Magazine article Insight on the News

McCain's Media Lapdogs Rip Conservative Critics

Magazine article Insight on the News

McCain's Media Lapdogs Rip Conservative Critics

Article excerpt

It's only natural that leftists would take the media lovefest over Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain's "trash-talk express" to mean only one thing. In The Nation, Eric Alterman asked: "Can we please put the `liberal media' [insert barnyard reference here] to rest forever, now?" At the invitation of the Los Angeles Times, left-wing media critic Jeff Cohen declared: "The `Straight Talk Express' may not roll over Bush, but it already has run over and killed the myth of the liberal news media."

Nowhere in their critiques did they consider that nowhere but nowhere has the mainstream press praised the Arizonan's votes to impeach Clinton, for tax cuts, for a missile defense, against abortion, or any other conservative stance he's (sometimes) taken. That would make you wonder about the liberal media.

But these radical rogues have some strange new company: network TV pundits trotted out as representative of "conservative" thinking. Alterman took glee in quoting Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol, who told the New Yorker magazine, "The whole idea of the `liberal media' was often used as an excuse by conservatives for conservative failures." He noted Kristol said on CNN's Reliable Sources that "the press isn't quite as biased and liberal. They're actually conservative sometimes." Kristol didn't have an example of that alleged conservatism, nor was he asked for one, which got him neatly off the hook.

Kristol's colleague David Brooks -- another "conservative" -- said in a Newsweek column: "The movement consciousness is based on the idea that we are a band of brave, beleaguered souls under perpetual assault from the liberal mainstream media. These people detest McCain because liberals don't hate him"

But the award for liberal bias denial has to go to CNN pundit Tucker Carlson, yet another Weekly Standard staffer busily promoting McCain. On Feb. 6, Carlson claimed Bush staffers "are doing this kind of Spiro Agnew thing, the liberal media loves McCain because he's liberal, or something. That's ridiculous. The press likes McCain for the same reason voters in New Hampshire like McCain, because he doesn't fear anything."

Four days later, Carlson was at it again on CNN: "There's been a huge amount of whining from the Bush people about how McCain has bought the press with doughnuts, et cetera, et cetera. It's ludicrous. The fact is McCain ran a better, more interesting campaign."

On Feb. 22, after the Michigan results, CNN's Jeff Greenfield asked about the media favoring McCain, and Carlson put conservative media critics in black helicopters: "Sounds like a conspiracy to me. …

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