Monday, November 3, 2008

Whoever wins, the MSM loses: They have achieved Hunchback Status.

Once looked upon as Those That Can Separate the Wheat from the Chaff, the MSM has become grotesquely ill. They lurch through the countryside like the hunchback of Notre Dame, only to return to the bell tower to clang their message throughout the village.

For millions of us, the nightly news and the front page are no more than those bells clanging haphazardly in the distance. We learn nothing but of their presence. We get no comfort from their song. We begin or continue our important conversations when the clanging ceases.

I grew up in the 1960s Scranton. We had two television stations (CBS and NBC) and a set of rabbit ears on top of the box. It wasn’t as if we were in the country with poor reception. We had the best the airwaves could offer.

Watching the evening news was ritual. Thirty minutes of network news followed by 30 minutes of local news. I recall seeing careers build and fade: Some guy began with the occasional spot, moved to the main seat, and finally changed seats to tell us about high-school football or stood to give us the weather. I felt badly for the guy giving the weather. He used to tell us of wars and local scandals, and now he stammered as he explained why the promised storm didn’t show.

Watching television was usually quiet in my home. “Quiet – you can talk during the commercials!” The only change came when Tom Bigler or some other commentator gave the editorial on the local news. It was always the station manager, unless some “guest commentator” was there (usually appearing nervous). The news was done, as was sports and weather. Ninety seconds or so separated us from the credits. My father would break his rule almost nightly. “That guy doesn’t understand. Arggh, that pisses me off! How can he say that?” His outbursts were reserved for the station hack – guests got a pass.

I learned Dad’s politics through his reactions. He never told me his vote or philosophy, but I knew them as I filtered his comments. I had friends with parents of a different cut. I knew their politics because they spoke them directly. “I’m 12,” I thought, “What do I care about Governor Shapp?”

As I aged, I noticed for myself the political leanings of the two Scranton newspapers, the Tribune (morning, conservative) and the Times (evening, liberal). I also learned that the media – generally, the press more so than television – were equal opportunity haters. The front page would trash the mother of the lead editor if she got caught doing something bad. It was the editorial page that marked one as conservative and the other as liberal.

Then Watergate happened. In retrospect, the press was emboldened, but, again through the perception of a teenager, things seemed to die down during Ford’s term. The turning point for me was the end of Carter’s term. Perhaps it was just that I was more aware. But what I saw jaded me.

I was in college. My professors were split ideologically. A few were rabid liberals. The local paper was the Manchester Union Leader, a stalwart of conservatism. I heard for the first time the liberal creed: “This new generation needs to understand that America’s best days are behind us. They have to accept that they will have less than their parents had.”

Later that year, I gave my Senior paper. It was April or June 1981. My topic was Supply-Side Economics. I explained with facts and figures how empowering employers to create more jobs would do just that. I explained how lower tax rates encourage behavior that result in increased tax revenues. The professor – the same one from before – laughed. It was not a ridiculing laugh. It was more like a “You are so clueless” laugh. I thought of something my father used to jokingly say: “I taught you everything I know, and you still know nothing!” The intended irony in my dad’s statement took a few years to become apparent to me, but was clear as crystal at that moment.

I became keenly aware of the political divide in our country. I watched as the previously honorable press stopped being equal-opportunity haters. I perceived targets for scorn. Reagan was great fun for them. They ridiculed his intellect for eight years. I saw the “it’s only sex” protection afforded Clinton (whether or not the protection was valid) that would not have been afforded a conservative. The now-unused intellect bashing of Reagan has been revived in their treatment of W. (On that note, W is an avid reader of history – where is the logic is saying he is illiterate? It’s a schoolyard accusation. To me, it is the MSM that is proving its own illiteracy. Ironic.)

But selecting a target is one thing. Circling the wagons around a candidate is a different stroke altogether. Enter the 2008 election.

They liked McCain because he was not a traditional Republican. They trumpeted his career as if he were Patton without the narcissism. Then he vanquished his conservative foes. Then he became the target.

They quietly disliked Hillary until they sensed blood in the water. Why the hesitancy? Because one thing Bill Clinton did was rally the very same core that they play to. And he was vindictive. He never forgot a slight. Neither did Hillary. If she was to be the nominee, they would go for the ride out of fear to do otherwise. Her negatives were always her challenge, but they ignored the 40+ numbers out of fear. They kept the gloves on until she spilled blood on her own: She cried in Connecticut and she dodged bullets in Bosnia. When Obama rigged the caucuses, her weakness was clear. They sensed blood and went in for the kill.

The only non-conservative left standing was and is Obama. And that phrase – the only non-conservative left standing – is illuminating. The MSM’s support of Obama has nothing to do with him. Nothing. It is clear because of the lengths they go to protect him. They refuse to respond to blood in the water. They ignore stories. Ignore them! But, why?

They want to implement the theories of a “progressive society.” European ways makes them feel good. And that is what they need to do – feel good about themselves. Use whatever label you want – the MSM has now fully joined the political process as if they were the elected official.

Did it just happen? No, of course not. But it is unmasked now.

If Obama wins tomorrow, it will not be long before the suppressed stories get full air. His naïveté will be clear to everyone. He will be roasted by the public, and the MSM will not be spared the flames.

If McCain wins tomorrow, then manipulation of the data flow by the MSM will be immediately clear. The extent of it will be the subject of many books.

What is most sad to me is that I all of this unfold – the MSM, Biden proving his hair plugs compromised his skull, Pelosi/Kerry/Gore/Reid dancing on a grave for a patient not yet dead – and I feel as if I am at a circus, under the “big top.” But then I realize that the future of my children is at stake with these clowns.

And when I look around at all the participants, I hear the clanging bells in the distance. I see the throngs of people standing in the churchyard, gazing upward. It scares me that so many people don’t get it. I think they will. But the cost to the country may be significant.