In the last presidential election, leftist special interest groups and socialist billionaires like George Soros waged war with an unprecedented tsunami of negative TV attacks on the Republican incumbent, suggesting he was a draft dodger that knowingly lied us into war. Adding fuel to the fire, Hollywood uncorked nasty -- and equally distorted -- documentaries like "Fahrenheit 911." The Bush-bashing wave was so big Byron York wrote a whole book about it called "The Vast Left Wing Conspiracy." This year, our "objective" media turned their eyes on the November race, but they're seeing only one negative side of the street -- a right-wing conspiracy to lie, cheat, and smear their beloved Barack Obama.
A truly fair and balanced media might foresee a really tough election contest -- on both sides. But instead, we have a partisan chorus, whining in four-part harmony. They're not waiting for Hillary Clinton to discover her Titanic has sunk. They are getting their general-election assault on the "Republican attack machine" under way.
The New York Times started the latest wave with a May 4 article mourning the deflation of poor, patriotism-challenged Michael Dukakis in the 1988 campaign. The headline decried the GOP "using symbols as bludgeons." Like an overexcited little brother, CBS News followed that night, bitterly recounting how attacks on the patriotism of John Kerry, the Vietnam War-hating war hero, led to the re-election of President Bush.
CBS didn't report what it was doing four years ago -- lying with phony documents about Bush's military record, shooting a shell into its own foot, and ultimately, probably generating a backlash of sympathy toward the candidate it had tried to destroy.
The proclaimed messiah himself, the great and powerful Obama, was interviewed by CNN's Wolf Blitzer. He wasn't asked tiresome questions about his strange friends and ministers. He was asked if he could handle the coming "assault" from the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy that could be heard manufacturing its wicked armaments off stage. What lies will they stoop to tell? Blitzer suggested told Obama they're going to "paint" him as a tax-and-spend liberal.
"Paint" him? Who needs to add any paint to that picture? That is the truth -- he's the most left-wing senator in Washington -- and they know it.
Then NBC's Matt Lauer interviewed John Edwards about how tough the general election was going to be, imagining a horrid fall campaign that's all about Reverend Wright. "You remember the swift-boating of John Kerry," he stated matter-of-factly. Notice how the big TV stars so naturally employ Democratic lingo in their questions, without adding any quote marks or distancing words like "alleged." It doesn't even occur to them that by using the "swift-boating" adjective, they're signaling to viewers that they believed Kerry, and not his bitter crewmates. He was a war hero, a man of honor, making them all lying guttersnipes and right-wing tools.
But the Electric Whine Orchestra really took off with the commentary magazine that calls itself "Newsweek." This parade of Democratic Party hacks spent the last election cycle shamelessly oozing like kids over a Sgt. Fury comic book, lapping up Kerry's war stories of coolness under fire. They began their May issues with a "Bubba Gap" cover story lamenting that Obama's shabby opponents hated intellectuals, just like their progenitors, Jew-baiting Father Coughlin, Red-baiting Joe McCarthy, and race-baiting George Wallace. These people pulled every rusty liberal wrench out of the toolbox.
Two weeks later, Newsweek was back on the Pout Patrol, lamenting Republicans for "successfully scaring voters since 1968." In another cover story/editorial, Evan Thomas and Richard Wolffe declared the question of the year for McCain was whether he "can -- or really wants to -- rein in the merchants of slime and sellers of hate who populate the Internet and fund the 'independent expenditure' groups who exercise their freedom in ways that give a bad name to free speech."
In the liberal media's dream scenario, John McCain would be granted the autocratic power to shut down every "unfair" attack on Barack Obama's tax-and-spend liberalism, every "free speech abuse" reminding voters of his mockery of bitter working stiffs who cling to their rifles and religion, and every piece of "slime" that would suggest he'd manage the Pentagon with advice from MoveOn.org and Code Pink.
It would not be crazy in this electoral cycle to imagine that the vast right-wing donor army has no real ardor for conservative-spurning John McCain, and so they would rather spend their cash on anti-Obama ads instead of pro-McCain messages. But it would be crazy for anyone trying to paint himself as a straight shooter to discuss political negativity and ignore so shamelessly the ferocious forces on the left.