CBS on the “Group of Weirdos” Who Ran the GOP House

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When liberals complain about the conservative bias of the media, they often invoke clichés such as “serving corporate ownership” or “putting profit ahead of truth.” And while there are elements of truth to the clichés, a much bigger factor in journalists’ deference to power is civility. As CBSNews.com’s editorial director, Dick Meyer, put it in this decidedly impolite column, “the media didn’t call a duck a duck, because that’s not something we’re supposed to do.”

The “duck” in this case is the “group of weirdos” who ran the House of Representatives for the past 12 years. Just in time for Thanksgiving, Meyer roasts a few ducks of his own: Newt Gingrich is called out for having “lived out a very special hypocrisy” which he did with “epic sanctimony.” And Dan Burton, Robert Livingston, Henry Hyde, and Dennis Hastert all get served with a side of good riddance. Here is Meyer’s surprisingly candid appraisal of the architects of the Contract With America:

The iconic figures of this era were Newt Gingrich, Richard Armey and Tom Delay. They were zealous advocates of free markets, low taxes and the pursuit of wealth; they were hawks and often bellicose; they were brutal critics of big government.

Yet none of these guys had success in capitalism. None made any real money before coming to Congress. None of them spent a day in uniform. And they all spent the bulk of their adult careers getting paychecks from the big government they claimed to despise. Two resigned in disgrace.

Meyer begins his column with an apology: “This is a story I should have written 12 years ago when the “Contract with America” Republicans captured the House in 1994. I apologize.”

That’s okay, Dick. Others did write those stories. Your complimentary copies of impolite and unapologetic Mother Jones issues from a decade ago are on their way.

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TIME IS RUNNING OUT!

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and it's truly crunch time: About 15 percent of our yearly online giving usually comes in during the final week of the year, and in "No Cute Headlines or Manipulative BS," we explain why we simply can't afford to come up short right now.

The bottom line: Corporations and powerful people with deep pockets will never sustain the type of journalism Mother Jones exists to do. And advertising or profit-driven ownership groups will never make time-intensive, in-depth reporting viable.

That's why donations big and small make up 74 percent of our budget this year. There is no backup to keep us going, no alternate revenue source, no secret benefactor. If readers don’t donate, we won’t be here. It's that simple.

And if you can help us out with a donation right now, all online gifts will be matched thanks to an incredibly generous matching gift pledge.

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