It is difficult nowadays, especially as one casts one’s mind over the nearly endless inventory of impeachable offenses that Barack Obama has committed in office, and casually shrugged aside with the full complicity of the American press, to focus one’s mind on the fact that Richard Milhous Nixon was hounded from power because a group of third tier staffers bungled an effort to bug the Democrat campaign headquarters after which Nixon engaged in an upper tier effort to cover up the “in-house” nature of the operation, and also because he was silly enough to turn the tapes of himself orchestrating the cover-up over to the prosecution. Today, you could ransack America’s institutions of higher learning without discovering a single student capable of describing the follies and sins that culminated in Nixon’s expulsion from office—but they would all tell you he was evil, evil, evil….and because it fits their professors’ template, they all regard him as a conservative, never mind the patent ridiculousness of the label. It is a supreme irony, WOOF submits, that the man “who killed Joe McCarthy” (to borrow William Bragg Ewald’s chillingly ebullient phrase) was ultimately and even more spectacularly destroyed by the same liberal media that previously helped him undermine the Junior Senator.
But while the vagaries of Nixon’s collapse can be argued –and have been argued—prolongededly in histories of the era, the most significant aspect of his demise goes generally unremarked—and that is the degree to which Nixon’s resignation inaugurated the epoch within which the radicalism of the late ‘60s began to institutionalize itself, subtly but surely, in the mid ‘70s. The remarkable thing about the epochal shift that swept American culture was how casually it overcame us. Adult hair became lush, mustaches sprouted, ties became broad, music became puerile (remember “Disco Duck”?) and the economy began to malfunction (in the wake of Nixon’s Bretton Woods miscalculation). Car companies quavered, Coke surrendered to Pepsi and issued “New Coke,” and a general sense of things Spenglerian filled the air—but nothing really seemed too different…nothing really seemed alarming. Democrats still reminded us of Jack, Bobby, and Daniel Patrick Moynihan, and Republicans? Well, they were still of the Bob Dole, John Warner, Howard Baker variety with a little bit of Goldwater for sorely-needed color. The evil ones had been expelled–and while President Gerald Ford might have been seen as a benighted yawp who hailed from Grand Rapids, fell down entertainingly and wore madras trousers with white socks, he was certainly not a villain…except that he pardoned the execrable Nixon,which was ultimately deemed unforgivable…by the press.
But television reporters didn’t seem that different. Not yet, anyway. They had bushier wigs and mustaches and thicker ties and maybe flared trousers and they wore side-zipping boots with big heels instead of shoes, but they just reported the news and the weather and the sports, same as ever. It would have taken a sociologist, and a particularly adept one at that, to accurately perceive the tectonic shift to the Left that locked us in its grip as Nixon gamely flashed his digital V-signs and lifted off aboard the Presidential helicopter for his final flight into ignominy. (Actually, he wrote two good books after that– but that’s not important now.)
As the great Irish poet Yeats once put it, “Things fall apart; the center cannot hold; anarchy is loosed upon the world; The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere the ceremony of innocence is drowned.” The center, you see, was cowed, confused, and propagandized into a sullen acceptance of its own desuetude in the 1970s, and one of the most vital elements of that center was the original 4th estate, which, like the academy before it, crumbled like a termite mound in a stampede of wildebeests. When America decided the hip children of the ’60s could teach it more than Burke’s community of souls, the ’70s were a leftwing shoo-in.
Have you noticed that even sportscasters are left wingers these days? Witness Bob Costa’s sanctimonious sermonizing at half time during a Redskins football game to the effect that the team’s name is “…an insult, a slur.” How did this come about? Why, for that matter, is ESPN a consortium of leftwingers? How come Kenny Mayne can tweet dopey jabs at Sarah Palin with impunity while his colleague Adam Scheffer is free to twitter wrathfully against Republicans whom he believes to be attempting “a looming government shutdown,” but when the hapless golf pro Paul Azinger tweeted that President Obama seems to play more golf than he, Azinger, does, ESPN called him on the carpet and warned him to keep his politics to himself. Yes, WOOF really needs a sports-watcher to keep an eye on the slide of American athletics into the fever swamps of leftist conformity—but for the purposes of this screed, we are willing to view it as part of the larger phenomenon.
The problem with the Liberal Establishment Media is far worse than we tend to consider, perhaps because it is qualitatively different from what we assume it to be. That we sense a problem at all is remarkable considering the fact that we are never told by the Liberal Establishment Media how bad the problem has become, or what it amounts to, or even that it exists. As survivors of journalistic epochs in which some news source was always babbling the dirt about one or another politician or political scam while exciting the notice of at least a few other news sources, it remains hard for us to grasp how utterly short-circuited this process is by the Obaman stratagem. A few years ago a New York Times reporter refused to attend a press conference featuring military personnel, scientists, at least one astronaut and myriad credible witnesses of UFO phenomena from respectable walks of life because, he said, if there were any truth to UFOs, he would have read about it in the Times. Similarly, during the Cambodian genocide following the collapse of South Vietnam, early refugees from the mass slaughter held a press conference in Washington DC to warn America of Pol Pot’s plans to reduce the Cambodian population by two-thirds and the reporter for the Washington Post walked out, telling folks in the lobby that she wasn’t interested in hearing anymore CIA lies. The Harvard Crimson was quick to back her verdict, declaring that “Stories of a bloodbath, as reported by other news agencies, cannot be verified and there is every indication that these accounts are lies.” [Full asinine story available here]
This, in a larger and more public context, is the mind set that blockades most Americans from grasping how far their trusted news networks have fallen into a mutated reification of what John Kerry, in far less plausible circumstances having to do with far less threatening events, called “a coalition of the bribed, the bought, the coerced and the extorted.” This purposeful and efficient dismantling of the American 4th estate would be the biggest news story in America, bar none, if there were any news operation willing to cover it (except us of course!) But the biggest aspect of the story as it now stands vis-à-vis the Obama regime, is that an addition to Kerry’s epigram is essential. Today’s lock-step, liberal news distorters are no longer merely motivated by bribery, coercion and extortion—no—there is now an even seamier element at work. It can be recognized where the social and vocational cohorts of liberal politics and liberal journalism join hands–where the “second estate’s” Ruling Class and the “fourth estate’s” reportorial elites run toward one another in hoaky slow motion, and melt into one another’s arms as the background score escalates into a salacious crescendo and the two estates become one , locked in shared infatuation; in what Bernie Goldberg indelicately but memorably described as “a slobbering love affair.” The word for this is incest. Yes, it’s a metaphor as thus invoked, but barely. It bespeaks a singleness of purpose between the power elites and their supposed watchdogs in the media that has all but placed the two once disparate interests in the bouncing bed of nuptial unity—and in many instances, as you’ll note, this is not a metaphor at all! In fact, the Chicago Outfit that paraded into the White house with unprecedented levels of support from the drooling news media, has joined hands with those supporters and formed a “Family” in the strict Chicago style—although WOOF does not mean to imply any actual Mafia involvement—the Mafia, for one thing, is nowhere near as liberal as the media factions upon whom we bestowed the label by extension—and noticeably less devoted to multiculturalism.
“…worst president ever…”
James Goodale, the former general counsel of the New York Times during its legendary battle to the death with the Nixon administration said recently that “President Obama will surely pass President Richard Nixon as the worst president ever on issues of national security and press freedom.” Will pass him, James? He left Nixon in his dust during the first six months of the first term! A particularly brave effort has been made by the highly respected Committee to Protect Journalists, typically an organization concerned with abuses of press freedoms in military dictatorships and third-world backwaters, to expose the menace we now confront domestically. The Committee recently issued its first ever warning about American press freedom, authored by no less a hand than former Washington Post executive editor Leonard Downie, Jr. who lamented “the deterioration of journalism in the United States,” powerfully underscoring “just how extreme is the threat to press freedom posed by this administration.” The report offers a comprehensive survey of the multiple ways that the Obama presidency has clamped down on the free press, instilling a paralyzing climate of fear, concluding that “In the Obama administration’s Washington, government officials are increasingly afraid to talk to the press.” And nobody reports it!
But George Will went way too far
Where fear is useful, coziness is often twice as effective. In the early ‘80s there was a tremendous outcry that ABC commentator George Will should be fired or at least severely reprimanded for having the Reagans as his dinner guests at his private home. How, the talking heads clamorously inquired of one another, could one expect to report objectively while supping with the very plutocrats upon whom the criticality of the oppositional media was morally obliged to be focused? Of course, George Will was brought aboard at ABC precisely because he was a well-known conservative whom the network tasked with offering conservative views as a conservative commentator, the utter novelty of such an inclusion having, ABC reasoned, a certain piquancy so long as the conservative remained outnumbered and assurances obtained that Sam Donaldson would interrupt him a lot whenever he ventured to establish an argument. The idea that one of the most articulate defenders and purveyors of conservative opinion in America might have his reportage suborned over a glass or two of California Pinot Noir was so laughable that even NBC and CBS could not sustain their faux hysteria beyond a news cycle, and Will remained at his post. But here we are, three decades later, with the entirety of mainstream journalism either hob-nobbing with Obama, overlty supporting him, or directly –or by a very few degrees of separation– employed by him! Employed by him? The Washington Post’s Ed O’Keefe has semi-regularly kept tabs on the number of reporters working for Obama’s administration, counting 10 in May 2009, 14 in 2010, and 13 in 2011. The Washington Examiner’s Paul Beddard counted 19 reporters working for “Team Obama” in February 2012. Remember, these reporters have not turned in their press passes for chauffeurs’ uniforms or feather dusters—no, these mavens and mavenettes remain in the business of giving you the news! Nor are these reporters the sort who might otherwise be written off as silly Jimmy Olsen types. Beddard linked them to CBS, ABC, CNN, Time, the Washington Post, the Boston Globe, and the Los Angeles Times just as a few examples.
For that matter. should it worry you that the president of ABC news, Ben Sherwood, is the brother of Elizabeth Sherwood, a top national security adviser to Our Beloved Leader? Or that the President of CBS News, one David Rhodes, is the brother of top Obama adviser Benjamin Rhodes? If Ben’s name sounds familiar, that is likely due to his reported role in the editing of the now infamous Benghazi talking points—you remember: The ones that had to be re-written thrice because the first ones made no sense and the second ones were demonstrable lies. Or should it concern us that Tom Nides, who served as Hillary Clinton’s top adviser on security matters is married to Virginia Carpenter Moseley, who happens to be the producer for CBS News in Washington?
Comcast’s CEO Brian Roberts (major liberal fatcat) has donated $76,000 to Democrats since 2006, while keeping numerous golf dates with his buddy Barack—he is no stranger at White House meetings about technology and appeared at a number of White House discussions of “business technologies”–you know, stuff like your cell phone, your computer, smart energy and information sharing. So we could pick out of our hat just any old major presidential crime or misdemeanor, like, oh, maybe leaving our guys to be slaughtered at Benghazi while their Commander in Chief played spades with an aide far from the Situation Room (as we now know him to have distracted himself during the crisis) and okay, now think about this: Hillary can’t be found (and turns out to have bumped her head, or to be lost in preparation for bumping it) leaving Tom Nides at State to oversee the butchering of our forces—but nobody ever quite figured out where he was either, nor did any intrepid reporter ever bother asking, not even his wife who’s in charge of ABC news, remember? CBS News President David Rhodes and ABC News President Ben Sherwood, both have siblings that not only work at the White House under the direct control of Valerie Jarrett (and, titularly, President Obama), but who share ties to the National Security Committee on Foreign Policy Issues, which is in turn tied directly to the Benghazi scandal
That Valerie Jarrett, the Islamo-radical, Iranian-born Communist, who is. of course, the President’s principle adviser in such matters, saw no cause for action and may well have considered the slaying of Americans in Libya that night an exercise in social justice, is nauseously plausible; but could not Obama have sought a slightly more American point of view on the efficacy of letting Benghazi burn while rescue forces were repeatedly told to stand down? That Jarrett would not permit input from chief advisor Dr. Elizabeth Sherwood, (whose vaunted specialty was her well-orchestrated “Preventative Defense” plans for exactly such regional contingencies) on the night of the 11th seems strange on the surface of it, and stranger still when it transpires that nobody can place Dr. Sherwood in the situation room either. No, Dr. Sherwood’s whereabouts on the night of the eight-hour battle of Benghazi are also a mystery—and any chances she had that night to speed help to our abandoned forces go unrecorded—and do you think it’s strange that the media never looked into this? Maybe you should ask Dr. Sherwood’s proud husband, Ben Sherwood, the president of ABC news.
How, apart from the cooperation of a large, loving, leftwing news family could anybody get away with what Susan Rice was allowed to blather for a full two weeks following the massacre? Weeks during which she and Hillary (whose bumped-head problem seemed to ebb and flow) spread with equal alacrity the irrational flapdoodle that a massive public uprising replete with rocket launchers and zeroed-in mortar support had suddenly fallen upon our defenseless consulate in Benghazi because of a video. The attack, the White House insisted, occurred only because four months earlier and 7, 120 miles away, an utterly unknown Coptic Christian immigrant named Nakoula Bassesly Nakoula screened an incoherent 13-minute video that purportedly showed Mohammed in a bad light to an audience of no better than nine curiosity seekers in a rented theatre on Vine Street in Hollywood. Armed with this fantasy, Rice trooped doggedly across the sets of every available weekend news program, bemoaning the film’s anti-Muslim tone and fingering it explicitly as the cause of “spontaneous popular uprisings” that overwhelmed the consulate and could not possibly have been anticipated. So utterly ludicrous were Rice’s talking points that the merest cub reporter untethered from the administration or unobligated by purblind ideological conformity to repeat the proffered idiotisms would have seen through them in an instant, but only the dextral blogosphere raised this point initially, and the “professional” newsreaders smiled condescendingly and spoke in charitable tones of the paranoia on the radical right.
What is especially interesting is that three of the White House officials implicated in the Benghazi fiasco are related in some way to mainstream media big shots. Tom Nides was then the number two at State and a close friend and confidant of Hillary’s—and the devoted husband of CNN executive news producer Virginia Moseley. Also at State, top advisor Ben Rhodes (later of the talking points debacle,) and a top security adviser to Barack Obama throughout the Benghazi catastrophe and beyond is the brother of one David Rhodes—you know, the president of CBS News.
And the there’s Jay Carney, cub press secretary, out there doggedly dodging any stray journalistic interrogatives (nonetheless annoying for their rarity) while mainly just troweling out the tripe du jour for the pabulum besotted Washington Press Corpse. Did you know that Jay has the good fortune to be married to Claire Shipman–veteran reporter and senior national correspondent for ABC? And you may rest assured that Mrs. Claire Carney Shipman thinks that Jay is doing a superb and utterly professional job on each occasion that he appears at his podium to spread more malarkey. National Public Radio’s Ari Shapiro has been listening to the same malarkey from this white house for four years as his network’s top correspondent assigned to presidential coverage—so how did he miss noticing it? Is it possibly because his “husband,” boyfriend Michael Gottlieb, just finished a 4 year hitch as a Special Assistant to the president and as Associate White House Counsel, specializing in national security?
It’s all in the family!
Yes, we’ve come a long way since that thunderstorm of concern in the early ‘80s that George F. Will might have lost his credibility as a broadcast journalist after an evening’s exposure to the Reagans’ table talk—and we haven’t thought about it much, it seems. The media are left wing, and that’s the way it is in life—in fact, we are confidently informed it is only to be expected inasmuch as liberals are smarter than conservatives, and bright young men and women hanker to become news reporters. The absence of any indications of brightness among the current throng is rarely cited by way of rebuttal—but the illogic of the position would require an honest news media before it were exposed as ridiculous—and there is no expectation that this is about to transpire. But nothing short of politico-philosophical incest is at work in American journalism, and incest is notorious for spawning deformities of form and intellect–and this is no less so with the progenies of illicit liaisons between our first neo-Constitutional president’s crowd and the current bevy of unnaturally entangled propagandists who pose as objective journalists on our TV screens. It is on America’s TV screens that the fruits of journalistic incest are rotting on public display—but the ones who should be reporting the decay are busy doing the rotting.
It is the critical faculties that perish first in such instances—followed rapidly by the canons of taste. Take Rick Sanchez, ever a stranger to wit and decorum, who was finally let go by CNN after implying that Jews controlled television news. And what of Soledad O’Brien, who never made headlines until she was caught on camera reading from a leftist blog during a confrontational interview with Paul Ryan, while insisting she was holding documents from a Senator’s office. But Soledad persevered, running CNN’s morning news program Starting Point so far into the weeds that in February, 2013, CNN had to yank her. The network graciously euphemized that O’Brien was leaving to develop her own company, but Soledad missed the cue and raised a stink about being dumped. (She does in fact now helm the Starfish group where her clients include Al Jazeera America and some sports show on HBO.)
Keith Olbermann, who was originally fired by FOX Sports for being “crazy,” relocated to MSNBC where his melodramatic boil-overs provided consistent evidence for the comedic value of combining sanctimony and witless fustian. His histrionic run was undeniable fun for oglers, but Olbermann eventually got on everyone’s nerves and agreed to take his show on the road—switching to Albert Gore’s pathetic Current TV where he managed to draw an average of 100,000 viewers in the 25-54 age demographic making the program competitive, embarrassingly enough, with CNN. But even Al Gore pronounced Olbermann unbearable and canned him. Today, of course, Current TV is Al Jazeera …but so far they haven’t hired Keith back.
And what of the British hosts who were imported by the Liberal Media Establishment in the apparent hope that billingsgate, if enunciated with an English accent, would be interpreted as sophisticated commentary by American yokels? Martin Bashir famously opined that Sarah Palin should be required to ingest excrement, which controversy hung in the air through enough news cycles that Bashir was finally called to the office of MSNBC’s network president, after which he announced his resignation, adding “It is my sincere hope that all of my colleagues, at this special network, will be allowed to focus on the issues that matter without the distraction of myself or my ill-judged comments.” Meanwhile, Piers Morgan –the fugitive from British justice who replaced Larry King at CNN—continues to lead that network’s ratings into the gutter…albeit with a fetching British accent.
Anderson Cooper, who lacks a British accent and may be the least endemically interesting person in television history with the possible exception of Wolf Blitzer, remains relatively unwatched, despite his “courageously” coming out of the closet a while back. His AC 360 Later program (what does that even mean?) is now officially yanked, although Cooper will remain the anchor of CNN’s eight o’clock hour. Variety ascribed AC 360’s departure to “flailing viewership,” which is a frightening image—we sincerely hope they intended to say “failing.” but so far new owner Jeff Zucker hasn’t found anything unfailing to put on the air, and thus might be said to be flailing, should Variety wish to rehabilitate its verb. But expecting the Liberal Establishment Media to fail because it is widely scorned by viewers is a mistake—it prevails because it represents a growing interweave of sociopolitical interests that are forming into a single, symbiotically enriching power elite part of which commands sufficient financial support to keep it babbling at us while establishing daily and weekly templates (like global warming, or amnesty for illegal aliens, or whether Ted Cruz is destroying the economy). Stuff, in other words, about which most Americans would never otherwise waste a thought, but stuff about which visiting Martians would assume every man, woman and child in America cares passionately given the din of the news shouters.
But the problem with the Liberal Establishment Media has never been that they are simply run by professionals who haven’t gotten the hint yet—who haven’t gotten around to noticing that a bunch of left-leaning ideologues are slanting their broadcasts in ways that turn off even moderates and the storied “independents.” The problem isn’t even that the management itself is so stolidly liberal that they would rather march into ratings oblivion than moderate their reportage—although this is a major factor, to be sure. The greatest problem now is that the management and service-delivery classes of “media” have socialized, flirted, necked with, and in many cases inter-married with the very politicians and power drivers upon whom they supposedly report—and nowadays, as we have noted above, the distinction between politician and reporter may be so completely blurred by the travesty of inbreeding as to amount to the creation of a new species: The political reporter who is imbedded not with a military unit, but with an administration—or who is married to someone who is thus embedded. The implications of this are nothing short of horrifying. There is no need for a totalitarian dictatorship to shoot reporters, open fire on TV stations or arrest newspaper owners in order to establish a government-controlled information monopoly if the same thing can be accomplished by fraternization with, and marriage among, a new-journalistic class of pie-eyed sympathizers who were in any case taught beginning with their earliest journalism classes that liberalism’s and journalism’s aims are one and the same.
Should another TV news franchise, just one other, take a libertarian or conservative editorial position in light of FOX’s extraordinary success, the board would be fully in play. Should Beck’s BLAZE venture obtain a more practicable conduit for its message, the playing field would be dramatically readjusted. And why shouldn’t this come to pass? The liberal media are already choking each other for viewers even as their ratings, albeit fitfully, continue to drop. It is unlikely that any major network could shake so free of its liberal encumbrances as to fill this roll—it will almost certainly come from outside, but it seems an irresistible likelihood that such an endeavor will manifest. His realization of how potent a factor this could prove undoubtedly informed Al Gore’s otherwise unaccountable decision to refuse a higher dollar offer from Glenn Beck, and accept instead a slightly lower sum from Al Jazeera to acquire his failing and hopelessly dull Current TV channel.
Technological advances have broken the stranglehold of the Left on the business of “news,” and as progress continues, that hold will grow weaker still. Advocates of a free republic and a strong Constitution must make all possible efforts to spread the message of conservatism via the blogosphere, the AM and FM bands, and by all other means available while we await a second televised media outlet to widen our prospects on the boob tube. And it goes without saying, if any ridiculously wealthy benefactors are inclined to lavish funds upon us, WOOF TV could easily lead the way—if we can broadcast from our cave…we don’t know what the technicalities would be exactly, but we’re pretty sure we could overcome them with enough money…
What’s the frequency, Kenneth?
In 1987 Dan Rather said he was accosted on Park Avenue and beaten up by an assailant who continually demanded, “What’s the frequency, Kenneth?” Unlike many of the stories Dan has reported over the years, this one actually happened. It transpired that Dan’s assailant was a schizophrenic named Tager who believed Rather was bombarding his brain with evil electronic signals, which may well have been the case if Tager owned a television. But Tager may have inadvertently given right-minded broadcasters of vision and courage an interrogative akin to Ayn Rand’s John-Galt riddle—and as we grow in power and scope, we must remember Tager, and his schizophrenic insight, more actual than he could possibly absorb–and we must continue to ask of all the banal, bleating zombies of the mainstream media who bombard us with their agitprop– What’s the frequency, Kenneth? What’s the sound of one wing flapping? And ultimately, all you moral relativists and blown-dry rascals –all you painted up progeny of Axis Sally and Lord Haw Haw, now that televised journalism is dead —what’s the name of the game?