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The Krauthammer Doctrine

June 18, 2009

In what could be deemed "Colbert's Law," Stephen Colbert in 2006 famously told President Bush, "Reality has a well-known liberal bias." Which is why, according to Washington Post columnist and Fox News regular Charles Krauthammer, Fox did a "great service to the American polity" when "it created an alternate reality." Call it the Krauthammer Doctrine.
Last week, the former psychiatrist and Democrat turned iconic conservative flamethrower accepted the 2009 Eric Breindel Award for Excellence in Opinion Journalism by announcing, "There should be a special award for Fox News." On Wednesday, Krauthammer concurred with President Obama's assessment that "I've got one television station that is entirely devoted to attacking my administration." Appearing on his network's Special Report, Krauthammer clarified further what he meant earlier by "the genius of Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes."

"Well, look, the media are so in the tank, really, they ought to get scuba gear about this president.
But what's really interesting, the president yesterday has said, he complained about FOX, and he said, I think accurately, that it is the one, only voice of opposition in the media.
And it makes us a lot like Caracas where all the media, except one, are state run, with the exception that in Hugo Chavez-land, you go after that one station with machetes. I haven't seen any machetes around here, so I think we are at least safe for now."

Sadly, the same can't be said for Krauthammer's liberal colleague at the Washington Post, Dan Froomkin. As Glenn Greenwald detailed today, the Post unceremoniously sacked Froomkin just weeks after the two clashed over Krauthammer's tortured defense of the Bush administration's regime of detainee torture. (So much for the ex-psychiatrist's Hippocratic Oath.) As Greenwald noted:

In addition to his Rupert Murdoch perch at Fox, Krauthammer remains as a regular columnist at the Post, alongside fellow right-wing Obama haters such as Bill Kristol, George Will, Jim Hoagland, Michael Gerson and Robert Kagan -- as well as a whole bevy of typical, banal establishment spokespeople who are highly supportive of whatever the permanent Washington establishment favors (David Ignatius, Fred Hiatt, Ruth Marcus, David Broder, Richard Cohen, Howie Kurtz, etc. etc.). And that's to say nothing of the regular Op-Ed appearances by typical Krauthammer-mimicking neoconservative voices such as John Bolton, Joe Lieberman, and Douglas Feith -- and the Post Editorial Page itself. "Caracas" indeed.

Back in 2004, a Bush White House aide notoriously informed Ron Suskind that "guys like me were 'in what we call the reality-based community.'" Regarding the dark nexus where Republican politics and the right-wing media machine meet to propagate conservative talking points, the staffer cautioned, "when we act, we create our own reality."
All of which suggests that the Krauthammer Doctrine is alive and well not just at Fox News, but at the Washington Post as well.


Jon Perr
Jon Perr is a technology marketing consultant and product strategist who writes about American politics and public policy.

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