Oh, those crazy journalists. You know the ones I’m talking about. The one who described John Kerry as “French-looking” and made up some silly locution to show how out of touch he was — “Who among us doesn’t like NASCAR?” — even though he never said it. Or the one who taunted Al Gore for claiming that he and his wife, Tipper, were the models for “Love Story” when Gore said no such thing. Or the one who described Bill Clinton as an “overweight band boy” and Hillary Rodham Clinton as “inauthentic.” Or the one who tabbed Barack Obama “Obambi” and said that when visiting him at his office, she felt like Ingrid Bergman in “The Bells of St. Mary’s,” having to teach a bullied schoolboy how to box. Or the one who kept pressing Obama at a debate to fess up to his relationship with a 1960s terrorist.
Of course, what do you expect from right-wing nuts who will do and say anything to demonize Democrats? Except for one thing. All these examples — and there are hundreds more — were uttered not by Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Bill O’Reilly, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, David Brooks or any of the other Republican mouthpieces in our newspapers and on our airwaves. They were all said or written by liberal journalists, and even in a few cases by onetime Democratic operatives turned journalists, such as Chris Matthews and George Stephanopoulos. Indeed, the worst offender by far, the “Ingrid Bergman” in the example above, has been the New York Times’ liberal columnist Maureen Dowd, who has never met a Democrat she hasn’t disparaged. . . .
As Rick Perlstein describes it in his book “Nixonland,” Joseph Kraft, an old, unregenerate liberal close to the Kennedys, was among the first to wonder aloud if Nixon wasn’t right. Maybe the news media had wandered too far from heartland American traditions and values of which Nixon presented himself as exemplar. Maybe journalists had become too insular, snooty and condescending. These kinds of ruminations tended to push the left-wing media toward the center as their way of proving that they were honest, objective and not beholden to anyone.