Back on ABC, Moran was doing his best to set the tone and agenda for the media's campaign approach. In a question to former Clinton Chief of Staff Leon Panetta, Moran observed: "For many Americans, this is a divisive president. Is he vulnerable in the manner in which he seems to polarize people's opinions?" Panetta answered, "I think that is the case." (Surprise!) No self-respecting media liberal would ask such a question of, say, Sen. Hillary Clinton, about any of the Democratic presidential candidates and why they fail to draw conservative support. Apparently, division is a one-way street.
On CBS, Schieffer claimed that Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean is bringing people together. His source? A New York Times writer who believes the evidence comes from Dean's success as an Internet fund-raiser.
Again, if most people form their impressions of political figures by what they see on television and read in their newspapers, would it not be fair to say that the media shape those views by the way they choose to cover the candidates, the questions they ask and the biases they convey? Call someone a "divider" long enough, and at least some people will believe it.
Constantly referring to a candidate as a "uniter" (while ignoring those from whom he is divided) sends a different message.
The media are just getting warmed up. If Bush's approval ratings begin to decline (as they surely will), watch for the media attack to intensify. If his ratings remain high, watch for the media to become apoplectic. Why?
Because the media are the real dividers.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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