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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Journolist: Conservative hypocrisy

Conservatives have penned a number of outraged responses to the Journolist hullabaloo, but the most hypocritical response I've read so far was written by Fred Barnes:
Until JournoList came along, liberal journalists were rarely part of a team. Neither are conservative journalists today, so far as I know. If there's a team, no one has asked me to join. As a conservative, I normally write more favorably about Republicans than Democrats and I routinely treat conservative ideas as superior to liberal ones. But I've never been part of a discussion with conservative writers about how we could most help the Republican or the conservative team.
This appeared in the opinion pages of the Wall Street Journal.

Is Barnes unfamiliar with the so-called "vast right-wing conspiracy"? That phrase likely reflects a measure of hyperbole, but there's clearly intense overlap and message commonality among Republican party operatives and right-wing media outlets.

In fact, as noted at the end of his column, "Mr. Barnes is executive editor of the Weekly Standard and a commentator on Fox News Channel." The Journal is owned by Ruport Murdoch, who also owns Fox. Barnes went to work for Fox in 1996.

It's a media trifecta!

What about the links to Republican party politics?

The Weekly Standard is edited by William Kristol, who came to fame in part (aside from family connections), because of his work for Dan Quayle and more importantly, his leadership of the concerted effort to stop the Clintons' health care initiative.

The December 1993 memo, "Defeating President Clinton's Health Care Proposal" was penned under the auspices of the Project for the Republican Future. The memo was "his first of what would become legendary strategy memos circulated among Republican policymakers." Kristol published some parts of the memo in the Wall Street Journal in January 1994.

Brad DeLong helpfully posted the full memo in March 2009:
These four pages are an attempt to describe a common political strategy for Republicans in response to the Clinton health care plan.
The coordination was certainly effective. Media Matters, June 2009:
As Haynes Johnson and David S. Broder documented in The System (Little, Brown and Co., 1996), during the battle over President Clinton's reform plan, "a loose confederation of special-interest groups nationwide ... united for one purpose -- to kill what they termed derisively 'Clintoncare.'"
I've searched archives of The New Republic (Barnes employer) in 1993 and 1994 and he frequently cited Kristol's analysis on health care and other issues. On April 4, 1994, Barnes wrote, "Kristol makes a strong case, but few Republicans are willing to join him in attacking universal coverage."

Barnes seemed to be a team player even before he joined Fox in 1996.

After Clinton-care was defeated, "The Project [for the Republican Future] was disbanded and the staff incorporated into the operations of the magazine The Weekly Standard when it was begun by Rupert Murdoch and the News Corporation in 1995."

Barnes now seems to be fully committed to the Kristol-Murdoch-Republican cabal.

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