In this issue
April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review June 3, 2005 / 25 Iyar, 5765

The Right's balance

By Jeff Jacoby

Jeff Jacoby
Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | John Kerry had a complaint. Six months after winning more than 59 million votes in his bid for the White House, — the second-highest total in US history — the Massachusetts senator was lamenting to a roomful of Boston Globe columnists and editorial writers that voters can't hear Democrats above the roar of the GOP spin machine.

The right, he groused, is far more effective than the left at making itself heard. To peddle their ideas, Republicans and conservatives have assembled an elaborate communication network, one that relies on the likes of "Cato and Heritage and Grover Norquist" — two think tanks and a well-connected Republican lobbyist — to make sure its messages get plenty of attention.

"Several times a day, their message is amplified," grumbled the former Democratic standard-bearer, who spent $341 million in the last election cycle to amplify the message that he should be president. "We don't have anything like that."

Now where have we heard this before?

Well, last year we heard it from Democratic operative Rob Stein, creator of a PowerPoint presentation much admired by prominent Democrats, including former White House chief of staff John Podesta, called "The Conservative Message Machine's Money Matrix." As The New York Times Magazine summarized it, Stein "essentially makes the case that a handful of families — Scaife, Bradley, Olin, Coors, and others — laid the foundation for a $300 million-per-year network of policy centers, advocacy groups, and media outlets that now wield great influence over the national agenda. The network . . . includes scores of powerful organizations . . . linked to a massive message apparatus, into which Stein lumps everything from Fox News and the Wall Street Journal op-ed page to Pat Robertson's '700 Club.' "

In 2003, we heard it from Eric Alterman, whose bestselling "What Liberal Media?" claimed that the press, far from tilting leftward, is actually infected with a pervasive right-wing bias. "Conservatives have spent billions . . . to pressure the mainstream media to move rightward," he wrote. "Unbeknownst to millions of Americans . . . liberals are fighting a near hopeless battle in which they are enormously outmatched in most measures."

In 2002, Al Gore declared, "The media is kind of weird these days on politics, and there are some major institutional voices that are, truthfully speaking, part and parcel of the Republican Party." He indicted several by name. "Fox News Network, The Washington Times, Rush Limbaugh — there's a bunch of them, and some of them are financed by wealthy ultra-conservative billionaires . . . . Most of the media has been slow to recognize the pervasive impact of this fifth column in their ranks."

Donate to JWR

Earlier still, First Lady Hillary Clinton pooh-poohed reports of an affair between her husband and Monica Lewinsky as the delusions of a "vast right-wing conspiracy." As far back as 1995, the Clinton White House was compiling a 331-page report meant to prove that "right-wing think tanks," British "tabloids," Republicans in Congress, the Wall Street Journal editorial page, and The Washington Times were all part of a cabal to get "fringe stories" about Bill Clinton "bounced into the mainstream media" in order to ignite a "frenzy."

If nothing else, the Kerry-Stein-Alterman-Gore-Clinton complaint makes it clear that the paranoid style in American politics is alive and well. Thirty years ago, it was Richard Nixon who fumed at the media and compiled an enemies list. Today it is in the upper ranks of the Democratic Party that unflattering news coverage is blamed on a "conspiracy" and a subversive "fifth column."

But there is a difference. Nixon really did a face an overwhelmingly hostile press corps. Kerry, Gore, and Clinton, by contrast, benefit from a news media that is overwhelmingly liberal and Democratic, as countless surveys have shown. To cite just one: When a New York Times reporter polled journalists covering the 2004 Democratic National Convention on their presidential preferences, those from around the country favored Kerry over Bush by a ratio of 3 to 1. Among the Washington press corps, the results were even more lopsided — 12 to 1 pro-Kerry. "Those results jibe with previous surveys over the past two decades showing that journalists tend to be Democrats," the Times story acknowledged. "Some surveys have found that more than 80 percent of the Beltway press corps votes Democratic."

What Kerry and the others object to is not that there are only conservative voices to be heard in media circles these days, but that there are any such voices. The right-of-center Fox News cannot hold a candle to the combined left-of-center output of ABC, CBS, CNN, NBC, and PBS. Scaife, Bradley, and Olin money helps leverage Republican messages, but its impact is dwarfed by the Ford, Rockefeller, Pew, Heinz, Turner, MacArthur, Carnegie, and Soros fortunes. The Washington Times is conservative? Yes, but The Washington Post is liberal — and its circulation is eight times as large.

But for Kerry, Gore, and Clinton, even a few conservative outlets are too many. They grew up in the era before cable TV, talk radio, and the Internet — the age when liberal dominance was unquestioned and conservatives were largely unseen and unheard. Now Democrats have to compete in the marketplace of ideas, and voters don't seem to be buying what they're selling. Is it any wonder so many of them are grumpy?

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Jeff Jacoby is a Boston Globe columnist. Comment by clicking here.

Jeff Jacoby Archives

© 2005, Boston Globe