E.J. Dionne writes:
For all the talk of a media love affair with Obama, there is a deep and largely unconscious conservative bias in the media’s discussion of policy. The range of acceptable opinion runs from the moderate left to the far right and cuts off more vigorous progressive perspectives.
Please. Anyone who thinks that the “far right” gets a fair hearing in the mainstream press is so far to the left that he can’t see over the horizon. Mainstream journalists view themselves as moderates, when in reality they lean slightly left on economic issues and way left on social ones. They write and report mockingly on anything that comes to be defined as the extreme left- or right-wing position on any issue. Single-payer health care, an example Dionne mentions, is covered as the far-left notion that it is, but it gets more sympathetic treatment than, for instance, conservative views on same-sex marriage.
The media exploit Rush and Newt’s attacks on Obama for two reasons: Bigger conflict, bigger ratings + they think they’re helping Obama when they do it. To quote Dionne, “Democrats are complicit in building up Gingrich and Limbaugh as the main spokesmen for the Republican Party, since Obama polls so much better than either of them.” Many journalists feel, as Dionne does, that anything Rush or Newt says is self-evidently ridiculous, and that Obama benefits by comparison.