Wednesday, October 11, 2006

"Newsmags Push Democratic Wave in 2006, But Fought GOP Tide in '94"

A great read from the MRC. Excerpt:
Both Time and Newsweek are out with another set of "bad news for Republicans" covers this week. In her magazine's cover story, Time's Karen Tumulty suggested that Republican are about to lose control of Congress. "It took 40 years for the House Democrats to exhaust their goodwill. It may take only 12 years for the Republicans to get there."

For millions who will only notice Time, Newsweek, or U.S. News & World Report as they're waiting to check out at the grocery store, the picture and headline on the cover will convey the news magazine's editorial summary of the week's important news. This week, Time showcased a huge shot of an elephant's rump, symbolizing the end of the GOP's control of Congress:

Newsweek has a huge close-up of the disgraced Mark Foley's face, an image that dwarfs a picture of President Bush:

Newsweek's caption: "Foley's Secret Life: How a Predator's E-mail Sex Scandal Could Cost Bush Congress." (U.S. News has one of its evergreen covers, this one on new trends in education: "E-Learning Explodes," but three weeks ago featured an investigative report on the old Duke Cunningham scandal: "Capitol Crime: How a New Washington Scandal Could Bring Congress to Its Knees.")

As the media elite tell it, 2006 will be for Democrats what 1994 was for Republicans, with angry voters tossing out a tired, scandal-plagued majority party and handing the keys to the Congress over to opposition. If that scenario does come to pass, one key difference will be that while the media have so far largely helped the insurgents of 2006, liberal journalists looked askance at the "angry" voters of 1994.
Wading into the MRC's archive of 1994 news magazine covers (Time posts its collection online, if you want to look for yourself: ), the last pre-election political cover that depicted Democrats on the ropes was seven months before the election: Time's April 4, 1994 "Deep Water: How the President's Men Tried to Hinder the Whitewater Investigation," with a black and white photo of beleaguered-looking Bill Clinton and George Stephanopoulos in the Oval Office:
Other major Democratic debacles of 1994 also never popped up on a magazine cover: the collapse of Hillary's socialistic health care plan; Paula Jones' sexual harassment suit against Bill Clinton; Hillary Clinton's suspicious $100,000 profit in cattle futures trading; or the indictment of the powerful Democratic Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, Dan Rostenkowski, for corruption.

The magazines' 1994 election covers put all of the onus on Republican challengers. Time's November 7 cover featured a red-faced Newt Gingrich with the headline "Mad as Hell: The G.O.P.'s Newt Gingrich Has Perfected the Politics of Anger." See:
Of course, twelve years ago the revolt of "angry" voters was as much against an out-of-touch media elite that was already seen as biased against the concerns of ordinary conservatives. After the GOP landslide, journalists weren't just surprised by the election results; they were stunned at talk radio's clout at mobilizing voters.

Twelve years later, the media elite say a Democratic wave is building across the country. Is that because journalists have figured out how to connect with the American mainstream, or are they still parroting the wishful thinking of liberal strategists? liberal media bias!