A Brief History of a Rigged System

Call them the ‘Bovine Media.’ They graze, walk and sometimes stampede as a herd. They seek safety in numbers and, when combined, have considerable weight to throw around. As with any herd, stragglers occasionally wander from the beaten path. Most return. But not all. Brit Hume never did. He became frustrated by the Washington press corps’ soft-shoe treatment of President Bill Clinton; a press corps that had just spent twelve years kicking two Republican presidents in the teeth. When Fox News offered Hume a way out, he took it – wise move – and didn’t look back.

I recall, from memory, a bit of political coverage by Sam Donaldson, one of the bovine bulls of yesteryear. It aired on ABC during President Ronald Reagan’s 1984 re-election campaign. The President took an old-fashioned ‘whistle-stop’ tour around the country, to give speeches and meet ‘average folks’ along the way. As I recall, Donaldson’s coverage focused on everyday citizens being inconvenienced by Mr. Reagan’s train moving through their towns and villages; as well as how difficult it was for some to get a glimpse of the President due to tight security surrounding him (the same President who had been shot and nearly killed three years earlier). The network’s story had little, if anything, to do with the message, most likely heartfelt, that Mr. Reagan shared with those whom he met and spoke to along the way.

When President Clinton ran for re-election in 1996, he also went on a ‘whistle-stop’ tour. His journey also got coverage from the Bovine Media. I don’t recall which of the three major broadcast networks I was watching that summer evening (of little consequence, really, since, like cattle, they’re comprised of similar parts), but the network’s coverage was sympathetic toward Mr. Clinton, focusing on his desire to connect with average Americans. At one point, Mr. Clinton stood gazing from his rail car, and commented introspectively on how that train tour reminded him of why he ran for president in the first place. This purported piece of journalism ran more like a campaign commercial, on behalf of the President, who came across in the network’s intimate portrait as a swell guy, deserving of admiration and support.

This historical illustration of media favoritism, seemingly tame by today’s standards, reflects a larger landscape upon which America’s political discourse occurs. For decades, and counting, a liberally dominated media class has favored Democrats over Republicans, and, along the way, promoted a leftist ideology. This year is certainly no different. CNN’s Jake Tapper, NBC’s Chuck Todd, ABC’s Martha Raddatz, among a herd of others, are each more politician than journalist, and both interchangeable and predictable in their bovine mentality, as they provide an ongoing, institutionalized disservice to American voters.

Is the system rigged? … What do you think?

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