The Media Fairness Caucus

THE MEDIA FAIRNESS CAUCUS…. Hearing conservative Republicans whine about the “liberal media” is more tiresome than anything else. The accusations are obviously false; the evidence to the contrary is overwhelming; and the charges themselves are a reminder that the GOP’s rhetorical and/or policy agenda hasn’t progressed at all in many years.

And yet, the right isn’t just clinging to this discredited idea, it’s apparently launching some kind of congressional caucus to talk about it some more.

The GOP has been getting a lot of bad press recently, but Republicans in Congress are convinced that it’s not because of their obstruction or lack of ideas. Rather, they say, it’s all the media’s fault.

As reported by Newsmax, House Republicans are set to form a new caucus devoted to fighting “liberal media bias.” The group will be led by Texas Rep. Lamar Smith, who calls media bias “the greatest threat to our democracy today.”

That’s obviously silly hyperbole, but Smith seems to mean it. Without realizing the irony, the Texas Republican appeared on Fox News this morning to argue, “The greatest threat to America is a liberal media bias.” Fox News’ Bill Hemmer, equally oblivious, seemed to agree with the argument.

Smith will apparently join other far-right lawmakers in forming the “Media Fairness Caucus.” It’s task will be to work as a media watchdog of sorts — politicians monitoring news outlets which are monitoring politicians — in order to “highlight media bias.”

In fact, Smith claims to have already been at this for a while, and has documented evidence to bolster his claims: “For example, Smith is outraged that news outlets dare to acknowledge President Bush’s role in creating the economic crisis, rather than blaming President Obama for an inherited situation he’s had just a few months to address. When April’s unemployment numbers were better than expected, Smith complained that the media’s coverage wasn’t negative enough.”

Well, I’m convinced.

Ali Frick added, “Smith must be concerned about a media system that hosts Liz Cheney a dozen times in ten days, or invites twice as many Republicans on as Democrats to discuss the stimulus package, or consistently favors conservative commentators and politicians on the Sunday political talk shows. Not to mention an entire cable network that blatantly cheer-leads for the far right.”

As for a member of Congress arguing publicly that news outlets are a bigger threat to the United States than terrorists, global warming, economic collapse, poor infrastructure, energy needs, and a broken health care system, it seems Lamar Smith has some pretty twisted priorities.