Richard Viguerie, a founder of the modern conservative movement, is out with an excellent new book on how conservatives have harnessed the power of new and alternative media. It’s titled, “America’s Right Turn,” and is published by Bonus Books. He says conservatives have made great strides in talk radio, cable news, and on the Internet but are still way behind in the area of Hollywood films and documentaries. And he acknowledges that the liberal media, including the broadcasting networks and major liberal papers, still largely set the national agenda.
The destruction of Jack Ryan’s Senate campaign in Illinois demonstrates this fact. The Chicago Tribune began the sabotage, suing to get Ryan’s divorce records, which contained some private comments by his ex-wife about Ryan’s alleged sexual habits. The national media jumped on the story and it became a scandal that forced Ryan out of the race, virtually guaranteeing that liberal Democrat Barack Obama will win this November. Leaving the race, Ryan issued a statement saying the media were “out of control” and they had made it impossible to wage “a vigorous debate on the issues.”
By all accounts, Ryan was a man who wanted to do better for the people of Illinois. Although he had made a fortune on Wall Street, he had given up that career to teach inner-city high school kids. Speaking of children, Ryan’s divorce records had been sealed to protect his child. But that didn’t stop the Tribune from going to court to splash them all over the front pages. The Tribune believes that selling newspapers and electing Democrats is more important than protecting a family’s privacy.
Consider the hypocrisy: the media delight in destroying a man’s political career over unproven allegations in divorce records and yet, at the same time, they regularly go to Senator Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts for comment on important issues. Kennedy’s history of transgressions has been forgotten by the national press. But the record is a series of scandals.
Kennedy ran away from his studies at Harvard when he hired someone to take his exam; ran away from the police during a speeding incident in Virginia; ran away from Mary Jo Kopechne when she was struggling for her life in the bottom of his submerged car; ran away from his wife and marriage; and was accused by Richard Burke, his longtime aide, of introducing him to kinky sex and cocaine. That’s far worse than anything in the Ryan divorce records.
The national media will not, of course, rethink their admiration for Ted Kennedy. But some are having second thoughts about the handling of the Ryan case. Al Hunt of the Wall Street Journal said on CNN’s Capital Gang: “?is there any thought out there about whether we may have gone a little bit too far this time?” On the other hand, Mark Shields asked Scott Fornek of the Chicago Sun-Times, who interviewed Ryan, “Did he tell you where you find these sex clubs? Are they in the Yellow Pages or what?” To Shields, it was all a big joke. Ted Kennedy must be laughing to himself as he delivers a prime time address at the Democratic National Convention.