I have long had a rather simplistic belief that American political power was properly seen as a tug-of-war rather than a pendulum. For decades, the left was sort of holding on to the rope with one hand, checking out the scenery, enjoying the fruits of the New Deal and tolerant social change and forgetting that they had to put all their weight into the game or the other side would pull them completely over the center line. The 1994 Republican Revolution jerked me awake and I watched in horror for the next decade. Over that period many more liberals woke up to the fact that we were no longer standing firmly on our side of the line anymore. I realized that the "third way" stance the Democrats had taken during the late 80's had been a brief tactical success, but a long term strategic mistake. In the tug of war, you simply can't rely on the other side, particularly when its infused with revolutionary fervor, to stop pulling once you reach the "middle."Bob Somerby also takes a riff off the E.J. Dionne article that sparked Digby's imagination, noting that serious criticism, by liberals, that the media had become a tool for the GOP did not begin with bloggers outraged by the Bush administration leading journalists around by the nose, or even the appearance of Fox News as an easy target, but rather it was their complicity with the Dog & Pony show that resulted in the Clinton impeachment -- when we all knew they would not and could not get enough Senate votes to remove him -- and should not do so for the reasons offered. This woke so many of us from our slumber, thinking Rush Limbaugh couldn't be as powerful as he kept telling us he was.
Here's what Dionne said that interested Digby and Somerby:
DIONNE (4/13/07): From the late 1960s until the past few years, media criticism was dominated by conservatives railing against a supposedly "liberal media." Hearing mostly from this one side, editors, publishers and producers looked constantly over their right shoulders, rarely imagining they could be biased against the left or too accommodating to Republican presidents. This was a great conservative victory.The right have been masters at opening Overton's Window wider and wider each day for decades. Every day they make outrageous claims, spread unbelievable rumors and factless factoids, and offer ridiculous suggestions into the cultural and political discourse -- not in an effort to have their unreasonable views adopted here and now, but to push the envelope of what reasonable people might think of as reasonable.
The Bush years have changed that. Aggressive media criticism is now the rule across the liberal blogs, and new monitoring organizations such as Media Matters for America police news reports for signs of Republican bias, often debunking charges against Democrats. When you combine liberal and conservative media criticism you get a result that is more or less fair and balanced. Score a net gain for liberals.
When the left wants option "A" and the right wants "C," a reasonable actor might think that "B" is the correct course. So, the right has been moving towards option "D" in the hopes that the left will abandon "A" and be relieved as long as "C" isn't adopted as it defends "B."
After 30 years of this tug-of-war, the right is now advocating "Q" and mocking "C" as a radical, leftist view.
Don't believe me? I heard Glenn Beck just this afternoon, snuggling up to Rudy Giuliani as they yucked it up over tax cuts and those damn socialists who were making life so difficult for them.
Yep, for advocating universal health care, something the country desires in overwhelming numbers, we are still being called commies. And still they have the gall to ask, no -- demand more fucking tax cuts.
Once and for all, you thick-headed throw-backs to feudalism -- TRICKLE DOWN DOESN'T WORK.
This all reminded me of something Glenn Greenwald wrote earlier this year when talking about the controversy involving the Edwards campaign bloggers:
As long as Matt Drudge -- and Rush Limbaugh and Fox News, etc. -- rule the world of national journalists, little can be accomplished on any front. Diluting their influence and forcing actual facts into these public discussions is of the utmost urgency, and the growing (though admittedly still incomplete) ability of the blogosphere to achieve that objective is the true significance of the Edwards story.Well, we won't have Don Imus to blame anymore, but sadly he was the least of our problems. Bigotry won't be eliminated without addressing the fundamental inequalities in this nation. The chasm between those who don't even have the opportunity to create their own American dream, and those that own that dream lock, stock and barrel is exploited and made deeper by what we've come to know as the right wing noise machine, all while wrapping themselves in the flag.
I'm sorry, patriotism does not mean clapping louder to mask the sound of ordinary Americans being ripped off by the corporate media elites clinking glasses full of 15 year-old scotch, paid for by the industrial/military complex and billed to the government under a cost-plus, no-bid contract.