Commentary by Daniel T. Zanoza
While watching those speaking at the Republican Party's National Convention on Wednesday and Thursday night, I realized there was a steady theme from those addressing the GOP faithful. There were many opportunities to slap down the mainstream media and I'm happy to say those opportunities were taken advantage of. In fact, a nice swat should be taken at the mainstream press whenever possible. Indeed, media swatting should become a part of the Republican platform. Let me see...lower taxes, smaller government, pro-life, pro-Second Amendment, etc. and anti-media, but not necessarily in that order.
It's about time Republicans start calling it like it is, when it comes to the liberal media's love affair with the Democratic Party in general and specifically Barack Obama. Spiro Agnew did it very well back in 1971 when he referred to the media as "nattering nabobs of negativism." Yes, I know, things didn't go that well for Agnew and his boss Richard Nixon shortly after those days. But the then-vice-president's constant tirades against the press sure felt good while they lasted.
What changed Republican tactics towards the Fourth Estate in 2008? For years, members of the GOP have represented punching bags for the media. The press hated Ronald Reagan and thought he was a dunce. The media came right out and said Bush 41 was a wimp. And, of course, at the same time, George W. Bush is portrayed as a man with the sinister mind of Rasputin and the intellect of Curly from the Three Stooges. Sounds impossible, yet nothing's out of the ordinary for a media with a liberal agenda and a political axe to grind.
However, when the press starting picking on a 44 year old Mother of five, the Republican Party began to grow a backbone and some other important anatomical parts. Finally, on the largest stage of the year, the press was poked at, prodded and in general maligned by former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee and Sen. Fred Thompson. Even Sarah Palin, the GOP's vice-presidential candidate, had some fun--and well she should-- since she was the target of some of the most inappropriate and irresponsible coverage I have seen in over 15 years of critiquing the press. It was hypocrisy at its worst. It was mean-spirited at its best. And if the Republicans would have sat back and said nothing, they would have no one to blame but themselves for similar coverage that would be sure to come.
And don't think the public didn't enjoy the show either. Polling indicates more than 70% of Americans do not trust the dominant media. I'm surprised the number isn't higher. But many say the media is on a hot streak of late, so go figure. The GOP couldn't lose when they attacked the journalistic mediocrity which has been foisted upon the public during this entire presidential primary season. Even Saturday Night Live saw the absurdity of the media circus surrounding Barack Obama when they poked fun at their broadcast brethren earlier this year. Yet something had to be said by the Party that was taking the abuse and I'm glad it was. Perhaps one might say better late than never or it's about time. However, whatever the cliché, it certainly fits.
Possibly the dominant press will try to be a bit more balanced and a bit more fair in its coverage of the presidential race between McCain and Obama from now on. Let's put it this way. Something bad would be an improvement and no one should hold their breath waiting for Chris Mathews to stop shaking after a Barack Obama speech. At least someone is telling him that kind of behavior is inappropriate. Maybe that's the only victory those who care about good journalism can hope for.
Anyone wishing to receive RFFM.org e-mails should contact Dan@rffm.org
Comments to RFFM.org's blog which include ad hominems or personal attack will automatically be rejected. No hyperlinks allowed.