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The dinosaurs are still powerful

Posted by Richard on November 13, 2006

There’s been no shortage of analyses and finger-pointing to explain the GOP’s "thumpin’" this year. It was Iraq. No, it was corruption. They were too extreme. No, they abandoned their conservative principles. Immigrant-bashing hurt. No, failure to close the borders hurt. And on and on… I think one of the primary causes is something almost no one’s discussed — and some, like Dean Barnett, explicitly rejected. 

Hugh Hewitt, lots of bloggers, and other voices of the "new media" like to disparage the "dinosaur media" and point to declining ratings for network news, falling readership and revenue for the big liberal papers, and other signs of the declining influence of the mainstream media. They exaggerate the truth. The dinosaurs may be in decline, but they’re still immensely powerful and can crush you when they make the effort. And, boy, did they make the effort this time!

Yes, it’s the same media as in 2002 and 2004, as Barnett noted. But, (a) they really pulled out all the stops this time, and (b) their relentless propaganda campaign against Bush and the Republicans had a cumulative effect.

Lenin said, "A lie told often enough becomes the truth." After hearing it repeated as fact a bazillion times, most Americans believe that Bush lied about Iraq’s WMD threat and Saddam’s support of terrorists. After three years of negative stories from Iraq outnumbering positive ones by approximately ten thousand to one, most Americans believe the situation is hopeless.

Story after story about DeLay, Cunningham, Foley, and Ney hammered into the American consciousness the Democratic talking points about the "Republican culture of corruption." But there’s nary a media mention of more than 70 Democrats with ethical or legal problems, including Reps. Jefferson, Murtha, Rangel, Mollohan, Conyers, and Schakowsky, Sens. Boxer and Reid, and Govs. Blagojevich and Corzine.

For sure, the Republicans’ wounds were largely self-inflicted. After 2002, Hastert dismantled the Contract with America’s ethics and accountability rules, and the Republicans became arrogant, fat, and lazy. They governed like Democrats, and the American people rejected that, as they usually do. Meanwhile, the Democrats recruited a bunch of candidates who sounded like Republicans, and the American people elected them.

If they’re going to turn things around in 2008, the Republicans need to clean house. They need new leaders like Reps. Pence and Shadegg, and Sens. Kyle and DeMint. They need to embrace the primary candidates backed by the Club for Growth — 7out of 8 were elected this year.

But they need one more thing: an effective strategy for countering the power of those media dinosaurs, because they’re not dead yet.
 

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