For three years, John R. Lott Jr., the controversial American Enterprise Institute scholar and author of "More Guns, Less Crime," has used the pseudonym of "Mary Rosh" to post defenses of himself on the Internet. "Rosh" described Lott as a meticulous, non-ideological researcher, and even claimed to be one of his former students. "I have to say that he was the best professor I ever had," Rosh gushed in one Internet posting.
"It looks like the Bush Administration is astroturfing, trying to artificially create the appearance of a grassroots movement supporting their policies," writes Jules Agee.
"Resentment at the 'liberal media' has been a Holy Grail of the American right for 40 years, and a gold mine for conservative direct-mail fund-raisers," writes Joel Connelly. In reality, though, "the right plays an almost dominant role in setting the agenda and stereotyping opponents. It has unmatched powers to get a story airborne. ... The party line gets out on issues from going to war with Iraq to drilling the West." Then why do conservatives still pretend that the media are liberal?
Retaining Trent Lott as Senate Majority Leader would damage the political future of the Republican Party, according to public relations experts interviewed by Matt Stearns.
"Setting aside the shrill and nonsensical efforts of those who suggest the corporate-owned media in America is 'liberal,' the situation with regard to talk radio is particularly perplexing: It doesn't even carry a pretense of political balance," writes former radio DJ Thom Hartmann.
There's something "incredibly creepy" about Fox TV mogul Roger Ailes, writes Michael Wolff: "He looks the way you imagine the man behind the curtain looking: That is, he doesn't care about how he looks (which is, as it happens, gray and corpulent). He understands it's all manipulation." Wolff examines the techniques that Ailes has used to turn his right-wing network into a ratings phenomenon: "Fox is not really about politics (CNN, with its antiseptic beltway p.o.v., is arguably more about politics than Fox). It certainly isn't arguing a consistent right-wing case.
Alessandra Stanley writes in today's New York Times: "The revelation that Roger Ailes, the chairman of Fox News, the self-proclaimed fair and balanced news channel, secretly gave advice to the White House after the Sept. 11 attacks was less shocking than it was liberating -- a little like the moment in 1985 when an ailing Rock Hudson finally explained that he had AIDS. Ever since Mr. Ailes changed jobs from Republican strategist to news executive, he has demanded to be treated as an unbiased journalist, not a conservative spokesman.
"Some of the United States' best-heeled corporations and capitalists, seeking to elect a Republican Congress in November, have turned to a gambit pioneered nearly 70 years ago by rulers of the Soviet Union," Seattle Post-Intelligencer columnist Joel Connelly writes. "The underlying reason: Sheep's clothing is often needed for wolves to stalk their prey." With elections drawing near, industry-sponsored front groups are flooding the air waves with their anonymous messages. The drug company sponsored United Seniors Association spent more than $1 million to boost embattled Rep.
The National Rifle Association and its supporters are struggling to cope with the bad publicity generated by America's latest gun-toting mass murderer. In an essay that has circulated widely on right-wing and pro-gun web sites, Michael S.
"This month marks the end of one of the most successful and respected conservative PR teams in Washington, as Herb Berkowitz and Hugh Newton retire from the Heritage Foundation," PR Week writes. "Heritage, a conservative think tank founded 25 years ago, became one of the foremost purveyors of right-wing public policy in Washington with Berkowitz and Newton at the PR helm. The two are credited with helping win credibility for conservative ideals among often-hostile liberal journalists in Washington."