Accuracy in Media

It was shocking news that Patrick J. Buchanan, Ronald Reagan’s communications director, is getting $500,000 to write a Bush-bashing book to be titled, “Where the Right Went Wrong.” The New York Post quoted a publishing insider as saying, “They could put Michael Moore on the jacket of this book, and people would believe he wrote it.” But the Post story also said the book “is scheduled to go on sale in early August, to coincide with the start of the Republican National Convention?at which Buchanan will be a commentator for MSNBC.”

With the exception of Joe Scarborough’s show, MSNBC has been drifting to the left. Pat Buchanan used to have a show on MSNBC but it was given the axe. He now serves as an analyst and sits in for Scarborough on occasion. On many occasions, Buchanan’s comments are fitting and newsworthy. He was a key figure in Reagan’s battle against Soviet communism and provided insightful commentary on the former president’s legacy and career. But now that global Islam has replaced communism as a worldwide enemy, Buchanan has become a critic of the U.S. response.

Buchanan has contributed so much to the conservative movement that he is certainly entitled to write a book critical of those conservatives who back the Bush policy on Iraq. But MSNBC’s coverage of the presidential campaign will tilt even further to the left if Buchanan also assumes the role of Bush-basher. Plus, there are disturbing indications that Buchanan, who left the Republican Party in 2000, may even back Ralph Nader for president.

Buchanan’s American Conservative Magazine featured a front-page article, “Ralph Nader: Conservatively Speaking. The long-time progressive makes a pitch for the disenfranchised Right.” The magazine explained, “Ralph Nader recently accepted Pat Buchanan’s invitation to sit down with us and explain why his third-party presidential bid ought to appeal to conservatives disaffected with George W. Bush.” On social issues, Nader is pro-abortion, pro-gay rights and pro-gay marriage. He is also pro-hemp. Nader’s press guy is Kevin Zeese, formerly of NORML, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

Sounding conservative in the Buchanan interview, however, Nader attacked “corporate pornography” and “anything-goes values.” He called for a crackdown on “rampant corporate pornography and violence directed to children and separating children from their parents and undermining parental authority.” He talked at length about protecting American sovereignty. In a direct appeal, Nader said, “I’m not expecting conservatives to change their minds on certain issues that we disagree on, but if we look at the issues where we have common positions, they reach a level of gravity that would lead conservatives to stop being taken for granted by the corporate Republicans and send them a message by voting for my independent candidacy.”

But any appeal Nader may have had to conservatives seems to have gone down the tubes with Nader’s selection of socialist Peter Camejo as his running mate. Described in many accounts as a businessman and a “Green activist,” he was the presidential candidate in 1976 of the Socialist Workers Party, which was founded by Trotskyists who had broken from the Socialist Party of the USA. The pick was widely viewed as an effort by Nader to appeal to the far-left of the Democratic Party, not the Buchanan crowd.

On the matter of his new book, the New York Post says that Buchanan is particularly scornful of a U.S. foreign policy that has “ignited a war of civilizations” with the Islamic world. Traditional conservative Morgan Norval, a former U.S. Marine and author of The Triumph of Disorder, says the clash of civilizations between Islam and the West was ignited by Islamic fundamentalism. He calls Islam the successor to communism in the effort to establish a global dictatorship.

The terrorists confirm this. Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the Jordanian-born terrorist and al-Qaeda associate whose group claimed responsibility for the beheading of American Nicholas Berg and South Korean Kim Sun-Il, says the terrorism will continue  “until Islamic rule is back on Earth.”

Yet Buchanan’s magazine sounds increasingly like a left-wing publication with its constant talk of America’s “empire” around the world. This is a variation of the old Soviet line that the U.S. wants to dominate and control the world. It’s disconcerting to see conservatives who played key roles in fighting communism using such noxious terminology. But if you watch MSNBC, you better get used to it.

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