The history of R candidates and their defenders attacking the press as "liberal" and "unfair" and askers of "gotcha" questions is long and repetitive. Likewise, the cheerful responses to those claims by their intended audience.
At the most recent "debate," the biggest cheers were for Ted Cruz' attacks on the press, his whining about questions he and others got, and, especially, his claim that at the Democratic "debate" the questions were nothing but a softball love-fest. It's interesting to recall the reality -- interesting, that is, to those to whom reality makes a difference.
COOPER: ... Secretary Clinton, I want to start with you. Plenty of politicians evolve on issues, but even some Democrats believe you change your positions based on political expediency.
You were against same-sex marriage. Now you're for it. You defended President Obama's immigration policies. Now you say they're too harsh. You supported his trade deal dozen of times. You even called it the "gold standard". Now, suddenly, last week, you're against it.
Will you say anything to get elected?
COOPER: Senator Sanders. A Gallup poll says half the country would not put a socialist in the White House. You call yourself a democratic socialist. How can any kind of socialist win a general election in the United States?
COOPER: ... Governor Chafee, you've been everything but a socialist. When you were senator from Rhode Island, you were a Republican. When you were elected governor, you were an independent. You've only been a Democrat for little more than two years. Why should Democratic voters trust you won't change again?
COOPER: Governor O'Malley, the concern of voters about you is that you tout our record as Baltimore's mayor. As we all know, we all saw it. That city exploded in riots and violence in April.
The current top prosecutor in Baltimore, also a Democrat, blames your zero tolerance policies for sowing the seeds of unrest. Why should Americans trust you with the country when they see what's going on in the city that you ran for more than seven years?
COOPER: Senator Webb, in 2006, you called affirmative action "state-sponsored racism." In 2010, you wrote an op/ed saying it discriminates against whites. Given that nearly half the Democratic Party is non-white, aren't you out of step with where the Democratic Party is now?Now, I'm not gonna defend all the questions that were asked of any of them at any of the debates. John Harwood, who's generally a good reporter and a smart guy, set the tone for deserved condemnation with the first question he asked in the R game of dodgeball. Dumb, and embarrassingly inappropriate. And, as has been widely agreed, all of the moderators covered themselves with shame. It was as if they deliberately handed Rs talking points about media bias for the rest of the election.
Lost in all the appropriate furor over the inappropriate tone of so many questions is the fact that there were substantive questions and when there were, virtually all of the candidates either ignored them or lied. Fiorina and the 72,000 pages of tax code; and the well-known fudge of job loss "facts" under Obama. Carson about his tax plan, and his relationship with a bogus purveyor of medicall woo. (The fact that, while denying a relationship, he claimed to use the product and that he's impressed with it ought to disqualify him from anything but late-night infomercials.) Rubio and his personal finances, his tax plan. And on it goes.
No one on that side cares. Whereas it's true that much of the press today is idiocy, it doesn't change the fact that the press does have a role to play, and within that role is the need to ask tough questions. Sometimes they do, and when it happens, the right wing rises as one to condemn it.
And, as we're seeing, they get away with it. More's the pity that, as in the recent debacle, so many "reporters" make the myth all too easy to believe. As has been said by others (Al Franken, in his "Lies" book, for one), our problem as a nation, with respect to the press and its job, isn't that "media" are liberal. It's that they're lazy.
Attacking the press is a well-worn path. It's yet another way in which today's Republicans demonstrate their lack of love for our form of democracy. Or, at least, their lack of understanding of it. Sadly, it's also true that "the press" seems to have lost sight of their true role, as well.