Writing in the Week in Review section on Sunday, the Times' Mark Leibovich looks at the Republican media bashing that went on at the GOP convention at St. Paul and examines the history of that trend among conservatives. "We have played this video game before," write Leibovich in a breezy style, which matched his ho-hum attitude throughout the piece.
Leibovich's point is that conservative attacks on the press are entirely predictable and that frankly, folks within the press corps have seen it so many times before they don't really take it seriously. It's an act.
"There was an almost homey familiarity to the ritual," writes Leibovich. "And despite the hot words from the podium, it was hard to find a journalist last week who felt any unusual sense of siege or discomfort."
He gets it half right. It is an act; a ploy the GOP uses like clock work and have been using for nearly 40 years. The point Leibovich completely misses however, is that it's a ploy that works. Leibovich would have readers believe that the GOP assaults on the "liberal media," have no effect, that journalists stoically brush off the critiques and courageously march ahead undeterred by the right-wing cat calls.
If only it were so. Truth is, there have been entire books written about how successful the GOP media attacks have been in bullying the press into changing its political coverage. In fact, the lopsided coverage that presidents Reagan (friendly), Clinton (nasty) and Bush (friendly) received remains the obvious proof.