Buy at Amazon

Thursday, December 27, 2007

On the Media and the GOP Primary

This has been a very interesting race to watch. Within the last few weeks two GOP candidates (Mike Huckabee and John McCain) have come from relative obscurity and into contention for the nomination. They had both spent months on end out of the media limelight (cross-hairs) that usually accompanies the GOP front-runner(s) . It's like they've been drafting at the back of the pack of cyclists, without ever taking their turn up front where the pedaling is more difficult. Having evaded the negative headlines for months has proven beneficial for both.

Much has been said/argued about Huckabee's rise . . . and it's clear that the DNC/MSM axis has held much of their fire seeing him as an "easy kill" in a general election. But what of McCain?

McCain's rise was PRECEDED by newspaper endorsements from the Des Moines Register, Boston Globe, Boston Herald, and the New Hampshire Union-Leader. TV and print journalists were obviously impressed and joined on the "comeback-kid" praise McCain bandwagon. Thomas Alan at to Romney expanded on how the McCain surge has been completely media created and driven. The editorial boards in New Hampshire have praised McCain and bashed Romney with regularity over the last week. And don't even get me started on how cable news outlets have been fanning the flames of McCain's surge and shouting nothing but negativity about Romney.

Does the MSM have power? Of course they do, but how they choose to wield it is the more important point. They know they have power/influence. As proof, just today I saw Chuck Todd (NBC's political director) actually admit on Hardball with Chris Matthews: "If John McCain comes in third in Iowa, we in the media, will carry him to a win in New Hampshire." (his assumption was that Huckabee would beat Romney in Iowa). That arrogance just inflames me.

But isn't there an inherent danger in being a media-created contender? Do we want to choose a nominee that has the media constantly plugging and defending them during the GOP primary? If they're in need of it now to rise in the polls do you think they can count on that during the general election? Absolutely not! The same media that is pumping McCain in NH and elsewhere is not going to be behind him if he's the nominee. You can take that one to the bank.

Instead, how about having a candidate that's been routinely savaged by the media with personal character attacks, gross distortions of his record, and misleading propaganda? How about one that has been has been target #1 for the DNC (drawing more press-release attacks than McCain, Thompson and Huckabee COMBINED!)? Maybe the one who has been THE MAIN TARGET OF EVERY OTHER GOP CANDIDATE FOR MONTHS ON END? Or one that has yet to draw an endorsement from a liberal newspaper's editorial board? Which do you think will have a better chance in the general election . . . the one who's a front-runner DESPITE the MSM coverage or the one(s) that's a challenger BECAUSE of the MSM coverage? I think the answer to that is clear. I'd want the guy who's truly battle-tested.

I can only hope that the voters in Iowa and New Hampshire can see thorough the MSM's distortions and look at the actual records and capabilities of the candidates. If they do that, it's clear to see that Romney will win in a landslide.


Spidey said...

You really can't tell any difference between CNN,MSNBC or FOX on how they are carrying the water for Huck and McCain and at the same time talking up the NH newpaper bashing of Mitt.It's extremely dissappointing that a lot of Republican voters are lapping it up.I mean even if you don't supprt Mitt,switch to Guliani. McCain or Huck getting the nom would be the end of the conservative movement in this country.The media would never support someone they thought could win on the GOP side.They hate the idea of Mitt being the new face of the Republican Party. The best they can come up with is religious smears or Mitt evoling as a person to do what's right for America.

Scott said...

I agree with this expalnation by Jeff Fuller...their fast rise is media driven and temporary. Moreover, I have realized that the meteoric rise of some of these candidates reminds me of the story of the three little pigs, except there may be more than three characters in this story. Their houses of straw(McCain), sticks(Guliani), paper(Thompson), and cardboard(Huckabee)go up pretty fast...but are extememly frail and flammable and at the first wind of careful scrutiny or fire of adversity, the houses come down as fast as they went up. Mitt, on the other hand has carefully constructed an organization one brick at a time and it will, as in the story line, be the only one left standing when the dust settles. "...I will liken him unto a wise man who buildeth his foundation upon a rock..." (Matt 5:24-27)

ebadger said...

Jeff -- Rush Limbaugh made almost this exact same point about his own show. Check out this snippet of a transcript:

RUSH: You have made an excellent point about something here, and it's this. The one thing... I'm not sure that the critics that you're talking about are just any of the critics out there label me an entertainer, or whatever else, I think a lot of it is that they can't and don't want to debate ideas. So it's a typical discredit strategy. What they're trying to do is discredit me in your eyes. What they don't get -- and it's stunning to me what they don't get, because these are people out trying to get votes. How do you get votes? You connect with people; you connect with them in a personal way. That's what's happened on this program. All of you in this audience and me we're like one big, happy family. When you people in the audience are insulted as mind-numbed robots, I take that personally, too, just as you take it personally when they come after me. They don't understand. They can't break this connection, and you know why? Because they had nothing to do with making it. One of the things I love to say is the Drive-By Media did not make this show, and so they can't tear it down.

One of the things I always marvel at is public figures who rely on the media to make 'em big by spreading spin or buzz or PR, because when you rely on anybody else to establish your bona fides and your character and so forth, they can also destroy it. But if they don't, if they had nothing to do with making somebody and establishing a connection that that person has with their audience, they can't destroy it, and yet that's what they're trying to do because they do not understand it. The level of ignorance that exists throughout the country from critics of this program who just don't seem to understand how and why it works, after 19-1/2 years, is a mind-blower.