Bozell Column: More of the Same in 2011
Liberal Democrats show no signs of reading their washout at the polls as a reason to shift to the center. President Obama told “60 Minutes” his only mistake was he passed some major legislation, but he didn’t focus enough on the messy “how” – as in “how it’s risky to pass an ObamaCare bill that a majority says it doesn’t want.”
Nancy Pelosi is the other face of the eviscerated Left. A Gallup poll in mid-October found 56 percent of Americans have a negative opinion of her, almost double the percentage that feels negatively toward incoming House Speaker John Boehner. Rather than cede the field to a new general, without the baggage, she is lunging ahead to be re-elected as leader of the shrunken House Democrats.
Now Obama, Pelosi, and their troops in the media are going to turn to the proposition that the House Republicans must be defeated. Oh, the irony. Weren’t their knickers in the tightest of knots when Rush Limbaugh stated he wanted Obama to fail?
Trying to reduce our $3.5 trillion annual budget by $100 billion, liberals now insist, is “impossible.” So said morning host Harry Smith on CBS. But Team Obama adding $2.7 trillion to the deficit over the last two years was a piece of cake.
The insatiable Left is defining as “realistic” anything that keeps the gravy train rolling, and trying to slow it down is utterly unthinkable. Harry Smith wouldn’t be caught dead reading a new study from the Heritage Foundation showing how to cut $343 billion a year in federal spending, or more than one-fourth of the 2010 deficit, as a down payment toward a balanced budget.
Despite controlling only one house of Congress, the GOP has been handed all the accountability for government spending by the press. In every interview the media are pounding Tea Party politicians to announce where they’re going to cut. Liberals are never challenged to put forth specifics when they genuflect at the altar of fiscal responsibility, because everyone knows they really mean tax hikes.
So most Republicans are avoiding specifics like the Heritage plan, because they know that for any spending cut they propose, the media will go hunting for potential victims of alleged Republican viciousness. They remember 1995, when ABC was doing stories on the brief government shutdown with tear-jerking lines about poor bureaucrats, like “Joe Skattleberry and his wife Lisa can’t afford a Christmas tree.”
It’s as simple as this: Reporters don’t want the budget to be cut. That’s why a look at the Big Three network newscasts by the Media Research Center from September 1 through October 25 found the networks repeatedly telling the voters they faced a choice between reasonable Democrats and freakishly far-right Republicans.
There were 35 evening news stories which conveyed the message that conservative and Tea Party candidates were "extreme," "fringe," or "out of the mainstream.” But there was not a single network story spent one second of time to suggest that the conservatives asserted the Obama/Reid/Pelosi Democrats, responsible for the most radical legislative agenda in history, were "out of the mainstream."
When the voters went to the polls and rejected the Democrats, they were rejecting the Old Media as well.
Network reporters consistently implied or stated that Obama was already in the center of the political conversation, and the GOP was off-the-charts conservative. They applied 62 ideological labels, and 77 percent were aimed at conservatives, and only 23 percent were for liberals. Both Delaware’s Christine O’Donnell and Alaska’s Joe Miller were tagged as "ultraconservatives" – apparently, that’s a synonym for the Tea Party, but no Democrat – not one – was ever branded an "ultraliberal."
In the Pennsylvania Senate race, CBS called Republican Pat Toomey "conservative," but Democrat Joe Sestak (American Conservative Union rating: zero) was not a "liberal." CBS stooped lowest by airing an entire story on loud-mouthed loser Alan Grayson (another ACU zero), but never called him a "liberal," despite his claim that the Republican health-care motto was “Die Quickly.” To the liberals in denial at CBS, Grayson wasn’t “extreme” on anything, but they felt it necessary to tag his opponent Daniel Webster as "conservative."
Despite the thumping that Obama and his media supporters took at the polls, no conservative should think the media liberals will learn their lesson. Expect denial and resistance in 2011. They want Obama to declare, just for now, that he’s heard the sound of the electorate. But expect another 1995-style onslaught, painting the Republicans as horror-movie shredders of everything good and noble about America.