Steven Benen publishes a very wise email from Bruce Bartlett:
I believe that political parties should do penance for their mistakes and just losing power is not enough. Part of that involves understanding why those mistakes were made and how to prevent them from happening again. Republicans, however, have done no penance. They just pretend that they did nothing wrong….[…..]
One reason this isn’t happening is because the media don’t treat Republicans as if they are discredited. On the contrary, they often seem to be treated as if they have more credibility than the administration. Just look at the silly issue of death panels. The media should have laughed it out the window, ridiculed it or at least ignored it once it was determined that there was no basis to the charge. Instead, those making the most outlandish charges are treated with deference and respect, while those that actually have credibility on the subject are treated as equals at best and often with deep skepticism, as if they are the ones with an ax to grind.
I’d be curious to hear what someone like Bartlett thinks about why the situation is as he describes.
Earlier, we discussed why the media gives so much deference to right-wing craziness; it’s because of careerism and a fear of being labeled liberal, in my view. But I don’t think that explains why the likes of Newt Gingrich and Dick Cheney are given so much air time. It’s difficult for me to see how it helps David Gregory’s career to have old, discredited, out-of-power Republicans on his show week after week. I honestly don’t even understand what the audience for these guys is. They’re not even that popular with the Republican base.