Los Angeles Times owner Sam Zell must have thought of the Chicago Cubs when he OK'd the layoff of 75 editorial employees this week. Zell owns the lovable loser Cubs, who haven't won the World Series in a century, and the liberal media are turning into the Cubs of modern communications.
But news-hungry consumers don't find it lovable when the media elite keep important stories to themselves. John McCain has demanded that the L.A. Times release its videotape of a 2003 farewell party in Chicago at which Obama is said to have grandly toasted guest of honor Rashid Khalidi, the late PLO head Yasser Arafat's spokesman. (Ex-terrorist Bill Ayers may have been there too.)
But the Times apparently doesn't think Americans are entitled to see Obama praising a terrorist mouthpiece before they decide whether to make him president for four years. Similarly, major news outlets buried this week's story of Obama calling for "major redistributive change" in a newly discovered 2001 radio interview.
But if you think we've got an unholy alliance between liberal Democrats in Washington and this country's media elite now, just watch what happens if Obama becomes president with a Democratic Congress — especially if it features a filibuster-proof Senate.
Major Democratic congressional leaders like Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin of Illinois, 2004 presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi want the reinstitution of the outdated, pre-Internet "Fairness Doctrine." They want to counter the news revolution in which blogs and talk radio have taken on the Big Three TV networks.
The Obama campaign claims Obama opposes a new Fairness Doctrine, but City Journal editor Brian C. Anderson doesn't think a President Obama would veto such a bill. Moreover, Obama and most Democrats want to impose more "local accountability" on broadcasters, "setting up community boards to make their demands known when station licenses come up for renewal," as Anderson notes.
This measure is "clearly aimed at national syndicators like Clear Channel that offer conservative shows," Anderson says. "It's a Fairness Doctrine by subterfuge." Obama would pair that with relicensing stations every two years instead of the current eight.
We have already seen that Obama's forces have no scruples about punishing media organizations who do not act as disciples of "The One." Newswomen with both WFTV in Orlando, Fla., and the CBS affiliate in Philadelphia dared to ask running mate Joseph Biden about Obama's plans to "spread the wealth," as he infamously told Ohio's Joe the Plumber. The Obama campaign let the journalists know they were now personae non grata.
With both the executive and legislative branches firmly in the power of the most liberal leadership ever — Obama, Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid — it is naive to think they would not move against those who most threaten their prospects in the midterm elections of 2010. And that is Fox News and conservative talk radio, supported by the blogosphere.
The establishment media and liberal Democrats constitute an axis of bias, arming to threaten the free speech of Americans. George Orwell, call your office.