Ed Driscoll

Media Battlefield Preparation in 2004 and 2011

As Ace writes, the MSM tries to tilt the playing field — even beyond the distortions they themselves automatically impose — during every election cycle in recent years:

I believe it was Mark Halperin (IIRC; google fails me) who pronounced in 2004 that the media could not give a “balanced” coverage of the Democratic and Republican positions, because one was obviously true and the other obviously a lie.

John Kerry now picks up that particular ball. Video at the link; here’s the transcript:

“And I have to tell you, I say this to you politely. The media in America has a bigger responsibility than it’s exercising today. The media has got to begin to not give equal time or equal balance to an absolutely absurd notion just because somebody asserts it or simply because somebody says something which everybody knows is not factual.””It doesn’t deserve the same credit as a legitimate idea about what you do. And the problem is everything is put into this tit-for-tat equal battle and America is losing any sense of what’s real, of who’s accountable, of who is not accountable, of who’s real, who isn’t, who’s serious, who isn’t?”

This is akin to that cretinous hag Froma Harrop, who is in charge of the “Civility Project” to improve political discourse, asserting that it’s okay when she calls her opponents terrorists and Al Qaida bombers that it’s not incivil because it’s actually true.

The last resort of liberals, confronted with evidence of media bias, is always to smugly claim “The truth has a liberal bias.”

Preparing the battlespace, as Instapundit often remarks. The media of course wants to cover the 2012 elections in as biased a fashion as politically effective (push it to the limits without going so far over the line that the public sees it for what it is); every presidential cycle some liberal Democrats step forward to offer some sort of a jackass intellectual defense for doing so, in case the media couldn’t think of one themselves.

And yes, that was indeed Mark Halperin in 2004:

An internal memo written by ABCNEWS Political Director Mark Halperin admonishes ABC staff: During coverage of Democrat Kerry and Republican Bush not to “reflexively and artificially hold both sides ‘equally’ accountable.”

The controversial internal memo obtained by DRUDGE, captures Halperin stating how “Kerry distorts, takes out of context, and mistakes all the time, but these are not central to his efforts to win.”

But Halperin claims that Bush is hoping to “win the election by destroying Senator Kerry at least partly through distortions.”

“The current Bush attacks on Kerry involve distortions and taking things out of context in a way that goes beyond what Kerry has done,” Halperin writes.

Halperin’s claim that ABCNEWS will not “reflexively and artificially hold both sides ‘equally’ accountable” set off sparks in St. Louis where media players gathered to cover the second presidential debate.

Halperin states the responsibilities of the ABCNEWS staff have “become quite grave.”

In August, Halperin declared online: “This is now John Kerry’s contest to lose.”

What a dick. But seriously, as the Anchoress perceptively noted last year, the media’s strategy in 2008 was much the same in 2004, except that Obama was a much more glamorous candidate than Boston-based retread John Kerry.

Which brings us to Virginia Postrel’s new column, and a reminder that glamour (particularly when spelled old-school style like that, as Virginia is wont to do) requires distance to maintain. Obama’s Slurpee-sippin’, Republicans in the back of the bus rhetoric last year did much to take the polish off his image. Is it possible to be a glamorous Alinskyite rhetorical bomb thrower? It’s not an image that seems consistent with being the president.

James Pethokoukis asks, “Can Obama’s 2012 hopes survive 9%+ unemployment?” The elite media will give it the old Ivy League try to greatly increase his odds. Because all media battlefield prep boils to two words, as my PJM colleague Andrew Klavan once said: