Camille Paglia, cultural scholar and maverick liberal Democrat, has given a politically themed interview to the left-wing online magazine Salon in which she touches on some media issues. (HT: National Review Online's Hot Links.)Previously, Paglia has readily acknowledged that liberal media bias exists, and that it's hardly a new phenomenon; she's said that Barry Goldwater was the target of a "vicious media assault" during the 1964 presidential campaign. In the Salon interview, Paglia argues that the media and Democrats were guilty of "gargantuan overkill" in their treatment of the Mark Foley matter, but that the excessive coverage actually wound up being a "tremendous boon" to President Bush because it distracted the public from the Iraq war.Later, Paglia states that an
overblown fear of Fox News is such a sentimentality on the part of too many Democrats. Talk radio is infinitely more powerful than Fox. Radio hosts are blanketing the country with round-the-clock conservative ideology -- not because they're dastardly conspirators manipulating the media but because they've achieved their success, market by market, in creating programs that millions of people want to listen to. The recent filing for bankruptcy by Air America dramatizes my party's abject failure to produce shows that are informative and entertaining and that systematically build an audience -- the way all the top radio hosts did who climbed the ladder from obscurity to their present prominence. Aren't we the party of Hollywood? The fact that we've failed so miserably at this central medium of communication shows how something has gone very wrong in Democratic sensibility.
Elsewhere in the interview, Paglia goes after targets on both the left and the right. She decries the "lumpish provincialism" and "narrow, limited mind" of Dick Cheney, but calls John Edwards "a lightweight" and claims that Bill Clinton is "turning into a compulsive blabbermouth who is compromising his own dignity as a former president." And then there's her declaration that Noam Chomsky's "hatred of the United States is pathological -- stemming from some bilious problem with father figures that is too fetid to explore."