“…They (traditional networks, CNN, NYT etc.) would like to attack any Republican. They’re attacking the governor (Romney). They’re attacking me. I’m sure they’ll presently get around to Senator Santorum and Congressman Paul. I am tired of the elite media protecting Barack Obama by attacking Republicans.”

I think the destructive, vicious, negative nature of much of the news media makes it harder to govern this country, harder to attract decent people to run for public office. And I am appalled that you would begin a presidential debate on a topic like that (allegations of marital infidelity).”  – Newt Gingrich in his heated exchange with CNN Moderator John King, Jan. 19, 2012.

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Even though Newt Gingrich has a propensity for being a loose cannon, I know that his opening response in Thursday night’s debate resonated with conservatives across the fruited plain. He may even win the South Carolina Republican presidential primary tonight at least in part as a result of his exchange with the CNN moderator.

And it reminded me of the double-standard in American politics.

If you a press secretary for a Democrat governor, senator or House member, you wake up each morning knowing that you have one unchanging and unyielding political enemy, the Republicans.

If you are a press secretary for a Republican governor, senator or House member, you wake up each morning knowing that you have two unchanging and unyielding political enemies, the Democrats and the news media.

In my case, I served as the press director of the Deukmejian Campaign Committee in 1982; the assistant press secretary to former California Governor George Deukmejian from 1983-85; the deputy press secretary from 1985-87; and the governor’s press secretary from 1987-89. I knew the double standard back then as a press secretary to a Republican chief executive, and I know it now…Your job as a political spokesperson and message crafter is doubly tough if you work on the GOP side of the aisle.

There are current and former members of the Fourth Estate upon reading these words, who will vehemently disagree with me and try to dismiss my contention as partisan sour grapes. Then there were the people cheering Newt and nodding their heads affirmatively in Charleston, S.C. on Thursday night.

The following night, Bill O’Reilly in his “Talking Points” said that American media is “invested” in liberal politics, pointing to a 2008 Pew Research study that revealed that Americans believe the media supported Barack Obama over John McCain by a 70 percent to 9 percent margin. Surveys of reporters themselves revealed only 8 percent identify themselves as conservative (surprised it was that high).

Some may immediately dismiss this analysis because it emanates from Fox News, which is just the point. Where are conservatives going to get a fair and balanced hearing? MSNBC? The same network that asked Al Sharpton, Lawrence O’Donnell and Rachel Maddow to provide their “impartial” commentary of the New Hampshire Republican presidential primary? Was Mikhail Gorbachev booked that night? Maybe, we could turn to NBC News where Brian Williams could ask Chelsea Clinton for her opinion? Is it too late for Dan Rather to make a comeback? I could go on, but I believe you have the point.

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A very sore subject between Governor Deukmejian’s office and the LA Times, the largest newspaper in California, concerned the impartiality of the newspaper’s poll conducted by Irwin A. “Bud” Lewis.

There was no secret that the Times wanted former Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley elected governor in 1982 and 1986. And for some inexplicable reason the Bud Lewis poll would reliably and consistently reveal that Bradley was faring better against Deukmejian than the other public opinion polls. Was the LA Times poll meant to reflect public opinion or to actually drive public opinion, and help Bradley raise needed campaign cash?

Sorry even a generation later, even though I offer no smoking gun, nobody can convince me that the LA Times was not engaging in Enron-style cooking of the numbers to benefit the anointed one. By the way, we won the closest gubernatorial election in 1982, and achieved the biggest landslide in California’s political history, beating Bradley by a 61-37 percent margin in 1986.

Today, when I see polls being conducted for the New York Times-CBS News or ABC News-Washington Post, I immediately think of the official sponsor and not the results. If these polls can be slanted just a sliver, just a smidge to give more hope, more comfort and build morale for those that mirror their editorial policies, well I guess that is the way it is. Isn’t the role of the media to comfort the afflicted (the liberals) and afflict the comfortable (the conservatives)?

Conservative cries about the double standard are not new and neither are the elitist media responses. The ivory-tower crowd in New York, Washington D.C. and Los Angeles will dismiss these assertions by pointing back to Spiro Agnew’s statement (written by speech writer and later NY Times op-ed writer William Safire) about the “Nattering nabobs of negativism.” The strategy then and the strategy now is to discredit the message, regardless of its credibility, by tying it to one of the most disdained figures in American history.

For conservatives, they still remember Dan Rather’s live cat fight with then Vice President George H.W. Bush. They remember “Rathergate” and the totally discredited 60 Minutes attack on President George W. Bush’s National Guard service. And now they have John King using the opening question to shame Newt Gingrich. Come on John, couldn’t you have waited until the middle of the debate before springing the infidelity question?

My words will never convince those who refuse to be convinced, but then I weigh the impressive ratings success of Fox News. Is it because the network is indeed “fair and balanced?” Or is it because conservatives have long last found a place where their views and values have at least a snowball’s chance of being fairly presented. Sorry Keith Olbermann, you will never be considered to be fair and balanced…and in fact, I don’t think the word “balanced” will ever apply.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/us-election/9026857/US-election-2012-Newt-Gingrichs-fiery-exchange-with-CNNs-John-King-transcript-in-full.html

http://www.foxnews.com/on-air/oreilly/index.html

http://www.latimes.com/la-histpoll,0,5275501.htmlstory

http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/attytood/Nabobs_natter_about_the_passing_of_William_Safire_1929-2009.html

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