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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Media Attacks on GOP Vice Presidential Candidates is nothing new

Timothy Birdnow The politics of personal destruction they call it now. Before Bill Clinton (a true artiste' in the technique who tried to project his own sins onto his political enemies with this phrase) the technique had no name, but it was there, and it was used quite heavily - particularly by Democrats and the Media. Richard Nixon was a favorite target of media hacks, angered at his pursuit of the communist Alger Hiss (and he WAS a Communist; declassified Soviet Documents show he was in the pay of Moscow.) But it's hard to go after the President; the media went after smaller bites, such as Nixon's Vice President Spiro T. Agnew, who was attacked on all sides by the politcal enemies of Nixon, who could not get at the President directly. A smear campaign was begun against Agnew, and his eventual resignation coincided with a no contest plea (he denied guilt for tax evasion but admitted the State had enough evidence to convict him.) He was accused of racism for comments made to a "fat Jap" (a personal friend of Agnew who engaged in such banter) and claims that Agnew was somehow being racist is a lie. This courtesy of Newsbusters: " Former Nixon press aide James Keogh explained in his book President Nixon and the Press, page 134, explained the "Fat Jap" incident: One of the correspondents on the campaign trail with the Vice Presidential candidate was a Japanese-American from Maryland who had covered Governor Agnew for nearly two years at the State House. They knew each other well. Around Annapolis, among the newsman’s friends, his nickname was the "Fat Jap." He was on the Agnew campaign’s plane the morning of September 20, 1968, when it was scheduled for a very early takeoff after many of the traveling correspondents had spent a night on the town in Las Vegas. Agnew came aboard the plane at 7:30 am, and went back to the section where the correspondents were seated. There, his old friend from Annapolis was leaned back in his seat and sound asleep. "What’s the matter with the fat Jap?" Agnew asked with a grin. "Too much Las Vegas?" There was some small talk about Las Vegas before the candidate went on his way." End excerpt. The media purposely lied about Agnew. Why? Was it because he has a funny, foreign sounding name like Barack Obama? Was it because he was racist/sexist/homophobic? Was it because he called them "Nattering nabobs of negativity" in one of the cruellest slurs the media has ever endured? (Yes, that is pure sarcasm.) The reality is that the media realized they could hurt the President by hurting his appointees. The goal was to create the impression of corruption and incompetence. it worked; Nixon ended up resigning from office himself. Nixon himself had taken considerable abuse at the hands of the media while serving as Eisenhower's Vice President. Of course, the media had no reason to go after Gerald R. Ford or Ford's Veep Nelson Rockefeller, nor would they want to take down George H.W. Bush, as he would likely have been replaced by a more conservative candidate. But they were happy to go after other Reagan appointees, such as James Watt, a man they hounded from office in a most despicable fashion. Time Magazine named him one of the worst cabinet members in history,28804,1858691_1858690_1858648,00.html for such horrible things as saying there are liberals and Americans. Or how about the campaign against Alexander Haig, Reagan's Secretary of State? The media hated him as well. But the big guns came out for Reagan judicial appointees. The name of Robert Bork, Reagan's ace in the hole for SCOTUS, is now a verb; to be Borked means to be destroyed with smears and innuendo. After Reagan (and the Gipper himself was horribly maligned in his day) there was the terrible smearing of Dan Quayle. Quayle was considered an up-and-coming Senator from Indiana when George H.W. Bush picked him to be his veep. Bush just tossed Quayle out there, and the media immediately tore into him, distorting comments he made and painting him as a fool and coward. Who can forget the infamous "Murphy Brown" incident where Quayle, attempting to point out the degeneration of moral standards in the entertainment field, criticized the television program Murphy Brown for having it's lead character have a child out of wedlock. He was immediately attacked with all vigor for not understanding that Brown was a fictional character - something he was quite aware was the case. Quayle was also attacked for using the then-common spelling of potato with an e on the end POTATOE while judging a local spelling bee - something the question card he was given actually used. None of this would have been newsworthy in another Administration, and indeed the media has ignored far more aggregious mistakes by people like Al Gore (who claimed the center of the Earth was millions of degrees) or Barack "57 states" Obama. The point was they needed to marginalize Quayle - and they did a good job of it. Rich Noyes analyzes the similary between the coming attacks on Paul Ryan and the hatchet job on Mr. Quayle at newsbusters. Consider the abuse taken by Dick Cheney, who was likened by the media to Darth Vader and attacked unmercifully by the media. Consider the total destruction of Sarah Palin. The media still falsely reports that Palin claimed she could see Russia from her home (that was, in fact, a Saturday Night Live parody by Tina Fay). They sent an army of journalists to Wasilla Alaska to dig up dirt on the then Alaskan governor. They have accused her of being stupid, greedy, abusive, of having lied about her Downs Syndrome child Trig being hers (the claim is it is her daughters child), they have let stand innuendo that her husband fathered Trig with her daughter, and a host of other absolutely horrendous accusations have poured forth from the poison media pen. Now some conservatives are upset that Paul Ryan has been picked by Mitt Romney. I fear the Romney camp may not give Ryan the support he needs, but calling this a catastrophe is no just premature, but evidence of hysteria and/or intellectual vacuuity. Tara Servatius makes the case that, somehow, Ryan will be solely about Medicare and that is all the public will see; a guy who wants to leave old people out in the cold. But she fails to understand that the media would make this assertion no matter who is chosen, and the key to dealing with this is to fight back. Ryan, bringing the conversation back to economic issues, does no favors for the Obama camp; they want the argument to be over Romney's tax returns, or gay marriage, or any topic that doesn't remind the public of exactly how bad things are today. All that is needed is for Romney to let Ryan loose, which is precisely what the McCain camp refused to do for Palin. They straightjacketed her and it is claimed some of Romney's advisors even fed rumors against her, hoping McCain would toss her from the ticket. If these same people get into a position to hurt Ryan it is doubtful he'll receive better treatment, but if Romney is serious about winning he'll set Ryan loose. In a war of ideas Ryan will chew the opposition to pulp. Victory does not go to the timid, and the pucillanimous on our side are playing into the hands of the enemy. Now is the time to fight. We've seen this before, and should be ready for it. This is not something unusual; why act as though it is? What can be gained by duck and cover, trying for a candidate who can't be touched? No such candidate exists. Richard Nixon was the perfect example of the unappeasable nature of the media; he was quite liberal, ending Vietnam, opening china, advancing the welfare state, promoting civil rights law, appointing liberal judges to the courts, yet the media still hated him. You can't win and we shouldn't be trying. We should be fighting, not pleasing, the media. When will our side learn this simple truth?

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