Pat Caddell, the former adviser to President Jimmy Carter, called the mainstream media an “enemy of the American people” at an Accuracy in Media conference on September 21st. A video of Caddell’s remarks were posted this weekend and has since gone viral.
“The press’s job is to stand in the ramparts and protect the liberty and freedom of all of us from a government and from organized governmental power,” Caddell proclaimed.
The critical passage of the speech reads:
When they desert those ramparts and decide that they will now become active participants, that their job is not simply to tell you who you may vote for, and who you may not, but, worse–and this is the danger of the last two weeks–what truth that you may know, as an American, and what truth you are not allowed to know, they have, then, made themselves a fundamental threat to the democracy, and, in my opinion, made themselves the enemy of the American people.
Conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh praised Caddell’s elocution on Monday.
“Caddell’s right!,” he concluded. “You can’t bring yourselves to report the truth about this until the story is over, when it no longer matters. But for the five or six days that matter right after the story, you carry the regime’s water.”
Caddell said Libya should have “should have been the equivalent, for Barack Obama, of George Bush’s ‘flying over Katrina’ moment. But nothing was said at all, and nothing will be said.”
He expounded further:
If a President of either party–I don’t care whether it was Jimmy Carter or Bill Clinton or George Bush or Ronald Reagan or George H. W. Bush–had a terrorist incident, and got on an airplane after saying something, and flown off to a fundraiser in Las Vegas, they would have been crucified!
Caddell said the mainstream media “crossed some lines” in their coverage of Libya, and it was a “frightening” thing to him.”
Caddell also accused the mainstream media of using polls they know are inaccurate as weapons against Republicans. He referenced polls whose samples predict Democrats will have a greater turnout in 2012 than in 2008 even as journalists write story after story about how nearly every part of the Obama coalition is less enthusiastic about him than they were in 2008.
“When I have polls that have the preference of Democrats over Republicans higher than it was in 2008, which was a peak Democratic year, I know I am dealing with a poll that shouldn’t be reported,” Caddell said. “And yet they are being done, and they are being done with that knowledge.”
In an optimistic turn, Caddell declared the rise of new media made it easier to fight back against the mainstream media, and the old argument of “you don’t get in a pissing match with someone who buys ink by the barrel” doesn’t apply in the new media era.
“There are too many outlets, too many ways to do it, and the country doesn’t have the confidence in the press that they once had,” Caddell said, referencing a recent Gallup poll that found 60% of Americans distrust the mainstream media.
Caddell emphasized that mainstream journalists have thin skins, and they “wilt” when challenged. That is why, he explained, “they need to be called out” and “their organizations need to be called out.”
“The fact is, if I were out there, if I were doing one of these campaigns, I wouldn’t let one of these guys by with anything,” Caddell said. “They have now made the decision they will control the political process.
“They are serving–with the hundreds of millions of dollars that the networks and these newspapers are, in effect, contributing–in-kind contributions to candidates in the Democratic Party. That’s the legal issue that I would have been exploring. I mean, I would begin to put the heat on.”
However, said, members of the Republican establishment do not say anything because “too many reporters, too many political people in the Republican party in this town want to maintain their relationships with the press.”
“The corruption in this town is so great. Everybody in Washington seems to almost be on the take–with the exception of everybody in this room, and the assistants here. Everybody’s on the take here, and everybody’s cutting up their stock,” Caddell lamented. “That’s why, what used to be one of the best and most important things for the press, which was the investigative journalism of corruption and money, the stealing of the taxpayers, the looting of the Treasury, isn’t an issue, and why no one speaks of it in this town.”
“I think we’re at the most dangerous time in our political history in terms of the balance of power in the role that the media plays in whether or not we maintain a free democracy or not,” Caddell said.
Caddell listed off some examples of mainstream media malpractice during his speech. He wondered how the press could not ask how Valerie Jarrett could have a Secret Service detail and better security than Ambassador Chris Stevens. He wondered how Sunday talk show hosts would not ask David Plouffe, Obama’s former campaign manager, about the $100,000 in speaking fees he received from an Iranian front group in Nigeria. He asked why the press would not look into Peter Schweizer’s Government Accountability Institute study that documented the corruption behind many of Obama’s green energy boondoggles.
“Of course Republicans don’t raise it because in Washington, they simply want to do it when they get back in power,” Caddell said. “And, of course, the press doesn’t because they basically have taken themselves out of doing their job.”
Caddell went on Fox News on Monday and defended his remarks. He asserted the mainstream media helps Obama through omissions as well, by not reporting on stories about how the Obama administration is trying to suppress military absentee votes and bully defense contractors into not sending layoff notices that are required by law or laying off employees. Caddell said these omissions amounted to “corruption of the first order.”