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The Jerry Brown Tape, The MSM and Campaign 2010

Saturday, October 9, 2010  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

Imagine if a GOP candidate for governor or senator in any high profile race in the land was heard on tape either uttering the word “whore” about his Democratic woman opponent or not reacting to his aide using the term in regard to that opponent –what would the reaction of the MSM be to the story?

Yesterday just such a tape surfaced of Jerry Brown and a senior aide discussing Meg Whitman, and the result is seen in this New York Times piece which begins not with a faithful account of what was said on the tape and by whom but with a glowing tribute to a Brown speech from days before. Not until the fourth paragraph is the major news from the California campaign even mentioned.

Even more amazing, amusing, or appalling depending on your point of view, the paper edition of the Lost Angeles Times has this major story about the governor’s campaign in which voting has already begun buried deep –on page three of the second section! The headline “Allies Urge Apology By Brown” might have attracted some readers and informed some voters of a key controversy in the most important campaign in their state, so of course the gasping band of hard core lefties that still hang on at Spring Street sent the story to the news dungeon.

Thus does the MSM gird up for the last 24 days of the 2010 campaign. The public gets every bit of old Christine O’Donnell tape from the 90s on an overnight delivery basis, but outbursts like this one from the Brown camp, major scandals such as those surrounding Charles Rangel and Maxine Waters are pushed through and off the headlines quickly, the genuine concerns over Minnesota’s Mark Dayton (see the post below) aren’t aired, and the devastating news about unemployment levels 18 months after the so-called “stimulus” passed are reported with nothing like the doom-and-gloom salvos of stories that accompanied any economic bad news during Bush or Reagan election seasons.

The media bias story is so old and so familiar that it doesn’t even anger the right anymore. The MSM simply cannot help themselves. The Los Angeles Times is probably unaware of the risible placement of the Brown story, so non-existent is their self-awareness either of bias or of their insignificance. Which is why the MSM generally but especially the old, dying papers are no more in any real sense significant. The news gets out via Fox News, Breitbart and Pajamas. Rush, Sean, Mark and my colleagues at Salem and scores of key major market radio hosts add depth and humor, and the news gets out. Everyone already knows what Brown or his aide said about Whitman, and has for 12 hours. The MSM’s refusal to develop the story doesn’t change it, but only magnifies the loss of credibility of the papers etc that are burying the story, leading to more declines in readership, less revenue from advertisers etc.

America’s new media could not put up a successful defense against Team Obama in 2008 because the president was so new and his record so thin, because he was so slavishly worshipped by the last guard of the old media, and because of the panic of the financial markets. But in media terms, the 2008 campaign was the Battle of the Bulge for the MSM –a last gasp, a last push of its combined efforts and arms.

Of course bad stories will still arise about conservatives, and those stories will be faithfully reported by new media and the remnant of the old that remains as delivery mechanisms for coupons and network news casts that simply don’t drive stories anymore.

But MSM’s ability to shield their candidates from the consequences of their behaviors or to torpedo conservatives has been reduced to almost nothing by the failure of the left-wing policies of the past two years. The con of the American public in 2008 has cost everyone too much. The MSM used to just annoy, now it no longer even matters because the consequences of governance by the left are everywhere to be seen and too devastating to be ignored.


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