The latest example is to be found from MSNBC’s John Heilemann, who, in a discussion with ex-Bush 43 White House alum-turned-MSNBC host Nicole Wallace, said the following in a discussion of Alabama Judge Roy Moore. Wallace asked:
“[W]hy can’t anyone — and I guess it’s the same question I have about Donald Trump, you know, why is someone accused of predatory sexual conduct who’s a Republican like Roy Moore or Donald Trump given the hands-off treatment and everyone who leans left or is a media figure crucified?”
To which Heilemann replied, bold print supplied:
“Because Sean Hannity and Fox News are a totally corrupt enterprise that have nothing to do with journalism or principle and everything to do with advancing an ideological agenda. [A]ll their behavior is totally predictable on that, on those grounds. That’s what they do every day on every story. And that — this is just — this is a particularly galling, grotesque example. You would like to think that in this realm that we would not care about tribal — about tribes, partisan tribes or ideological tribes. But the whole Fox News empire and its entire reason for being, its profit motive, its business model, is built not, again, on journalism, but on advancing that agenda. And they are — again, we have tribalism in every area, but for Fox News it goes all the way, even to this area, where you’d think that it would be the one place where it wouldn’t be the case.”
John Heilemann is a smart guy. He co-writes interesting books with pal Mark Halperin. So what in the world would lead him to say something that is so obviously deceitful?
The fact is that Fox News was created at the instance of Rupert Murdoch and the late Roger Ailes precisely because they knew millions of Americans believed that when they turned on broadcast network newscasts or CNN what they were seeing all of the time, every time, was, to borrow from Heilemann, a Liberal State Media that was collectively a “totally corrupt enterprise” having nothing to do with journalism or principle and everything to do with advancing an ideological agenda.”
Let me borrow again from Heilemann and rephrase him: “But the whole Liberal State Media empire and its entire reason for being, its profit motive, its business model, is built not, again, on journalism, but on advancing that liberal agenda.”
To be clear, as what I call a First Amendment Fundamentalist I don’t want Heilemann to shut up much less do I want either him or his network shut down. I simply reject the idea that the Liberal State Media is out there presenting the news in agenda-less fashion. What Heilemann passingly describes by saying “we have tribalism in every area” is a breathtaking understatement of the fact so many Americans see his network and other broadcast, cable and print outlets as relentless purveyors of the liberal narrative about just about everyone and everything from political figures to economic, religious, cultural and even sports issues.
As this is written here are the stories MSNBC lists as its leading stories:
• Kushner asked for info about ‘Russian backdoor overture’
• This Panama tower carries Trump’s name — and ties to organized crime
• Dossier author says Trump’s Russia deal deserve investigation
• Roy Moore trails Democrat Doug Jones in latest poll
• Senators get into a tax reform shouting match
• Millions of kids may lose health care because Congress missed a deadline
• GOP tax overhaul would create American dynasties
• GOP, Dems ask for ethics investigation after Franken news
There are eight headline stories there. All of them designed to push a liberal narrative. As this conservative reads them they sound more like this:
* We have proof of Trump-Russia collusion that stole the election
* The President of the United States is allied with organized crime
* We have more proof of Trump-Russia collusion that stole the election
* Roy Moore is a nut and loser and all these negative stories about Roy Moore that we
* Refused to credit with Bill and Hillary Clinton are catching up to him.
* Tax cuts for the rich are not going to get passed without a fight
* Those cold-hearted, greedy Republicans are at it again, children hardest hit
* Tax cuts for the rich will create more Trump families; nightmare ahead
* Okay, Franken should be investigated but if Moore is elected we will throw him out
Decades worth of stories setting the liberal narrative of the moment like these headlined at MSNBC have poured forth from the Liberal State Media. The issue could be sexual harassment – evil if you are black conservative Clarence Thomas, a knee-slapping “it’s only about sex” if it involves Bill Clinton. Or it could be anything else.
While this is, strictly speaking, not a media issue, the latter point of liberal narratives and the liberal agenda has been perfectly illustrated in the case of Florida Republican Congressman Carlos Curbelo. Here’s the headline from the Wall Street Journal:
No Republicans Need Apply
Congressional Hispanic Caucus rejects Cuban-American legislator.
The editorial says, in part, this, bold print supplied:
“Carlos Curbelo sure seems to qualify as Hispanic. He’s the son of a Cuban father and mother who fled the Castro regime. He speaks Spanish. And as the Congressman for Florida’s 26th district—which includes the Florida Keys and parts of Miami-Dade County—it would seem only natural to join the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, as Mr. Curbelo has been asking to do since January.
Only one problem: Mr. Curbelo is a Republican. And though there was a day when the Congressional Hispanic Caucus had GOP members, that was years ago. This week the caucus rejected Mr. Curbelo’s bid for membership.
…You might think the Congressional Hispanic Caucus would welcome the chance to admit a Republican and reject the idea that all Hispanics are expected to think alike…..
But the caucus opted to keep it a one-party organization. Caucus spokesman Carlos Paz Jr. put it this way: ‘The CHC isn’t just an organization for Hispanics; it is a caucus that represents certain values. This vote reflects the position of many of our members that Rep. Curbelo and his record are not consistent with those values.’
…The group can set any rules it wants, including for membership. But with this decision the Congressional Hispanic Caucus has confirmed what many critics have long alleged: that the organization is less about advancing Hispanics than advancing liberal Democratic priorities. Good to have the caucus make it official.”
This small but significant story is merely the congressional version of what John Heilemann is saying in terms of the media. In the case of Congressman Curbelo, the truth outs that the Congressional Hispanic Caucus is not really about being Hispanic it’s about being liberal and pushing the liberal agenda.
In the case of John Heilemann and his charge against Fox as pushing an agenda? Same song, different verse. The problem is that as the Hispanic Caucus believes being Hispanic is synonymous with being liberal and pushing the liberal agenda, so too Heilemann believes a television network and the journalists and commentators it employs must be synonymous with pushing the liberal agenda.
And if that doesn’t happen? If the network – Fox News in this case – dares to diverge from the agenda of the Liberal State Media? Then in the eyes of John Heilemann it is nothing more than “a totally corrupt enterprise that have nothing to do with journalism or principle and everything to do with advancing an ideological agenda.”
No liberal agenda bias there.
Does it ever occur to Heilemann that the reverse is actually true? That the Liberal State Media is a “totally corrupt enterprise that have nothing to do with journalism or principle and everything to do with advancing an ideological agenda?”
Are you kidding?