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Convention 'con games'

| Sunday, Sept. 12, 2004

It was a sign of the venom that was set to drip from the fangs of the liberal media in New York during the Republican National Convention. On the eve of the GOP gathering, Tom Brokaw ended his special Sunday night anchoring duties with a little commentary charging that the Republicans' decision to feature "middle of the road" speakers, in contrast to the party's "hard right" positions, was "the political equivalent of a popular con game in this tough town, three-card monte."

But the real convention "con game" was the media's attempt to present themselves as "moderate" analysts when in fact they are hard-core liberals dedicated to the electoral overthrow of George W. Bush.

The networks made a mockery of fairness and balance, behaving like eager publicists in Boston only to pose as outraged debunkers in New York.

Reporters did not snicker when the Democrats trotted out a handful of generals and admirals, and the networks did not call it a "con game" when the Democrats showcased John Kerry as tough on national security when he's voted against an alphabet soup of crucial weapons systems and proposed cuts for our nation's intelligence agencies, even after Sept. 11 unfolded.

The same network journalists who never found a reason to discuss abortion or the foisting of "gay marriage" on America during the Democratic convention felt the pressing need to remind, remind, remind the viewers of the ridiculous sham before their eyes: "hard right" social conservatives were being hidden behind Rudy, Arnold and John McCain. When Brokaw called it a con game, he was stating publicly what his colleagues insinuated all week long.

But Brokaw grew even stronger in denouncing Republican social stands. In his afternoon convention gig on MSNBC, Brokaw declared to Sen. Susan Collins of Maine: "You have no place in this convention. The platform does not seem to speak to a lot of women in this country. It's anti-abortion, it does not expand stem cell research, on other social issues in which women have some interest, for example, gay unions, is formally opposed to that."

In the liberal brain of Tom Brokaw, "women" as a group are uniformly pro-abortion, uniformly in favor of government-subsidized embryo-destroying stem cell research, and uniformly in favor of so-called gay marriage. Only a liberal views the ultraliberal social agenda just described as a set of "moderate" stands.

Why didn't these cultural stands come up in Boston• Why didn't these "reporters" point out that the Democrats didn't offer a single big speaker who was pro-life• Where was their convention speaker who supported the Federal Marriage Amendment• Which party has "room" for disagreement, and which one does not?

Consider the reality of the Democratic Party outside their convention halls. They are divided on abortion. Here's the list of Senate Democrats who voted for a partial-birth abortion ban last year: Let's start with Tom Daschle and Harry Reid, the two leaders of the Senate minority, no less, and then add the names Evan Bayh, John Breaux, Robert Byrd, Tom Carper, Kent Conrad, Ernest Hollings, Tim Johnson, Mary Landrieu, Patrick Leahy, Blanche Lincoln, Zell Miller, Ben Nelson and Mark Pryor -- that's 15 Democrats. On the recent vote on the Federal Marriage Amendment, three Democrats voted for it -- Byrd, Miller and Nelson. Is there "room" in the Democratic Party for these politicians• Brokaw never asked.

In Boston one afternoon, he did politely wonder to Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius if the Kerry-Edwards ticket should "pay more attention to the cultural issues" in Kansas, where "poor counties ... care deeply about their faith and about guns and about the flag, and they are in opposition to same-sex marriages, which is a big issue in this state." Good, but not enough. Brokaw did not tell her that the Democrats had "no room" for conservatives, even moderates, just as he had alleged in reverse about Republicans.

Now consider the reality of public opinion. On partial-birth abortion, Gallup reports that 68 percent of Americans oppose it, and only 25 percent favor abortion in every grotesque manifestation. In the crucial swing state of Missouri, 71 percent voted for an amendment to protect traditional marriage. But to the media, these issues are a unique political headache for ... Republicans• Tom Brokaw didn't find time to mention how Democrats have scrambled to prevent marriage-protection votes in states such as Michigan, fearing the issue will kill Democratic chances at the polls.

There is only one question for the Brokaws at convention's end. Does your network have any room for disagreement on the necessity of abortion on demand or the correctness of the gay agenda• From their fantasy-world projections on the social issues, it would seem the network newsrooms could use a little more viewpoint diversity before they're truly prepared to cover party conventions with any semblance of fairness or accuracy.

L. Brent Bozell III is president of the Media Research Center.

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