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Thursday, March 09, 2006
Kurtz on the Latest Conventional Wisdom

He's absolutely right about this:

In recent days, some new conventional wisdom has been hardening like ready-mix cement. To wit, Bush is in trouble, the Republicans are in trouble, Bush is in trouble with Republicans, and the litany of Iraq plus Katrina plus ports plus Miers plus eavesdropping puts the GOP in grave danger in 2006. But . . . the Democrats may be too disorganized to take advantage, thus fumbling away any chance to retake the House.

He cites recent stories in both the New York Times and Washington Post as evidence. But he's puzzled by this reaction from a Lefty blog:

"The entire thrust of this article is to promote the divide between Congressional Democrats and the rest of the party for, what I can only guess is, the purposes of sowing discontent. Between the previous articles that repeatedly revived the Congressional Dems vs. Howard Dean, and now Congressional Dems vs. all other Dems, we are left with the impression of the Washington Post as Republican stooge (truth be told, we already knew that)."

Republican stooge ? Here is who is quoted, by name, in the piece: Reps. Jim Cooper, Rahm Emanuel and Tom Carper, a Pelosi spokesman, Sens. Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer, and Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski. They all talk about grasping to find the right message. Since when did calling up politicians and interviewing them become for "the purposes of sowing discontent"? I had thought it was called reporting.

I strongly suspect that Kurtz has run into the "narratives favor Republicans" meme that is so popular among the liberal blogosphere right now. Peter Daou has been pushing this quite forcefully. I've read some of Peter's posts on this (over at the Huffpo rather than deal with Salon's watch-an-ad nonsense), and I can never quite get my mind around what he's trying to say. Peter seems an intelligent guy, but I feel like a blind man trying to understand the concept of color.

I know the assertion that [supposedly neutral or liberal] reporters favor rightwing narratives blows your mind; after all, the liberal media fiction is hard-wired into the right's political nervous system. But why should I believe your foregone conclusion that these people are left-leaning? Just because you say it with such conviction? Give me concrete examples of bias, not of negative coverage. (How can there not be negative coverage of the mess in Iraq? Or Katrina? Or the Plame outing? Or the NSA fiasco? Or do you want our media to simply fawn over the government? Is anything less than total pro-Bush propaganda considered media bias?)

One of the "narratives" that Peter gets angry about is "Dems have no message", and certainly that is the thrust of both the NY Times and the Washington Post articles, as Kurtz quotes:

"From Arizona to Pennsylvania, from Colorado to Connecticut, Democratic candidates for Congress are reading from a stack of different scripts these days...

"These scattershot messages reflect what officials in both parties say are vulnerabilities among Republicans on Capitol Hill, as well as President Bush's weakened political condition in this election year."

And of course, telling Lefty bloggers that, hey, we quoted Rahm Emanuel is not going to impress them. Emanuel gets about as much respect these days from the portside as Joe Lieberman.
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