Mitt Romney's Media Handicap
Romney no doubt feels embarrassed by the charges, even if most of us struggle to understand their relevance or gauge their veracity. But the time is coming for Romney to get angry, very angry, with what is increasingly, quaintly called "the mainstream media."
The Post's decision to play up the story as if it were major news -- front page, thousands of drably dull self-serious words piled high to elevate and justify the one buzzy nugget -- is an embarrassment. It was clearly intended to link Romney to the new progressive cause: fighting anti-gay bullying, in the context of President Obama's "sudden" support for gay marriage. It was naked advocacy gussied up as journalistic due diligence.
It was also a significant error -- if you work from the assumption (as I do) that the Post and other mainstream media outlets are determined to do what they can to re-elect Obama -- because they tipped their hand too early.
It's always dangerous to ascribe singular purpose to a collective entity like "the media." Of course, there are individual figures who -- despite whatever personal biases they may have -- are trying their best to be fair. But as a generalization, the mainstream media are so deep in the bunker for Obama, they could ride out a nuclear war without having their Jenga tower fall over.
Obama, meanwhile, is beloved. In 2008, concerns about the man's past were largely brushed aside, ignored or re-spun to fit the acceptable story line.
No doubt some believe that if a Republican candidate had a hate-spewing pastor and associated with an admitted former domestic terrorist, the mainstream media would be equally dismissive. After all, who cares about that? I mean, how can that stack up news value-wise against a 17-year-old hazing a kid at school nearly 50 years ago?
In 2008, the imperative was to clear the field for the first black president. Now that that box has been checked, a new story line is needed. Enter
The Obama campaign's rationalization for the president's decision to drop what most knew was a calculated political lie is that it would "fire up" his base among rich liberal donors and college students. It did that.
But it also fired up his base in the press corps, enabling writers to rekindle their obsession with the "historic" nature of the Obama presidency.
It's worth noting that there's little evidence -- yet -- that Obama's decision will actually help him with voters, voters who are increasingly less deferential to campaigns from traditional media outlets. (Indeed, the latest
Still, it never hurts to have good press. In football, they sometimes refer to the cheerleading and noise from the fans as the "12th man" on the (normally 11-man) team. The media are revving themselves up to be Obama's 12th man, and the time is coming for Romney to call them on it, with passion.
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Mitt Romney's Media Handicap | Politics
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