This yr’s midterm elections turned out to be a draw: Republicans gained sufficient seats within the U.S. Home to take the bulk for the primary time in 4 years, however misplaced a seat within the U.S. Senate, leaving Democrats in management. But in comparison with different midterms, when the social gathering within the White Home misplaced way more seats in Congress, it appeared as if Biden’s Democrats dodged a bullet.
Liberal (and a few non-liberal) information organizations blamed the “excessive” components of the GOP for profitable fewer-than-expected seats. “Throughout the nation, many Republicans who ran on this yr’s midterms selling far-right platforms on points comparable to abortion, elections, LGBTQ rights and different subjects misplaced their races, even in some surprising locations the place the GOP was favored to win,” the Washington Post’s Colby Itkowitz typically argued Monday.
Twenty years in the past, nonetheless, the shoe was on the opposite foot, with Democrats failing to understand the normal historic positive aspects of the social gathering not accountable for the White Home. The truth is, they did worse than the GOP did this yr: As an alternative of gaining seats within the 2002 midterms, Democrats lost eight in the House, leaving Republicans in cost; within the Senate, management switched from Democrats to Republicans after a internet acquire of two seats for the GOP.
However as a substitute of blaming the “candidate high quality” of that yr’s Democrats, or a celebration message that was out of synch with voters, liberal pundits whined that the true drawback was that the media have been too slanted in direction of conservatives for liberals to get a good shake. That’s proper, a pro-conservative press.
“A number of the main broadcast media are merely biased in favor of the Republicans, whereas the remaining are likely to blur variations between the events,” New York Occasions columnist Paul Krugman complained in a November 8, 2002 op-ed. “Speak radio and Fox Information let the arduous proper get its message out to its supporters, whereas those that oppose the juggernaut keep dwelling as a result of they do not get the sense that the Democrats provide an actual various.”
Krugman’s recommendation: “Democrats ought to complain as loudly about the true conservative bias of the media because the Republicans complain about its completely legendary liberal bias.”
“Even when Democrats pull collectively on some massive points, they’ll nonetheless have to beat GOP bully pulpits within the White Home and Congress — and a brand new actuality: conservative bias within the media,”Time employees author Josh Tyrangiel claimed in his journal’s November 18, 2002 version.
“There’s little doubt that the editorial web page of the Wall Avenue Journal or the Washington Occasions or the New York Submit or the commentary on Fox, is conservative and I feel that they [Democrats] are extraordinarily annoyed…they really feel that they will’t get their message out…” NPR’s Mara Liasson channeled on the December 1, 2002 Fox Information Sunday.
Fellow panelist Juan Williams, who was additionally with NPR on the time, agreed with the annoyed Democrats: “It appears to me that there’s some reality to it.”
In fact, the premise that the alphabet soup of multinational media organizations have been all nonpartisan, and the one media bias existed at Fox and conservative speak radio, was simply as laughable then as it’s right this moment. Witness the response on PBS to the slight Republican majorities produced by the 2002 midterms, as host Invoice Moyers freaked out about how the “monopoly” authorities would promote George W. Bush’s “radical” agenda:
“All the federal authorities — the Congress, the chief, the courts — is united behind a right-wing agenda for which George W. Bush believes he now has a mandate. That agenda consists of the facility of the state to power pregnant girls to give up management over their very own lives. It consists of utilizing the taxing energy to switch wealth from working individuals to the wealthy. It consists of giving companies a free hand to eviscerate the surroundings and management the regulatory businesses meant to carry them accountable. And it consists of secrecy on a scale you can’t think about. “Above all, it means judges with a political agenda appointed for all times. In the event you just like the Supreme Courtroom that put George W. Bush within the White Home, you’ll swoon over what’s coming. And in case you like God in authorities, prepare for the Rapture…. “So it’s a heady time in Washington, a heady time for piety, income and army energy, all joined on the hip by ideology and cash. Don’t neglect the cash….Republicans out-raised Democrats by $184 million and so they got here up with the massive prize: monopoly management of the American authorities and the facility of the state to show their radical ideology into the legislation of the land. Fairly a cut price at any worth.” — Host Invoice Moyers on PBS’s Now, November 8, 2002.
Loopy, unsuitable, and hardly non-partisan. However deaf to the nonsense they have been spouting, liberal pundits most popular to blamed Fox Information.
For extra examples from our flashback collection, which we name The NewsBusters Time Machine, go here.