IGNORING STORIES LIKE THIS PROTECTS ... REPUBLICANS
Predictably, main object of right-wing bloggers' wrath this morning is a piece by New York Times ombudsman Clark Hoyt about the paper's response to the ACORN-video story. The paper didn't have enough coverage of the videos for the righties' tastes, or, we now learn, for Hoyt's, and the righties think it's obvious that the Times was protecting Democrats, liberals, and ACORN.
I'm going to make a case that the Times was protecting Republicans.
Or to put it another way: the Times was protecting its image of Republicans from any contact with the reality of what Republicans are now.
Some editors told me they were not immediately aware of the Acorn videos on Fox, YouTube and a new conservative Web site called BigGovernment.com.
Well, of course they weren't. To those editors, the GOP and the conservative movement are made up of the fine right-wingers the editors meet at Georgetown cocktail parties. Those fine folks have nothing to do with this, this ... online/Fox News rabble. Right?
Institutionally, the Times believes that Republicans are wonderful fellows and gals, friendly, collegial, patriotic, and devoted to the best interests of the nation. Frank Rich and Paul Krugman and a couple of other opinion columnists (even Tom Friedman these days) may recognize that that isn't so, but a long tradition of thinking well of the major players inside the Beltway is still obvious in the straight-news political coverage in the Times and other major media outlets.
That's why these outlets have essentially ignored talk radio for twenty years. That's why they often ignore books by right-wing rabble-rousers. If they paid attention to the radicalism that is now mainstream in the GOP -- that is the minstream of the GOP now -- they'd have to stop thinking of Republicans as good citizens acting in good faith for all of America's betterment.
So they pretend all that tossing of stink bombs isn't happening. They pretend GOP pols are open-minded, and not in thrall to the bomb-throwers. They pretend that, if they ignore what the bomb-throwers are saying and doing, it'll all fade into irrelevance, and they and the pols and pundits can all have lovely times together over drinks.
Is the press protecting Democrats, too? If so, it's protecting Democrats who endorse what ACORN does in its best moments and don't endorse its worst sins.
Republicans, on the other hand, are currently embracing some of the craziest and most irresponsible ideas and notions on the right. They're joining hands with irresonsible people precisely because they're saying and doing irresponsible things.
And the Times doesn't want to believe that. So, with regard to the right, it sees, hears, and speaks no evil.