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The Media vs. the Democrats
Reader Tom Davis offers some interesting amplification of our item yesterday about what journalist Howard Fineman calls the American Mainstream Media Party or AMMP:
The descent of the U.S. media into liberal advocacy has been to the detriment of the country, notwithstanding the service done by it to the country during Watergate and--partially--Vietnam (partially because Vietnam was winnable prior to bad decisions made in Washington during the 1962-65 time frame, but probably not thereafter, but the media would never allow that position to be acknowledged). The biggest loss to the country has been the emasculation of the Democratic Party.
In large part due to the ideological congruence between the AMMP and the Democratic Party, the Democratic Party's main function has been subsumed by the AMMP. It is the AMMP that sets the liberal agenda, and the Democrats follow. It is the AMMP that makes the most effective challenges to conservatives, and the Democrats merely echo them. The AMMP is a much more effective shadow government than the Democrats are. As a result the Democrats have become vain, intellectually lazy and self-righteous. This dynamic is also visible in your item on Jill Lawrence's article the previous day.
And the AMMP still doesn't get it. When Dan Rather states that the media's role is to "speak truth to power," he overlooks the fact that the AMMP is a power. Cloaked in its mantle of pretend objectivity, the AMMP desires to influence governance for the common good as it alone sees it, and it really does. Voters like me not only repudiated the AMMP in 2004, but we consciously did so because a proper balance of power within government demands that the Republican Party be strengthened against the AMMP so that the two are roughly equal in influence. As long as the Democratic Party is favored by the AMMP, it must be relegated to the backbench, to be brought into play only when we face Republican incompetence or corruption.
This sounds mostly right to us, though we'd add that liberals' reliance on the courts to impose their agenda has also contributed to the degeneration of their skills at democratic persuasion. In any case, the decline of the liberal media may turn out to be a necessary condition for an eventual revival of the Democratic Party.