J. D. Heyes
Oct 5, 2012
In a recent speech to an audience focused on the state of politics and the U.S. media, a Fox News contributor and former Democratic pollster lambasted the Fourth Estate for its lack of journalistic integrity and, in his words, an “overwhelming bias” that he sees as contributing to the demise of the country.
Patrick Caddell, in his Sept. 21 speech to attendees of the “Obamanation: A Day of Truth” conference hosted by Accuracy in Media, an organization that advocates “fairness, balance and accuracy in news reporting,” struck a dire tone, saying that today’s media is a shell of its former self and is more interested in rank partisanship than in legitimate coverage of news and events.
“I think we’re at the most dangerous time in our political history in terms of the balance of power in the role that the media plays in whether or not we maintain a free democracy or not,” Caddell said, noting that it used to be both Democrats and Republicans “despised” the press because reporters were tough on both sides.
“Which is exactly what they should be. They were unrelenting. Whatever the biases were, they were essentially equal-opportunity people,” he said.
Bias ‘very real and very dangerous’
But that all changed in the 1980s, especially during the presidential election cycle of then-Vice President George H. W. Bush and Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis, when the mainstream press “literally was trying to get Dukakis elected by ignoring what was happening in Massachusetts, with a candidate who was running on the platform of, ‘He will do for America what he did for Massachusetts’ – while they were on the verge of bankruptcy.”
More recently, Caddell said, press coverage of politics has been tainted in large part due to nepotism – “where people get jobs – they’re married to people who are in the administration, or in politics, whatever.”
The former pollster said a culmination of these and other elements has led to a situation today where the bias is so pervasive it “has become very real and very dangerous.”
Harkening back to the nation’s beginnings, he said the Founding Fathers were no fans of the press, but most of them, particularly Thomas Jefferson, were cognizant of the fact that a free press was necessary to keep government on all levels in check, hence the First Amendment.
“…Jefferson said, that in order to have a free country, in order to be a free people, we needed a free press. That was the job,” said Caddell.
He said the founders designed a government that was replete with checks and balances but that the press was supposed to be devoid of them, and therefore free to investigate and report on the excesses and abuses of those in power, as a way to keep them honest in their roles as public servants.
“We designed a constitutional system with many checks and balances,” he said in a speech he titled, “The Audacity of Corruption,” likely channeling President Obama’s book, “The Audacity of Hope.”
“The one that had no checks and balances was the press, and that was done under an implicit understanding that, somehow, the press would protect the people from the government and the power by telling – somehow allowing – people to have the truth. That is being abrogated as we speak, and has been for some time,” Caddell said.
Money for nothing?
As an example of the kind of dangerous bias he has increasingly witnessed, the Fox News contributor recounted an incident involving David Plouffe, senior White House adviser.
Caddell said the administration-friendly media (which is most of it) has completely ignored the fact that Plouffe was recently offered $100,000 from an “Iranian front group” to give a pair of speeches in Nigeria.
“Now, let me tell you: There’s nobody that hands – no stranger gives you $100,000 and doesn’t expect something in return, unless you live in a world that I don’t. And no one has raised this in the mainstream media,” he said.
There is much more from this political media insider here.
This article was posted: Friday, October 5, 2012 at 3:00 am