The Axis of Liberalism -- the other AOL -- is the media, academia and Hollywood.
First, the media.
About reporters' reaction to the 2008 Obama campaign, Joan Walsh, editor of the left-wing Salon.com, said, "I was struck, when I got to Iowa and New Hampshire in January, by how our media colleagues were just swooning over Barack Obama. That is not too strong a word. They were swooning." (Emphasis added.)
The Washington Post's ombudsperson, Deborah Howell, examined her own paper's 2008 coverage of the McCain-Obama race. To her credit, she admitted that the Post's reporting and analyses dramatically favored Obama: "The op-ed page ran far more laudatory opinion pieces on Obama, 32, than on Sen. John McCain, 13. There were far more negative pieces about McCain, 58, than there were about Obama, 32, and Obama got the editorial board's endorsement ... .
"Stories and photos about Obama in the news pages outnumbered those devoted to McCain. Reporters, photographers and editors found the candidacy of Obama, the first African American major-party nominee, more newsworthy and historic. ... Some readers thought the Post went over (Sarah) Palin with a fine-tooth comb and neglected (Joe) Biden. They are right."
What about The New York Times, America's most influential newspaper?
The New York Times' ombudsman, Arthur S. Brisbane, also admitted that his paper was biased to the left: "Across the paper's many departments ... so many share a kind of political and cultural progressivism -- for lack of a better term -- that this worldview virtually bleeds through the fabric of the Times. As a result, developments like the Occupy movement and gay marriage seem almost to erupt in the Times, overloved and undermanaged, more like causes than news subjects."
Most people still get their news from national and local television, and from their local newspapers. Virtually all of the editorial pages of the major newspapers are liberal, and reporters self-describe as liberal far more often than they self-describe as conservative.
The second leg of the AOL is academia.
The American Enterprise Institute examined the political registrations of professors at 20 colleges and universities, representing a cross-section of higher education -- public and private, big and small, in the North, South, East and West. By a more than 13-1 margin, the profs were registered with a party of the left. Many departments had no professors from a right-wing party.
How out-of-touch is academia? Most Americans, for example, oppose reparations for slavery. Not so in academia. Luntz Research Companies polled a cross-section of social science and liberal arts Ivy League professors and found that while only 11 percent of Americans support reparations, 40 percent of Ivy League profs approved.
The California division of the National Association of Scholars recently released a report accusing the University of California of pushing liberalism rather than providing students with an education. Liberal profs, says the NAS report, have turned the UC campuses into "a sanctuary for a narrow ideological segment of the spectrum of social and political ideas."
Brian McHale is an Ohio State University English professor. A senior professor at this publicly supported school, McHale sent an email to fellow profs asking them to allow Obama campaign staffers to come to class and "make a pitch to your students about registering to vote." He added, "If you were willing, the volunteers could also take a couple of extra minutes to see whether they could interest any of your students in volunteering for the Obama campaign themselves."
Look at political contributions of those in the education field. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, 82 percent of the donations ($200 or more) to federal candidates and PACs from primary to graduate school educators (not including teachers unions) went to Democrats in 2008.
The third leg in the Axis of Liberalism is Hollywood.
Of the entertainment industry's total contributions of $200 or more, $9.7 million went to Obama in 2008, versus $1.2 million for McCain. DreamWorks mogul Jeffrey Katzenberg has single-handedly raised nearly $7 million for Obama's campaigns and super PACs in the last five years.
Ever wonder why so few sympathetic portrayals of conservatives on the large and small screens? MSNBC host Lawrence O'Donnell, a former Democratic senator's legislative aide and a "West Wing" television show writer, said: "You'll never, ever, get the Republican TV show. The Writers Guild of America, my union, is at a minimum 99 percent leftist liberal and, like me, socialist. And we don't know how to write it. We don't."
Some Republicans wonder why, given this tepid recovery, Romney is not doing better. Given the Axis of Liberalism's power and its hostility toward "the right wing," it is a testament to the strength of ideas that Republicans ever win.
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