Tuesday, May 17, 2005

The Alternate Universe of Conservatives

Conservatives say Rep. Tom DeLay (R-TX) is the victim of a liberal witch-hunt. Oh that liberal media bias, they claim.

Consider these statements from a May 12 Washington dinner in support of DeLay, broadcast on the May 15 edition of NBC's Meet the Press:

BRENT BOZELL (Media Research Center): Ladies and gentlemen, this is a media out of control in their commitment to bringing down this man.

FORMER REP. BOB LIVINGSTON, (R-LA): The leadership of the other side working in conjunction with the press has tried to pile on Tom and ruin his reputation.

But imagine the conservatives' dismay after this exchange between Meet the Press host Tim Russert, liberal Washington Post columnist David Broder, and Paul Gigot, editor of the Wall Street Journal's conservative editorial page:

MR. RUSSERT: David Broder, has there been a cabal between the media and the Democrats to bring him down?

BRODER: Well, of course. And I was at the meeting myself where we got our orders to do this. No. No. I mean, Tom DeLay is in trouble because of things that Tom DeLay did. And he has a lot of loyalty and a lot of support that he's earned from his fellow conservatives, but the notion that this is some kind of a press liberal conspiracy just doesn't wash.

RUSSERT: Paul Gigot, you probably have the most influential page of opinion on the conservative side in the nation in the Wall Street Journal, and you've taken a much different attitude towards Mr. DeLay and his troubles. Let's read it. "Smells Like Beltway. The problem ... is that Mr. DeLay, who rode to power in 1991 on a wave of revulsion at the everyday ways of big government, has become the living exemplar of some of its worst habits. ... Rather than buck this system as he promised to do while in the minority, Mr. DeLay has become its undisputed and unapologetic master as Majority Leader. Whether Mr. DeLay violated the small print of House Ethics or campaign finance rules is thus largely beside the point. His real fault lies in betraying the broader set of principles that brought him into office, and which, if he continues as before, sooner or later will sweep him out." I take it you weren't invited to the dinner?

GIGOT: I didn't get the phone call from the Democratic leadership either, I must say.


Supporters of DeLay say, Oh that liberal media bias, when it comes to DeLay. But a liberal columnist and a conservative editorial page editor essentially came to the same conclusion.

They each blame DeLay.

The thing that conservatives like Bozell and Livingston don't understand about the "liberal" media is that, like a pack of wolves, it pounces on a scandal story and doesn't let go. Conservatives think the mainstream media is guilty of "liberal media bias" -- picking on conservatives unfairly.

But they forget how the media pounced on the Monica Lewinsky scandal. They forget that the "liberal" New York Times ran a front-page story about President Clinton's choice of tie, and whether it was sending a coded message to Lewinsky. They forget how the mainstream media pedded stories such as "Gore claimed to 'invent the Internet'" and "Gore lied about being the role model for Love Story," allowing conservative spin lines to replace the truth.

When it comes to DeLay, it's easy for conservatives like Bozell and Livingston to blame the media, because they can't accept the mountain of evidence -- receipts, canceled checks, etc. -- that have led to numerous bouts with the House Ethics Committee. Conservatives want to pretend it's all liberals and the "liberal" medai, forgetting the battles between DeLay and fellow Republicans, such as Rep. Joel Hefley (R-CO).

Let's face it. Blaming the "liberal" media is a rallying call for conservatives like Bozell and Livingston. It motivates people to attend dinners for DeLay, such as the one on May 12, where patrons were served "filet mignon and salmon, topped off by frosted marble cake with chocolate hammers" -- a reference to DeLay's nickname. It raises money for defense funds. It keeps people angry.


One other note about the May 12 dinner: Among those in attendance was J.D. Guckert (aka Jeff Gannon), the one-time "conservative journalist" for Talon News.

The funny thing is, Guckert is no longer a journalist. He resigned from his post in February, after other journalists determined that Talon News was a phony media company (Gannon asked his first question of then-White House spokesman Ari Fleischer over a month before Talon News was created as a front by Republican website GOPUSA.com), that Guckert had somehow used a pseudonym to gain access to the White House, and, by his own admission, had access to classified documents that named Valerie Plame as a C.I.A. operative.

Now, I understand that conservatives defend Guckert. And maybe that's why he was invited to the dinner, in which a fellow Texan was being honored. But doesn't it also suggest that conservative bigwigs know that Guckert was never a "journalist?"

To be sure, this isn't the first time that Guckert has been invited to a big conservative shindig. By his own admission, Guckert was also invited to the White House media Christmas parties in 2003 and 2004.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

If the media was really that concerned with the ALLEGED violations that DeLay has been accused of, they would be equally concerned when other members have done the same thing. Yet, they are not.

By the way, it is interesting that jabbs continues to thrown that "saw confidential files on CIA operative" meme out there in relation to Gannon/Guckert, since by all accounts I have seen, there is no evidence that he saw anything, and the more logical conclusion is that he was boasting to puff himself up. Never let the truth get in the way of a good story though ...

9:54 AM  
Anonymous joe said...

Still, Guckert did boast about it. There should be a congressional investigation, or it should be part of the ongoing investigation into the Plame leak. Until Guckert is exonerated, or he admits he lied, it's fair game for JABBS or anyone else.

9:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Newsweek single handedly destroys America's reputation among Muslims based on patently false information and all JAABS can talk about is the Alternative Universe of Conservatives. Looking for an example of Liberal bias in the media. Just look at Newsweek. Classic example of the enemy within working hand-in-hand with the enemy from without. How long do you think this great nation can withstand this internal attack? Newsweek and its reporter should be charged with Sedition for this one.

11:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you, Michael Savage wannabe.

12:09 PM  
Anonymous alias: "cutiepie" johnson said...

You could argue the Newsweek fiasco was sloppy journalism. Like the Dan Rather/60 Minutes fiasco, it was a case of relying on a single source of questionable value. (And remember, the commission that was led by Dick Thornburgh determined Rather and others at CBS were guilty of being sloppy, not of showing "liberal bias.")

Was the Newsweek reporter committing "liberal media bias"? That would suggest the reporter knew the information was false, or twisted truthful information so as to score political points rather than present the whole truth. I don't think any legitimate media critics are suggesting this.

Should the Newsweek reporter be suspended? Absolutely. Fired? If it's proven that the reporter knew the information was false (ignored other sources of information, took his source's comments out of context or otherwise twisted them so as to make them false), then absolutely.

But there's a large gap between sloppy journalism and knowingly spreading falsehoods, or twisting information (or providing half-truths) for political gain, such as Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh and other conservative pundits.

12:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yes, finally we discuss real news, not whether jeff gannon is giving oral to someone high up (there is a plausible explanation for you as to why he gets invites to parties where you dont)...

the newsweek situation is sad and it appears to be sloppy journalism. unfortunately this caused violence that led to death so it will get extended airplay (of course, it is pathetic that people actually died because of a newsweek article-says something about some people if you ask me). Rather, and you can spout out all the thornbourg reports you want (how did you really think anyone would prove liberal bias anyway unless there was a smoking gun memo or something and Rather isnt stupid.)Personally i believe there is a difference-Rather jumped on the story because of his own excitement over finding a good antibush position, especially right before an election. I do not believe he would have acted the same if it had been about Kerry. But ok, that's in the past.

Newsweek: other than the overall media's disturbing trend to accentuate news that puts america in a harsh light while virtually ignoring some of the pathetic crazy people we are up against..... within that system which passes for american journalism these days, this was purely sloppy journalism.

someone whould be held accountable for this no question.

1:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I amazed that JABBS has given so much space lately to Guckert and DeLay while ignoring, along with most of the press, a much larger issue of a true revealation recently of the Downing Street memo.
Most are considering the memo, which is front-page news in the U.K. as it should be here, conclusive evidence of what the war apologists have long denied, that the Bush Administration had all along planned to invade and occupy Iraq and contorted whatever facts necessary to meet that objective. The memo also offers concrete evidence Bush had ill-planned the invasion.
(If you need background see Media Matters website).
It has been suggested the evidence presented by the memo is so damaging and so conclusive that the media has been scared to touch it for fear of tilting the "balance" of news coverage to the left (which has long been condemned for even hinting at Bush's true motivations behind attacking Iraq). The truth be damned.
The memo does not contradict findings of the recent congressional investigation, which found Bush did not seek out available contradictory opinions for the case for WMDs and war. We now know the president has played the country like a fiddle.
One would think the Downing memo would be of capital interest now that the Iraq War has turned into a costly quadmire, which even objective reports cite for sucking the blood out of the U.S. economy and significantly weakening of the U.S. military.
Under a Democratic president, there would be cries for a congressional investigation.
The issue should be dealt with before we throw another $80 billion to Iraq without again including with the legislation any plan for getting out of this mess.
Let's put things into perspective. Here's how Rumsfeld commented in an NBS News story on the Newsweek retraction of the Quran abuse story:
"People lost their lives. People are dead. People need to be very careful about what they say, just as they need to be careful about what they do."
Yeah right.

1:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I saw the memo's too ! Order a congressional investigation ! Remember, it is the substance of the allegation, not the weight of the evidence that matters to the left now.

If I boasted that I knew that it was Sen. Biden that leaked the Quran down the toilet story to Newsweek, should that require a Congressional investigation ?

That is not sloppy journalism. They ran across an allegation that they were prone to believe, and ran with it, pure and simple. The allegations, made by terrorists, and reported in Russia and France, fit nicely with the worldview of the reporters, so they ran with it.

Is anybody else tired of anonymous sourcing?

4:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If all parties concerned, whether right or left, cared about the weight of the evidence (not the "substance"), they would take a hard look at the Downing Street memo. It vindicates what Richard Clarke said all along, that Cheney repeatedly pressed his department to find a link between Iraq and Sadaam.
As for the Koran toilet flushing allegation, there exists no evidence it derived from terrorists or the "world view" at the moment. The weight of the evidence does not appear to matter to this blogger after all.

6:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Plain and simple ... When the media describes terrorists, they refuse to note that they are overwhelmingly Muslim, and always point out that the terrorists are extremists. They take great pains to show that the actions of a group should not paint the group as a whole. But, when reporting things like the alleged prisoner abuse scandal, they have no problem painting the actions of a few as representative of the whole, so long as they can make President Bush and the military look bad.

This is just another example of where their worldview collided with a rumor that they believed to be true, and ran with it.

3:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't share in the opinion that the Newsweek story, or the earlier reporting on Iraq prisoner abuses, could be interpreted as designed to make Bush and the entire U.S. military look bad.
I seem to recall most reports on the Iraq prisoner abuse scandal struggled with the question of whether the problem involved just a few jokers in the military, or complicity from the higher-ups.

6:48 PM  

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