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Newsbusters Treats “The Good Wife” Badly

Posted on March 9 2010 11:04 am
David Forsmark is the owner and president of Winning Strategies, a full service political consulting firm in Michigan. David has been a regular columnist for Frontpage Magazine since 2006. For 20 years before that, he wrote book, movie and concert reviews as a stringer for the Flint Journal, a midsize daily newspaper.
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Christine Baranski co-stars as an ultra-liberal lawyer in “The Good Wife”  starring Julianna Margulies (background)

It’s hard to overestimate the great job generally done by The Media Research Center and their blog Newsbusters in general, and Brent Baker in particular, in rooting out liberal bias in the news and entertainment media.  But every once in a while, they are straining so hard to find the fly droppings in the pepper, that that’s all they see.

A particularly egregious case is Baker’s review of CBS’s excellent new legal drama, “The Good Wife.” In an episode in which guest star (and possible new series regular) Gary Cole plays an iconic ballistics expert who loves guns, is incorruptible, and is enough of a Sarah Palin fan to have a picture taken with her—and is clearly the hero of the episode—Baker focused only on the statements and actions of the show’s most liberal character played by Christine Baransky.

In other words, the show was balanced—Baker was not.  If anything, the show was stacked toward the conservative’s point of view; and Baker could not have missed that if he actually saw the show.

In the last few weeks, Baranski’s liberal character has proven to be a hypocrite on gun rights, and has had her judicial nomination pulled by the Cook County Democratic Party because she called out a judge who was sending black kids to a private juvenile facility for flimsy reasons.  The judge actually angrily blurted that he couldn’t possibly be a racist because he was friends with Obama.

Here is Baker’s report on last week’s episode:

On this past Tuesday’s episode of The Good Wife on CBS, viewers were treated to a scene in which a ballistics expert opens a gift, from a partner of a law firm, to find a book about Sarah Palin made up of, he discovers by thumbing through it, blank pages “satirically representing,” explains, “the mind and thinking of Sarah Palin.” The book, ‘Going Rouge: A Candid Look Inside the Mind of Political Conservative Sarah Palin.’

In the March 2 episode, Chicago law firm partner “Diane Lockhart,” played by Christine Baranski, engages the ballistics expert to help her with a murder trial. In her office, he notices a picture, on her credenza, of her with Hillary Clinton. Visiting him at his home office on a farm, she notices on his credenza a photo of him next to Palin: “Is that photo-shopped?  You and the Barracuda?” He doesn’t deny he “photo-shopped” it: “No, she’s at a pro-life rally.”  [DF—the word “no” generally signifies denial…]

After his testimony exonerates her client, he sends her a gift in a box: Sarah Palin’s biography: Going Rogue, promptly her to chuckle. In return – the scene in the accompanying video clip – he sends her the book ridiculing Palin. He opens the box, picks up the book and discovers all its pages are blank.

There are nothing wrong with Baker’s facts (other than the odd notion that no means maybe) but his context is completely missing.

First, as I said, Gary Cole’s character was the unabashed hero of the show.  The smartest guy in the room, the man who saves the day, and an unvarnished conservative.  In fact, in a show in which liberal characters have their ideals conflict with reality on a regular basis, this gun expert won every argument.  Part of what really confused the lawyers was that their ballistics expert for hire tells them he will walk away from the case if it turns out their client is guilty.  (The show also seems to be setting up sort of a Matalin/Carville type of romance for the future.)

Second, Baranski’s character, Diane, is indeed a prototypical feminist who wears it on her sleeve.  She’s also the show’s most ambiguous character with a definite conniving dark side.  And unlike, say, Law and Order, her political views don’t just naturally carry the day.

In the February 2 episode “Bad,” Diane buys a gun because a convict who threatened her life is out on parole.  Her fear of guns is treated with condescending eye rolls by the firm’s female investigator, a former cop.

In the aforementioned December 15 episode, “Lifeguard,” Tony Goldwyn guest stars as a judge who is ignoring plea deals struck by the prosecutor and attorneys to give black kids harsher sentences.  Diane has been offered a judicial endorsement by the Cook County Democrats, but is told she must not challenge the motives of the judge, who has impeccable liberal credentials.  The truth is far more complex than the surface—and in a neat twist, the whole idea of using statistics to prove racism even takes a beating.

Second, like “The Wire,” and unlike “Law and Order,”“The Good Wife” makes no bones about the fact that big city politics are a sewer, and that it is run by Democrats.  Setting a show like in Chicago of all places right after the election of Barack Obama is not insignificant.

I tuned in to watch this show, expecting a standard legal drama, hoping it would be above average.  It is far better than that.  Producers Ridley and Tony Scott have fashioned a complex show with a very dark back story.

My real reason for watching was because the show’s premise appealed to my pet peeve—adulterous politicians who drag their wife to the confessional news conference.  I will never work for, promote, or contribute to any weasel who introduces his wife to the public as a human shield in this manner—including one of the major candidates for the Republican nomination in my home state, whose confessional press conference managed to make Elliot Spitzer look like John Wayne.

I have always—ALWAYS—wanted to see one of these women do this:

Julianna Margulies (“ER”) is superb as a publically wronged woman who tries to put her life back together after her husband, played by Chris Noth, has to resign as Cook County State’s Attorney because of a sexual scandal.  But the above slap doesn’t end it, as the husband is appealing his case, and she does not divorce him.

“The Good Wife” is both politically and (more importantly) dramatically complex.  Newsbusters did both the show and itself a disservice by pretending otherwise.

For a nice overview of the show’s premise, check out this promo– though it only scratches the surface:

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