"Mainstream media" (MSM) never was an accurate representation of what this country's major print and broadcast news sources are and what they do. "Mainstream" is defined, when used as an adjective, as "representing the prevailing attitudes, values and practices of a society or group." The media, as a group, certainly has a set of prevailing attitudes, values and practices, but they are not those of American society, rather only representative of the more liberal elements of American society. It was when talk radio icon Rush Limbaugh eschewed the oxymoronic "MSM" appellation and coined the more appropriate term "drive-by media" (DBM) that we get a fitting label for today's
fifth column Fourth Estate.
According to a Rasmussen poll conducted earlier this month, a majority of those surveyed believe that the DBM is not only biased against GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, but it is actively working to do her in:
Over half of U.S. voters (51%) think reporters are trying to hurt Sarah Palin with their news coverage, and 24% say those stories make them more likely to vote for Republican presidential candidate John McCain in November.
If this same poll were to be taken today, I'd wager that 51% figure would have only moved higher, for the DBM has increased both the frequency and the ferocity of its attacks on Gov. Palin. Rasmusssen's study was conducted prior to the two major network interviews of Palin, first by ABC's Charles Gibson one week after the poll, and this week by CBS' Katie Couric.
While ABC and CBS have have been setting Gov. Palin up, NBC has been busy knocking her down. Human Events editor Jed Babbin accurately described the two NBC networks as "Obama surrogates" in a column two weeks ago. More recently, MSNBC's Three Stooges for Obama - Chris Matthews, Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow - have been flying daily carpet bombing sorties against Palin, and even that network's morning show host, former GOP congressman Joe Scarborough, has cast himself in the role of The Fourth Stooge (not sure if he's Shemp or Emil Sitka) with his cluck-clucking this week about how Sarah's answers to Katie's questions just go to show that she's "not ready" for all of this running-for-VP business.
CNN, for its part, seems to be only too happy to cut and paste false information about Palin from the Left's nutroots websites in the form of doctored photos, distorted quotes and outright lies clearly intended to smear the Alaska governor and her family.
Virtually unheard, in all this DBM Palin-bashing, is any attempt at showing balance by giving equal time and space to Gov. Palin's Democrat counterpart Sen. Joe Biden. Indeed, any rational analysis of the two vice presidential candidates shows that Biden is one who's not ready for prime time.
Which of the two is more of a drag on his or her respective presidential ticket? The DBM would have voters believe that Palin is hurting John McCain because her answers to "gotcha" questions from Gibson and Couric were less than smoothly handled. Oh, really? Let's test that hypothesis.
Even liberal print outlets Washington Post and San Fancisco Chronicle have been forced to admit that Gov. Palin has energized the Republican Party's base. Moreover, Gallup polling indicates that John McCain's selection of Palin has broadened support for his ticket among a crucial voter demographic - independent swing voters. In another key demographic, white women, the addition of Gov. Palin to McCain's ticket has resulted in a major payoff, according to an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll:
Before the Democratic National Convention in late August, Obama held an 8-point lead among white women voters, 50 percent to 42 percent, according to the Washington Post/ABC News poll. After the Republican convention in early September, McCain was ahead by 12 points among white women, 53 percent to 41 percent, that survey found.
A 20-point reversal is not just significant; it is nothing short of dramatic. Rather than being a drag on the GOP ticket, as the DBM's talking heads claim, we see that the reverse is true.
So how is Sen. Joe Biden helping Sen. Barack Obama's ticket? Hot Air's Allahpundit points out that twice in just 18 hours this week, Biden undermined his own campaign. He criticized an official Obama Campaign ad, and he gaffed big time by directly contradicting Obama's clean coal policy. In the critical battleground states of Pennsylvania and Virginia, which both also happen to be coal states with significant numbers of United Mine Workers members among their respective populations, such self-inflicted wounds could prove to be fatal.
These are just two very recent examples of a well-known Biden characteristic - like the oppositely-charged poles of two bar magnets, his foot and his mouth share a mutual attraction. Unlike McCain's choice of Palin, Obama's pick of Biden to be his running mate resulted in no significant bounce in the numbers for the Democrat's presidential nominee.
Yet the media assault on Sarah Palin continues unabated. It makes one wonder, "What are they thinking?" We have already seen the potential for a major boomerang effect which could knock the DBM out cold and send the Democrats reeling. In an op-ed for Real Clear Politics, Robert Tracinski observes:
I have never seen anything like the wave of hostility and contempt aimed at Sarah Palin from the moment she was nominated. This press partisanship is a crucial part of the story, because it explains the difficulty of discovering who Sarah Palin is. And ironically, the pompous hostility of the press has served as a foil which Palin has used to increase her popular appeal.
In the final analysis, the media assault on Sarah Palin could be as damaging to Obama's campaign as the loose and loaded cannon that is Joe biden's mouth. But have the talking heads of the DBM and other Democrat operatives noticed? The constrast between Gov. Palin and Sen. Biden, as well as the potential ramifications to their respective presidential tickets, is conspicuously absent from their list of talking points.