Republicans should celebrate Abramson’s promotion because if they look closely at it — and at the growing effectiveness of conservative media — they will see two freight trains running toward each other that will collide spectacularly next year right in front of the eyes of American voters.
The two first collided in a 2004 fender-bender that cost Dan Rather his job when conservative bloggers exposed the phony documents he used to attack George Bush’s service in the Texas Air National Guard. The media learned from Rather’s mistake and four years later reasserted themselves in the role of the gatekeepers of voters’ knowledge. Throughout the Obama campaign stories which real reporters would have dug into deeply — such as Obama’s record in the Illinois legislature, his association with shady characters such as Tony Rezko, and his two decades of listening to radical preacher Jeremiah Wright — were stories the gatekeeper media chose not to report. (TheTimes, of course, held the story on John McCain’s alleged affair with a lobbyist until he had secured the nomination. The story was debunked before the ink dried on the Times‘ front page.)
The lavish coverage and daily praise the media poured on Obama pushed critical examination of him out of voters’ consciousness. The pro-Obama narrative isn’t the result of some dark conspiracy: it’s the product of the media’s culture. The media culture is so powerful and so common that reporters, editors and television news executives can no more resist it than Canada geese can resist the instinct to fly south in winter.
All of this is good news for Republicans because conservative media are more brash, more agile and more willing to report real news than the dinosaurs of the gatekeeper media. Talk radio has a larger and more politically-active audience than all the liberal newspapers, lib talkers and liberal TV programs combined.
ABC News’ Jon Karl, who’s been getting face-time with Bachmann in Waterloo in advance of her formal campaign announcement, played a clip of the web video in which Wallace said, “I messed up. I’m sorry.”
When Karl asked if she accepts the apology, Bachmann brushed aside the question this way: “I think that it’s insulting to insinuate that a candidate for president is less than serious.”
The story got wide play, including at Think Progress, where the progressive site listed “Four Ways Justice David Prosser Can Be Removed From Office.” But when the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel began checking with its own sources, an entirely different version of the story appeared …