Media Can’t Break Its Wingnut Fever
I suspect if today’s media had been in place, after the 1964 presidential election they would have freaked out over LBJ having the temerity to suggest the Great Society, let alone implement it. Our media establishment today, largely comprised of people who have grown up in a media environment thick in Rush Limbaugh, Fox News, and the Drudge Report, believe that the conservative deviation from the mainstream is the mainstream.
Witness the media’s confusion that President Obama, the first Democratic president to be re-elected with over 51% of the vote in 70 years, has the nerve to sound like a liberal in his second state of the union. It was jarring for them. Republicans are supposed to assert conservative things, while Democrats should act like scalded little puppies and the closest they should get to progress is to murmur something from a Tom Friedman column. The media certainly felt Obama was being uncouth by arguing for LGBT equality, while also deriding climate change denialism and arguing for equal opportunity regulated by activist government.
Rush Limbaugh’s America doesn’t exist anymore (it never really did, but the 2012 election finished it off). If Republicans win in the future (and they will) it won’t be with the same dying coalition of elderly white male conservative voters they ran with for so long (that’s also why they’re trying to rig the system now). But don’t tell the media that. The supposed liberal media still cowers at conservative displays of strength, looking for approval from Drudge, Rush, and Fox like someone with serious parental issues.
The media treats liberal assertion as if it is some odd deviation from the mainstream, when progressive positions on major issues are well supported by overwhelming majorities of Americans. I recently saw Fox’s Dana Perino, with the same straight face she used to lie for Bush with, assert that nobody in the 2012 election opposed gay marriage. I guess if you wipe Romney’s candidacy out, Stalin-style, that would be true, but it is part of a long standing conservative pattern of appropriating liberalism gone mainstream (their movement opposed Martin Luther King Jr., but now tries to argue he was a pro-second amendment supply-sider, as if).
The so-called liberal media nowadays grew up at the feet of a Tom DeLay congress, with media parroting the bold leadership of George W. Bush (or at the older end, decrying the supposed liberal extremism of the Clintons) and doesn’t know how to react in a world in which Rush Limbaugh no longer defines the parameters of what is acceptable or do-able.
Sure, they’re not conservative activists, not true believers in the conservative cause – but an enabler can sometimes be almost as bad as a drug dealer is.