Fighting the real enemy
Posted by aogWednesday, 14 November 2012 at 17:17 TrackBack Ping URL

I agree with Nick Nolte and Andrew Marcu that the real enemy isn’t the Democratic Party, but Old Media. If the actions, statements, and policies of the Democratic Party were treated the same way as that of conservatives, the GOP, and the Tea Parties the Democratic Party would be reduced to a regional stump. It’s hardly an accident that President Obama pretended to be a centrist / conservative during his first campaign despite his record, and avoided as much as possible talking about his policies at all in the second. He knew Old Media would cover for him and go after the GOP. Absent that kind of agit-prop cover, he would have lost badly. That’s what any one who still loves this nation and its founding principles should do, work to bring down the ideologues who pretend to be journalists.

P.S. I think it interesting that Obama’s own campaign is claiming they won by going after the people who were the least informed. The trend of the Democratic Party, having to stretch and strain ever more deeply in that way is indicative of how poorly they fair against information.

P.P.S. I have some accumulated examples I need to add —

P3.S Let’s not forget Pat Caddell’s statement that “media bias has reached a new level of corruption”. (Check the link, there are other examples in there).

And let me add this from Instapundit which has some examples of how the Obama Administration treats journalists with brutal disdain yet suffers no consequences. Maybe that should be the GOP model, it seems to work.

Comments — Formatting by Textile
Bret Thursday, 15 November 2012 at 09:46

I’m not convinced this analysis is accurate.

Those I know who voted for Obama had more the attitude that sure, Romney would be better, perhaps much better for the economy, but the economy is good enough as far as they’re concerned and the Dems would do better on some issue near and dear to their hearts (for example, free birth-control and unlimited free abortion anywhere, anytime or global warming, etc.) I think that’s it’s quite plausible that the Dems can continue to put together coalitions of single issue voters and looters in general at the presidential election level.

Annoying Old Guy Thursday, 15 November 2012 at 11:24

I think they would still be able to put together such coalitions, but only at a minority level and in some regions of the nation. For example, many voters still blame Bush for the bad economy, even after fours years of Obama. I think it clear that most of that is due to Old Media agit-prop — no Republican would ever get fours years of failure pushed off on someone else like that. Remove that and the Democratic Party coalition becomes a minority.

Annoying Old Guy Thursday, 15 November 2012 at 12:57

I realized later what a searing indictment of the MAL you made. You describe them as a coalition that officially is concerned about poverty and the working poor, but in fact is completely heartless and thinks “I’ve got mine, so screw the poor, I want my pet causes implemented”.

In a way that just reenforces my point — how can the MAL not reviled by large parts of their base, except via a dedicated and thorough application of agit-prop?

Bret Thursday, 15 November 2012 at 13:52

Is that last comment directed at me? I’m having a hard time deciphering it in the context of anything I’ve written. If it was directed at me I’ll try to decipher it again.

Annoying Old Guy Thursday, 15 November 2012 at 15:24

Yes. You wrote

Those I know who voted for Obama had more the attitude that sure, Romney would be better, perhaps much better for the economy, but the economy is good enough as far as they’re concerned and the Dems would do better on some issue near and dear to their hearts

That is, they would sacrifice a better economy for their pet indulgences, without regard to how bad that would be for those in poverty and the working poor, because things are good enough for them.

Bret Thursday, 15 November 2012 at 17:46

Ah, sorry. I misread MAL as MSM in your first comment and got all confused.

So I partly agree.

In those cases I was referring to, they wouldn’t’ve claimed to be particular concerned about the poor and they don’t consider themselves leftish. Second, they’d claim that their “pet indulgences” are so important for everybody, that they were still doing everybody in the world a favor by voting for Obama.

I vote for my “pet indulgences” as well. Those happen to be smaller government, less regulation, more economic freedom, few laws, etc. and that’s also totally self-interested. My vote always seems to lose though. Oh well, gotta keep moving forward.

Peter Friday, 16 November 2012 at 05:09


You post a lot about the MSM and Old Media, but what is it about them that you think makes them so intransigent and in the pockets of the Dems? They may not be perfect competition, but they aren’t a monopoly either and they aren’t the recipient of government largesse. Individual reporters and producers may not change much in their lifetimes, but there is mobility over time and they do want to make a profit. If there is a superior message out there, what is keeping them from embracing it.

I don’t want to get into too many comparisons because the situation is very different up here, but Canada’s media was solidly liberal for years—mindnumbingly and mindlessly so. When Harper came he was received much like Reagan was in 1980—a wild, scary cowboy pushing the limits of respectability. In the last election, every major newspaper but one declared for him, much to the rage of the left, who now refer to them as the “corporate media”. Same media, same population. The point is not how or why, the point is that it happened.

If the GOP is going to win in 2016, surely it has to stop fixating on how everybody is unfair to them, no?

Annoying Old Guy Friday, 16 November 2012 at 06:00

I don’t know why there is such ideological conformity in Old Media, it is an enduring mystery.

they do want to make a profit

I no longer believe that. As far as I can tell many Old Media outlets are simply loss leaders for people with strong ideological views (e.g., Newsweek, CNN). Even the example of Fox News caused no changes elsewhere, except perhaps for a further hardening of ideological bias. Talk radio is another excellent example.

One theory I’ve seen is the rise of journalism school (based on the heavy academic bias) which teach that “changing the world” is the goal, not profit.

I agree that fixating on this is not a good plan, but my view is that lots of people, including the muddle and much of the GOP leadership, simply doesn’t realize this. Romney was a bit better. And while fixating is not optimal, ignoring the problem is even worse.

Peter Friday, 16 November 2012 at 07:50

AOG, I’m trying to be “Good Neighbour Peter” and not preach about your politics, especially not before your wounds have cauterized. But I hope we are going to have lots of good debates about modern conservatism generally in the coming years. Bret’s comments about his friends who voted for Obama reflect something I’ve been thinking for quite a while—that the right has become too ideological in its rhetoric, its thinking and especially its perception of its adversaries, who it has come to see in equally ideological terms. It has simply lost sight of the decent, muddled middle who were alarmed or offended by a lot of things said during the primaries and even the campaign—maybe not by Romney (although that 47% quip struck me as suicidal), but not disavowed by him either. Romney actually came very close. A swing of half a million votes in seven states and he would have been in. I’m betting there were far more than half a million who voted for Obama for reasons that had nothing to do with socialism or social benefits or abortion or the deficit or whatever. They simply voted for a guy with great personal appeal who scared or embarassed or insulted them less than the GOP.

There have been a flood of articles from National Review on the election and a disturbing number were of the “It’s all over…the lazy, greedy people let us down…might as well close up shop” variety. Presumably none of them would have been written if those half million had swung to Romney. It would have all been about a new dawn and good times ahead. Something is not adding up here.

Peter Friday, 16 November 2012 at 08:00

which teach that “changing the world” is the goal, not profit.

Sorry, I missed that. C’mon, AOG, when in the history of all mankind have students not been inspired by making a better world? That’s why they’ve always been such troublesome pains in the butt. I’m sorry, but the Junior Achievement types that make their parents so proud have always been nerds who had hard times getting dates.

You’re getting too old too fast, my friend. :-)

Annoying Old Guy Friday, 16 November 2012 at 08:41


Preach away, I enjoy honest debate.

They simply voted for a guy with great personal appeal who scared or embarassed or insulted them less than the GOP.

My point would be that much of that is made up by Old Media. Sarah Palin was a case in point. Or how Old Media is treating Senators McCain, Graham, and Ayotte now that they dare to question Obama. Or look at how Eagar’s opinion (self reported) changed about Romney in the same fashion. Conversely, things that embarrass or insult the muddle from the Democratic Party are not covered (“hit back twice as hard”, “get in their faces”, “you didn’t build that”, “voting is the best revenge”, “bitter clingers”, “God Damn America!”, etc.). Or the Katrina vs. Sandy coverage. The coverage of AG Holder being held in contempt of Congress. Or a real, local classic, the piss up a rope action of the Romney campaign. How could the Romney campaign have been less insulting or embarrassing in that case? Or look at the change after the first debate when voters were able to see Romney himself, and not the media caricature.

My point would be that the GOP has to accept they are not going to get their actual message out via Old Media and need to (1) find other channels to do it, (2) treat Old Media as the enemy they are, and (3) make it clear to the muddle how biased Old Media is.

With regard to “changing the world” — before journalism school, journalists trained in the school of hard knocks, not the bright shiny world of academia. It’s not that students have changed but that the source of journalists has changed.

Annoying Old Guy Friday, 16 November 2012 at 09:01

Here’s another example, although foreign — BBC gets in trouble over its coverup of Saville and tries to throw up a smoke screen by accusing a Thatherite politician of sexual abuse even though it was completely false. Regardless, some of that will stick to him, Thatherites, and the Tories in general. How should he have conducted himself to avoid insulting the muddle that way?

Peter Friday, 16 November 2012 at 10:11

OK, I take your point about journalists. I also think that, ever since Watergate, journalists have been taught to look for the scandal. They all wants to be Woodwards and Bernsteins.

AOG, there are constituencies the GOP isn’t likely to shift in the next four years no matter what it says. Large urban cores, New England, the Left coast, academia, Hollywood, most blacks, the New York Times, CBS, unions, Harry Eager… The media that sees them as their constituents will continue to paint the GOP in bogeymen terms. That doesn’t mean that the constituencies that can be shifted—women and suburbanites to name two, maybe a minority of Hispanics and blacks as well, are so in thrall to that media it all amounts to some kind of cheating or fraud. Surely you won’t argue that they were any different with Reagan, Bush, Nixon, etc.—it fact, they might have been worse.

Of course there is much in what you say, but as Jesus said, “The poor, the Dems and the MSM ye shall always have among you”. The election was close in spite of them. Shouldn’t the focus be on the grinding work of figuring out why the GOP managed to alienate its potential support, espeically the support that didn’t even vote? As I said above, it was a close election against a sitting president with tremendous personal appeal.

Let me give an example. Romney’s 47% quip took my breath away and immediately made me think of how that would sound to a low-income single mother of whatever race who is perpetually exhausted because she works long hours at a low-paying job while doing what she can to give her kids an education and chance in life. It’s tough, but she rightfully takes pride in her family and still has hope in the American dream. She may receive a lot of support and services, but what other options are there and what else has she ever known? Romney effectively called her a leech and intimated she would get less in his America. Now, she probably would have voted Dem anyway, but what of potential Romney supporters who were offended by what he was intimating. Just because they were part of the 53% doesn’t mean they wanted to cut her loose. However he meant it, he managed to sound like his answer to “Am I my brother’s keeper?” was a resounding no. You don’t need to be even interested in politics to squirm at that.

Sarah Palin was treated execrably, but it can’t be said she didn’t make some contributions to the show that put her pretty far from the world of the average suburban woman. In fact, given that she overplayed the gun-totin’, moose huntin’, tough talkin’ schtick, she made me think of another point the GOP might consider thinking through:

Seen through non-American eyes, American politics is very rhetorical with lots of appeals to ideological first principles like self-reliance, equality, hard work, etc, Founding Fathers, the Constitution and the certain catastrophe to come if the other guy wins. That’s fine, but a lot of GOP rhetoric in recent years strikes me as overly-nostaligc for revolutionary or even 19th century days of strong churches, relatively self-contained economies, hardy rural yeomen and craftsman, and hyper-democratic townhall democracy. Very inspiring, but there were no suburbs in 1776 and I’m not sure that speaks to the reality of suburban life in 2012. But neither does perpetual deficits and redistributive politics to decrepit urban cores, so I’m guessing there are lots of hearts and minds to be won by the party that figures out what their priorities are. Fiscal sanity based on low taxation is one and so is public safety, but so are racial equality and civic harmony. Secure borders and a legal basis for immigration is another, but an aversion to rounding people up and deporting them is too. Finally, I’ve been defending social conservatism since Brothers Judd days, but enough is enough! Who are these people??

Annoying Old Guy Friday, 16 November 2012 at 12:01

Surely you won’t argue that they were any different with Reagan, Bush, Nixon, etc.—it fact, they might have been worse.

I think they are. I think that the ideology has hardened and journalists are far more likely to overlook any scandals on the Democratic Party side, and that they are even more in to a cult of personality with Obama than with Clinton. I think they’re much more willing to flat out lie when useful. But don’t just take my word for it, check the Pat Caddell linka above - he was there, in the thick of things during the Reagan era and that’s what he says as well.

Shouldn’t the focus be on the grinding work of figuring out why the GOP managed to alienate its potential support, espeically the support that didn’t even vote?

Yes. And my part in that is working on a big cause of the alienation, journalistic malpractice and excessive GOP accomodation to that. Others are working on voter fraud, others on education, and still others on outreach. We all do our little part.

The biggest disappointment for me was that in several states, if everyone who voted for a GOP House candidate had also voted for Romney, he would have won that state. Some self examination on that point would be a good thing.

Your gaffe examples read (to me) as a claim that GOP candidate has to be perfect, 24/7, even in the most private circumstances, or he’s doomed. If that’s really true then I should give up, as it’s an impossible standard. My question to you is why do you think that is the effective standard for the GOP? Do you see any way a non-perfect candidate could not alienate the muddle? A key element of that would be to break through Old Media so the muddle becomes aware of just how much more insulting the other side is.

I think you’re a bit too dismissive of Palin, as I think the “overdoing it” was more a product of Old Media than Palin. I think she had the potential to be another Reagan, possibly even better, but was ruined by a combination of McCain’s mishandling, being plucked up nationally too early (compared to Reagan’s many years working the circuts before 1980), an even more vicious Old Media than Reagan faced, and a lack of support from her party.

For your last paragraph, I think the Tea Parties are basically what you’re looking for. Their increasing strength is one of the fews hopes I see these days. I work with them and have been in real life focusing on state and local efforts, because I don’t see much hope with the national level leadership of any party.

Although I am, as I noted, a bit heartened by the increasing strenuousness of what is required to get Democratic Party candidates elected (both by journalists, as discussed above, and the required level of “get out the vote” efforts).

P.S. “hardy rural yeomen and craftsman” — I laughed at that because that’s what Eagar claims is the goal of the modern Democratic Party’s tax, regulate, and spend policies. I should dig up that link.

Annoying Old Guy Friday, 16 November 2012 at 14:26


Give me the weekend to write another post about the hollowing and hardening of the Modern American Left. It’s a complex situation and I don’t want to leave you hanging without a big dose of nuance (I know how you Canadians are physiologically dependent on that :-)).

Peter Friday, 16 November 2012 at 17:27

I look forward to it, AOG. As I spend time tracking leftist sites myself, I may eagerly contribute to it. One angry bunch.

Sigh. Why can’t we all not just get together and work things out? :-)

Annoying Old Guy Friday, 16 November 2012 at 17:39


“The only thing angrier than a tranzi who just lost an election is a tranzi who won”.

Bret Friday, 16 November 2012 at 18:52

Peter wrote: “Why can’t we all not just get together and work things out?

Funny, the question I ask is “Why can’t we all NOT get together and therefore not have to work things out?” In other words, lets not do so much at the federal level. Then we don’t have to agree.

erp Friday, 16 November 2012 at 19:56

funny that the “pacifist” rodney king came up in this string when that incident is a perfect example of media duplicity. the first version of the video i saw had king jumping out of the car swinging a baseball bat — if you recall, he’s a pretty big guy. that sequence was edited out of subsequent versions shown in the media. unless someone had the presence of mind to tape it, the complete video is no longer extant.

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