In his Wednesday column, the Drudge Report’s Charles Hurt explains how Senate Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) is exploiting a clause in the Constitution that protects members of Congress from legal action. This clause, created with good reason, allows Reid to smear two private citizens (Charles and David Koch) with a never-ending onslaught of lies, slander, and harassment.
Hurt writes, “[T]he founders apparently never dreamed that a man like Majority Leader Harry Reid would one day control the U.S. Senate.”
That is undoubtedly true. But the founders did give extraordinary protections to a free press that you would expect to work as a counterweight against the potential for abuse in this clause. Another reason Reid is getting away with this reprehensible behavior is a media that loves and cheers on his smearing of the Kochs.
Sleazy, underhanded, dishonest politicians like Reid are everywhere and always have been. But under normal conditions, the media makes these pols pay a serious political price for anything approaching the kind of dishonest and abusive behavior Reid has been getting away with since the 2012 presidential election, when he falsely accused Mitt Romney of not paying any taxes for a decade.
The media especially love Reid’s unconscionable attacks on the Koch brothers because the media sees the Kochs as competition. Billionaire libertarians like the Kochs are the media’s worst nightmare. The brothers have the money, power, and political savvy to effectively compete with the media when it comes to political messaging and influence.
When the media claim to oppose outside money in politics (like the Supreme Court decision on Citizens United), it has nothing to do with the reasons they state: a noble concern about corruption and influence. The media’s true motives are as mercenary as they are political: Simply put, the media doesn’t want any serious messaging competition put up against the billions of corporate dollars that they themselves (CNN, MSNBC, PBS, NPR, ABC, NBC, CBS, New York Times, Washington Post, Politico, etc.) are spending to corrupt and influence American politics.
The media use a populist argument about millionaires and corporations influencing politics as a way to paper over the fact that the media want to be the only millionaires and corporations legally allowed to get their political message out. Unless the outside money comes from a source the media are politically aligned with, like left-wing labor unions or billionaire George Soros (both of whom face little to no scrutiny from the press), the media want the money banned.
And if the Supreme Court won’t ban the media’s competition, then it’s time to try and marginalize this influence using whatever means necessary. This is exactly what Harry Reid is doing and the media are letting him get away with it because they have a shared goal.
And the tactic to accomplish this goal is nothing short of McCarthyism.
If a powerful Republican like an Eric Cantor or Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) did to George Soros or SEIU what Reid is doing to the Kochs, there is no question the media would explode in a coordinated frenzy of feigned outrage over a fascist politician attempting to silence a private citizen. And they would be right.
But on a number of Big Issues, the Kochs dare to disagree with Chuck Todd, Wolf Blitzer, Anderson Cooper, Diane Sawyer, the Politico cabal, and the powerful editors of the New York Times and Washington Post. And so the media publicly stands idyll as one of the most powerful men in the country abuses his power to savage two private citizens.
Privately, however, the media love Reid’s McCarthyism and are undoubtedly cheering him on at every opportunity.
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC