Ed Driscoll

Bozell: "The Media's Democrat Dialect"

At Newsbusters, Brent Bozell has a lengthy op-ed placing Game Change, the hot new book by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann into context. Bozell writes:

The prestige these authors have among their media colleagues was more weighty than the Democrats pleading to be spared the headache. (Halperin is now at Time after many years at ABC; Heilemann is at New York magazine.) For his part, President Obama quickly proclaimed “the book is closed,” even if the uproar was just beginning. Obama did not comment on the book’s report that Ted Kennedy was furious at Bill Clinton after Clinton sneered that Obama was so inexperienced that “a few years ago, this guy would have been getting us coffee.”

The authors said “trust us” on the book’s anonymous sources, because we know these campaign sources so thoroughly that we know all their motivations. Which leads to Question #2: If you know these sources so well, why did it take a year or two to unload these scoops?

Because Obama is safely elected? Or because now they can cash in?

Don’t always trust the first draft of history – or as Ronald Reagan would say, trust, but verify. Some stories come cloaked in anonymity from campaign staffers who want to stab their old employers in the back with a machete, and then go out and get the next job with no fingerprints. The authors are very Bob Woodward-like, offering detailed reconstructions of scenes and conversations they did not witness firsthand, with no audio or video to back up the allegations.

Harry Reid owned up to his racial remarks, but Bill Clinton stayed quiet. Conservatives were passionate in underlining an obvious point about Democrats. They play the race card obsessively, but when the arrow turns back on them, we see Obama asserting Harry Reid is a good man “on the right side of history.” Just weeks ago, Reid was comparing conservative opponents of a government takeover of health care to those who clung to slavery, and to segregation. Why does he deserve a pass on this – especially when he owns the quote?

Maybe because, as crude as Reid’s language was (which is par for the course for Harry), Obama has seen far worse back home in Chicago. As Illinois Review writes, “The Cook County Democratic primary for Board President is turning into a racial battle between black and Irish Democrats.”

Get a load of the fliers that the former group are circulating, according to Illinois Review:
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As Allahpundit is wont to say…dude. If that language and tone, which reads like material out of Tom Wolfe’s Radical Chic or Jonah Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism, is acceptable in a political campaign in Obama’s old stomping ground, no wonder Reid might sound positively gentlemanly by comparison to the president. And no wonder, while on the campaign trail, then-Sen. Obama had a tendency to describe political campaigns with language that sounded like it was out of the Godfather. (More on the above fliers from Small Dead Animals and Newsalert.)

More from Bozell:

The most under-played scoop in the “Game Change” book is the story of John and Elizabeth Edwards. Some of their former staffers went on the record by name and talked about their candidate’s soaring ego, his sloppy affair with Rielle Hunter, and what the authors called “the lie of Saint Elizabeth.” They said the candidate’s wife was “so unpleasant they felt like battered spouses.”

This is worth underlining. They felt “there was no one on the national stage for whom the disparity between public image and private reality was vaster or more disturbing. What the world saw in Elizabeth: a valiant, determined, heroic everywoman. What the Edwards insiders saw: an abusive, intrusive, paranoid, condescending crazywoman.”

Edwards staffers started to panic at their own success with the servile media, said the book: “The mainstream media, yet again, was determinedly ignoring the Enquirer.” If that trend continued, Edwards could win the nomination and be trounced by the Republicans when the truth of Edwards’ affair proved true.

The sugary television stories of John and Elizabeth celebrating their love-filled marriage at Wendy’s look like fraud. So you can see why this would be downplayed. It suggests all of the media’s gooey Democratic love stories look, well, propagandistic and corrupt.

That’s the topic of Jimmie Bise’s latest post at his Sundries Shack blog. Jimmie asks, “So What Did Mark Halperin’s Book Not Say About John Edwards Affair? Only How the Media Failed Us”:

Mark Halperin tried very hard to slick his own shoddy journalism by us but didn’t quite make it. What am I talking about? Let me quote a bit from the excerpt:

Out of view, the Edwards campaign was in damage-control mode, going into overdrive to dissuade the mainstream media from picking up the story, denouncing it as tabloid trash. Their efforts at containing the fallout were remarkably successful. The Enquirer’s exposé gained zero traction in the traditional press and almost none in the blogosphere.

And that’s all the authors have to say about it. But don’t you wonder why, exactly that was? Mark Halperin was an actual working journalist when the story broke. The least he could do is to explain, from his own experience, what the Edwards campaign did to dissuade him from picking up the story. He didn’t even do that much.

In fact, the MSM made a concerted effort to ignore Edwards’ affair and his illegitimate child. Look over the news stories about Edwards’ announcement to suspend his campaign filed by CNN, the Associated Press, the Washington Post, CBS News, and Halperin’s own Time magazine (via memeorandum). Not one of them mention Rielle Hunter in any form or fashion. It’s as if the affair didn’t actually happen. Remember that the Hunter stories weren’t fresh. The Enquirer broke the first story about Edwards’ affair in October, 2007 and the story about his “love child” in June, 2008. The MSM could hardly claim ignorance.

Neither do I find it even remotely plausible that no one inside the Edwards campaign was talking about this to or near some MSM journalist. According to this excerpt, the campaign was full of more buzz about Johnny’s catting around than a hive full of Space Bees yet we’re supposed to believe that no major media outlet was able to find anyone to corroborate what the Enquirer had published over a year before Edwards folded his campaign tent? Balderdash.

The Edwards campaign leaned on a lot of journalists to get that story spiked and Halperin, who either knows one of those journalists or was one, probably has a darned good idea what they did to put the entire MSM off the story. It’s a stunning omission from the story of the doomed campaign that Halperin left out because if he told it, it would make him and his journalist buddies look bad.

Well, even worse than they did while the campaign was ongoing. That’s a lot of decline to try to hide.

And that doesn’t even go into the remaining portion of Bozell’s op-ed, which focuses on CBS bypassing all of the juicy talk in Game Change about the left, and simply using it as a cudgel to — surprise — beat up Republicans. But then, that’s been the norm for CBS seemingly since the days when FDR was appearing on the television network in 1929, as Joe Biden and Katie Couric would say.