Enough Already!

I have just about had it with the conservative punditry and their plaintive wailings about the unfairness of the self-proclaimed "mainstream media" (I think the designation "Big Media" would be more appropriate as applied to the information service of the leftist elites, which is anything but mainstream).

"Where is the outrage?"  "Why does the mainstream media concentrate exclusively on the failings of the right while completely ignoring the failings of the left?" "Why does the mainstream media worship at the temple of Barack Obama while brutally savaging Sarah Palin?" pitifully lament conservatives.

Will they ever learn? What makes them think that the Big Media would or, for that matter, should behave otherwise? Would any of the conservative journalists perplexed by the "unfair" attitude of the Big Media wax indignant about the German Propaganda Ministry of the 1930's spreading outrageous lies about the opponents of the Nazi regime and extolling the virtues of their beloved Fuehrer. Of course, not. They know that Dr. Goebbels' outfit was part and parcel of Hitler's government and its mission consisted in meeting the propaganda needs of the regime. Naturally, it couldn't behave in any other way; that's what it did.

Why then are they so dumbfounded by the position of the US Big Media? Don't they realize that it is every bit as partisan as the Nazi Propaganda Ministry was in its heyday? Dr. Johnson described a second marriage as the triumph of hope over experience. So too conservatives, in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, desperately cling to a belief that deep in the bosom of the Big Media there lives an honest broker yearning to break free, and if it hasn't happened so far, the conservatives have no one else to blame but themselves because they have failed to convince the media to repent.

Hope springs eternal in the conservative breast that we are on the verge of an imminent breakthrough: just one more fact laid out, just one more liberal smear blown out of the water  and the scales will fall off the liberal journalists' eyes. They will see the light and embark upon the path of righteousness and objectivity. This hope is as baseless as it is stupid -- akin to blowing one's lunch money on lottery tickets in the fervent belief that this time, finally, one will hit the jackpot.

One might argue that such misplaced faith in the Big Media's good intentions is innocuous and makes no real difference in the larger scheme of things. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Wishful thinking and willful blindness disarm, disorient and debilitate the fighter who needs to marshal all his resources for the coming battle. If he is to climb into the ring in peak form, clear-eyed appraisal of the strengths and weaknesses of the opponent is paramount. Instead, he lulls himself to sleep with false hope.

Rather than mobilizing for the task at hand, he wastes precious time and energy on mealy-mouthed attempts to open the enemy's eyes to the sinfulness of his ways. So long as conservatives accept the rules of engagement dictated by the opposition, they will have to fight with one hand tied behind their back.

Conservatives have to realize one simple truth: the Big Media is not the enemy's ally who can be won over; it is the enemy itself. The U.S. Big Media is every bit the propaganda arm of the Democratic Party's left wing as Dr. Goebbels' organization was the propaganda arm of the Nazi regime.  

Attempts to shame the Big Media into objectivity will go nowhere, it will not be moved by gentle rebukes and reminders of the precepts supposedly taught at journalism schools. The Big Media's vitriolic campaign to vilify and destroy Sarah Palin, unprecedented in its sheer viciousness, is not primarily driven by the elite's perception of her as an alien life form (although there is that, too), but by the plain fact that she endangers the prospects of their idol, Obama, and hence has to be removed by any means necessary. It's that simple, but until conservatives realize what's going on and resolve to fight the enemy every step of the way, they have no hope of effectively countering its stratagems.

Incidentally, it is only conservatives who insist on treating their opponents fairly, and speak of  "our liberal friends", "our friends on the left." Such conservatives never forget to carefully spread the blame on both sides of the political divide, trying mightily to be objective and avoid accusations of bias. (The few exceptions, such as the redoubtable Ann Coulter, only sharpen the distinction). Other than the unctuous Lanny Davis, I have never heard any liberal return the favor. Instead, they miss no opportunity to castigate, sometime quite boorishly, their conservative or Republican opposite numbers. A minor, but telling detail.

Pessimists would say that the fight is hopeless anyway. I don't buy it. There is every reason to believe that once conservatives start pushing back, they can count on at least some measure of success. Remember the budget battles of the mid-nineties? The Big Media was driving Congressional Republicans to distraction by gleefully depicting a planned reduction in the rate of increase of entitlement spending from nine percent to seven as a "cut in benefits." Finally, Speaker Newt Gingrich decided that it was time to fight back. He declared that any journalist engaging in this distortion would have his or her access to the Republican lawmakers totally cut off. It worked like a charm; the media, unaccustomed to resistance, caved immediately and dropped the insidious lie like a hot potato.

I am particularly incensed by the latest example of the limp-wristed attitude of conservatives who are only too willing to accept the rules of the game imposed on them by the enemy: the ready acceptance by some conservative pundits of the d term of opprobrium, "swiftboating", meaning an outright smear without any basis in fact. Don't they remember its provenance? After all, it's of very recent vintage, going back merely four years.

Let's recall: In 2004, over 250 Vietnam veterans of the Swiftboat Division, including nearly the entire chain of command, attacked Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry as unfit for the highest office in the land, offering overwhelming evidence that his "heroic" military biography was actually a tissue of lies and exaggerations. Some media outlets and Kerry sycophants desperately tried to refute the accusations but failed miserably -- not least because the most damning piece of anti-Kerry material was a video recording of the Democratic candidate's testimony before the Senate where he solemnly recited a propaganda tract, and likened our soldiers to Genghis (as pronounced by him, "Jenjis") Khan. How can you refute documentary evidence?

The big guns of the liberal press kept silent for a few weeks. Then the Big Bertha, The New York Times, sallied forth with a tentative formula: "the largely discredited Swiftboaters' accusations". Some time later, the qualifying "largely" was quietly dropped, and the final talking point emerged to be picked up by the rest of the Big Media: the Swiftboaters' accusations are outright lies. From there it was only a short step to developing a new pejorative: "swiftboating". That the left appropriated the opposition's term and adapted it to its needs is hardly surprising. But for conservatives to meekly acquiesce in the opposition's blatant propaganda ploy by bleating about "attempts to swiftboat Sarah Palin" is nothing short of shameful.      

It is a truism that to fight on a battlefield not of your choosing is to concede an enormous advantage to the opposition. The sooner the conservatives abandon their delusional belief in the innate goodness of the liberal heart and realize that the Big Media is their bitter enemy that has to be fought tooth and nail, the better their chances will be. Enough is enough. It's time for the conservatives to wake up and smell the coffee.
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