January 21, 2006

Peggy Noonan: The decline of the liberal media monopoly and the future of the GOP

Peggy Noonan’s latest editorial Not a Bad Time to Take Stock: Thoughts on the decline of the liberal media monopoly and the future of the GOP notes:

I don't think Democrats understand that the Alito hearings were, for them, not a defeat but an actual disaster. The snarly tone the senators took with a man most Americans could look at and think, "He's like me," and the charges they made--You oppose women and minorities, you only like corporations and not the little guy--went nowhere. Once those charges would have taken flight, would have launched, found their target and knocked down any incoming Republican. Not any more. It's over.

Eleven years ago the Democrats lost control of Congress. Then they lost the presidency. But just as important, maybe more enduringly important, they lost their monopoly on the means of information in America. They lost control of the pipeline. Or rather there are now many pipelines, and many ways to use the information they carry...

Could Democratic senators today torture Clarence Thomas with tales of Coke cans and porn films? Not likely. Could Ted Kennedy have gotten away with his "Robert Bork's America" speech unanswered? No.

And the end of the monopoly of course isn't only in the news, it's in all media…"You don't like it, change the channel," network executives used to say. But that, as they knew, meant nothing: There were only three channels. Now there are 500. And more coming.

You know who else experienced, up close and personal, the end of the information monopoly this week? Walter Cronkite. Once, he said America should leave Vietnam and the president of the United States said if we've lost him we've lost middle America. Now, Walter calls for withdrawal from Iraq and it occasions only one thing: stories about how once such a thing mattered…

We are in a time when the very diminution of the importance of network news leaves some old news hands to drop their guard and announce what they are: liberal Democrats. Nothing wrong with that, but they might have told us when they were in power. The very existence of conservative media--of Rush Limbaugh, of Fox, of the Internet sites--has become an excuse by previously "I call 'em as I see 'em/I try to be impartial" journalists to advance their biases. Actually, it's more Fox than anything. The existence of a respected cable network that is nonliberal and non-Democratic (or that is conservative, or Republican, or neoconservative -- people on the right have polite disagreements about this) is more and more freeing news outlets, encouraging them actually, as a potential business model, to be more and more what they are. Is this good? Well, it's clearer…

But where does this leave us? With our mass media busy with reluctant reformation...with the old network monopoly over and done...with something new, we know not what, about to take its place...with the Democratic Party adjusting to the loss of its megaphone...Where does that leave us? I think it leaves us knowing that, more than ever, the Republican Party--the party ultimately helped by the end of the old monopoly and the reformation of news media--must be a good party, a decent one, and help our country.

That it regain a sense of its historic mission. That it stop seeming the friend of the wired and return to being the great friend of Main Street, for Main Street still, in its own way, exists. That it return to basic principles on spending, regulation and state authority. That it question a foreign policy that often seems at once dreamy and aggressive, and question, too, an overreaching on immigration policy that seems composed in equal parts of naiveté and cynicism. That its representatives admit that lunching with lobbyists is not the problem; failing to oppose the growth of government--so huge that no one, really no one, knows what is in its budget--is. That they reduce the size and power of government. That they help our country…

Republicans in Washington struggle with scandal and speak of reform, and reformation. They would better think of words like regain, refresh, rebuild. If they don't, if Republicans don't choose to lead well, and seriously, and with principle, they should ask themselves: Who will? Seriously: Who will?

This is why the outcome of the House Majority Leader race is so important (see here, here, here, and here).

More on that race, and why Congressman John Shadegg is the best candidate, can be found here, here, here, here and here.

Comments, although monitored, are not necessarily representative of the views Anchor Rising's contributors or approved by them. We reserve the right to delete or modify comments for any reason.

Peggy Noonan continues to be one of the most enlightening writers in DC. Republicans have a choice: to return to the Newt party of reformists by electing John Shadegg, or to remain status quo by selecting Roy Blunt. Blunt is a good man, but I fear for a GOP that continues to play the Washington game. Ending this game is the reason a Republican majority was elected in the first place. If Democrats can gain the reform tag from American voters, the GOP could lose the majority it worked so hard to achieve. Have Republicans forgotten what Newt Gingrich taught them just 10 years ago? This leader election could prove this not the case.

Posted by: rightri at January 21, 2006 9:09 AM