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Ed Driscoll

They Don’t Call It the Stupid Party for Nothing

August 13th, 2012 - 11:02 am

“Remove the Media from the Debates,” Roger L. Simon writes, listing the starting lineup for the presidential and vice-presidential debates this fall:

I was appalled, although not surprised, to read the just announced list of moderators for the forthcoming presidential debates: Jim Lehrer of PBS, Candy Crowley of CNN, Bob Schieffer of CBS, and Martha Raddatz of ABC (VP debate).

All liberals from liberal news organizations. Not even a token representative from Fox or the Wall Street Journal – not in the moderator seat anyway.

Don’t we live in a democracy? Or is this Syria or Egypt where its new Islamist president just wrested power from the military?

“The [liberal] Media hates you, and wants you to die in a fire,” Moe Lane of Red State once quipped in the number one rule in his “Ten Media Truths for Conservative/Republican Legislators.” And that’s certainly true of the above lineup, if their past quotes are any indication — and they are:

Of course such a biased lineup could be used by Romney-Ryan to score points with the American people if they prepare for the worst, and don’t accept the premises of the questions they’re asked. When Democrats began their embargo against Fox in 2007, Roger Ailes replied, “The candidates that can’t face Fox, can’t face Al Qaeda,” and you could reverse that formula to say that the candidates that can’t face the MSM can’t face Obama either. Back in May, Rob Long of National Review and Ricochet began his review of Jonah Goldberg’s The Tyranny of Cliches by noting how Newt Gingrich boosted his stature in the GOP immensely by using liberal debate moderators as chew toys:

Decades ago, during the 2012 Republican presidential primaries — it was decades ago, right? or does it just seem that way? — Newt Gingrich made his bones with a simple strategy.

He dissented from the premise of the question.

Some smug television news personality would ooze out a question — cradled, inevitably, in left-wing assumptions — and Newt would blast away at the foundation of the question itself, the superficiality of the process, and often the right of the questioner to be there in the first place.

It was “dials up,” as campaign strategists say, referring to the focus group reactions. People eat that stuff up — I know I did — and a lot of us were halfway to the post office with our checks made out to “Gingrich 2012” before we slowed down and asked ourselves, “Dude, c’mon. Newt?”

Newt may not get the big prize of 2012, but he’s certainly booked up with speaking gigs for the next half decade. People — and by people I mean me, and us — are tired of folding themselves into a protective crouch every time someone trots out a liberal cliché, and we’re thrilled when someone else bats it away. Most people — and by people I mean me, and us — read the New York Times positively punch drunk, as we are peppered with bad assumptions, liberal pieties, and un-challenged shibboleths.

And as Dana Loesch noted over the weekend at Big Journalism with plenty of video examples, Paul Ryan is a master of interview jiujitsu as well, though he’s much more subtle and and TV-friendly than the bravado-filled Newt.

Still though, leftists often claim that Republicans don’t believe in diversity, and as the debate roster they’ve agreed this year to illustrates, they certainly don’t believe in media diversity, based on what they go along with passively every four years, both during the primary debates and in the fall. Back in the fall of 2008, the GOP allowed Gwen Ifill of NPR to moderate the vice presidential debate knowing that she was in the process of writing a pro-Obama book that had already been scheduled for publication in January of 2009. Why does the GOP — either its chairman or its presidential nominees — always play the role of hapless Charlie Brown, even knowing as they must, that Lucy will yank the football away yet again?

Additionally, to build on what Roger noted above, between talk radio, Fox, the Wall Street Journal, conservative newspapers and publications such as NR and the Weekly Standard, and the Blogosphere, the right has built up a potent and often grass roots media infrastructure to go around the egregious media bias of the establishment left. Why does the GOP agree to jettison this talent pool every four years simply to place nice with what Matt Drudge would call CBSNBCABCCNNPBS?

Update: “CBS’ Schieffer Redacts Vital Ryan Interview Clip” from his 60 Minutes interview, Ben Shapiro notes at Big Journalism, adding that “After a cut this egregious, Schieffer should be ousted as a debate moderator.” But of course, that would require the GOP to actually fight back against the MSM. Why would they start now?

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