By Peter Ferrara on 11.12.08 @ 6:07AM
Today, the mainstream media voluntarily behave the way the Soviet media were forced to.
In the old Soviet Union, everything was controlled by the Party, the Communist Party. Even military units each had their own party commissar, to ensure no activities took place that were not in the interest of the Party.
This, of course, was true of the media as well. The only media allowed in the old Soviet Union were institutions controlled by and devoted to the Party, and to the government run by the Party. The Soviet media would consequently slavishly repeat the government party line.
The question is, how is the so-called Mainstream Media in America today, under the new Obama Administration, any different from the media in the old Soviet Union? This American establishment media is also entirely controlled by and devoted to one Party, the Democrat party. Studies have long shown that roughly 90% of those working for these media institutions are Democrats. Already we can see with the emerging Obama Administration that this media is slavishly devoted to repeating the new government party line, extending the pattern they established during the campaign.
Of course, in the old Soviet Union, the media was forced by the government to follow the party line. In America today, the media voluntarily chooses to act the same way. That’s even sicker, isn’t it? (I am just exploring questions here.)
Today, in Russia, the Communist Party is gone, and government control of the media is less overt. But the government has still reasserted complete control over Russia’s establishment, mainstream media, through intimidation and even force. Just think about how the Russian media behaved during the campaigns when Vladimir Putin ran for president. They were still slavishly devoted to him, and ridiculed and derided any opposition.
The question is, how did the American establishment, mainstream media behave any differently towards Obama during his presidential campaign this year than the Russian media did in regard to Putin during his presidential campaigns? True, the American media voluntarily chose to behave this way, while the Russian media was still cowed by government intimidation and force. But even with this difference, the American people are still suffering under a party-controlled press, rather than enjoying a free and independent press.
MEDIA RESEARCH CENTER (MRC) President Brent Bozell summarized the Obama campaign news media travesty this way: “Everyone should be forced to admit that the publicists formerly known as the ‘news’ media have worked themselves to the bone this year to elect Barack Obama.” The MRC has carefully documented news media bias for over 20 years now, and offers a wealth of information and commentary at its website. The quotes and statistics cited below come from that source.
Here is some early tough reporting on Barack Obama from Joe Klein of Time magazine,
“Obama’s personal appeal is made manifest when he steps down from the podium and is swarmed by well-wishers of all ages and hues…. Obama seemed the political equivalent of a rainbow — a sudden, preternatural event inspiring awe and ecstasy…. He transcends the racial divide so effortlessly that it seems reasonable to expect that he can bridge all the other divisions — and answer all the impossible questions — plaguing American public life.”
NBC reporter Lee Cowan admits, “It’s almost hard to remain objective because it’s infectious, the energy, I think. It sort of goes against your core to say that as a reporter, but the crowds have gotten so much bigger, his energy has gotten stronger.”
Then there is MSNBC co-anchor Chris Mathews, who is as objective about Obama as Juliet was about Romeo, saying, “He’s come from a white family and a black family, and he’s married to a black woman, and they’re cool people. They are really cool. They are Jack and Jackie Kennedy when you see them together. They are cool. And they’re great looking, and they’re cool and they’re young.”
Associated Press writer Charles Babington offered this tough political reporting on the Obama campaign last May, “Presidential campaigns have destroyed many bright and capable politicians. But there’s ample evidence that Obama is something special, a man who makes difficult tasks look easy, who seems to touch millions of diverse people with a message of hope that somehow doesn’t sound Pollyannish.”
When John McCain visited Iraq in March to check on how his ultimately victorious surge strategy was working, he got all of 10 seconds of coverage on the CBS Evening News, and two minutes on the ABC evening news broadcast. But when Obama went to the Middle East in July for the first time ever, the anchors from each of the three major networks went along with him, and gave their broadcasts from overseas with the Obama campaign. MRC’s monthly newsletter The Watchdog accurately summarized this coverage with the headline, “Liberal Media Are Nearly Worshipping Obama.”
Mark Phillips of CBS News reported on Obama’s Berlin speech during that trip:
“There is a bit of a morning-after feeling here in Berlin after what they’re calling the ‘Obama show.’ But if the intent of this trip was to raise Barack Obama’s foreign profile, it could hardly have been raised any higher…. The stage could not have been bigger. The 200,000-plus crowd confirmed his rock star status, and his more cooperative sounding rhetoric was what the crowd wanted to hear.”
Phillips did not mention that the crowd and the rock star status may have had something to do with the actual rock concert and free beer offered before Obama spoke.
The hard-nosed Associated Press reported on Obama’s Berlin rock concert:
“In this city where John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton all made famous speeches, Obama will find himself stepping into perhaps another iconic moment Thursday as his superstar charisma meets German adoration live in shadows of the Reichstag and the Brandenburg Gate…. It’s not only Obama’s youth, eloquence and energy that have stolen hearts across the Atlantic…. Obama has raised expectations of a chance for the nation to redeem itself in the role that — at various times through history — Europe has loved, respected and relied upon.”
Veteran NBC reporter Andrea Mitchell added, “It was his largest crowd ever, more than 200,000 people. And before this group he promised Europe that he would repair its strained relationship with the United States.” Neither Mitchell nor the AP bothered to report that America’s “strained relationship” with Europe would seem to have been repaired and redeemed by the election of pro-U.S. governments in France, Germany, and Italy, and the continuation of the pro-U.S. government in Great Britain, all since the liberation of Iraq so condemned by the defeated European Left.
Meanwhile, back at home, ABC’s Nightline was reporting, “If you have a younger sibling, you can probably relate to what Senator John McCain has been going through this week. Whatever he does, everybody seems to be talking about the new kid in town,” and, “Pity the poor Straight Talk Express. While Barack Obama is off globe-trotting, grabbing all that high-profile, high octane attention, we’re here on the tarmac in Allentown, Pennsylvania.”
Yet, when McCain later went on an out of country trip, Robin Roberts of ABC News reported, “Why is Senator McCain abroad when Americans are focused on the economy here at home and losing jobs, more and more jobs.”
We are no longer dealing with media bias here. It has gone well beyond that, to outright partisanship and political activism. The so-called mainstream media, ABC, CBS, NBC, Time, Newsweek, CNN, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and others, are no longer journalistic enterprises. They are political activist groups posing as journalistic enterprises. The American people consequently no longer enjoy the benefits of a free and independent press. They suffer with a party-controlled press.
THE AMERICAN PEOPLE recognize what is going on. A survey by the liberal Pew Research Center for the People and the Press found that “by a margin of 70%-9%, Americans say most journalists want to see Obama, not John McCain win on Nov. 4.” Even 62% of Democrats recognized the media favoritism for Obama. Another Pew poll found that only 30% of the public believes all or most of what CNN reports, with 24% for NBC and 22% for CBS. A Rasmussen poll found that by a margin of 10-1, the public believes that reporters were trying to hurt Sarah Palin politically through their coverage.
These views are well grounded in reality. A study by the Center for Media and Public Affairs found that since the conventions news reports about Obama were two-thirds positive and one-third negative. For McCain it was just the opposite. The Center also found that late night comics targeted 7 times as many jokes at the Obama ticket as compared to the McCain ticket. Even the liberal Project for Excellence in Journalism found that during the fall campaign, unfavorable stories about McCain outweighted favorable ones by more than 3 to 1. But the MRC found that the networks produced 7 times as many positive reports about Obama as negative ones.
One result of this party-controlled press is that after reading, say, the New York Times or the Washington Post, you are dumber than you were before, because now you have learned so much that is just not so. Consider Washington Post business columnist Steven Pearlstein, who wrote in an August 1 column, “Wave Good-Bye to the Invisible Hand,” that “It is not the protectionists of the AFL-CIO or CNN who are primarily to blame for the erosion of public support” for free trade. According to Pearlstein, “the blame lies squarely with a business community that continues to support Republican politicians who refuse to raise the taxes and spend the money necessary to provide the economic safety net for American workers that a free market economy has not, and will not, provide.”
Really now. The federal government maintains 85 means tested, safety net programs which will cost this year almost $750 billion, about 25% more than national defense. That’s right. We are already spending 25% more on welfare than on national defense. This does not even include the safety net programs Social Security and Medicare. Social Security will spend about $615 billion this year, with another $400 billion for Medicare, for a total of over $1 trillion. That makes $1.7 trillion in federal safety net spending this year alone, out of a total federal budget of about $3 trillion.
Really, Mr. Pearlstein, isn’t that enough? Isn’t that excessive, overgrown spending, in fact, already way too much?
ANOTHER PROBLEM with the party-controlled press is that the American people really just can’t get the actual news, they can’t find out what is really going on, unless they access the few, actually free and independent media outlets, like the Wall Street Journal, New York Post, Washington Times, Fox News, talk radio, conservative political magazines, or some local newspapers.
For example, recently on CNN, Special Correspondent Frank Sesno labeled Rep. Rahm Emanuel, announced as President-elect Obama’s chief of staff, as “center to center-right.” But the American Conservative Union gave Emanuel’s voting record a score of 13% conservative in 2003, 4% in 2006, and 0% in 2007. The liberal Americans for Democratic Action, by contrast, gave Emanuel’s record a score of 95% liberal in 2003, a perfect 100% liberal in 2004 and 2005, 90% in 2006, and 95% in 2007.
The model for a free and independent press is, in fact, the much maligned (by liberal left extremists) Fox News. If you examine its broadcasts closely, you will find that its policy is to include 50% liberals and 50% conservatives. Along with Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly (whom many conservatives consider too moderate), Fox News features liberals Geraldo Rivera and Alan Colmes, and Democrat Greta van Sustern. Regular contributors include liberal Democrats Juan Williams, Mara Liasson of National Public Radio, and Morton Kondracke, Democrat pollsters and strategists Bob Beckel, Pat Caddell, and Dick Morris, and liberal academics. Check out the guests who are interviewed on all of their shows. They are evenly balanced liberal and conservative.
By contrast, if you look at the so-called mainstream, party-controlled media, you rarely see any conservatives at all. Their ruling mantra is obviously to broadcast or print the liberal left party line, and to exclude conservatives and their views, which they openly deride instead. So all the yelling and screaming we hear about Fox News, dear conservatives, are really objections against having you included to any significant degree. It is a demand that you be muzzled as socially unacceptable.
So speak up, conservatives, defend Fox News, and talk radio, and the rest of the limited free press. Attack their attackers, and demand an end to old fashioned, fascist, party control of major news media outlets. America must have a free and independent press across the board.
Peter Ferrara is Director of Entitlement and Budget Policy at the Heartland Institute, General Counsel of the American Civil Rights Union, Senior Fellow at the National Center for Policy Analysis, and Senior Policy Advisor on Entitlements and Budget Policy at the National Tax Limitation Foundation. He served in the White House Office of Policy Development under President Reagan, and as Associate Deputy Attorney General of the United States under President George H.W. Bush.
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