Skip to comments.Mark Steyn: America's liberal media bias does their darling Democrats no favours whatsoever
Posted on 11/07/2003 4:14:37 PM PST by Pokey78
Now that Beebwatch is gone, I thought I'd say something about America's famous "liberal media bias": bring it on, baby!
After the US elections a year ago, I decided that "liberal media bias" was far more harmful to liberals than conservatives. In fact, if I were a Democrat, I'd be getting a little miffed at the recurring pattern of the past two years: throughout the election campaign, my newspaper produces a poll showing my guy way ahead; finds "typical voters"
(choreographers of environmentalist dance companies, etc) anxious to blame Bush for the worst recession since Hoover; runs front-page features on how Clinton's flown in to campaign with my man, exuding the rock-star glamour that so enthuses the base, etc.
And then the morning after election night, I wake up to discover that, in a stunning upset utterly predictable to anyone but the expert media analysts, the Democrat got hammered.
But not to worry. Just as your rattled Democratic supporter is beginning to feel a harsh jab of reality in what Slate's Mickey Kaus calls the "liberal cocoon", the media rush to lull him back to the land of make-believe, assuring us that the Democrat defeat is attributable to strictly local factors and is definitely not part of a trend.
Oddly enough, all these non-trends seem to trend the same way: November 2002 - Democrats lose control of the US Senate; October 2003 - Democrats lose the California gubernatorial race; November 2003 - Democrats lose the Missouri and Kentucky gubernatorial races.
None the less, The Daily Telegraph, in a curious editorial that sounded as if my colleagues had been up all night snorting Democratic talking points, reported that "America is becoming even more polarised than in the desperately close presidential race of 2000". The victories in Missouri and Kentucky were merely Bush consolidating his heartland. Against that, the Telegraph gravely noted, must be set Republican defeats in New York's Suffolk County.
Well, it's true even Democrats can find good news if they know where to look. In my town in New Hampshire, a Democrat neighbour recently got elected cemetery commissioner, which may prove useful experience, the way things are going for her party.
The American electorate is "polarised" in the sense that a seesaw would be with Kate Moss at one end and me at the other. The 50/50 nation of the 2000 election is gone. A small but significant sliver of the electorate shifted Right after September 11: we can argue about whether it's four per cent or 12 per cent, but not whether it exists. Who are these voters? They seem to be young, hitherto natural Democrats who aren't as hung up as their wrinkly parents on Vietnam nostalgia. A lot of them are female, which is why the so-called Republican "gender gap" the media like to harp on about was wiped out in 2002, while the Democrats' own gap with white male voters has widened to a chasm.
As for Bush merely solidifying his base, Kentucky hasn't elected a Republican governor since 1967 and Missouri has elected only two in the past 125 years. In the swing states, the change in voter identification since September 11 is all in one direction - Florida: Republicans up six points; Minnesota: Republicans up eight points; Michigan: Republicans up nine points; Iowa: Republicans up 12 points; Arkansas (home of the William Jefferson Clinton Presidential Library): Republicans up 15 points.
Doesn't sound that polarised to me. But, driving around the other day, I heard a radio reporter taking refuge in a favourite recent formulation: "Despite polls showing increasing public unhappiness over Iraq, the President continues to insist."
That crazy Bush, eh? Flying in the face of what some guy told some pollster over the telephone! Why not try the same formulation with some actual votes?
"Despite losing three governorships in the past month, Democrats continue to insist that their strategy of running every election as a referendum on Bush is working." Even if it costs them a fourth governorship in Louisiana this week.
You can maintain these are all local flukes, but, if so, Republicans seem to be noticeably better than Democrats at finding horses for courses. As for their wilful unseriousness on the great national issue, this isn't quite the same as the traditional Democratic weakness on foreign policy. For most of its final phase, the Cold War was a rather remote and abstract thing - as useless as the Dems were on Grenada and the like, voters had no direct stake in these obscure pinpricks on the map. September 11 is different: it's not a foreign-affairs think-tank subject, it's closer to those gut cultural issues like gun rights that Democrats score so badly on.
In the President's speech last Thursday, the bit I liked best was this, because I've been saying it myself for two years: "Sixty years of Western nations excusing and accommodating the lack of freedom in the Middle East did nothing to make us safe - because in the long run stability cannot be purchased at the expense of liberty."
That's essentially a cultural argument, and one artfully in tune both with white rural male gun nuts who resent Democratic predations on their own liberty and with newer, younger, 9/11 Republican converts who think the way to stop Islamic terrorism is to fix the problem at source. And the pretzel contortions of the Democratic candidates can't match it.
The American electorate is "polarised" in the sense that a seesaw would be with Kate Moss at one end and me at the other.
Priceless as always.
Ha, this sounds like 80% of the post election articles I've read this week. Go Liberal Media. Build your little coccoon. Build it big. Build it thick.
That's a beautiful quotation. "Stability cannot be purchased at the expense of liberty." That will be on the cornerstone of an impressive monument one day.
And on a Friday evening, who could disagree!
As for Bush merely solidifying his base, Kentucky hasn't elected a Republican governor since 1967 and Missouri has elected only two in the past 125 years.
Obviously he means Mississippi. Bring me the editor, and flog him.
Because, as we all know . . . Mark Steyn is perfect, dammit!
ROFL!!!...Steyn's the best.
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