January 29th, 2013

The press: insight gained from going over to the dark side

Earlier today I praised Fox’s Kirsten Powers for her hard-hitting comments about Kroft’s fawning Obama/Clinton interview on “60 Minutes.” But I want to point out something even more important that she’s said today.

Remember that Powers is a liberal, which makes her more difficult (although hardly impossible—where there’s a will there’s a way!) for liberals to marginalize. But after all, she’s gone over to the dark side and works for the enemy, Fox.

And that’s the subject of her piece: the administration’s attitude toward the network, and why this stance is so very dangerous. Powers gets it, probably because now that she’s on Fox, she’s lived it:

Alas, the president loves to whine about the media meanies at Fox News. To him, these are not people trying to do their jobs. No, they are out to get him. What other motive could a journalist have in holding a president accountable? Why oh why do Ed Henry and Chris Wallace insist on asking hard questions? Make them stop!…

Recently, the White House has kept Fox News off of conference calls dealing with the Benghazi attack, despite Fox News being the only outlet that was regularly reporting on it and despite Fox having top notch foreign policy reporters.

They have left Chris Wallace’s “Fox News Sunday” out of a round of interviews that included CNN, NBC, ABC and CBS for not being part of a “legitimate” news network…

Powers knows these people, and knows they are quite legitimate. She’s beginning to think it’s the other networks that are the illegitimate ones.

But that’s not all. Still a liberal, she’s beginning to be very, very puzzled by what liberalism has turned into. Well, I have news for her; that happened a long, long time ago (although I agree that there used to be more of those principled liberals like Powers around when I was a girl):

Whether you are liberal or conservative, libertarian, moderate or politically agnostic, everyone should be concerned when leaders of our government believe they can intentionally try to delegitimize a news organization they don’t like.

In fact, if you are a liberal – as I am – you should be the most offended, as liberalism is founded on the idea of cherishing dissent and an inviolable right to freedom of expression.

That more liberals aren’t calling out the White House for this outrageous behavior tells you something about the state of liberalism in America today.

This is the beginning of wisdom. Powers is looking around and noticing that, much to her surprise, she is pretty much alone.

I have another piece to offer that complements the Powers article, although it was written fifteen years ago, and the events it deals with occurred almost forty years ago. I refer to this piece by Herbert Stein, who was chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under Presidents Nixon and Ford. It appeared in Slate in 1998. In it, Stein describes his experiences during Watergate, but in the following excerpt he is talking about press coverage of the Nixon Administration in general:

…I had my own experience with the extent of bias and animosity in the press against anything having to do with Nixon. During many years in Washington, before I entered the Nixon administration, I had had friendly relations with many reporters. I was then associated with the Committee for Economic Development, the least conservative of the business organizations, and we were the “good guys” to the liberal press. But these same reporters became my enemies and, I felt, misrepresented me as soon as it became apparent I was devoted to Nixon. As it happened, one of the president’s chief pursuers in the press, Carl Bernstein, of the Washington Post, had been my neighbor in Silver Spring, Md., and a friend of my children’s. He had been a likable boy, but I put no great stock in his professionalism or objectivity. So I did not believe the press was giving an accurate account of what had happened.

That same experience of instantly becoming persona non grata once a person goes over to the dark side (in this case, serving in the Nixon Administration, even before Watergate had become a scandal) was enough to completely change the attitude of the press from friendly to combative.

I believe it has only gotten worse with the Obama adminstration, much worse. But make no mistake about it: it was already quite bad.

I’ve been focusing a lot on the press lately because it is of the utmost, utmost importance. The present-day press gladly and dutifully serves Obama, yes. But in a very real sense he is also in good part their creation, the fruit of their long labors—and their mouthpiece, as they are his, in a pernicious and dangerous little dance of mutual reinforcement and self-congratulation.

43 Responses to “The press: insight gained from going over to the dark side”

  1. T Says:

    Sounds like a good time to renew my repeated call for wealthy conservatives (think billionaires) to begin looking to purchase networks and media outlets (Glenn Reynolds suggests buying women’s magazines) to begin to influence the national dialogue.

    What people do not realize is that like it or not, Fox News is the lone voice in the wilderness. Until the traditionalist message begins to be repeated elsewhere and often, the lone voice in the wilderness is nothing but the ignore-able jeremiad of a fire and brimstone “prophet.”

    People will begin to take the traditionalist/conservative message seriously only when the national dialogue begins to recognize it as a serious message. The lone voice does not suffice and “I told you so” is hardly comforting when the handbasket arrives in Hell.

  2. T Says:

    BTW, Kudos to Kirsten Powers. I don’t often agree with her but she is earning my profound respect on an almost daily basis.

  3. Baklava Says:

    I liked her piece

  4. carl in atlanta Says:

    What T said.

    Could Kirsten Powers be a potential changer, a la Neo? Could be, but for the county’s sake she’d probably be more valuable if she remains one of the only liberals in the media who is not only intellectually honest, but courageous.

    Kinda, sorta like a female Micky Kaus, only without the cynicism?

  5. Bob Says:

    It makes me wonder what sorts of behaviors or programs of the president will cause the media to act like the bulldogs they think themselves to be. Just how decadent or criminal must a Democrat behave to get them to ask even the most basic questions? Or even a follow-up?

  6. T Says:

    What bothers me is how can the American public at large continue to condone this obvious and unctious performance by the media.

    Its one thing to have the wool pulled over the public’s eyes, but this blatant media bias and behavior assumes that the public is totally blind. The great shame is that, so far, the media seems justified in that belief.

  7. Ray Says:

    The media has always been in the tank with the democrats. They used to pretend they weren’t, but now they don’t even pretend to be objective. The media types now just brazenly lie for the democrats.

  8. neo-neocon Says:

    Bob: I have asked myself that question about the press, and I have come to think there may be virtually no limit. The compromises with principle can happen gradually, but in the end the person believes the end justifies the means.

    I’m not sure I’m correct, but I fear I am. How many people would be like Powers or the few other brave ones? I have come to think that sort of thing—a “profile in courage,” if you will—is not so common,. Nor is critical thinking.

  9. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    ” Just how decadent or criminal must a Democrat behave to get them to ask even the most basic questions? ” Bob

    Don’t hold your breath; any sacrifice by others, any abandonment of principle, any ‘collateral damage’ is justified by the ends sought.

    Obama could hold a press conference, pull out a gun and shoot someone dead and the MSM would look to excuse it.

    The NYT and CBS are talking seriously, about the obsolescence of the Constitution and, among others, Obama’s science czar argues in favor of legitimizing infanticide.

    Not a peep out of the liberals…in a multitude of ways, they are condoning evil.

    It is a level of denial that easily matches the Germany of the 30′s.

  10. expat Says:

    Sorry for the OT, but you have to check out Powerline’s latest post on Lisa Jackson’s EPA interests.

  11. kaba Says:

    Powers is a liberal in the classical meaning of that word. Today’s liberals, (or progressives as they prefer), have metastasized to something totally alien to classical liberalism. Rather than maximizing individual freedom they wish government to intervene in the smallest details of our private lives.

  12. holmes Says:

    I think we’re basically screwed.

  13. Bob from Virginia Says:

    Kaba, the term you and everyone else is afraid to use for modern “liberal” is left wing fascist. The old Progressives of Henry Wallace with their communist core re-entered the Democratic Party in the late 1960s. JFK, HST and Scoop Jackson would not recognize the current monstrosity nor want anything to do with it. I bet Feinstein and many others feel the same way but have to keep their mouths shut for fear they would end up like Joe Lieberman.

  14. Steve D Says:

    ‘I’ve been focusing a lot on the press lately because it is of the utmost, utmost importance.’

    It was our educational establishment which created the present reporters and therefore the press as it is today. This trend has been in the works for decades before Nixon was even thought of. So, it is education where our efforts must be focused, the earlier the better. The defection of one or two reporters can hardly make a difference when there are thousands of leftist zombies ready to replace them.

  15. Steve D Says:

    ‘…HST and Scoop Jackson would not recognize the current monstrosity nor want anything to do with it.’

    They are just on a different part of the slope but in their most fundamental principles (their heart of hearts) they are the same.

  16. thomass Says:

    neo-neocon Says:

    “Bob: I have asked myself that question about the press, and I have come to think there may be virtually no limit. The compromises with principle can happen gradually, but in the end the person believes the end justifies the means.”

    It is not even a compromise when you have convinced yourself the other side is right wing (re: nazi racist) evil. I do get a kick out of how they imagine the tea party vs their metal memory hole for the fact they associate with so many true left wing nuts.

  17. johnt Says:

    Sit tight, it’s only beginning. Four years to go, Obama’s last term, I daresay it’s going to be one heckuva ride. Be prepared for unbridled power lust, the inner totalitarian breaks out as well as our media, for some reason of his stripe and thinking themselves superior to mere mortals. It was a great country.

  18. M J R Says:

    Excerpts from the piece linked below . . .

    “NBC News these days is less relevant than Buzzfeed. You could buy NBC News, but then what would you have? A white elephant operation whose dwindling viewers are older and either share its biases or don’t care.”

    “What we are battling is a consensus creation machine. That machine spews out news stories and memes always making sure to integrate the consensus into as much of its coverage as it can.”

    “Bring together committed individuals into organizations where they cooperate and make things happen, instead of viewing them as piggy banks for end of the year donations. That is what made the Tea Party work. It is the only thing that has any hope of revitalizing the Republican Party and the right.”

    The link itself . . .

    http://sultanknish.blogspot.com/2013/01/building-our-own-media.html

    Building Our Own Media
    Posted by Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish
    Sunday, January 27, 2013

  19. Yashmak Says:

    What bothers me is how can the American public at large continue to condone this obvious and unctious performance by the media.

    In many cases, they don’t. This explains why Fox is a fiscally healthy news network, and the NYT, USA-Today, and so many of the “mutual reinforcement and self-congratulation” club members are hanging by the skin of their teeth, with declining viewership and advertising revenues year over year.

  20. Ymarsakar Says:

    Those that control a nation’s propaganda apparatus, can easily use it to destroy that nation while having someone else take the blame.

  21. Southpaw Says:

    I like Powers. It’s simple honesty and Integrity that separate a good journalist from a partisan cheerleader. No politician or point of view is always right. It takes integrity, regardless of your personal beliefs about greater good or ideology to speak the truth. She’s has courage – a rare quality these days for a liberal journalist. Even when I don’t agree with her, I respect her point of view because its well thought out and she’s not trying to belittle the person she’s debating. It’s good to see she is starting to recognize many on her side are less interested in professionalism than advancing an agenda at any cost.
    And, at the risk of undermining my previous praise for her much appreciated demeanor and grace, I must note it does not hurt her cause that she’s quite easy on the eyes.

  22. rickl Says:

    I’ve been focusing a lot on the press lately because it is of the utmost, utmost importance.

    I agree. As I’ve said before, the difference between Pravda in the days of the Soviet Union and today’s American media is that the editors and reporters of Pravda told lies and spread propaganda for fear of being arrested and sent to the gulag, while the American media does it willingly.

    In fact, today’s Pravda is actually preferable to the American media. Just in the past month or so, they’ve had articles saying that global warming is a scam and urging Americans to defend our gun rights. Are we in Bizarro World?

  23. betsybounds Says:

    The earliest account I can recall of this Leftist practice of cutting off those of their cohorts and fellow-believers who turn faithless is recorded in Whittaker Chambers’ autobiography, “Witness.” Chambers tells of one instance in particular, I forget the names, but a fellow-communist left the fold; one of his former friends quite explicitly declared him effectively dead, and would not thereafter even mention his name. It was even not unknown for a heretic to be murdered; Chambers himself went underground for an extended time out of fear for his life.

    I also recall Christopher Hitchens being given similar treatment by his colleagues at “The Nation” when he turned on Bill Clinton in the 1990s–they thereafter would not speak to him.

    These people never give up, and they are an unforgiving lot. I’m guessing that Powers is in for some serious education about this faith regarding which she is expressing what they consider to be heresy; she may be declared excommunicate and anathema. Heh.

  24. MollyNH Says:

    I truly long for the day when one just one in the MSM will break ranks. I thought it would come with Bhenghazi. Many of them know those in the Foreign Service but not a single one had the integrity to ask serious questions about this betrayal of their fellow citizens, sacraficed on the altar of Hillary & Obama’s incompetent hubris.
    I actually *thought* there would be disgust that he *went to Vegas*, but nothing !
    And where is the outcry from MSM at the shabby treatment afforded credentialed reporters on Fox.
    These people are a horror visited upon our country.

  25. MollyNH Says:

    PS hate grammar errors!
    “on the altar of Hillary & Obama’s incompetence
    & hubris” (should read) sorry !

  26. holmes Says:

    This was probably written before the false “heckling of Sandy Hook father” story/video too.

  27. parker Says:

    Imaginary spitting on black politicos, imaginary heckling, Palin seeing Russia from her yard, Algored inventing the internet, the meaning of is, jews baking with blood, etc. “Are we in Bizarro World?” Yes. However, the MSM is financially going to collapse. Faster, faster, and don’t forget to boycott their sponsors and let them know why.

  28. Chris Lynch Says:

    Unfortunately, the press is a reflection on us as a nation. When the press gave one or another conservative politician a bad time, we conservative voters often cheered the conservative politicians when they did end-runs around uncomfortable questions or dissed the press corps as disloyal. (the libs did this too, with the Clinton/Flowers story, for example, making fun of the serious questions and suggesting that the Flowers affair was nobody’s business and that the press was being prurient, sexually “McCarthyite”, and tabloid-like. Even the moderates and the conservatives joined in this little beat-down.)

    Now that we really need an independent, courageous press, all we can find are suck-ups who can be coerced into being court stenographers. This gets them entree into the world of political PR, where they can pull down big bucks flacking for the bigshots.

    Not to mention that most of the nation seems to be willingly hypnotized by a diet of video junk food on 500 TV channels, so nothing serious seems to have any impact, any more. Intellectual suicide, anyone?

    We have met the enemy, and he is us.

  29. Eric Says:

    Neoconservatism is a subset of liberalism. I’m a liberal. Where I split with “liberals” was my understanding that Operation Iraqi Freedom was a definitively liberal mission that could re-energize American leadership of the ‘free world’ and the West’s commitment to a robust liberal world order.

    But instead of supporting the Iraq mission that was imbued with liberal values, “liberals” chose parochial partisan tribalism, betrayed their self-avowed core liberal principles, and did their best to sabotage the Iraq mission in the near term along with its long-term liberal aspirations.

  30. Holmes Says:

    Welcome to the fold, Eric. I think there are a great many realities liberals like you will face in the realization that it is Leftists who are running the show, not liberals.

  31. T Says:

    As for influencing the national dialogue, I just saw this (H/T Instapundit):

    The headline:

    Author Of Book On 2012 Election: ‘Without Media Bias, America Would Vote Like Texas Or Kentucky’

    The link:

    http://www.mediaite.com/tv/author-of-book-on-2012-election-without-media-bias-america-would-vote-like-texas-or-kentucky/

  32. T Says:

    Yashmak @ 6:00 pm above wrote:

    “What bothers me is how can the American public at large continue to condone this obvious and unctious performance by the media.”

    In many cases, they don’t. This explains why Fox is a fiscally healthy news network . . . .

    And yet Obama, with no discernable accomplishments and many failures was re-elected to a second term.

  33. artfldgr Says:

    Russia Terminates Anti-Crime Cooperation Agreement With U.S.

    http://www.albanytribune.com/29012013-russia-terminates-anti-crime-cooperation-agreement-with-u-s/

  34. artfldgr Says:

    perhaps she and david mamet should get together.

    right now they are tearing him apart
    but he is not the object of distraction du jour

  35. Kyndyll Says:

    I think certain branches of the progressive utopia fantasyland brigade presume that there would be no such thing as “news” in a utopia fantasyland and that the only current purpose of “news” is to undermine things preventing the realization of their utopia. Thus, they are sincerely flabbergasted that anyone would question their leaders or policies. That’s not what news media is supposed to do!

  36. PCachu Says:

    Just how decadent or criminal must a Democrat behave to get them to ask even the most basic questions? Or even a follow-up?

    Democrat Edwin Edwards once bragged that the only way he could lose his 1983 gubernatorial election in Louisiana would be if he were “caught in bed with either a dead girl or a live boy”. But given the way the major nets have provably run interference for Senator Menendez (D-NJ), it’s looking like even that isn’t enough to get them to do their jobs anymore.

  37. T Says:

    But I repeat myself:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2013/01/30/president-obamas-popularity-surges-to-three-year-high/

    I realize it’s an ABC/Post poll, but I still say (to paraphrase James Carville): “It’s the leftist control of the national dialogue, stupid!”

  38. artfldgr Says:

    to discuss the press lying is about as useful ast tits on a bull…

    its a waste of time…

    lets call the press and tell them to print the news that the news is in the pocket of a marxist state, and doesnt tell the truth.

    hey! we have known that since before you were born… ie. the meeting between the wealthy and media that agreed to work with the government.

    the journolist could not do better in keeping the readers that come here from noticing that some 9 nuclear powers are squaring off.

    got that? NINE nuclear powers… maybe more

    think that korea will trade a nuke for a f16?

    how about japan a nuclear power and india a nuclear power, squaring off with china a nuclear power?

    how about talking about an ex polititican who lost years ago, who is marginally in existence who most peopole dont remember, who will not affect their lives…

    and ignore the boom at the iranian place
    the fact russia is separating contacts
    that china is moving to war
    that iraq is moving to war
    that syria is moving to war
    that egypt is moving to war
    that japan is moving to war
    that india is moving to war
    that we are already in two to five conflicts

    women being drafted is on the table, because the prior equality before the law ruled that they dont need to be drafted as they cant serve. now they can serve, there is no reason to not draft them!!!

    so when conflict breaks out, what will happen to the birth rate of the targeted group whose birthrate has been announced to be collapsing in less than 15 years

    how about the race war in california where the spanish are beating up blacks and acting like the KKK? no. thats not worth talking about.

    want to know what is going ot happen?
    we willmove to war, it will start
    and neo will be happy that we missed how and why, because that way, we can endlessly talk about it and all that…

    i happen to be a party poop, i would rather antipate things than be distracted, miss them, and have to miss more things as i look back trying to figure out what happened.

    think appache helicopters under 500 feet riding through urban lanscapes, where thye can crash due to things like power lines, banners, and so on. with civilians under neath, not being warned and scared crapless is worth dicussing?

    nope… just as that tomahawk the women launched off the coast of california wasnt a tomahawk… REMEMBER That press lie?

    how many contrails we mistake since then?

    how many war games with soviet troops have we had on US soil?

    how normalized are we to this?

    so normalized we talk about press lies
    while ignoring war games in urban areas across the US…

    how about the billions of rounds various agencies are buying?

    once more i suggest reading the screwtape letters

    because ends can often be reached by minimal means.. while we miss those ends because we are looking for somethig more substantial.

    “Aggravate that most useful human characteristic, the horror and neglect of the obvious” (11-12).

    most useful to evil… as it is uncle screwtape adviing a minor demon as to how to ruin man

    just refuse to discuss the obvious while discussing other things..

    go ahead. try it. put your wallet on a table and then talk to distraction, and see what happens to the wallet…

    did any conversation other than the wallet save it from others when you were distracted by nothings?

    “It is funny how mortals always picture us as putting things into their minds: in reality our best work is done by keeping things out”. – Uncle Screwtape

    hows this for a descriptio more meaninful than the 100 year old fact the press lies

    “The great thing is to direct the malice to his immediate neighbors whom he meets every day and to thrust his benevolence out to the remote circumference, to people he does not know. The malice thus becomes wholly real and the benevolence largely imaginary” – Uncle Screwtape

    see? hate jews, love welfare…

    “We want cattle who can finally become food; He [God] wants servants who can finally become sons. We want to suck in, He wants to give out. We are empty and would be filled; He is full and flows over” – Uncle Screwtape

    all through history the most important things are taught in a story in which your supposed to ‘get’ the priincipal ans having so earned it, has value

    from the koans – what is the sound of one hand clapping? enlightenment…

    to little read riding hood telling you how business works… you have to find a safe path through the forest, or the wolves will get you…

    “I know we have won many a soul through pleasure. All the same, it is His [God's] invention, not ours. He made the pleasures: all our research so far has not enabled us to produce one. All we can do is to encourage the humans to take the pleasures which our Enemy has produced, at times, or in ways, or in degrees, which He has forbidden”

    its pleasurable to meet, to talk, to discuss and discover… but what if you can use that pleasure to distract from purpose from reality, from paying attention to whats critical in life?
    [edited for length by n-n]

  39. artfldgr Says:

    “All mortals tend to turn into the thing they are pretending to be” – Uncle Screwtape

    What are you pretending to be? :)

  40. neo-neocon Says:

    artfldgr: nobody’s ignoring anything. I write about what interests me at any given moment, as I’ve said many times. I’ve certainly written plenty about the middle east (not just Israel/Palestine, but Iraq, Iran, and Syria, for example), and I think most people on this blog understand that the world’s a very dangerous place and things are getting worse in that regard, and not just in the middle east.

    It’s not that people here need to be alerted about this stuff. They are quite aware, although you don’t seem to feel that that’s the case.

    The press is a huge part of our problems, whether they be domestic or international (support of a naive foreign policy, for example, affecting the latter). Spreading the word about the press—and people who read this blog sometimes spread the word by sending people links to my posts or other articles—could be helpful if it helps to build awareness of just how thoroughly they are being misled on so many fronts.

  41. thomass Says:

    Chris Lynch Says:

    “Unfortunately, the press is a reflection on us as a nation. When the press gave one or another conservative politician a bad time, we conservative voters often cheered the conservative politicians when they did end-runs around uncomfortable questions”

    Usually the republican resigned and that was that. I can think of a couple times it went the way you describe but they usually very important issues (10 out of 10)… like resisting soviet influence in the Americas.

  42. Oblio Says:

    Contrast Powers’ moderation with the increasing stridency of Juan Williams. The underlying motivation in both cases might be embarrassment. For Powers, you cannot sit next to Charles Krauthammer every day and not begin to feel foolish if you just mouth administration talking points. Williams is embarrassed to be on Fox and needs to maintain his progressive bona fides to justify himself when he is back with his crowd, mainstream Journolistas.

  43. n.n Says:

    Yesterday’s progressive is today’s conservative. However, she hasn’t really crossed over. American conservatism is classical liberalism tempered by Judeo-Christian principles. She is a liberal, but not generational. She is not a rebel with a cause and without a clue. She is principled.

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