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December 2, 2003
Jeff Jarvis and Hugh Hewitt React to Dean's Hardball Interview

Jeff Jarvis isn't pleased with Howard Dean, by any stretch of the imagination:

Howard Dean says he'd "break up" media companies. This is the worst of political pandering: Big media companies have been made into the boogeymen du jour and so he announces he'll go after them. No legal basis. No constitutional justification. Just because they're there.

Jarvis quotes the same part of the transcript that I posted earlier, and reaches much the same conclusion I did, although he puts it more directly:

Translation: He's going to meddle in news. He's going to decree who can and can't own media outlets. He's going to break up companies for sport and political pandering. He's not concerned with the First Amendment. He's not concerned with the realities of the media business today (if you don't allow some level of consolidation, then weak outlets will die).

Yes, I work in big media. But I don't own it. I just work in it because I love news and media and I cherish the lack of government involvement in media in this country; I cherish our freedom of speech; I am a First Amendment absolutist. I do not want to see government meddling in our free speech.

This isn't Europe, Howard. Not yet, anyway.

Ouch. Hugh Hewitt expands on his earlier comments in a brief Weekly Standard column posted tonight, focused on Dean's indifference to where bin Laden may be tried, if captured:

Incredibly, most Tuesday morning papers ignored this exchange, and the Boston Globe's Susan Schweitzer reported it this way: "Asked whether Osama bin Laden or Saddam Hussein should be tried in the United States or the Hague should they be captured, Dean responded that the issue was premature for discussion because the "the president can't find either one of them." ... Dean's ignorance on the matter isn't the major point of the exchange. His indifference to the idea of bin Laden being brought to America is a stunning display of his detachment from the war on terror. Republicans hope that Dean doesn't self-destruct before he gets the nomination, but the country ought to be getting all of Dean's quotes, not just those the reporters think make good copy.

Once again, the major media want to ignore Dean's foot-in-mouthism, even when he directly threatens their interests. One wonders how much longer this will go on. One thing is for sure -- the Bush campaign isn't ignoring it, not by a long shot.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at December 2, 2003 11:07 PM

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