- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 21, 2006

‘Perfect medium’

“[A]fter the example of ‘Fahrenheit 911,’ liberals have now hit the screen with a barrage of documentaries — ‘The U.S. versus John Lennon,’ ‘Al Franken: God Spoke’ — with lots more to come.

“The documentary is the perfect medium for the liberal message. It’s centralized, easily manipulated, and based on visual imagery rather than rational thought. Rush Limbaugh succeeds so well on radio because of the clarity of his analysis, not because of what he’s wearing or how he looks on camera. … Talk radio also allows listener feedback. The main attraction is the contribution of callers and the give-and-take with listeners.

“With the documentary, the filmmaker controls the show without interference from the audience. Interviews can be edited and sooner or later pretty talking heads will prevail.”

—William Tucker, writing on “Liberals Find Their Groove,” Tuesday in the American Spectator Online at www.spectator.org

‘West Wing’ dream

“No one would ever accuse ‘The West Wing’ of being anything but a defiantly liberal show. And in many ways, that was part of its charm: It wore its big-government liberal bona fides on its Brooks Brothers sleeves, dispensing with any of notion of cloaking its ideology in disingenuous objectivity. But for those who didn’t share the show’s political assumptions, it could also be frustrating to watch as series creator Aaron Sorkin orchestrated the show’s events to match his ideological agenda.

“The show set itself up as a paradigm for the liberal ideal of classy, intellectually respectable government that could — and would — fix all of society’s ills through well-funded programs and egalitarian idealism. … All you need, the show seemed to say, is a Nobel Prize winning economist professor from the Northeast to run the country, right?”

—Peter Suderman, writing on “Aaron Sorkin vs. the Moralists,” Monday in Reason Online at www.reason.com

Unfair equation

“When, in the late 1950s, race became a national issue, and great numbers of white Americans became aware of the injustice of racial segregation, the activist movement for reform was led by Leftists. … [T]hese people belonged to the northern, urban, egalitarian wing of the Democratic Party. Thus — with assistance from a sympathetic, and largely Leftist, media establishment — the equation ‘racial justice = Democrat’ became lodged in the public mind, and generated an obvious converse: ‘racial injustice = Republican.’

“This was all horribly unfair. As Pat Buchanan notes in his latest best-seller: ‘Democrats had bedded down with segregationists for a century without censure.’ When Congress voted on the 1964 Civil Rights Act, Republicans in both House and Senate said yea by about 80 percent to 20; among Democrats, the votes went more like 60-40.

“Alas, there is no justice in politics. Republicans got stuck as the party of racial discrimination. Since racial discrimination soon came to be seen as the most unspeakable of all evils, and since, from the 1970s on, most conservatives were Republicans, it is not very surprising that conservatives don’t want to talk about race.”

—John Derbyshire, writing on “Race and Conservatism,” in the September issue of the New English Review

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