The Taranto Principle
A hat tip to the American Spectator for the term. But, the Taranto principle, fortunately has been in operation for a lot longer than this election cycle.
There has been a liberal deceit in operation for decades. It was not as apparent in the 40’s and 50’s because the political melieu was that of big government Democrats and me-too Republicans. The debate was a difference over degree and not kind.
But, two shocks hit the world of the liberal MSM. The first was the election of Reagan in 1980. This election brought a critical mass to Washington that questioned the role of government. It was no longer the debate over how much government. And, any debate that brings free market principles to the fore will by default question whether government has a role. This was a shock that resonated all the way back to the foundations of big government philosophies that had their origins in the Progressive movement of the late 19th century.
The second shock was the Republican takeover of both houses of congress in 1994.
The MSM responded with increasingly biased coverage that became only more blatantly partisan with each election cycle. The real problem with exposing the faults of the GOP and covering over those of their liberal fellow-travelers in the Democratic party was that the Democrats are starting to pile up with a lot useless dead wood.
Bill Clinton, by virtue of being the only Democratic president to be re-elected since FDR, is probably the most successful Democratic politician in recent memory. And, had he played his cards right could have effected a major electoral alignment to allow a generational center-left electoral coalition. But, because of lack of vetting by the MSM, his legacy was sexual scandal.
No, it not priggish victorian morals. It was an abuse of power and public trust that extended to his days as governor of Arkansas in which he used public employees on state time to procure and facilitate these base sexual liaisons. This violation of martial fidelity carried over into all aspects of Clinton’s administration with corruption everywhere. Yet, if anyone had really looked and asked around Little Rock, the moral turpitude of Clinton was manifest.
Jimmy Carter was another example. In the pre-internet, pre-talk show era, the MSM hid the real facts of a man who was a mean, but weak leader. But, he was a closet liberal; a fact that the MSM hid with a knowing wink as he was portrayed as a conservative born-again. The man as president was a disaster. Thought few remember, Carter’s administration was the one with “bracket creep,” a double digit “misery index,” the “hollow military,” the Iran hostage crisis and the Desert One debacle.
The fact remains, that the MSM, in a very Darwinian fashion systematically scrubs all of the weaker GOP candidates. Yet, by going easy on the Democrats, dead wood piles up leaving a very shallow bench. In what should be a strong Democratic year is going to be constrained by what passes for Democratic leadership.
Reid wasn’t the first to have a one vote majority in the Senate. LBJ faced similiar constraints as majority leader; but, the cut deals and got things done. Pelosi thinks that natural gas isn’t a fossil fuel. The presidential contenders are a machine hack from Chicago, a paleo-feminist who’s rise to power came from a name acquired in marriage and an ambulance chaser who, with the cooperation of the MSM, hid his “love child” while still running in the primaries.
In the spirit of enlightened self-interest, all of these pathetic examples of Democratic leadership should have been scrubbed by the MSM with the same enthusiasm as the breathless reportage on the out-of-wedlock pregnancy of a 17 year old Bristol Palin (she can’t even vote).