Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Democratic Pollster Pat Caddell: The Press is an Enemy of the American People

Pat Caddell, who worked for George McGovern, Jimmy Carter, Joe Biden and Jerry Brown gave a great talk called the "Audacity of Corruption" in which he calls the press an enemy of the American people.  It's well worth reading/watching.  Here are some excerpts:

The press's job is to stand in the ramparts and protect the liberty and freedom of all of us from a government and from organized governmental power.  When they desert those ramparts and decide that they will now become active participants, that their job is not simply to tell you who you may vote for, and who you may not, but, worse—and this is the danger of the last two weeks—what truth that you may know, as an American, and what truth you are not allowed to know, they have, then, made themselves a fundamental threat to the democracy, and, in my opinion, made themselves the enemy of the American people.  And it is a threat to the very future of this country if that—we allow this stuff to go on.  We have crossed a whole new and frightening slide on the slippery slope this last two weeks, and it needs to be talked about.


The corruption in this town is so great.  Everybody in Washington seems to almost be on the take—with the exception of everybody in this room, and the assistants here.  But, I swear to God, it's so—the idea that I should get something, you know—the reason, when you have firms that have Ed Gillespie in business with Jack Quinn, who was the counsel for Bill Clinton, and responsible for the pardon of Marc Rich, among other things, is because everybody in this—those people on K Street, in both parties, are about arrangements and money.  Everyone in the press is.  We have stimulus money being given.  We have people who, as I said, the relationships, when people are making contracts, and their husbands and wives are getting—Jay Carney's wife works in the government!  Now he works—he was the head of the Time Magazine!  He was a liar then, and a liar now, apparently!  You know—and nobody says there's anything wrong with this.  And you're right: Everybody's on the take here, and everybody's cutting up their stock.  That's why, what used to be one of the best and most important things for the press, which was the investigative journalism of corruption and money, the stealing of the taxpayers, the looting of the Treasury, isn't an issue, and why no one speaks of it in this town. 


My argument, when I speak to the press, is very simple: One day you're going to get my combination of George Wallace and Huey Long running for public office.  He's going to get up and say how—he's going to point out "How the press is going to get me, and let me tell you what they're going to say about me, because they want to stop me," and he's going to say, "You know what?  We've gone too far with this First Amendment stuff.  We need to make them serve the people."  We're sliding toward a system by establishing the fact that the press, in fact, has prostituted themselves in the service of a political party, or a political candidate, and once you go down this road and say, "That's happening," then people say, "Why do we need a First Amendment?  Why should we protect them?  They're not protecting us."  That's the threat here.  That's the danger that I worry about, because we desperately need a real free press, whatever its faults, that protects the people.  And soon, they will be owned by the people—we're getting very close to that.  Watching the coverage of this stuff, in the last ten days, on Libya, and the press corps and the networks serving as nothing but offshoots of the White House Press Office, is really scary.  We're going to get to this question, because that is down that road.  These people are going to destroy freedom in America.  I don't care about their partisan preferences, I care that, in the end of the day, somebody's going to say, "Enough of this!"  And somebody will carry the day, and that'll be that.


Reporters become reporters and don't enter the political fray because, basically, they can't stand the heat.  That's my experience.  You ever watch reporters under attack in a public venue and so forth?  They wilt like—they melt like ice on the equator.  The fact is that they need to be called out.  Their organizations need to be called out.  Ezra Klein still writes for The Washington Post?  I mean, this is unbelievable!  They had a secret operation group, "Journo" group, online, coordinating how they would promote Obama, and how they would attack Republicans—and he's still there?  But nobody calls out the publisher, or the editor, or whatever—there is no effort here—or calls him.

The fact is, if I were out there, if I were doing one of these campaigns, I wouldn't let one of these guys by with anything.  I would make the fact that the American people, already expressed in the Gallup poll, say—I would give them all the evidence they need to confirm their beliefs.  I would change the dialogue here.  But until that happens, you're gonna have two teams—your whole team has an echo chamber of support—attacking you.  How do you ever expect to win?  Really?  I mean, you can when it's the national tide, 1980.  We have a different press now.  They have now made the decision they will control the political process.  They are serving—with the hundreds of millions of dollars that the networks and these newspapers are, in effect, contributing—in-kind contributions to candidates in the Democratic Party.  That's the legal issue that I would have been exploring.  I mean, I would begin to put the heat on.

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