George V. Reilly

Defining Issue of Our Time

Clinton and Whitewater

Jamison Foser writes on the defining issue of our time:

The defining issue of our time is not the Iraq war. It is not the "global war on terror." It is not our inability (or un­will­ing­ness) to ensure that all Americans have access to affordable health care. Nor is it im­mi­gra­tion, out­sourc­ing, or growing income inequity. It is not education, it is not global warming, and it is not Social Security.

The defining issue of our time is the media.

The dominant political force of our time is not Karl Rove or the Christian Right or Bill Clinton. It is not the ruth­less­ness or the tactical and strategic su­pe­ri­or­i­ty of the Re­pub­li­cans, and it is not your favorite theory about what is wrong with the Democrats.

The dominant political force of our time is the media.

Time after time, the news media have covered pro­gres­sives and con­ser­v­a­tives in wildly different ways – and, time after time, they do so to the benefit of con­ser­v­a­tives.

Consider the last two presidents. Bill Clinton faced near-constant media obsession with his "scandals," while George W. Bush has gotten off com­par­a­tive­ly easy.

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At this point, you’d have to be blind to miss the pattern. Every prominent pro­gres­sive leader who comes along is openly derided in the media as fake, dishonest, conniving, out-of-the-mainstream, and weak. We simply can’t continue to chalk this up to short­com­ings on the part of Democratic candidates or their staff and con­sul­tants. It’s all too clear that this will happen regardless of who the candidate or leader is; regardless of who works for him or her. The smearing of Jack Murtha should prove that to anyone who still doubts it.

Look what happened to Al Gore in the run-up to the 2000 election versus how George Bush was treated then by the media. Gore, the well-qualified candidate, was subjected to an endless barrage of ridiculous stories accusing him of everything from fraud­u­lent­ly claiming to have invented the Internet, to being the in­spi­ra­tion for Love Story. Meanwhile, Bush was making all kinds of nonsense claims for his tax cuts, and his insider trading at Harken was being completely overlooked.

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