The Waterbury Connecticut Republican American paper nails it, and points out the media’s role in shaping Joe Lieberman’s moderacy in 2000 as a good thing, while now it’s a bad thing:
In his first 17 years in Congress, Sen. Lieberman benefited from constant kneepad journalism. Reporters covered his “Cup of Joe” gatherings as if they weren’t publicity stunts. In crises, they sought him out because he was, in their view, one of a select few on Capitol Hill with faith and wisdom. They exalted him for his principled excoriation of Bill Clinton’s adultery. Journalists portrayed him as the voice of moderation when he joined Al Gore atop the national ticket in 2000.
This calculated media campaign was meant to portray Joe Lieberman as a Democratic horse, a proposition irrefutably supported by his voting record and party loyalty. But then a one-trick pony from the loony-left stable rode into town, and instantly, Joe Lieberman was transformed into a traitorous, warmongering Bush administration sophist.
Suddenly, the media were bashing him for “personal attacks” against Ned Lamont. His statements and positions got the sort of scrutiny and skepticism usually reserved for conservative Republicans while Mr. Lamont was given rhetorical free rein. National journalists parachuted in to give Sen. Lieberman a good bashing and place Mr. Lamont on the pedestal once occupied by Good Ol’ Joe. And while some of the senator’s political pals were denying him their support, America’s loopiest lefties were bankrolling Negative Ned’s campaign.
All because Sen. Lieberman believes America must win the Iraq war, a position that predates the senatorial race by three years. He realizes if America doesn’t fight the war against terrorism on Islamic turf, the terrorists will fight it on ours. For this principled position — his lone major variance from the left-wing agenda — his party’s most radical elements would toss him to the curb in favor of a millionaire trying to do what Democrats used to abhor: buy his way into Congress.