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Saturday, November 11, 2006
Bozell's Bitter Post-Election Column
Topic: Media Research Center

Could Brent Bozell's Nov. 9 post-elecction column have been more bitter and whiny? We doubt it.

He leads off with the claim, "In 25 years of looking at the national media, I have never seen a more one-sided, distorted, vicious presentation of news -- and non-news -- by the national media," but he offers no objective evidence to support it. He then cranks up the whine:

When gas prices approached historic highs over the summer, the media couldn’t stop talking about the inept Republicans and failed Bush administration policies. Then gas prices plummeted. Celebratory coverage? Nah. Any credit to the Republican party or this administration? None whatsoever.

Bozell offers no evidence that Republicans or the Bush administration, in fact, did not contribute to the record highs (which, if you'll remember, the MRC expended copious energy denying that they were record highs when you adjusted for inflation) or had anything to do with the drop in gas prices.

Bozell then moved on to deny that the Mark Foley case was a legitimate issue in the campaign: " The dominant issue of the fall campaign on network television wasn’t the issues, unless you consider Mark Foley’s creepy Internet messages an “issue,” in which case, boy howdy, did the news media agree with you." He then complained that "nobody cares" about Rep. William Jefferson, "the Democrat caught by the feds stuffing some 90 grand in payola in the freezer at his Washington home."

He knows better than that: As the case of Bill Clinton, in which Republican smear-mongering didn't succeed until Monica Lewinsky showed, sex scandals almost always trump money scandals (even though 90K in the freezer was a nice hook). Further, the larger issue in the Foley case, which Bozell ignores, is that Republican higher-ups were apparaently aware of Foley's predatory behavior toward congressional pages but did nothing about it.

Bozell also makes the following claim:

Since Pelosi was elected as the House Democratic leader in November of 2002, all the way through to late October of 2006, the networks have not once described her as a “liberal.” You read that correctly. Not once. That’s not news coverage. That’s a four-year masquerade party.  

That's a very selective framing of the situation. Media Matters framed it another way: In response to an assertion in ABC's The Note that the media will "fail to describe [Pelosi] as 'ultra liberal' or 'an extreme liberal,' which would mirror the way [former Republican House Speaker Newt] Gingrich was painted twelve years ago," a search of major media found no significant disparity between coverage of Pelosi in 2006 and coverage of Gingrich in 1994, which includes the respective ideological noting; in fact, there were numerous references to Pelosi as "unabashedly liberal" and one of the "more liberal Democrats."

Bozell has been in this kind of whiny mood ever since Republicans got thumped in Tuesday's election; he also issued a press release insisting that "the election was a loss for the Republican Party, but it was emphatically not a loss for conservatives or those on the political right," adding that "numerous conservative ideas and the principles of the political right were victorious all over the country." But to claim that, Bozell ignores that South Dakota voted down a near-total ban on abortion, two other states rejected parental notification laws, Missouri approved a ballot initiative in support of stem cell research, and six states approved initiatives to raise the minimum wage.

Posted by Terry K. at 1:08 AM EST

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