Upward Mobility and Downward Quality of Reporting in the Nation’s Capital

Did you ever wonder why Kerry kept getting racked over the coals whenever he proposed something that was economically liberal? Why he was at best ignored at worst attacked when he didn’t spit in liberals faces, e.g. when he refused to cross a union picket line in the summer? I still remember that one, Kerry was attacked in the media for NOT pulling a Sister Souljah. I’m no fan of racism on the part of blacks or whites, but I don’t remember getting the memo saying race baiting was an acceptable way to win office. Oh well, at least Trent Lott did. But I digress.

Ever notice how any Democrat who supports anything that smacks of government regulation, increasing any kind of domestic spending, or criticizes the illegal anti-labor practices of behemoths like Wal-Mart is savaged in many corners of the press? Don’t even bother praising labor unions or any organization that fights for something other than a libertarian cause.

Jim Cullen in his book Born in the USA: Bruce Springsteen and the American Tradition in his discussion of Springsteen’s “Johnny 99” (1982) writes that “Contemporary Conservatives are fond of pointing out the need for personal responsibility in every day life. They typically have less to say about collective responsiblity, and the evils that occur when people are encouraged to think only of themselves and their families (or their shareholders)” (emphasis added). Why do I sense that Cullen and Tim Russert don’t do dinner that often? Frankly, when Kerry appeared on MTP in Jan. 2005 and called for higher taxes on the rich, I thought Russert’s head was gonna explode. Its hard to believe Russert once worked for Senator Pat Moynihan.

Yes a number of politicians and journalists make the same points as Cullen, and even make policy proposals to support collective responsibility. And sure some mainstream outlets praise these progressives, and there are liberal editorialists out there. No not all journalists are mini-Rush Limbaughs.

But lets face it: any critic of the Bush economic policies who doesn’t make the growth of budget deficits the main (or even only) point of their critique is at best thought to be a gadfly. If you ain’t talkin’ about the evils of deficits, your either an extreme lefty, behind the times of the new “information age”, a pessimist, or naive to the point of no return.

You wanna be socially liberal? OK fine. After all, if people didn’t view abortion, gay marriage, or gratuitous sex on TV as big political as opposed to personal issues, half the political talk show hosts in this country would be out of a job. But socially liberal or socially conservative it does not matter. Don’t come around here saying things about economics that might deal with the growing gap between rich and poor, or fairness, or taxing the rich. That might mean Americans (or more particularly, upper-income journalists) might have to (gasp!) sacrifice for the greater good.

While there have always been conservative journalists, the massive blind eye many journalists have turned to the down side of an unfettered market is a recent trend. Maybe I’m being parochial, but one of the greatest offenders of “see no evil in the market place” can be located at:
— Latitude: 38 degrees, 54 minutes, 12.8320 seconds.
— Longitude: 77 degrees, 02 minutes, 03.2666 seconds.

Its the Washington Post building ( my thanks to James Carville for the global coordinates). It seems as though the newspaper that courageously exposed Watergate is not living up to its past as an investigator of greed, malfeasance, and corruption, especially when it comes to the practices of business. Some at the Post cheer business on in its battle against labor unions and others opposed to corporations having maximum power. Sure you’ve got Walter Pincus and some others brave souls, but folks like these used to be the rule at the Post, now they’re the exception. So much for the “liberal media.”

As a daily reader of the Post (my hometown paper) I can vouch for what I’ve written. But if you want an independent analysis check out Amy Waldman’s “Class, Not Race” from the November 1995 edition of the Washington Monthly.

Sure the names have changed somewhat, but the driving analysis of this article is just as valid today as it was in 1995 (maybe even more so).

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About Nick

Teacher of Social Studies. Born in the 1970s. History major, music minor. Big Baseball fan. Economic progressive.
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One Response to Upward Mobility and Downward Quality of Reporting in the Nation’s Capital

  1. Nick

    Great points as always. Why don’t people get this stuff?