by Scoobie Davis
Consortium News has posted three great articles just in the last week. Robert Parry's latest article is "The Left's Media Miscalculation."
To understand how the United States got into today’s political predicament – where even fundamental principles like the separation of church and state are under attack – one has to look back at strategic choices made by the Right and the Left three decades ago. . .
At this key juncture, leaders of the Right and the Left made fateful choices that have shaped today’s political world. Though both sides had access to similar amounts of money from wealthy individuals and like-minded foundations, the two sides chose to invest that money in very different ways.
The Right concentrated on gaining control of the information flows in Washington and on building a media infrastructure that would put out a consistent conservative message across the country. As part of this strategy, the Right also funded attack groups to target mainstream journalists who got in the way of the conservative agenda.
The Left largely forsook media in favor of “grassroots organizing.” As many of the Left’s flagship media outlets foundered, the “progressive community” reorganized under the slogan – “think globally, act locally” – and increasingly put its available money into well-intentioned projects, such as buying endangered wetlands or feeding the poor.
So, while the Right waged what it called “the war of ideas” and expanded the reach of conservative media to every corner of the nation, the Left trusted that local political action would reenergize American democracy. . .
As the 1990s wore on, mainstream journalists adapted to the new media environment by trying not to offend the conservatives. Working journalists knew that the Right could damage or destroy their careers by attaching the “liberal” label. There was no comparable danger from the Left.
So, many Americans journalists – whether consciously or not – protected themselves by being harder on Democrats in the Clinton administration than they were on Republicans during the Reagan-Bush years. Indeed, through much of the 1990s, there was little to distinguish the hostile scandal coverage of Clinton in the Washington Post and the New York Times from what was appearing in the New York Post and the Washington Times.