Bring Back Spiro!

by David Weigel

This column by Jed Babbin isn't satire, is it? His frustrated wail about the media (the "527 media") trying to elect Democrats makes a few points (Republicans are wrong to whine about the media's culpablity in American opinion on Iraq, but probably right to complain about the endless "GOP in trouble" stories) but his prescriptions for a Republican pushback are... different.

· Produce a series of television ads going after the "527 Media." Expose who they are and show how the typical newsroom is more like a dysfunctional, liberal family than a business run by adults.

· It's time for the Vice President to give a speech taking the press to task. He should name names. If Pinch Sulzberger wants to be a political activist instead of a publisher, why not call him on it?

· Organize a group called the Swift Veteran Reporters for the Truth. Every time one of those contrived stories comes out, make sure your team, experienced reporters all, can access the facts and get them out -- fast -- on blogs, talk radio and everywhere else.

And so on. What Babbin is suggesting is an overt, 21st century version of the Nixon administration's campaign against the press. Its point man in the campaign, remember, was Spiro Agnew. Please tell me Republicans aren't ready to knick pages from the Nixon-Agnew playbook.

A good two-part video of Agnew's press assault is archived on - where else? - YouTube. See if it sounds familiar.