Conservative pundits and political operatives often rally against the mythical "angry left."
"The angry left should not drive the Democrat Party," Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman said last month, responding to some Democrats calling for deputy chief of staff Karl Rove to be dumped, or stripped of security clearance, following speculation that he leaked the name or identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame.
Before the Iowa caucus last year, Des Moines' conservative radio host, Jan Mickelson, termed Democratic caucus voters the "angry left." At about the same time, Andrew Roth of the conservative Club for Growth wrote a short piece referencing the "angry left." Washington Times columnist Greg Pierce wrote about Newsweek's Eleanor Clift and PBS' Bill Moyers under the heading "angry liberals." Earlier this year, Fox News Channel described Howard Dean as "a champion of the angry left." Michelle Malkin wrote an April column titled "When Angry Liberals Attack." MSNBC host Tucker Carlson referred to those defending a woman appealing a court case she lost as a "bunch of angry liberals" — although he never makes clear which liberals he means. Wall Street Journal columnist James Taranto frequently refers to the "angry left," such as earlier this month, when he cited the "Angry Left Daily Kos site."
Are there angry liberals? Sure. But conservatives give this anger mythic proportions. It's a game they have been playing for more than three decades — since former vice president Spiro Agnew, working from a 1970 speech prepared by William Safire, told the California Republican state convention about "nattering nabobs of negativism" — a reference to what conservatives now call "liberal media bias."
Conservatives need to promote concepts such as "angry liberals" and "liberal media bias" to justify the concept of "fair and balanced." If conservatives didn't suggest the "angry left" had mythic strength (able to overtake the Democratic Party, Mehlman and others argue), there would be no need for a conservative response. If conservatives didn't suggest liberal media bias was a problem of mythic proportions, there would be no justification for conservative talk radio, Fox News, Regnery Publishing or the seemingly endless number of conservative pundits and columnists nationwide.