Last week, President Obama spoke to a large gathering of journalists at a luncheon sponsored by the Associated Press. “Spoke” isn’t exactly the right word. He chided them:
“This bears on your reporting … I think that there is oftentimes the impulse to suggest that if the two parties are disagreeing, then they’re equally at fault and the truth lies somewhere in the middle. And an equivalence is presented, which I think reinforces peoples’ cynicism about Washington in general. This is not one of those situations where there’s an equivalency.”
His words sounded familiar.
At the opening day of the Take Back the American Dream Conference early last October, Katrina vanden Heuvel launched a surprising, counterintuitive attack at the media, accusing them of “media malpractice,” because they “[buy] into the fraud of balance.” She said the mainstream media had ignored events such as the then-nascent Occupy Wall Street movement and the previous week’s Keystone XL pipeline protest in front of the White House, where hundreds of participants had been arrested. (One person at my table quipped: “The media ignores 1,500 environmental protesters being arrested in front of the White House while covering everything the Tea Party says or does. This country doesn’t even have 1,500 Tea Party members! It’s all a mirage!”)
Ms. vanden Heuvel continued: “Our views are vastly more in sync with the majority of the nation [than the Tea Party’s] because the mainstream media think we are only a marginal group. Yet we [progressives] are the mainstream!
“The right is enthralled with extremes … . Due to their religious fanaticism, the right doesn’t believe in truth.” In fact, “The right lives in an alternative reality … the right is not tethered to the truth … . So why does the mainstream media feel it needs to tell both sides of the story, when there is really only one [true story]?”
At the time, her claim that the traditional media ignore the left and cater to the right surprised many Tea Partyers and conservatives. Though her claim came across to many as disingenuous, it turns out that her words foreshadowed the president’s message to journalists at the AP luncheon.
Echoing both the president and Ms. vanden Heuvel, liberal talk-show radio host Bill Press recently insisted there is an “imbalance in the media today,” placing liberals and their message “at a big disadvantage.”
“We have to get the message out, the truth out to counter the lies from the other side. It’s tough to do when there is such an imbalance in the media today … . Of 2,000 news talk stations in this country today, there are maybe 50 - I’ll be generous, 50 - that are progressive talk stations - 1,940 of them are all right-wing all the time. So they start off at a huge advantage, and they also have Fox News. Now, we’ve got MSNBC and now we have Current TV, but MS[NBC] is not all-progressive all day long, and Current doesn’t even have a full day of programming - yet.”
While many might be tempted to chuckle at this now-recurring message, it is a signal that the groundwork is being laid for events that will surround and define the 2012 ideological battle for the White House, the Capitol and statehouses across the country.
Last October, the Take Back the American Dream Conference in Washington was poorly attended, so the organizers are taking a mulligan and doing it all over again in June. The Occupy Wall Street movement, only a couple weeks old in early fall 2011, has practiced and is ready to go. The liberal intelligentsia’s cadre of academia, media and political activists have taken months to hone their message and attack. The Occupy movement has been embraced and glorified by all of these to the same degree that they have rejected and demonized the Tea Party movement and conservatives.
The movement, a full frontal attack on the cohesiveness of America, is increasingly the message of the president. The two are becoming one. If America is viewed metaphorically as a human body, the White House and liberal activists are attacking the body’s sinews, undermining and untethering the goodwill and trust that hold us together.
We are being pitted race against race, gender against gender, economic strata against economic strata, sexual orientation against sexual orientation, religion against religion.
The president is leading us into these new wars, and now he most definitely is not “leading from behind.”
Doug Mainwaring is a co-founder of the National Capital Tea Party Patriots.
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