Want to know what media outlets journalists follow? Watch as they copy from one another. That truism has seldom been more obvious than the liberal feeding frenzy we've seen this week over Kentucky Republican senatorial candidate Rand Paul.
Paul is something rarely seen now. He’s a principled candidate that will say things the liberal media don’t want to hear. So they are working hand-in-hand with the left to destroy him. His appearance on “Rachel Maddow” Wednesday led to an on-air interrogation about Paul’s views on the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
Paul made it clear he emphatically opposes discrimination, but also dislikes the far-reaching implications of the Civil Rights Act. Even then, he doesn’t support getting rid of the act. He was merely making a principled stand about the size and influence of government.
The left and the media seized on it. First, the Democratic Party Network aka MSNBC went after Paul on Thursday. They aired eight segments on Paul's comments about the Civil Rights Act by early afternoon. The lefty network used up 37 minutes to push the theme that Paul and, by implication, the Tea Party movement, were racist. Time and again, the network put out left wingers to bash the right – congressmen, professors and a Democratic strategist. They even brought on Jesse “Hymietown” Jackson who knows all about bigoted statements including those coming out of his own mouth.
At one point, host Andrea Mitchell even said the Maddow incident could be “a game changing interview.” That is the goal of the left and the media.
When it came out that Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal was a lying sleazebag who took on military honors deserving better men and women, the media reported it, but the story has largely died. Newsies have moved on to other more tasty fare – like Paul.
To its credit, The New York Times broke the Blumenthal story. But the vigor with which leftie media have seized on Paul is indicative of the crossover between the two.
This of course doesn’t happen for left-wing controversies. Both the Van Jones and ACORN stories had to be forced into the news by ever-expanding controversy. The traditional press fought the release of the information, just like journalists waited two weeks to report on Climategate.
This time we have NBC loving the world of cross-promotion by touting the Maddow interview on NBC and even CNBC, where “Meet the Press” moderator David Gregory referred to Rand’s comments as a “pretty far out view even for those on the right.” Chris Matthews even went on “Leno” to bash Paul as “a philosopher and philosophers shouldn’t run for office.”
Everywhere in the media, Paul was suddenly the new villain. The story headlined The Washington Post front page as “Hot water for the tea party.” Over at The Times it was “Tea Party Pick Causes Uproar Over Civil Rights.” “Good Morning America” called it a “red-hot controversy” and Paul the “Tea Parties’ brightest new star.” Reporter Jonathan Karl continued the left-wing theme that Paul campaigned on a “strong anti-government message.” He didn’t. That would be nuts to take office as anti-government. He’s anti-BIG government.
Fast forward to Friday and the media message becomes clear, thanks to CBS "60 Minutes" correspondent Lesley Stahl, She appeared on MSNBC's “Morning Joe” and thrilled to the idea that this incident would help Dems while calling Republican ideas “extreme.”
In a “Good Morning America” interview on Friday, Paul accused former Democratic operative turned journalist George Stephanopoulos of using talking points directly from the Dems. “Where do your talking points come from? The Democrat National Committee. They also come from Rachel Maddow and MSNBC.”
That’s what this is all about. The media want to take what amounts to a theoretical discussion of government and use it once again to paint conservatives and Tea Partiers as racists so Democrats can win in 2010 and beyond. In 2008, the idea that the media weren’t affiliated to one political party was proven false. Now, journalists are emboldened to be players in shaping politics to their own liking – bigger and more liberal government. It’s gotten so bad, that the news might as well include a disclaimer saying “authorized by the Democratic Party.”
Dan Gainor is The Boone Pickens Fellow and the Media Research Center’s Vice President for Business and Culture. He is writes frequently for the The Fox Forum. He can also be contacted on FaceBook and Twitter as dangainor.
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Dan Gainor is the Media Research Center's Vice President for Business and Culture. He writes frequently about media for Fox News Opinion. He can also be contacted on Facebook and Twitter as dangainor.