A media lobotomy

Paul’s Democratic friend to the contrary notwithstanding, I think that John McCain was on track to lose the election to Barack Obama by three points or more before Sarah Palin’s selection as his running mate. Now he has a fighting chance, and the media reaction to Palin’s selection exceeds disgusting. The media have obviously taken it upon themselves to try to drive Governor Palin from the race on behalf of their preferred candidate. At NRO, Yuval Levin captures the hysterical quality of the media reaction:

I have never seen, and I admit that I could never have imagined, such shameful, out-of-control, frenzied, angry, condescending, and pathetic journalistic malpractice. The ignorant assault on Palin’s accomplishments and experience, the breathless careless airing of deranged rumors about her private life, the staggeringly indecent mistreatment of her teenage daughter in a difficult time, the ill-informed piling on about the vetting process, the self-intensifying circle of tisking nodding heads utterly detached from a straightforward political event, have been amazing and eye-opening.

Whence the anger that Levin describes? Levin speculates on the source. Whatever the source, the media understand that if they can drive Governor Palin from the race, they can thereby destroy McCain’s candidacy. They will try to make Governor Palin look like she has had electroshock therapy or a prefrontal lobotomy and then suggest that she should follow Tom Eagleton’s example. Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of our lady.

PAUL adds: The key part of Levin’s piece, for present purposes, is his opening:

I have always tended to think that conservative complaints about the media are a little exaggerated. There are occasionally obvious instances of bias and clear examples of a double standard, but most reporters don’t want to fall into those and some conservatives are surely too sensitive to them.

If you buy that, then you can make Peggy Noonan’s case that Palin represents some special sort of threat that transcends this election. Alternatively, you can make Levin’s case that the mainstream media feels particularly angry about the selection of Palin.

But I don’t buy Levin’s view of the mainstream media. So I think Scott is correct in viewing its reaction to Palin as an attempt to injure John McCain’s candidacy, not an attempt to derail a potentially “transformative” presence in American politics and not the product of elitist anger.

This view does not really depend on the state of the race, pre-Palin. The attacks on Palin would be what they are (some reasonable, in my view; some not) whether the Dems and the MSM thought the race was even or whether they thought Obama had a 10 point lead. With control of the government at stake, people aren’t going to let their conduct be determined by guesses about where the race stands two months before the voting. But I know lots of Democrats, and I question whether they are as afraid of Palin as folks at the Republican Convention imagine.

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