Liberal Media Outlets Claim They Love "Moderation"
by L. Brent Bozell III
November 10, 1998
In their rose-colored crystal balls, our friends in the news
media are seeing glorious days ahead. They're gloating over the will of the
people leading to the death of impeachment proceedings, soon to go the way of
Newt Gingrich and his poisonous pipe dreams of "revolution." The
media glitterati are whistling while they work, burying any vestiges of
Moderation (read: big-spending, no-tax-cuts,
run-from-social-issues business as usual) has captured the flag in Washington,
they have said in mind-numbing lockstep. Governors can teach those
congressional radicals because they "ran from the scandal," and
focused on "the issues." Take your lesson, conservatives, from ABC's
George Stephanopoulos: "I think that the hand of the moderates has been
strengthened tonight. The big winners in the Republican Party tonight, George
Pataki in New York, John Engler in Michigan, George Bush in Texas, Jeb Bush in
Florida, were all trying for a more compassionate conservatism, more centrist,
moderate conservatism, not the far right-wing agenda that really cost the
Republican Party a lot tonight."
The next morning on Today, Newsweek's Jonathan Alter
insisted: "Everyone is running to the middle of the road, and the faster
you get there the better you do at the polls. So this is a bad election for
extremists in both parties and a bad night I think for the Christian Coalition
and those who want to pull the Republican Party to the right. The centrist,
pragmatic Republican Governors did very well."
But as Michael Barone points out in the Weekly Standard,
there's an entirely different way to look at this. With the exception of Dan
Lungren in California, the GOP won all the major states - resoundingly. What
made this noteworthy is that in the case of Tom Ridge (Pennsylvania), Tommy
Thompson (Wisconsin), Don Sundquist (Tennessee), Bush and Pataki, each had
been elected the first time out by very narrow margins and each won handily
this time. What issues did they run on? For Pataki and Sundquist it was tax
cuts; for Engler, it was welfare and education reform; for Thompson, welfare
reform. All conservative themes.
Was Election Night a "bad night for extremes"?
Consider some 1996 ideological scores from the American Conservative Union:
the Democrats sent to the Senate Barbara Boxer (5 percent conservative), Russ
Feingold (10), Patty Murray (0), Charles Schumer (5), and Blanche Lincoln (a
10 in 1994 before she retired from the House). The Republicans sent Mike Crapo
(95) and Jim Bunning (100), and Peter Fitzgerald, who the networks warned in
April couldn't beat Carol Moseley-Braun in Illinois because he was "too
Perhaps the most insulting theme of the post-election
entrail-reading was the idea that "moderates," like the new media
darlings the Bush Brothers, sought out minority and women voters. It simply
escapes the media's eyes that the conservative message of limited government
and individual responsibility is more beneficial to minorities than anyone
else. They cannot stop associating conservatives and minorites only through a
prism of hate and fear.
Oh, there was plenty of hate and fear going around this year
- coming exclusively from the Democrats' camp. The Missouri Democrats told
black voters that not voting was like letting another church explode, another
cross burn. The White House scared black voters with visions of Republican
camera crews intimidating blacks from voting. In Maryland, smash-mouth
Democratic consultant Bob Shrum helped Parris Glendening take Republican Ellen
Sauerbrey's pro-life, pro-property rights record and twist it into her
oppostion to "civil rights," which is a code word for - being
Throughout the entire Bush presidency, the media never let
George Bush forget the Willie Horton ads (which his campaign never aired,
which were never racist - but never mind). Where are the cloak-and-dagger
sleuths of the Willie Horton Conspiracy like CBS's Eric Engberg or Newsweek's
Eleanor Clift now that the Democratic Party is accusing the Republicans of
supporting church explosions and cross burnings? Where are the healers that
hated racial exploitation in politics? When Newt Gingrich stepped down, The
Washington Post's Tom Edsall was still bemoaning that Gingrich came to power
exploiting Lee Atwater's race-baiting techniques. But the Post was nowhere to
be found on the Democrats' immoderate last-minute race-baiting.
Remarkably, some thought the smears were peachy. The Chicago
Tribune's Clarence Page declared on "The McLaughlin Group" that the
White House and the Missouri Democrats weren't "race-baiting," but
conducting "good grass-roots campaigning...Use love, use fear, use
whatever you've got." I suppose this is par for the course for Page, who
claimed in 1995 that "most of the KKK has joined the Republican
Party." But the national media's utter failure to report - never mind
deplore - these last-minute appeals to racial paranoia exposes them for the
supine Democratic partisans that they are.
For the Republicans to consider for a moment the media's
insincere political advice for the future would be the height of folly.
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