With all the gloating the liberal media has been doing since the election, one would think the margin of victory was comparable to that of Ronald Reagan's overwhelming win over Walter Mondale in 1984. From The Atlantic to Politico and various other outlets, there have been an abundance of columns published in the past week urging, as they always do after a rout at the polls, that the GOP must evolve to the left on key issues.
The underlying themes have all been indistinguishable, almost as if they are collaborating with one another. The Republican party is in trouble, and anyone who refuses to accept the reality of this is delusional, they insist. If you can't beat the Democrats at this point, join them wails the chorus of liberal writers -- or at least impose the Fairness Doctrine to get the ball rolling.
Unsurprisingly, one such voice is Politico's Jonathan Martin, who examined "The GOP's media cocoon," in which, Martin suggested, many conservatives dwelt this past election cycle, in an "alternate reality," another universe where "Rasmussen polls are gospel, the Benghazi controversy is worse than Watergate, and 'Fair and Balanced' isn't just marketing."
It might be worth noting however that Watergate didn't involve any body bags and that J. Christopher Stevens was the first ambassador slain overseas since the Carter administration.
Continuing, Martin defined Fox News, talk radio, and the Drudge Report as "merely the most popular destinations in the choose-your-own-adventure news world in which consumers are more empowered than ever." Social media also allows users to pick and choose who reinforces their own views the most. Without ever acknowledging the obvious double standard at play, the former secretary of state of Kentucky and current head of Harvard's Institute of Politics Trey Grayson was asked for his input:
The Internet amplifies talk radio and cable news, and provides distribution for other sources like Newsmax. Then your friends, who usually agree with you, disseminate the same stories on Facebook and Twitter. And you assume that everyone agrees with you. It’s very striking for me living in Cambridge now. My Facebook feed, which is full of mostly conservatives from Kentucky, contains very different links to articles or topics than what I see in Cambridge. It is sort of the reverse up here. They don’t understand how anyone would eat Chick-fil-A, watch college sports or hold pro-life views.
For his part, the primary lesson of the election, according to The Atlantic's Conor Friedersdorf, is that the GOP must choose between keeping Rush Limbaugh (conservative media archetype) or gaining minority voters. Despite Limbaugh's immense popularity, Friedersdorf contends that holding on to the one thing that motivates the base will drive away new supporters -- because people like Limbaugh come across as openly racist.
It would still be prudent for conservatives to take some advice that seems blindingly obvious, but apparently isn't. Stop letting prominent voices of movement conservatism get away with saying things that are a) actually just racist; b) demagogic race-baiting; or c) so obviously tone-deaf that anyone with common sense can see how terrible it would sound. Why is that so hard?
Not one to beat around the bush, columnist Paul Krugman summed up his own 'advice column' in the New York Times this way:
The truth is that the modern GOP is deeply anti-intellectual, and has as its fundamental goal not just a rollback of the welfare state but a rollback of the enlightenment. Yet there are some wannabe intellectuals who delude themselves into believing that they have aligned themselves with the party of objective (as opposed to Objectivist) analysis. You might think that the election debacle would force some reconsideration. But I doubt it; if the financial crisis didn’t do it, nothing will.
Only one question comes to mind really after reading such judgmental commentary. Do these guys pay close attention to what the other side of the media is saying on a daily basis too? Do they honestly think that liberal partisans do not live in their own media echo chamber, an echo chamber reinforced by the liberal slant of the larger print and media outlets?
When you refuse -- like Martin, Krugman, et al. -- to admit that you're a liberal drawing a paycheck from a liberal publication, it undercuts your ability to accurately diagnose the other side's problems. As the saying goes, "Physician, heal thyself."