Greenwald’s got a decent piece on a clip from Hardball showing several prominent journalists giggling over the idea of Democrats trying to nail Karl Rove. And I just wanted to highlight this one part from the editor of Time magazine.
Mr. STENGEL: I am so uninterested in the Democrats wanting Karl Rove, because it is so bad for them. Because it shows business as usual, tit for tat, vengeance. That's not what voters want to see.
Notice how he’s not suggesting that the Dems are unfairly bullying a legitimate politician. This is tit for tat. This is vengeance. He’s fully acknowledging that Karl Rove is a dirty player and that he’s wronged the Democrats. He just doesn’t think Dems should return fire.
And I think that’s indicative of the particular bias these journalists have regarding the role of Democrats and Republicans. Republicans play dirty. Republicans cheat. That’s just what they do. But Democrats are the good guys. Democrats play fair. And so when people elect Republicans, they want someone tough and dirty, and when they elect Democrats, they want someone good and fair.
And I think that’s where reporters get it from when they suggest that America doesn’t want to see Dems attacking Rove or other Republicans. Sure, the polls don’t agree with that. But they’ve got the inside scoop. They know the true America. The America that polls can’t cipher. The America that speaks beyond the headlines. They’ve got The Big Picture. And that picture shows that Dems are good guys who don’t fight back. And if America elected them, it means they don’t want a fight. Otherwise, they would have elected the Republicans again.
WWF for the MSM
And this is the exact dynamic I always saw played-out watching WWF Wrestling as a kid. Hulk Hogan and his good guys just wanted to wrestle; to find out who was best. But that blasted Rowdy Roddy Piper and his crew kept spoiling things by playing dirty and pestering people. But that was all part of the fun. Sure, we hated Roddy for it. But we expected it. It made the Hulk all the more incredible that he could still win, without having to resort to dirty tricks. And it made us hate it even more when Roddy won the belts, because he always did it dirty. That scoundrel! This went beyond wrestling. This was good versus evil.
And as any wrestling fan knows, one of those most frustrating aspects of it all was that the refs never seemed to catch the bad guys cheating. But whenever the good guys did anything slightly wrong, the ref was all over them and threatening to throw them out. Hell, all the bad guys had to do was knock the ref out, and they could do anything they wanted. That’s what made them so evil. Only the good guys had to follow the rules. That’s what made them good.
But even as a kid, I knew all this was hokum. I liked the storyline, but me and my brothers were really only in it for the action. And it’s exactly the same with these pundits, except they don’t seem to realize the story’s hokum. They think this is for real and that one side is supposed to follow the rules and the other isn’t. And they really do expect the good guy Dems to stoically pass important legislation while braving the dirty tricks from those cheater rightwingers.
And what’s worse, these guys are clearly rooting for the bad guys. They want to see Karl Rove throw salt in Harry Reid’s eyes. They enjoy seeing Bush rub other people’s noses in his mess. It excites them. These are bored and pointless people who have become too jaded to root for Goody Two Shoes. They want a little excitement and danger, and the Republican Party is where they’re seeing it. They don’t want both sides pulling out the stops in a head-on-head clash. They want to see the Dems sweat it out while the Republicans continue to harass them without mercy. That’s just how the game is played.
And in the end, they know that the Democrats will take care of the few legislative items that really need to pass and the GOP will slink off to plot another day. That’s how it always goes. Hulk Hogan isn’t going to lose to a bunch of cheaters. Nor is he going to complain to the ref after the match is over or try to wage an investigation of Rowdy’s dirty tricks. Everyone knows it was all for good fun, and that the dirty tricks make the eventual win all the more exciting for the good guys.
As Piper once told Hogan:
"Do you think [the fans] would've loved you so much, if they hadn't hated me?"
And the same rule applies today. Except in our case, the media has gotten so jaded they scoff at the good guys. And sure, they know the Dems will win in the end. But they sure do enjoy watching them suffer. Makes for better television.