presidential hopeful George Bush of lacking “gravitas.” For a term used infrequently, according to Lexis Nexis, it began being used on news broadcasts hundreds of times a week. Rush now plays, almost daily, a montage of liberal catch phrases, simultaneously regurgitated by the MSM. His take is this is, it can’t be sheer coincidence and must be orchestrated. The only chinks in the MSM armor are a handful of papers and Fox News.
About a year an a half ago the DNC tried to marginalize holdout Fox by urging presidential hopefuls to boycott Fox's debate, co-sponsored by the Congressional Black Caucus. Bill Clinton’s blowup with Chris Wallace was another effort to accomplish it. Of course this failed when Hillary appeared on O’Reilly in May in an attempt to rescue her failing effort for the nomination.
How do we stop this biased coverage? There is no magic bullet. But remember the liberal media is populated with big egos. They go berserk when their integrity is challenged. So challenge their integrity. Write letters to the editor with valid points and document them. Patrick Frey at Patterico’s Pontifications has an ongoing open correspondence with the reader’s representative of the LA Times. He points out conflicts of interest by reporters, questions the airbrushing of stories, and challenges the accuracy of many. When the LA Times fails to respond, he writes about it on his blog. At the end of the year he publishes a compendium of misdeeds at the Times, which he refers to as the dog trainer. Subscribe to a conservative competitor. If you live in the Washington DC area, subscribe to the Examiner or the Washington Times.
Fox News became an instant success when CNN didn’t provide unbiased coverage and conservatives flocked to them. Don’t patronize those who provide consistently inaccurate or slanted news. Share your thoughts with others. By the end of October we will learn how much damage the newspapers have done to themselves. That’s when the Audit Bureau of Circulation releases the latest 6 month figures for newspapers. Based on the most recent reports, it’s not going to be pretty. Also by then the NY Times will have released its Q3 revenue and earnings (or lack thereof) figures.