Conservatives, brace yourselves. Steel your spines. The liberal media establishment has long since abandoned any pretense of objective reporting. They’ve declared an all-out war on conservative Republican candidates and it’s going to get worse. They know that the unarguably failed presidency of Barack Obama leaves his re-election in serious jeopardy. His best hope is the scorched-Earth personal destruction of his opponents.
A record-high 77 percent of Americans, according to a recent Pew Research Center report, say they think “news organizations tend to favor one side,” which is to say 23 percent of Americans must not be paying attention. Witness the personal attacks on the three conservative front-runners - coincidentally timed during their ascendancy. The left-wing journalists who buried the scandals that led to the impeachment of President Bill Clinton and the indictment of failed presidential hopeful John Edwards, are now going for Republican blood.
Salacious whisper campaigns were once only whispered. Today, Politico trumpets them in headlines. Allegations made by anonymous sources, thus far noticeably absent any specific allegations, are evidently enough to meet Politico’s low journalistic standard. They know (hope?) these attacks could destroy not just a candidacy, but a man’s life. Exhibit A is a Politico headline that blogger William Jacobson of Legal Insurrection described as the most misleading headline ever: “Herman Cain allegation: Accuser breaks silence.” The accuser who, according to the story itself, refused to give details of even the nature of the allegations, now “breaks [her] silence.” By that they mean her attorney announced that she wishes to stay silent. Such high standards.
Newly breaking are allegations of a similar nature that deserve to be addressed seriously because they are made by a woman who, unlike the Politico accusers, is willing to detail the charges and face public scrutiny. While it’s too early to assess the validity of these claims, it should be noted that they are unrelated to the original allegations and do not vindicate Politico’s empty hit piece.
Upon being perceived as the GOP front-runner, Washington Post apparatchiks brewed up a three-decades old story that Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s father - not Rick Perry himself, mind you - leased a hunting camp that previously had been given a racially offensive name by someone else. Mr. Perry, the senior, changed the name once he had taken possession of the land. Mr. Perry, the younger, himself helped to rid the property of the sign that bore the ugly name. In The Post’s world, the son is guilty of the father’s sins - even if there are no sins - so long as he has an “R” behind his name.
Perhaps the most damaging of personal assassinations is also among the most egregiously false. The talking class has claimed for years that the former speaker of the House had served his cancer-stricken wife with divorce papers on her deathbed. Outrageous and false. Newt’s daughter, Jackie Gingrich Cushman, who penned a recent column entitled “Setting the record straight,” was there. Her mother, who is still alive, did not have cancer. Furthermore, in a piece obviously painful for a loving daughter to be forced to write, Jackie says the divorce, which should have been a private family matter, had begun sometime before the mythical hospital visit and was, in fact, requested by Mrs. Gingrich, not Newt.
Why let the facts get in the way of perfectly good character assassination pieces?
This high-tech lynching by the liberal journalism establishment is just the beginning, and it should be noted that it is not motivated solely by race. It’s true that black conservatives, such as Herman Cain and Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas before him, are potent threats to liberalism. Their hard-earned successes give lie to the liberal tenet - the bigoted liberal tenet - that people of color are too incompetent to succeed without big-government intervention. But the liberal media seek to destroy anyone - of any ethnicity - who champions limited government and individual liberty.
So journalists stack the deck against conservatives. Yawn. In other news, the sun is hot and Occupy Wall Street hippies are smelly. Nothing new here. Conservatives should not be surprised by this obviously uneven playing field and should not be deterred by it, either. As radio powerhouse Rush Limbaugh says, the liberal media tell us which conservatives they fear most by whom they attack.
Conservatives need to buck up and deny the liberal media the power to choose the Republican nominee. The alternative weak-kneed approach has given us the pathetic candidacies of John McCain and Bob Dole, honorable men both, but hardly standard bearers for conservatism. And besides, nominating the establishment candidate is no inoculation against media bias. Recall that as Mr. McCain was securing the GOP nomination in 2008, the New York Times - the paper that previously gushed over Mr. McCain the “maverick” - ran a salacious and false hit piece that he had engaged in an affair with a lobbyist. Only after Mr. McCain was defeated did the New York Times run a clarification that they had not intended to allege an affair. Oh, thanks.
The liberal media establishment has cast its lot with Mr. Obama and the Democrats. They’re all-in. The inseparable fates of both the Democrats’ big-government statism and the mainstream media’s credibility hang in the balance. Unless we conservatives lose our nerve, both are headed for the ash heap of history, where they belong.
The 2012 election may be the most consequential of our lifetimes. America is teetering between the free-market capitalism that built our nation and the European-style redistributive socialism that is destroying it. Meanwhile, in an attempt to distract from this gravity, the politically charged media seek to destroy Republican candidates personally. If conservatives relinquish the right to choose our own nominee and instead concede this power to the mainstream media, then the battle for the soul of the republic is already lost.
Dr. Milton R. Wolf, a Washington Times columnist, is a board-certified diagnostic radiologist and President Obama’s cousin. He blogs at miltonwolf.com.