The Scaife Haters
by L. Brent Bozell III
April 30, 1998
One of the most annoying contemporary forms of liberal media
bias is the insistence that the reporting of the 89-percent pro-Clinton press
is objective journalism, and the reporting of the emerging conservative media
is not journalism, but episodic outbursts of raw hatred toward our President.
Exhibit A: the coverage of philanthropist Richard Scaife,
whose foundations have funded the investigative journalism of The American
Spectator. Mr. Scaife has been an important figure in the conservative
movement for decades, but he never emerged as a media target until the Clinton
White House handed out 330-page Xerox packets charging a bizarre-o right-wing
media plot to get Poor Bill. It was a laughable proposition, but no more
preposterous than Hillary's "right-wing-conspiracy" rant. So why did
the White House do it? Because they knew that a gullible press would fall for
it, and when a Tarot card reader who claims to have directed Gulf War troops
telepathically, claims to know the whereabouts of Jimmy Hoffa, also claimed to
know Scaife was paying off David Hale - finally, the conspiracy had a face.
For making possible the reporting which exposed the depths
to which our character-challenged President would sink-that thread from
trooper love connections to Paula Jones to Monica Lewinsky and her talking
points-Scaife has earned the undying hatred of the liberal media. You can
tell they hate him, because they never stop calling him a hater. Psychologists
call it projection.
In the April 17 Los Angeles Times, the appropriately named
David Savage began by noting Scaife has "funded both mainstream
conservative think tanks and underground attack campaigns against President
Clinton?Scaife's money has also poured into the rabidly anti-Clinton American
Spectator magazine. Editor R. Emmett Tyrell [sic] Jr relentlessly derided the
new President in 1993, a vilification campaign that won Scaife's
support." The Savage story could not have been more disingenuous. That
"underground" funding is posted on the Internet for the entire world
to see; Scaife began funding the American Spectator 30 years ago; and Scaife
no longer funds that magazine.
But beyond the bad writing is the bad manners. Would Savage
like his work running down conservatives (be it Scaife or one of his other
hated targets, Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist) described as a
"rabidly anti-conservative?vilification campaign"?
But Savage is not alone. In Newsweek, reporter Mark
Hosenball kept working in the hate angle: "The evidence linking Starr to
conservative Clinton-haters traces back to a single figure: Richard Mellon
Scaife?Scaife is also a fervent Clinton-hater who has spent millions trying to
undermine the President." If that's true, should Newsweek have written in
the 1970s that Katharine Graham, the funder of Woodward and Bernstein, was
"a fervent Nixon-hater who spent millions trying to undermine the
President"? You can just hear the liberal snort of derision: why, W&B
Not to be outdone by its competitors in kissing Clinton's
ring, Time magazine carried a caricature of Scaife with the caption: "
Subsidizing probes, underwriting witnesses, chipping in for a deanship at a
Malibu school, the omnipresent megamillionaire Richard Mellon Scaife owns the
cashbox of the anti-Clinton crusade. Notice that Time didn't observe the most
basic of journalistic protocols by writing "alleged underwriting of
witnesses." Who needs proof? We have a White House to please! Or as
Time's Karen Tumulty put it, "we were strategically positioning."
Yes, at Clinton's feet.
These reports are not atypical. Since 1994, when the pesky
Paula Jones case first emerged, the news magazines alone have piled the
derogatory term "Clinton hater" into their copy 61 times. In the
April 11, 1994 issue Time asked "Who are these Clinton haters, and why do
loathe the Clintons so?" Conservative luminaries such as Rush Limbaugh
and Reed Irvine were called haters. And although the reporter noted "Both
profess not to hate Clinton," she still returned to the term - twice
During the 1980s, there was an alphabet soup of individuals,
organizations, and media outlets dedicated to the destruction of the Reagan
revolution. But "Reagan haters"? Only Newsweek mentioned this term
once, with Jonathan Alter dismissing that charge against Sam Donaldson in
1987, since "his opinions don't influence his reportage." How about
"Starr hater"? Not once. I suppose "Scaife hater" is the
most unlikely term of all. Liberals seem to as incapable of hatred as they are
of media bias.
Liberal media outlets would be more credible if they
actually bothered to look into the reporting of "Clinton hater"
media outlets and assessed those stories on their merits, rather than shouting
down their benefactors with epithets and distortions. Instead, conservatives
get psychobabble-analzed and are found to be teetering on the edge of sanity.
But look at the spectacle of our politics today, where many in the press
haven't cared if the President upholds the rule of law. Who are the crazy
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