The network that saved honest journalism celebrates triumph over liberal media.
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“Let us not be guilty of maudlin sympathy for the criminal, who, roaming the streets with switchblade knife and illegal firearms seeking helpless prey suddenly becomes upon apprehension a poor, underprivileged person who counts upon the compassion of our society and the laxness of too many courts to forgive his offense.”
Conservatives throughout the hall — many of whom detested Warren — heard the words — and, pricking up their ears at the words from the man who appointed Earl Warren, began to cheer. Even the moderate Eisenhower was finally understanding their beliefs. And precisely because he was an honorable man — he was implicitly admitting a major mistake. But the delegates weren’t prepared for the drama of what followed next, as the ex-president glanced down at his prepared text — where he had personally penciled in some new words. Unknown to the American public — and certainly to the media — the old man was fed up with what he saw happening to the media.
And honorable man that he was, he was damned well going to say so.
Looking out over the now alert and boisterous crowd, every television camera in the hall fixed on the old hero, Eisenhower threw down the gauntlet. And attacked the heretofore unmentionable: the leftward tilt of the American media.
The delegates, he said, should “particularly scorn the divisive efforts of those outside our family, including sensation seeking columnists and commentators, because… these are people who couldn’t care less about the good of our party.”
In the blink of an eye, the political earthquake that was shaking the Republican political establishment rippled, then raced, outward. Towards the media.
Delegates shot to their feet, shouting furiously, their applause thunderous. Many jumped up on their chairs in decidedly un-choreographed and quite spontaneous rage turning to face their media antagonists, literally shaking their fists at what Goldwater biographer Lee Edwards would describe as “startled anchormen in the glassed-in television booths high above the convention floor.”
For week upon week now, just as John S. Knight had warned, conservative Americans had been depicted in the news media as, in Edwards’ words, “extremists, right-wing radicals, and neo-Nazis.” (The identical assault made against the Tea Party decades later.) Now, now, their pent up fury at the sophisticated nonsense, the revolting elitism of liberals with television cameras, microphones and notebooks masquerading as neutral journalists, presenting themselves as all wise and knowing observers of events — burst. Wrote historian and presidential chronicler Theodore H. White of the moment in his bestselling The Making of the President 1964, “the Convention exploded in applause, shouts, boos, catcalls, horns, klaxons and glory…. On the floor one delegate from North Dakota, jumping up and down, was heard yelling: ‘Down with Walter Lippmann! Down with Walter Lippmann!’”
It was, notes Edwards, “the first public expression of the people’s deep-rooted dissatisfaction with the mass media in a national setting.”
The future audience of Fox News was making itself heard.
Two years later, in the midst of Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society and what would eventually be seen as the high water mark for the American left, a bestselling novel of the day captured the growing — seething — resentment for a media that pretended to objectivity when it was anything but.
Former journalist Allen Drury — himself conservative and a onetime New York Times reporter who had covered Washington and the U.S. Senate — was by 1966 already the bestselling author of the father of today’s political novels. Advise and Consent, the tale of a fierce Senate confirmation battle over a liberal president’s liberal nominee for Secretary of State that won the 1960 Pulitzer Prize for Literature, was so successful it had been made into one of the hit movies of the Kennedy-era. Starring, among others, JFK’s actor brother-in-law Peter Lawford and a cast of Hollywood luminaries of the day.
In 1966 Drury released a second sequel, Capable of Honor. This time, however, there was a notable difference — and there would be no big time Hollywood movie. The central character of the book, like its predecessor an instant bestseller, was not a politician but a Walter Lippmann-style columnist named “Walter Dobius.” In a not so subtle dig at another famous “Walter” of the day — CBS anchor Walter Cronkite — Drury titled Walter Dobius’s column as “The Way It Is” — the trademark words with which Walter Cronkite signed off his daily broadcasts of the CBS Evening News (“And that’s the way it is…” ). The tale of Walter Dobius was in reality a vividly pointed, dipped-in-acid portrait of a community of American journalists. Journalists slavishly following “a famous Washington columnist whose views and prejudices have great influence on his colleagues of the communications media.”
The book sold like hotcakes. Like the birth of a star, the audience that would watch Fox News was exploding and expanding into public view.
The herd of journalists who lived in and breathed deeply of liberal dogma was mocked by Drury as “The World of Walter Wonderful.” Walter Dobius was sarcastically presented as the “statesman-philosopher of the press before whom we (journalists) all fall down and worship…. As broad as the oceans, as high as the sky, ran the writ of Walter Dobius to tell humanity what it should do.” And in Drury’s not-so-fictional fiction, Dobius, a fictional Lippmann/Cronkite, never hesitated to direct the rest of humanity, beginning with Americans.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?
H/T to National Review Online