Over the weekend, the Washington Post quoted Republican Senator Jim DeMint asserting that Republicans "don't need The Washington Post to cover things anymore ... Something can get on a conservative blog, then on Fox News, then it's everywhere."
It's true: conservative blogs often set the agenda for Fox News shows - with the rest of the media following in tow. Perhaps most infamously, in 2007, Fox & Friends gave widespread promotion to the bubbling smear on conservative blogs that then-Senator Barack Obama attended a madrassa as a child.
DeMint's view of Fox News as part of the GOP's messaging strategy is echoed among other members of his party. A quick sampling:
Bachmann, a frequent guest on Fox News, knows how Fox News works as a political organization. Bachmann recently appeared on Hannity to promote her re-election website and a protest against health care reform. And during the debate over cap and trade, Bachmann and Beck (who has offered to fundraise for her) implored viewers to call Congress to oppose "that national energy tax."
The Republican chorus that Fox News is a part of GOP messaging is something that Fox News has as much admitted, with executives describing the network as the "voice of opposition" and "the Alamo" during the Obama administration.
Washington Post reporter Perry Bacon, giving undue attention to right-wing media critics:
Perry Bacon Jr.: The New Mexico governor Bill Richardsson was basically denied a Cabinet post on the basis of a scandal for which little has proven. The Post has highlighted the problems of Jack Abramoff, a mainly Republican lobbyist, but also John Murtha, a veteran Democrat. Not sure I see much here, although I know Andrew Brietbart, who I worked on these ACORN videos and is a big media critic who I wrote a piece about last week, claims conservatives scandals are covered much more than liberal ones.
Sigh. Why would Bacon take that seriously? Why would he think Breitbart's claim is so important, it deserves to be the only media criticism he mentions? And how can any Washington Post reporter cite complaints that "conservatives scandals are covered much more than liberal ones" without responding with the words "Whitewater" or "Lewinsky"? Or, for that matter, "Harken"?
Washington Post columnist Bill Kristol on the split in the GOP:
Now, obviously, there are times when divisions in parties can be damaging. But what's happening in the GOP right now looks to me more like healthy turmoil than destructive recklessness, more like vigorous competition than bitter fratricide. It could get out of hand. But for now, the ideas are more Reaganite than Buchananite, and the spirit more problem-solving populism than demonizing demagoguery.
Wait, what? A significant portion of the GOP has spent the past year yelling about the president's birth certificate and death panels and death books and the like ... and Bill Kristol says the "spirit" on the Right is "more problem-solving populism than demonizing demagoguery."
I'd hate to see what this guy considers "demonizing demagoguery."
Just this past weekend, the Republican candidate in a special congressional election dropped out of the race and endorsed her Democratic opponent rather than the Conservative Party nominee -- a nominee who had called her "the Bernie Madoff of New York politics."
Yeah, nothing "demonizing" there. And that's how Republicans are treating each other lately.
Under the header "If Fox is partisan, it is not alone," the New York Times' John Harwood suggests that other cable channels are "partisan," just like Fox. Why does Harwood think this? Because their audiences lean to the left:
Fox News has attracted the most attention because of its "fair and balanced" challenge to its competitors and its success. But the audiences of its competitors have tilted sharply in the other direction.
In audience surveys from August 2000 to March 2001, Fox News viewers tilted Republican by 44.6 percent to 36.1 percent. More narrowly - 41.4 percent to 39.4 percent - so did the audience for MSNBC. The audiences of CNN, Headline News, CNBC and Comedy Central leaned Democratic.
By 2008-9, the network audiences tilted decisively, like Fox's. CNN viewers were more Democratic by 50.4 percent to 28.7 percent; MSNBC viewers were 53.6 percent to 27.3 percent Democratic; Headline News' 47.3 percent to 31.4 percent Democratic; CNBC's 46.9 percent to 32.5 percent Democratic; and Comedy Central's 47.1 to 28.8 percent Democratic.
This, it must be said, is inane. Harwood doesn't spend so much as a single word assessing or even mentioning the actual journalism of any of the channels in question. (There's a lot of that going around.) He just looks at their viewership, and concludes that the content of all the news channels is partisan.
That is a ridiculous way to assess whether a cable channel is "partisan." ESPN's audience probably skews Republican, too. Is ESPN a "partisan" Republican channel? Of course not.
Harwood also seems unaware of the possibility that the audiences at CNN and MSNBC are trending leftward for no reason other than that Fox is scooping up all the right wing viewers. If you assume a relatively finite universe of cable news viewers, CNN and MSNBC would see their viewership skew increasingly Democratic as Fox's skews Republican simply as a result of Republicans flocking to Fox.
Finally: Let's say you had three cable news channels. One was a bit to the right of center, one was slightly more to the right of center, and the third was far to the right of center. What do you think their viewership might look like? One would have a very Republican audience, and the other two would probably have audiences that lean Democratic. And John Harwood would tell you those two right-of-center channels were "partisan" because their audiences were disproportionately Democratic.
It was from the Times' Week in Review piece on Florida Congressman Alan Grayson, who's made the news in recent weeks by using the kind of aggressive, tough-talking and controversial political rhetoric that's been associated with conservatives movement for at least the last 15 years in this country.
The Times though, immediately swoops in for its assessment of the new Democratic player: "Alan Grayson, the Liberals' Problem Child."
This was a preview headline found in the Metro section [emphasis added]:
Representative Alan Grayson, a Democrat from Florida, is a wing nut, which is notable because he hurls his nuts from the left.
And this passage drove the point home:
Mr. Grayson could be the latest incarnation of what in the American political idiom is known as a wing nut — a loud darling of cable television and talk radio whose remarks are outrageous but often serious enough not to be dismissed entirely. Mr. Grayson is the more notable because he hurls his nuts from the left in a winger world long associated with the right.
The Times suggests Grayson's a "wing nut," and then concedes the derogatory term is usually used to describe denizens on the far right fringes. ("Moon bat" is probably the liberal equivalent.) But how unusual is it for the august Times to call a sitting member of Congress a a "wing nut"? Based on a search of Nexis, I'm pretty sure Grayson is the first Congressman who's ever been slimed that way by a Times writer.
From the October 31 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
From the November 1 Washington Times article, "GOP Nominee for New York seat quits race":
The surprise move leaves New York Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman, with no prior political experience but a strongly conservative stance on virtually all issues, as the sole competitor against businessman and lawyer Bill Owens, the state Democratic Party's nominee, in a race most polls say is too close to call.
"It's an immense victory for the Conservative Party," a jubilant Mike Long, the state party's longtime chairman and a powerhouse in New York politics, told The Washington Times. "It shows the GOP gave courage to other Republicans to make the move to Hoffman against their own party's nominee."
"In the beginning no one believed we could prevail, and nearly everyone accused us of being spoilers," Mr. Long told The Times. "But we were given the opportunity to help take back the country for the taxpayers, beginning with the 9/12 movement and the anti-spending 'tea parties.' "
In a move that perplexed many of his conservative supporters, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich had endorsed Mrs. Scozzafava, arguing that conservatives had to win seats by electing Republicans to Congress as a first requisite to conservatives winning power and being able to stop the liberal juggernaut led by President Obama and the Democratic Senate and House majorities in Congress.
On Saturday, Mr. Gingrich released a statement throwing his support to Mr. Hoffman.
"The age of party leaders picking people is over," Mr. Gingrich said.
Later Saturday, Mr. Gingrich, in response to a question from The Washington Times as to why he endorsed the liberal Republican first and had now switched to the Conservative Party candidate - whether he first put party over principle and now is reverting to his longtime view that principle comes first - said, "I did not put party over principle. There was an issue of two principles."
"First, always endorse the more conservative, and second, respect local leaders and local decisions," Mr. Gingrich said. "When the 11 local county chairs unanimously endorsed someone after four public meetings, I did not think it was my place to repudiate the entire local party leadership."
He said Mr. Hoffman's "rise is a result of Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Fox News, the Club for Growth, Gov. [Sarah] Palin and [Minnesota Gov. Tim] Pawlenty and former House Majority Leader Dick Armey and virtually the entire national conservative movement joining with Mike Long, whose Conservative Party, a very established organization, which won its first big race 39 years ago."
"This was not an isolated amateur; this is an entire movement." Mr. Gingrich said.
Washington Times columnist Jeffrey T. Kuhner asserted today that President Obama's "socialist policies are fracturing the country along ideological, racial and class lines":
The then-candidate said he was inheriting a spiraling economy and two wars but nonetheless could promise to bring a new era of "hope," "change" and "economic renewal." Moreover, his seminal pledge was to transcend America's bitter political divisions and become a "post-partisan" president who would unify all voters.
By contrast, Mr. Obama is the most radical president in U.S. history, whose socialist policies are fracturing the country along ideological, racial and class lines. He is a dogmatic divider. The angry town-hall meetings, the "tea party" protests and his dwindling poll numbers are not because of Mr. Bush. Rather, they are the direct result of Mr. Obama's big-government liberalism.
The sowing of "racial" division is certainly something Kuhner knows a lot about. In early 2007, Kuhner was the editor of Insight when it famously published a fabricated smear that unnamed researchers connected to the Hillary Clinton campaign had discovered that Obama had attended a madrassa and was raised as a Muslim. The false report was trumpeted by Fox News and right-wing radio. Kuhner defended the story long after it had been discredited.
Among other highlights on Kuhner's résumé is his service as a fill-in host for Michael Savage. On one such occasion, Kuhner praised Savage for making the point that "it is white males that helped build this country, and it's about time that people stopped discriminating against them" and said that "the last discriminated group in the United States ... is now the white male."
From the November 1 FoxNews.com "Wallace Unplugged" video blog:
A few weeks ago, WorldNetDaily editor and CEO Joseph Farah wrote a column suggesting that several Obama administration officials and nominees -- specifically Kevin Jennings, Cass Sunstein, John Holdren, and Chai Feldblum -- are "perverts" and stating that "the entire federal government is going to have to be fumigated some day when these deviants and degenerates are finally sent packing."
WorldNetDaily returned to the fumigation theme this weekend, publishing an October 31 commentary in which Pat Boone (yes, that Pat Boone) declares, "I believe - figuratively, but in a very real way - we need to tent the White House!"
In case you don't know what "tenting" is, Boone explains in detail:
In time, it seems to happen to all older houses, no matter how well tended they may be.
All manner of parasites, vermin, roaches, rats, worms and termites find their way into the building. Long before they're detected, they infiltrate the walls, the floors, the roofs - and then chew their way into the structure, the supporting beams and the very foundation of the house itself. Silently, surreptitiously, whole communities of invaders make places for themselves, hidden but thriving, totally unknown by the homeowner.
Then, in time, tell-tale signs are seen. Little droppings, discolored trails, proliferating piles of residue appear in corners, on tabletops, little hanging sacs from ceilings - alarming evidence that the grand old dwelling has been invaded. Decidedly unwelcome creatures have made this place their home, and by their very existence will eventually destroy the house and bring it to ruin.
What can be done, when you learn that your house has already been invaded?
Well, the tried and true remedy is tenting.
Experts come in, actually envelope the whole dwelling in a giant tent - and send a very powerful fumigant, lethal to the varmints and unwelcome creatures, into every nook and cranny of the house. Done thoroughly, every last destructive insect or rodent is sent to varmint hell - and in a day or two, the grand house is habitable again.
And what does this have to do with the White House?
Boone falsely claims that "out of nowhere," Obama "has created a whole super-layer of 'czars' over many crucial functions of our society" and then asserts that "so many" of these "czars" are "socialists, extreme leftists and even proud, boastful Marxists. Communists!" Boone likens these public servants to "varmints," "termites," and "rodents" that need to be exterminated:
For reasons only he can explain, the current occupant has purposely brought a whole flock of social and political voracious varmints with him into our House. He doesn't own it; he hasn't even rented it; we the people have simply given him the keys and invited him to live there for four years, making it convenient to serve us better, to carry out our expressed wishes for our country.
Even though he constantly uses the imperial-sounding "I," he knows he can't do it alone. So, he has assembled the most unbelievable coterie of cronies - who buy into his leftist philosophy - to implement and enforce his will on us. Like a very real infestation of termites and rodents, this crew has settled into powerful positions and is already chewing away at the constitutional structure of our government. Out of nowhere, he has created a whole super-layer of "czars" over many crucial functions of our society - with super authority but no accountability to anyone but the temporary occupant.
Who gave him this right? Don't the people he's supposed to serve have a say in something this ominous?
Boone then provides a list of the metaphorical "termites and rodents." There's "black activist" Van Jones and "black radical" Ed Montgomery. There's Ron Bloom and Anita Dunn, both of whom had the audacity to cite Mao (just like a number of prominent conservatives have done). And then there's "extreme gay activist" Kevin Jennings, who Boone falsely claims "praised the late gay-rights activist Harry Hay for his defense of NAMBLA."
Returning to his insect theme, Boone claims that Obama "was virtually carried to his current residence by ACORN," which he describes as "that maggot-ridden organization."
Boone concludes by urging WorldNetDaily's readers to "act, decisively and powerfully," writing:
Our White House is being eaten away from within. We urgently need to throw a "tent" of public remonstration and outcry over that hallowed abode, to cause them to quake and hunker down inside. And then treat the invaders, the alien rodents, to massive voter gas - the most lethal antidote to would-be tyrants and usurpers.
We must clean house - starting with our own White House.