Well, in my opinion, not much. The Freshmen Republicans in Congress have taken a lot of criticism for their hard-line stances in the budget battle and other issues. The national press, as usual, have been criticizing them for creating gridlock, obstructing progress, holding the nation hostage, and a host of other sins.
These new Representatives are doing exactly what they promised to do if they were elected. The same press that expounded on the virtues of electing Representatives who would vote their conciousnesses during the 1994 election are now complaining because that's exactly what happened. The biggest problem is that the national press are completely out of touch with what's going on in mainstream America. They completely underestimate the degree of frustration that Americans feel with a political system that is oriented more toward preserving itself than to solving problems. The new Republicans are following through with their promise to make substantial changes in the system, and are being criticized by the very people who criticized business-as-usual before the election.
If you don't agree with some of the positions these new Representatives take, fine. I don't either. But I respect them for having firm positions instead of waving in the winds of public opinion like a windsock at the White House heliport. They are precisely the sort of politicians the editorialists told us we should elect. But now that it happened, and the editorialists don't like the positions they are taking, the same editorialists are telling outright lies about what those positions are. That is something I not only don't respect, but that I resent. And so should you, regardless of which side of the political aisle you would seat yourself on.
It's time for the national press to take a look at themselves and decide whether they consider themselves to be primarily politicians or reporters. Do they want to set policy, or do they want to report the facts to America? They can't do both with credibility. Some national television reporters are so blatantly biased that they openly refer to the "Contract With America" as the "Contract ON America" during news stories, apparently without realizing they have done so. Then they wonder why we don't trust reporters any more than we trust politicians.
Let's see the national press clean up their own act. It's time for them to make a sincere effort to report facts instead of opinion. It's time to challenge misstatements by politicians, regardless of which party they belong to. It's time to cover the issues, and politicians' positions on issues, instead of covering campaign strategy. The evening news shouldn't concentrate on whether it was good strategy for Bob Dole to campaign in South Dakota but instead should concentrate on what stance he took on the issues while he was there. Reporters should get back to reporting instead of acting as an unpaid advertizing agency for favored politicians. And most of all, it's time for the national press to stop manipulating the political process for their own ends. But that's the topic of another piece I'm still writing...
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