The media labored hard against the recall. First, it was a "circus," a freak show for pornographers, porn actresses, disgruntled child stars and thong-underwear-selling self-promoters. Then, it was Arnold, obviously too stupid even to form complete sentences in a debate. Then, it was so unfair that a dedicated longtime public servant should be overturned by an actor with zero administrative experience, as if Davis’ experience ruining the state wasn’t the issue.
When these lines didn’t work, it was the media -- not just Democratic partisans but the media -- who reached into the ugly bag and started throwing unsubstantiated rumors and groping stories. The Los Angeles Times, which dismissed last-minute entreaties in 1992 to bring Juanita Broaddrick’s rape story to public scrutiny as "toxic waste," spent weeks goading women into telling anonymous tales about a comparatively meaningless boob squeeze in the 1970s. Tom Brokaw, who couldn’t bear to touch Broaddrick’s rape story with a 10-foot pole, even as it aired on his own network, dared to lecture Arnold that his behavior "could be criminal."
The media hypocrisy is so obvious as to be transparent.
Which brings us back to ABC reporter Linda Douglass, who mangled Arnold’s alleged 1975 praise of Adolf Hitler. In 1975, he told an interviewer that he admired Hitler’s "way of getting to the people" but then added, "But I don’t admire him for what he did with it." Douglass artfully changed the quote and reported that he had said, "I admire him for being such a good public speaker and for what he did with it," which gave license to Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe and Gray Davis to spend the final weekend pretending out loud that Arnold had swastikas tattooed on his biceps. When Arnold protested the story to Peter Jennings, the anchorman replied, "But you had to know that this was all going to come out in a campaign. It is, after all, your past -- it isn't made up, is it?" In fact, ABC was making stuff up.
It’s obvious that Schwarzenegger, with his libertine movie-star misbehavior and social positions, not to mention his utter lack of political finesse in his pre-candidate days, was not the ideal conservative role model. But in the end, California voters just told the media to take their bias and shove it.