Gang of 500-Powerless?
by mrgavel, Tue May 30, 2006 at 03:06:27 AM EDT
The "gang of 500" is a small group of Washington D.C. media people who are supposedly very influential in how national politics gets covered. These insiders didn't like Clinton, did't like Gore, and are covering for Bush. All of those points are accepted as true on blogs such as mydd.com and dailykos. com.
I have no problem with such beliefs. I too think that the way the mainstream covers politics in this country is horrible. It serves no one's interest that media personnel cover politics as a game and not as a serious matter. Here, however, is the question that I have been pondering: how much influence do these people really have?
Think about this for a minute: they went after Clinton in 1992, and he got the nomination. They went after him between 1992 and 1996, and he got re-elected. They went after him during the impeachment crisis and his popularity never went down, and indeed, increased during his second term. They went after Gore, and he got more votes than Bush. They propped up Bush during his first term, and while he managed to get re-elected, it was by a very small percentage when compared to other presidents elected to a second term. Now, his poll numbers are going through the basement and taking his party with him.
All of this is not to say that they aren't important or that we should not worry about their evident Republican bias when discussing politics. It is to say that they are not as powerful in molding public opinion as they would like or as we fear. What we need to do is focus not so much on what we can't control, but on what we can control. We can only control what we do. Our individual responses to this administration and the Republican party will dictate what happens in politics.
Think about where we are compared to where we were right after the Gore defeat. The Democratic National Committee is not run by a Washington insider, progressive candidates are being fielded in competitive races across America, and millions of people are taking part in politics, many for the first time. All of that is far more important in the long term that whoever Tim, Chris, Cokie, or all of the other blowhards support.