Blaming the Media

To the Romney campaign there is one reason their candidate is doing poorly: the media.

Perhaps the worst sign for Mitt Romney supporters is the obsession conservative pundits have with blaming the media for their candidate’s lack of popularity.  Blaming the media is always the last recourse of a campaign in distress, and on the right it’s been a kind of security blanket, helping them avoid confronting hard realities.  Rather than question whether or not their message resonates with American voters, they say it would if only the media would frame it correctly.

There’s a kind of disconnect when people who watch Fox news and listen to talk radio complain about media bias — indeed, what they’re really complaining about is that the media doesn’t share the Fox news bias!

Consider:  Mitt Romney’s leaked tape was a big story – one of the biggest in the campaign, coming just over six weeks before the election.   The attack in Libya was also big news, a small but deadly terror attack on the 11th anniversary of 9-11.   Both got play.   Tough questions were asked.

To the right: the media should be focused like a laser on Obama’s “crumbling narrative” about what happened in Libya.   At least that’s claim Mona Charen makes is an especially whiney and vapid article attacking the press as being pro-Obama.   So what is the “crumbling narrative?”   Well, to find that you have to read a right wing interpretation of the news, since it doesn’t come from the White House.

President Obama calls the attack in Libya a terrorist attack that was coordinated, and not a spontaneous response to a movie.    Beyond that they so far refuse to say more until they finish their investigation.    The White House has been pretty consistent on that, even if they did criticize the intolerance and dishonesty of a video which sparked protests in other parts of the Mideast.

But the right wants a crumbling narrative, so they construct it through a patchwork of quotes taken out of context, building an artificial narrative they then can ridicule.    Take a few quotes from the UN Ambassador, take another quote here or there from minor officials, ignore all the statements from the President and Secretary of State, and then claim that Obama says the attacks were purely in response to the video and weren’t terror attacks.

Huh?    Oh, it gets better.   They then take the President’s claim that overall this is a bump in the road in the process of change for the region and say Obama is heartlessly calling the death of a diplomat “a bump.”

To get the GOP narrative, you need The Onion!   Yet, Charen claims, that’s how the press should be focused.    Anything else is a pro-Obama conspiracy.

That’s it?   That’s proof the press is supporting Obama?   Oh, Charen says, there’s more – Obama made a gaffe in Poland a year or so ago by mistakenly saying “Polish death camps” on a visit.   I remember that, the press and conservatives skewered Obama for days.   But now, Charen whines, the press should be praising Romney for getting what was “basically” an endorsement from Lech Walesa, who stood up to Communism.   Instead, she complains, the press covered an outburst from a Romney aide.

If this is a vast conspiracy, why does she have to reach way back to July to find evidence?   And is she saying the press shouldn’t have covered the outburst?   Earth to Charen, you swear at reporters it’ll get covered regardless of who does it! But the press did cover Walesa’s comments.    She fails to mention that Walesa (who has some of his own scandals) did not have the support of his own party, whose leadership rejected Romney for his anti-labor stance.    That doesn’t fit the narrative Charen believes the press should follow.

It’s not just the right – critics on the left deride the media corporate shills

Either one of two things are happening.   If you’re a Romney supporter,  you better hope it’s the first.

1.   The Romney campaign knows things are going poorly so they’re trying to pressure the press to give them good coverage.   They want to get the press to tell things the way the Romney camp wants it told.

That’s fine, though Charen’s article makes a pretty poor case.   But if the perception gets created that the press is unfair, they might go more gently on Romney.   Can’t blame them for trying that – Kerry’s campaign made similar complaints in 2004.

2.   Romneyworld is so locked into its view of reality that it truly believes they are victims of a media conspiracy and don’t understand that their campaign is the problem.

If that’s happening, Romney is toast.    They’re getting poor coverage because they are running a bad campaign.   This is not controversial, pundit after pundit on the right has been saying the same thing.     They’re doing poorly because Romney is not a good candidate.   People don’t like him, he let himself get defined by the Obama team last summer and hasn’t done much of anything to define himself.

It’s a close race, but Obama has the lead.   If Romney’s going to turn it around he has to turn around his campaign.   A first move is to stop whining.   When you whine it reinforces the image that you’re losing.     More importantly, he has to show he’s a leader.   Right now Romney appears to be a follower – a moderate who has veered to the right because that’s what his campaign wants.   People don’t think he believes in anything or has clear principles.   He is, in essence, the anti-Reagan.

“Stop it. This is hard work. Do you want to try it?” Ann Romney’s words could also be said to defend the replacement refs in the NFL. It is hard. But right now the Romney campaign team is operating with the same quality of work that the replacement refs provide to the NFL.

Consider Romney’s own words:  “And I realize that there will be some in the Fourth Estate, or whichever estate, who are far more interested in finding something to write about that is unrelated to the economy, to geopolitics, to the threat of war, to the reality of conflict in Afghanistan today, to a nuclearization of Iran. They’ll instead try and find anything else to divert from the fact that these last four years have been tough years for our country.”

(Whichever estate?)

Get it – the media should ONLY write about the economy, geopolitics, the threat of war, or Iran.   Covering the campaign or what the candidates say, do or plan is a distraction.   It doesn’t work that way, Mitt – it never has.  The media cover a myriad of topics, and when an embarrassing tape is leaked, they’ll cover it.    They covered Obama’s and Biden’s gaffes too.  Remember all the play the Biden “in chains” comment got?   These same critics and the Romney campaign were all over Biden for a week on that!  And who made an out of context “you didn’t build that” quote the center point of their convention?

No matter how the right pushes the “media conspiracy” line, it’s a sure loser.    It’s the Romney campaign’s fault that they’re in the position they are in.   Only they can change it.

  1. #1 by GiRRL_Earth on September 25, 2012 - 16:31

    Awe. Some! Well said. Finally! Someone says it like it is.

  2. #2 by GiRRL_Earth on September 25, 2012 - 16:33

    Forgot to mention. Would you believe the woman who cuts my hair is going to vote for Romney because, “He’s so handsome.” Comments like that frighten me to the very center of my core. So I said to her, “You’re voting for this man based on his looks?” I’m afraid. I am very afraid.

    • #3 by Scott Erb on September 25, 2012 - 18:24

      She prefers the 65 year old Mitt Romney’s looks to the fit and trim 51 year old Barack Obama?

      • #4 by GiRRL_Earth on September 25, 2012 - 18:55

        LOL! Evidently.

      • #5 by Titfortat on September 25, 2012 - 20:58

        You do realize he looks better with that 250 million tag at the end. 😉

    • #6 by Snoring Dog Studio on September 26, 2012 - 13:12

      NO. NO, she didn’t say that! I definitely wouldn’t have tipped her.

      • #7 by GiRRL_Earth on September 26, 2012 - 13:34

        LOL! Too funny.
        I know, you’re right, I shouldn’t have.

  3. #8 by lbwoodgate on September 25, 2012 - 17:11

    Not that it comes as a surprise but the NY Times see Romney’s chances rapidly going down the tube too.

    Why Romney Is Slipping

    Once you start attacking the media they can begin to take it personal and then it becomes a self-fulfilling accusation.

    • #9 by Scott Erb on September 25, 2012 - 18:30

      The article’s substantive claim was spot on. Romney’s tax proposals make no sense and his claim about the ERs being a good place for the poor to get health care is unbelievably ignorant about what that means! Obama’s lead now is larger than his lead over McCain-Palin four years ago (in RCP’s poll comparisons). Obama first had to defeat Keyes for the Illinois Senate, then McCain-Palin and now Romney? He must lead a blessed life.

  4. #10 by SShiell on September 25, 2012 - 17:21

    I see where the “Slobbering Love Affair” continues even among the punditry.


    • #11 by Titfortat on September 25, 2012 - 21:01

      @S Shiell

      I can understand why you dislike Obama, but I am slightly confused of how you can think Romney would be better?

      • #12 by SShiell on September 25, 2012 - 22:17

        I did not say he would be. My comment was strictly to indicate there is a strong bias for Obama among the Main Stream media and to indicate otherwise is disengenuous to say the least.

      • #13 by Norbrook on September 26, 2012 - 00:23

        Funny, how that “strong bias” you see isn’t backed up by a media analysis, except your opinion and Fox’s.

      • #14 by Titfortat on September 26, 2012 - 01:08

        Im sure the bias is based on finances. It seems Romney had the early money lead and now it has shifted to Obama. Capitalism at its finest or should I say Democracy? 😉

      • #15 by SShiell on September 26, 2012 - 03:22

        ” . . except your opinion and Fox’s.”

        Like Howard Kurtz and Newsweek collectively represent the standard bearers for unbiased reporting. LOL!!! And I could care less what is said or not said on Fox.

        Like I said, disengenuous to say the least.

  5. #16 by Micah on September 25, 2012 - 20:09

    Romney has run the most inept campaign in modern politics. It would be funny if it wasn’t so sad.
    He says he wants to talk about what is important to people; the economy. Then what does he do? He comes out and again slams the President over the Embassy attacks. This only rehashes his hastily arranged, bumbling news conference immediately after the attacks themselves before all the facts were in. Romney’s ability to refocus the spotlight to his blunders is uncanny. He has no one to blame but himself.

    The whole ‘liberal media’ angle has never made sense to me either. Other than Faux News and CNN to an extent, there is only corporate media. It isn’t right or left driven. It is driven by advertizing dollars. If those dollars dictate that liberal issues hold the viewer……well, that is what will be be pumped into living rooms across the US.

  6. #17 by Norbrook on September 26, 2012 - 10:55

    Like Howard Kurtz and Newsweek collectively represent the standard bearers for unbiased reporting. LOL!!! And I could care less what is said or not said on Fox.

    Yet you faithfully repeat every talking point from Fox, so pot=kettle when you say “disingenuous.”

    Here’s what’s funny to me – you are using as “justifications” what was criticism (and debunked) of the President by the Left for a few years, in the media. The reason it’s funny to me is that you’re now making the claim they’re “in the tank” for Obama. You believe that just because they’re foolishly reporting Romney’s contortions and doing … fact checking. Tsk.

    • #18 by SShiell on September 26, 2012 - 13:54

      Am i repeating RTox talking points or is Fox repeating mine – go figure. You gave me a “study” that i laughed at and then, in response, said nothing except question my own bias. You want a study reflecting my “opinion/bias”? Well, here’s one you can chew on:

      Media Bias Is Real, Finds UCLA Political Scientist

      “Of the 20 major media outlets studied, 18 scored left of center, with CBS’ “Evening News,” The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times ranking second, third and fourth most liberal behind the news pages of The Wall Street Journal.”

      The researchers took numerous steps to safeguard against bias — or the appearance of same — in the work, which took close to three years to complete. They went to great lengths to ensure that as many research assistants supported Democratic candidate Al Gore in the 2000 election as supported President George Bush. They also sought no outside funding, a rarity in scholarly research.

      “No matter the results, we feared our findings would’ve been suspect if we’d received support from any group that could be perceived as right- or left-leaning, so we consciously decided to fund this project only with our own salaries and research funds that our own universities provided.”

      • #19 by classicliberal2 on September 27, 2012 - 00:59

        Their methodology is absolutely ludicrous, and produced the results that could be expected. Their “liberal” designation was based on the votes of members of congress–who are already well to the right of the public–as rated by Americans for Democratic Action, a long-running interest group aligned with the Democratic party, which, like all such interest groups, picks only a handful of issues on which to rate congressmen, and does so in a way as to put “their side” on top.

        By their “methodology,” the Drudge Report leans to the left, and Fox’s Special Report is tied for most “centrist” program.
        This is a “centrist” program on which the regular panel, for discussions, is made of of three hard-right conservatives (host Baier, Charles Krauthammer, and Andrew Napolitano), and moderate conservative Juan Williams (playing the token liberal). Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting, an actual press critic, has comprehensively studied Special Report’s guest list repeatedly over the years–it has always been skewed not just to the right, but insanely so:

      • #20 by SShiell on September 27, 2012 - 02:17

        So, you provide me a “study” from a source (Howard Kurtz/Newsweek) that is laughable on its face – as if Newsweek is unbiased. I counter with a study from UCLA that you deride by stating their “methodology is absolutely ludicrous.”

        I will admit I do not have the expertise to determine the adequacy of their methodology. From your bombastic review of the study, you lead me to think that you are something of an expert in the field. You should immediately send as message to the study principals and tell them what for!!! Why, after they are made aware of your expertise as a “Professional Rabble-Rouser, troublemaker, and defender of unpopular causes” they are bound to kneel in awe of your vaunted subject matter expertise.

        Heh!!! /sarcasm off

        Cheers & Out.

      • #21 by classicliberal2 on September 27, 2012 - 12:42

        “So, you provide me a ‘study’ from a source (Howard Kurtz/Newsweek) that is laughable on its face – as if Newsweek is unbiased.”

        …except, of course, for the fact that I haven’t mentioned Howard Kurtz, Newsweek, or any study by either.

        “I will admit I do not have the expertise to determine the adequacy of their methodology.”

        …or, apparently, the literacy to read the article you, yourself, offered (which outlines that methodology), or to do a Google for it.

    • #22 by SShiell on September 27, 2012 - 15:58

      First: I did not say I hadn’t read their methodology, I just admitted I do not have your awesome powers of expertise to be able to discern the effectiveness of that methodology. (Your reading and comprehension leave something to be desired. May I suggest a remedial reading course offered by a local elementary school?)

      Second: “…except, of course, for the fact that I haven’t mentioned Howard Kurtz, Newsweek, or any study by either.”

      Take a moment and go back to a previous entry made by yourself (#13):

      “Funny, how that “strong bias” you see isn’t backed up by a media analysis, except your opinion and Fox’s.”

      Now, although it is true you did not mention them, but your link associated with “a media analysis” in that previous entry leads you to, wait for it, Lo and Behold, Howard Kurtz & Newsweek!!!

      Next time when you go to a gunfight, bring something more than a knife.

      And while this has been fun and maybe even real, it has not been real fun. in fact, it seems abundantly clear to me that debating you is like watching you kiss your own sister. I got better things to do.

      Cheers, and out for good where you are concerned.

      • #23 by classicliberal2 on September 27, 2012 - 21:44

        “Your reading and comprehension leave something to be desired. May I suggest a remedial reading course offered by a local elementary school?”

        Then all this bluster: “Next time when you go to a gunfight, bring something more than a knife.” And “it seems abundantly clear to me that debating you is like watching you kiss your own sister. I got better things to do.” Then you dislplay your obviously superior skills at reading comprehension and gunfighting by directing people to a post I did NOT, in fact, write, while notably failing to direct anyone to any post by me that mentions Fineman, Newsweek, or a study by either.

        Flight, it would seem, is a wise choice for you.

  7. #24 by thenewamericanlondoner on September 26, 2012 - 11:34

    Disingenuous. You keep using that word. I don’t think it means what you think it means.

    Great post though.

    • #25 by SShiell on September 26, 2012 - 14:08

      You know I could care less whether the MSM is “in the tank” for Obama or not. What bothers me is when the media is in the tank for anyone – Left or Right. I think it would be an important aspect of our political life to recognize it if it is true.

      Why? The “Fourth Estate” is an important part of our political lives. There is no instrument or faculty out there who “checks” our condidates from whichever party. Oh, they do internal checks and such but the comman person relies on the Media to “vet” a candidate. And when the Media has a bias, then who can we trust for information regarding the candidates?

      Blogs? They are as biased as the individual who runs the blog and the persons who visit it and comment on it. Do you think there is any bias here?

      Political parties? You gotta be kidding me. You gonna “trust” what either party tells you? Based upon what? FAITH??? LOL.

      Meidia outlets? Fox? They are in the can for the Conservatives. Sometimes there is very little space between a conservative and Republican viewpoint but there is a difference. MSNBC? LOL!!! ABC? NBC? CBS? NY Times? CNN?

      So, where do you go?

      • #26 by lbwoodgate on September 26, 2012 - 14:20

        “So, where do you go?”

        Good question. Why don’t you attempt to answer it instead of whining about.

        You’re essentially preaching to the choir so offer something constructive on the issue rather dragging in here with a dark cloud over your head.

        As Scott’s article cogently points out whiners are losers and no one really wants to listen to them. Your carte blanche condemnation of “the Media” is over the top too. There are actually some objective sources out there but you have to pull yourself out of the box that wants to condemn them because you don’t hear what you want to hear.

      • #27 by SShiell on September 26, 2012 - 16:12

        “Why don’t you attempt to answer it instead of whining about.”

        LOL!!! Whatever my answer to that question would have still gotten the same response from you. My anwswer – each has to find his own “middle” ground. The ground where the bias is minimized.

        But you seem to like the status quo. You seem to like to hear people telling you what you want to hear. It is so nice to hear your own thoughts and ideas validated. So keep relying on the MSMBCs of the world. Keep letting the NY Times tell you how to thinkl.

        But don’t come crying to me or anyone else when they turn against you and start reporting with a bias adverse to your own fevered thoughts. Because the left bias of today can become the right bias of tomorrow. And when that happens, where does a good lemming like you turn to for the news?

        Cheers, and out!

  8. #28 by thenewamericanlondoner on September 26, 2012 - 14:17

    I think you’re going to be searching a long time if you’re looking for subjectivity. The BBC are the closest. They genuinely agonise over what they should publish and broadcast and what they shouldn’t but they still get a accused of bias, which they probably have. But in this day and age as it were, the common person is going to have to be very critical of what they see and hear in order to navigate through the myriad of news sources they see in order to find something they call ‘the truth’. I think it is our job to be critical of everything, but I don’t think we can call anything absolutely ‘in the can’ unless we’re talking about Murdoch publications, which, here in the UK, genuinely come out openly in support of certain parties, thus the phrase, “It was The Sun (as in The Daily Sun) what won it”. The media follows the story and like it or not, the story continues to be Romney’s ineptitude. Not too long ago it was Obama’s “failure” to get the economy going.

  9. #29 by thenewamericanlondoner on September 26, 2012 - 14:17

    Sorry, OBJECTIVITY, not subjectivity.

    • #30 by SShiell on September 26, 2012 - 16:19

      I don’t disagree with you any of your points. Whether there is bias or not, it is not good for Romney to whine about it. You got a problem, then deal with it and go on – that’s my position. But I am not him nor his advisor so all I can do is sit back and watch the show.

      Pass the popcorn.


  10. #31 by Alan Scott on September 27, 2012 - 02:29

    Whining is definitely a legitimate political tool . Look at the whining about voter ID . One man’s whining is another man’s legitimate complaint .

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