WASHINGTON -- The other day while laying down my thoughts on the 40 years of conservative journalism that I have undergone so painlessly since perpetrating my first published wisecrack in the autumn of 1967, I rang up El Rushbo for his collaboration. That would be Rush Limbaugh for the benighted; for the millions in his daily radio audience, he is El Rushbo. Rush recalled the liberal media monopoly that existed in the late 1960s and that now is sorely pressed by the emergence of talk radio, of various conservative journals and newspapers and by the rise of FOX News Channel. He noted how arrogant the liberal media always have been and mentioned their "lies and deceits."
Hang on, Rush. Whom do you think you are talking about, Dan Rather, the heir to Walter Cronkite's ermine robes? Are you referring to such revered institutions as The New York Times or The New Republic? Have you no respect for CNN, CBS, NBC or The Boston Globe? OK, OK, each of these revered institutions of the liberal orthodoxy has had its embarrassing pratfalls into plagiarism and bogus news stories, but how about us conservatives, El Rushbo?
Actually, in looking back over the past 40 years of conservative journalism, no similar scandals shimmy and strut before my mind's eye. In fact, conservatives have had no Jayson Blairs or Stephen Glasses. And now there is The New Republic's discredited "Baghdad Diarist," one Scott Thomas Beauchamp, who fabricated tales of American military misconduct in the Iraq war and whose fabrications the editors of The New Republic hope will disappear behind the smog of their pious pifflings. Let us call that a hoax heaped upon a hoax.
The fault of conservative journalists is, if you listen to our critics, that we have political opinions of a conservative nature. In fact, journalists of the liberal persuasion (or should I say faith) have informed me over the years that because of my conservative point of view, I cannot really be considered a journalist. Precisely what they mean by that I cannot tell you. Though now, after reviewing the comparative innocence of conservative journalism these past four decades as compared with the scores of blemishes on the mainstream media's record, I guess it could mean that I have not plagiarized or written bogus stories. Since the late 1980s, I have kept a file on the frauds committed by journalists at major media organizations, and it makes for grisly reading.