Media Blog

Memo to Lefties: Hire David Copperfield

I think Markos missed the point of my post about the left’s revolution against the media. He writes:

Watch conservatives fret at our efforts to hold the media accountable. But wait — why should they be worried about our efforts if the media is already as liberal as they claim? Maybe because it’s theirs, and they don’t want to let go?

Yeah, that’s it. What would we conservatives do if we lost the New York Times, the Washington Post, ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, most of the major daily newspapers and public broadcasting?
Maybe it would have helped if I had called the post “The Civil War Between the Left and the Media.” Then my comparison of the media to the Democratic Party in the analogy would have been more clear. Ever since Clinton and Al Gore embraced centrist politics during the ’90s, a growing and increasingly vocal faction on the left has called for the Democratic Party to abandon “centrism” and return to its “populist” roots. This is the same movement that backed Howard Dean in his campaign for president, as described in Kos’s forthcoming book Crashing the Gate:

As noted earlier, the 2002 campaign finance reform law radically changed the political landscape. Soft-dollar donations were suddenly out of reach, and with the electoral disasters of 2000 and 2002, the [centrist Democratic Leadership Committee] and the establishment in D.C. were at a complete loss. The candidates they favored for the 2004 presidential line-up–like Lieberman and Gephardt–were still living in the 1990s, ill-prepared to operate in this new political terrain where energizing Democratic voters is far more important than sucking up to big-money interests.
None of them understood the growth of this new movement or its sheer size, even as it gathered steam, powering the Dean phenomenon. If anything, the Democratic establishment perceived it as a serious threat. The centrist minds at the DLC had a difficult strategic question to answer heading into the Democratic primaries: How could they keep this new populist movement at bay and ensure a beltway-friendly Democratic presidential nominee? The answer was to redefine these outsiders and the Dean campaign as the new incarnation of the party’s now-dead 1970s-1990’s liberal wing.
The DLC took point position in the battle against Dean.

In my post, I argued that this faction’s recent campaign against the media has some of the same characteristics — the same disillusionment with the “inside-the-beltway” mentality of a liberal institution expressed through an Internet-based campaign to make that institution accountable to the grassroots of the political left.
Read more.

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