That’s because the Right has created a reality where anyone who isn’t explicitly Rush Limbaugh is deemed to be a “liberal” (hence, Donaldson likely qualifies) and no actual liberal ever needs to be included. That’s how we have a “liberal media” where the principal rule is that actual liberals are systematically excluded, and it’s why the ascent of Olbermann (who is, in fact, far more of a Bush critic than a doctrinaire liberal) has created such turmoil — because it violates that central rule prohibiting liberals from appearing in the Liberal Media.
This is standard operating procedure for conservative candidates and supporters up and down the ticket. If a Republican candidate for say, the Legislature is caught telling bald-faced lies, they simply blame “the liberal media” and their unthinking supporters simply don’t have to deal with the fact their chosen candidate is a flat-out liar. (And by lies, let’s be clear: every politician puts spin on things. I’m talking about just making stuff up, like fake statistics and credentials or saying one opposed a spending project when one supported it. Just for example. And no, it’s not the same as the parliamentary games Republicans are so fond of playing, where cheap procedural stunts are used with an eye to future political attacks.)
One can argue that the telling of bald-faced lies while daring anyone to call them on it is now the raison d’etre of the Republican Party. I mean, the whole “lower taxes and less spending” thing isn’t exactly working out for them, given wars and economic scandals. The more libertarian wing is just as disgusted with them as we are.
Since Democratic candidates will rarely resort to actually calling their opponents liars, as it is still somehow considered bad manners, the GOP tactic of bald-faced lies works to engage and enrage the GOP base, cow some media outlets, and neuter Democrats. The Republicans learned a savage and twisted lesson from Watergate: you can’t get away with criminality and corruption if there is an objective press. The ability to lie and get away with it is fundamental to the GOP approach.
When confronted with their lies, Republicans start screaming and hyper-ventilating about “elitism” or “bias” or whatever their baloney of the moment happens to be, whether it’s Freedom Fries or Brain Dead Women Who Smile. And far too often, the suits who hire journalists retreat into reflexive “both sides do it” excuse-making.
I know, I know. Telling the truth isn’t enough, as George Lakoff argues. But I’m not a social scientist nor am I clever enough to be framing things all the time. All I know is that in a world of two second sound bytes complex discussions stand little chance. Thus the Republicans’ moronic chanting of “drill, drill drill” as if energy policy were a football game. It’s the triumph of the Know Nothings paired with a soupçon of two minute hate.
It’s no secret that American journalism is in a bad way, and at a (perhaps final) crossroads. The GOP is daring journalists to expose the lies or STFU. It’s worth noting that there will continue to be individual journalists who rise to the challenge, but overall the traditional media has yet to recover from the yellow journalism it engaged in during the lie-up to war. But hey, first they came for the journalists and I’m not a journalist and all that.
Don’t get me wrong. When Democrats lie, obfuscate or otherwise engage in bad actions, they should be called on it. If they had been held more accountable maybe some of the outrages of the last seven years might have been mitigated a wee bit.
Sadly, General-Electric-NBC has made its position clear. Repeat the zombie lie enough and they will give in.
You have to wonder how many other outlets will do the same.