I was fairly certain that Washington Press Corps Dean David Broder's career would end with his last memorably humiliating moment (of many) being this February, 2007, column, when he giddily announced that "President Bush is poised for a political comeback," that "Bush now shows signs of renewed energy and is regaining the initiative on several fronts," and that "he is demonstrating political smarts that even his critics have to acknowledge" -- only for Bush's approval ratings to continue to plummet until he finally left office as one of the most despised Americans politicians of the last 100 years. I was wrong.
Today, Broder pens a gushing love letter to Sarah Palin -- decreeing that we must "Take Sarah Palin seriously," admiring her "pitch-perfect recital of the populist message," and warning that she will be difficult to stop as a major political force -- on the very same day that his own newspaper published a poll reporting that Palin's "political standing has deteriorated significantly"; that "fifty-five percent of Americans have unfavorable views of her, while the percentage holding favorable views has dipped to 37, a new low in Post-ABC polling"; that "there is a growing sense that the former Alaska governor is not qualified to serve as president, with more than seven in 10 Americans now saying she is unqualified, up from 60 percent in a November survey"; that "even among Republicans, a majority now say Palin lacks the qualifications necessary for the White House"; and even that "Palin has lost ground among conservative Republicans," as "forty-five percent of conservatives now consider her as qualified for the presidency, down sharply from 66 percent who said so last fall." Could Man of the Regular Folk David Broder possibly be any more out of touch with the Regular Folk?
But look at what else is on the Post Op-Ed Page today. The Post's CIA spokesman, David Ignatius, writes a column arguing that Europe is in desperate need of a "tea party movement," which would do all the great things for Europeans that it is doing for the U.S. The pro-war Post Editorial Page excitedly announces a "Showdown in Tehran," calling -- yet again -- on the Obama administration to do more to confront and subvert Iran's government. George Will touts a GOP resurgence in California. And earlier this week, it was revealed that Post editors actively solicited someone to write an Op-Ed complaining that liberals -- unlike conservatives -- are arrogant, condescending, and smug.
The power of myth and propaganda is well-documented. Still, even with that in mind, how could any conservative look at the messages sent from the Post Op-Ed page just in the last few days alone -- Palin is awesome!; Europe needs a tea party movement! Confront Iran! Liberals are patronizing losers! -- and still go on chattering about The Liberal Media, of which, in their minds (and in the mind of that paper's "media critic"), the Post is a charter member? And it's far from unusual for the Post to deliver an almost uniformly right-wing (particularly neoconservative) message; in fact, it happens quite frequently. "Liberal media" has basically come to mean: "anyone who doesn't sound like Rush Limbaugh," but even using that definition, the Post Op-Ed page comes very close and often, as today, meets it. That's not news, but the persistence of the Liberal Media myth -- not just among the Right but among media figures themselves -- is quite remarkable. Not even the complaint by George Bush's own Press Secretary that the media was "too deferential" to the Bush administration undermined it at all; if that didn't, what could?