Emmett Tyrrell

Television has been slower to adapt. Of all the networks, only Fox has catered to conservative viewers. True to its motto, the network has been "fair and balanced." Many of its shows feature both a conservative and a liberal host, for instance "Hannity & Colmes" and "The Beltway Boys" with Fred Barnes and Morton Kondracke. Yet Fox has offered conservatives a place where their views are given at least some attention. The consequence is that with smaller resources to draw on, Fox has outstripped CNN and become the No. 1 cable news network in the country. I wonder when the news sections of ABC, CBS and NBC will catch on. There is nothing immoral about paying heed to the market.

In fact, if major media paid a bit more attention to the conservative market they might serve one of the purposes that a free media is supposed to serve, to wit, accountability. An enormous amount of sheer nonsense spews forth from the liberal world and is never challenged. Recently I had occasion to dip into a major book by one of liberalism's most prominent figures, Terry McAuliffe, formerly chairman of the Democratic Party and a close associate of both Clintons. In "What A Party" he retails his life in politics. I read only the paragraph that discusses the growth of conservative magazines since the founding of National Review. Here is what he says about "something called The American Spectator."

He claims the magazine "took under-the-table money from an ultra conservative named Richard Mellon Scaife." Actually, we accepted foundation grants in a very public accounting and there has never been any evidence substantiating this mendacious charge. McAuliffe goes on to claim that the money was used to pay for articles that claimed President Clinton "ordered the murder of political opponents." Doubtless scores of mainstream media journalists have interviewed McAuliffe about his book. Has any ever asked him who it was we claimed was murdered at Clinton's behest or when our articles appeared?

Most of my appearances this week have been with conservative talk show hosts. If ever I published the twaddle McAuliffe has fabricated, I can tell you I would not get off lightly. The conservative mind is not as tolerant of bosh as McAuliffe's soul mates.

Emmett Tyrrell

R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. is founder and editor in chief of The American Spectator and co-author of Madame Hillary: The Dark Road to the White House.
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