Political Hay

Bozell Battles Media Elephant in the Room

Media Research Center' Truth project exposes liberal media bias in 2012 campaign.

By 8.28.12

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It's the elephant in the room.

The elephant in the room as in the obvious truth that is being ignored. The "room" defined as the 2012 fall campaign.

That elephant in the room.

The elephant in the room with which Brent Bozell and the Media Research Center are doing daily, quite vivid battle -- and winning. As a matter of fact, anticipating that the Obama campaign would be little more than a slug fest of personal attacks rather than policy debates, Bozell announced a "Tell the Truth" campaign -- way back in January of this year. Long before there were Obama campaign commercials accusing Mitt Romney of killing a steelworker's wife or insisting Romney was a felon, the 25-year old MRC -- 25 this year -- had a website in place to keep Americans fully informed of just how the media bias game is being played on both videotape and audiotape as well as in print.

As with all elephants in a room, the obvious truth of the 2012 campaign is begging and trumpeting to be ignored. With reason. Like real elephants, this particular elephant in a room is big -- huge. It's also determined, motivated, ruthless, capable of sudden rage -- and it never forgets. It will trample on anyone and anything that gets in its way or is perceived in the slightest degree to pose a threat to the elephant's agenda. Most importantly it lived for a very long time with a unique ability to be both highly visible -- while being invisible at the same time.

The latter trait -- being visible but invisible at the same time -- is now lost as a direct result of Bozell's work. Added to the invention of Fox News, talk radio, and the Internet -- Bozell and his colleagues have made it absolutely impossible for the elephant to be invisible ever again.

So the elephant isn't happy. In fact, it's furious that its rampages are now reported instantly. 

Take this snappy little video that the Media Research Center has put out showing the elephant doing its thing.

An amazing sight, no?

So how long has this elephant been hanging around, you ask?

This elephant that you see in that MRC video originally appeared in what is still known today as the first modern presidential campaign. The first campaign filled with television cameras, jet planes, computers and all the trappings that are now not only standard fare in 2012 but are refined in spectacular fashion.

That campaign: 1960.

The candidates: Republican Vice President Richard Nixon versus the Democrats' Senator John F. Kennedy.

The frontrunner was Nixon.

In 1960, Richard Nixon was, next to the popular President Dwight D. Eisenhower, the most famous politician in America. Senator Kennedy was the surprise nominee of the Democrats. A surprise because, at 43 a young man and a Catholic to boot (there had never been a Catholic president), JFK had bested four older and much better-known Democrats whom political observers of the day thought had an infinitely better chance to take on Nixon. One by one, whether in primaries or convention, the young and relatively unknown Kennedy had bested Senators Hubert Humphrey (MN), Stuart Symington (MO), Lyndon Johnson (TX) -- the latter the powerful Senate Majority Leader -- and two-time presidential nominee and perennial liberal favorite Adlai Stevenson.

By Labor Day the 1960 fall campaign had begun in earnest, the race narrowed to just Nixon and Kennedy.

Or was it just Nixon and Kennedy?

For the first time in a modern presidential campaign, a third contestant was on the playing field.

That would be the elephant in the campaign room. This contestant was, as mentioned, both highly visible every day -- yet totally invisible at the same time.

Here is author Theodore H. White's description of this third contestant in White's Pulitzer Prize --winning book The Making of the President 1960:

By the last weeks of the campaign, those forty or fifty national correspondents who had followed Kennedy since the beginning of his electoral exertions into the November days had become more than a press corps -- they had become friends and, some of them, his most devoted admirers. When the (campaign) bus or the plane rolled or flew through the night, they sang songs of their own composition about Mr. Nixon and the Republicans in chorus with the Kennedy staff and felt that they, too, were marching like soldiers of the Lord to the New Frontier. 

The elephant in the room was, of course, the press -- as it was called in 1960. The media, as it is known today.

And the press in 1960 was anything but impartial.

The institutions represented and run by these correspondents and their editors of print and television took great care to present themselves as impartial recorders of fact. Their visibility -- on television screens for three networks (there were only three -- ABC, CBS and NBC -- in 1960) and in the pages of such print vehicles as the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Associated Press, or Newsweek magazine (to name but four -- there were many, the print press providing both fodder and story cues to the television editors) -- was off the charts.

These were the institutions that were supposed to be providing the facts and nothing but the facts about Kennedy and Nixon to the American people.

Alas, as White would write, it simply wasn't so.

In fact, as White records, these people regarded themselves as "marching like soldiers of the Lord to the New Frontier." Every political and cultural bias that could be had in 1960 and tilted toward John F. Kennedy was put into play. They weren't about the truth -- they were about advancing the liberal narrative. 

And the problem grew worse. Much worse. As the years unspooled, there were sins of omission and a growing list of sins of commission, a number of them discussed here in this space.

All of which made one thing vividly clear to millions of Americans. From zero stories in the day about JFK's mistresses (one of which was shared by a Mafia mobster -- the same Mafia being investigated cautiously by JFK's Attorney General brother) to zero stories about John Edwards having an affair while touting his loyalty to his wife (the National Enquirer broke that one) -- from a media willingness to link Barry Goldwater to Nazis and an unwillingness to report on the left-extremist leanings of Obama administration staffer Van Jones -- the situation grew worse. And worse and worse and worse.

Enter Brent Bozell and the Media Research Center. The MRC (which correctly calls itself "the leader in documenting, exposing and neutralizing liberal media bias") formed its NewsBusters blog in 2005 with some help from Matthew Sheffield of Dialogue New Media.

It is the MRC's NewsBusters that now has its recording equipment going 24/7 with an instant capability of exposing the elephant in the room. It is the MRC scanning every media outlet findable to expose the bias of "journalists" who obviously feel they are the professional descendants of those Teddy White long ago described as "marching like soldiers of the Lord."

Let's go to the video tape, shall we? Let's see some Truth Telling.

And let's start with that wonderful clip above.

There is the elephant in full view.

Known by specific names like Lesley Stahl of CBS, Lynn Sherr of ABC, Katie Couric of NBC and later CBS, Charles Kuralt of CBS, Tom Brokaw of NBC, Bill Moyers of PBS, Candy Crowley of CNN, Bryant Gumbel of NBC, Charlie Gibson of ABC, Dan Rather of CBS, and Tom Brokaw of NBC.

There they are -- seen repeatedly from 1988 through 2008. Twenty years-worth of being soldiers for unrestricted abortion. Twenty years of insisting that all women must be seen through the prism of the upper class liberal women who are their friends.

Rape is mentioned in a clip from 2000 -- called by Brokaw an "epidemic" in America. But the onus is on the GOP in terms of abortion. Note that Brokaw doesn't dare mention the words "rape" and "Bill Clinton and Juanita Broaddrick." Also note how the Equal Rights Amendment is cited as a cause women favor. This, mind you, years after the Equal Rights Amendment failed -- with the votes of women like Phyllis Schlafly leading the charge to defeat it. The Amendment failed outright to gain enough states to ratify it as a constitutional amendment. That was in June of 1982. And two years later? Ronald Reagan -- running on a platform that never mentioned the ERA-- was re-elected in a 49 state landslide.

But hey… who cares about the political facts.

The game afoot here is to shape a narrative… a moving negative narrative of conservatives and Republicans that is molded afresh every night and every day. With an accompanying positive narrative of all things liberal and of Democrats.

To do in today's campaign of 2012 just exactly what Teddy White saw with liberal journalists plying their trade to help Jack Kennedy in 1960.

So let's run through some examples NewsBusters has captured of the elephant in the room at work.

  • · Here's Chris Matthews of NBC playing that old favorite of Democrats -- the race card.
  • · Here's George Stephanopoulos of ABC and Bob Schieffer of CBS marching for the liberal narrative, insisting on focusing on Missouri's Todd Akin and abortion rather than the economy.
  • · Here's Newsweek's Eleanor Clift lavishing praise on Obamacare.
  • · Here's NBC's David Gregory asking if Paul Ryan isn't too "incendiary" to be vice president.
  • · You think the liberal media attacks on Paul Ryan are new? Here's NewsBusters compiling a video series of clips attacking the last four GOP vice-presidential nominees -- Dan Quayle, Jack Kemp, Dick Cheney and Sarah Palin.
  • · You think ABC's George Stephanopoulos and Brian Ross are alone in linking a violent shooting to conservatives based on zero evidence? As they did here? Here's a NewsBusters clip of MSNBC going to it in the aftermath of the Gabrielle Giffords shooting. As with Ross and the Batman killer, there was -- and remains -- zero evidence linking any conservative to either event. , as they did here

One could go on endlessly with all the material NewsBusters and the Tell the Truth campaign has already provided on issue after issue and how the liberal media goes out of its way to pretend to objectivity when, of course, they are not.

Bozell appears regularly on Sean Hannity's Fox News show to do a Media Mash segment. As Hannity describes it this segment regularly features all the ways the liberal media seeks to spin the liberal world view in the world of television.

Simply put, these Media Mash segments with Hannity and Bozell are priceless in capturing liberal bias.

  • · Check out Charlie Rose and Brian Williams spinning away here on Obama's "you didn't build it" routine and Romney's releasing of taxes and Romney's trip to Europe. 
  • · Here's an entire edition displaying the attacks on Congresswoman Michele Bachmann. (Without a trace of irony, there is CBS's Bob Schieffer telling Bachmann that her critics accuse her of "playing fast and loose with the truth.")
  • · Here's Hannity and Bozell reporting on the media's rush to judgment over the Trayvon Martin incident, with NBC deliberately editing a police tape to give the impression Zimmerman is a racist.

Again, one could go on endlessly here -- and NewsBusters is constantly on the job providing the video tapes that in the past were used to hide the elephant in the room.

So.

Why is this so critical in 2012? 

Remember that story about ABC's Jake Tapper carefully admitting to George Stephanopoulos that well, yes, in 2008 "You had the media, perhaps, tilting on the scales a little bit"? What Tapper was saying was a bland and polite way of acknowledging the elephant in the room that was and will be again liberal media bias in yet another presidential campaign.

Just as Teddy White quite accurately reported of a campaign that took place some 52 years ago -- the media, the liberal media -- has chosen sides. Whether they were marching as soldiers for John F. Kennedy in 1960 or for Barack Obama in 2008 or 2012, they have not the least intention of reporting the news objectively. They have zero intention of being fair and balanced. They are about one thing and one thing only -- advancing the liberal/left-wing narrative.

No matter the issue -- economics, national security, or social issues like abortion, race, same-sex marriage or whatever -- the goal always and forever is above all to advance the liberal narrative.

They are players. Not umpires. Participants. Not Referees.

Does this make a difference?

Not anymore.

Because thanks to NewsBusters and the Tell the Truth campaign -- not to mention talk radio and Fox News -- the idea that no one will notice the elephant in the room that is liberal media bias in the 2012 campaign is done.

The liberal media monopoly is toast. Over.

To see visually just how the game that was being played by the national press all the way back in 1960 is now being run? To see exactly how it looks everyday in the 2012 campaign?

That place would be NewsBusters.

The place to go when you want to see what the elephant in the room in the 2012 campaign really looks like.

And to see what it's like when someone really Speaks Truth to Power.

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About the Author
Jeffrey Lord is a former Reagan White House political director and author. He writes from Pennsylvania at jlpa1@aol.com.