Media's greatest GOP campaign 'hits'
Throughout the very long presidential election cycle, two trends remained consistent. The media lauded Barack Obama no matter how horrendous his record, and they savaged Obama's Republican contenders as ridiculous pretenders.
From the start of the Republican race in 2011, every candidate who took the lead took an unfair beating.
Newsweek mocked Michele Bachmann on its cover, making her look pale, confused and nutty, with the headline “The Queen of Rage.” Politico and other media outlets tried to pin sexual harassment claims on Herman Cain without naming, or even knowing, the accusers. The Washington Post killed trees to report in earth-shaking depth how Rick Perry's family had leased a hunting property where once a racial expletive was painted on a rock. Never mind that it was Perry's family that covered the obscenity with white paint.
MSNBC's Chris Matthews smeared Newt Gingrich, saying “He looks like a car bomber ... He looks like he loves torturing.”
Then late in the cycle came the dark horse, Rick Santorum. He emerged and was slaughtered. Former New York Times executive editor Bill Keller sneered that Santorum “sounds like he's creeping up on a Christian version of Shariah law.”
The only Republican who seemed to miss the media's smears, at least initially, was Mitt Romney. But when he emerged as the nominee, all bets were off. The Washington Post published a 5,400-word “expose” documenting the shocking revelation that teenaged Romney just may have pinned a boy down and cut his hair. In 1965.
To be sure, The Washington Post did publish a historical piece on Obama's high school career, as well. Exactly a month after its Romney-Running-With-Scissors article, it devoted 5,500 words in the Sports section to an excerpt of David Maraniss' new biography with the headline “President Obama's Love for Basketball Can be Traced Back to His High School Team.”
Despite the news media's infatuation with him, Obama rarely reciprocated. He reduced to a trickle the media's access by minimizing the number of White House press conferences. He hasn't called one since June. Instead, he hopscotched from one flippantly unserious interview to another, from Leno to Letterman. When Obama did consent to interviews with “news” shows, it was more of the same, with embarrassing fawn-a-thons from Charlie Rose at CBS and Brian Williams at NBC.
Even the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, resulting in the deaths of our ambassador and three others, and the subsequent and ongoing serial dishonesty of this administration in its refusal to take a lick of blame for the scandalous lack of security has been brushed under the rug to help Obama. The only man hammered on that issue was Romney.
This passage from Peter Baker of The New York Times says it all about Obama's press avoidance all the way to Election Day: “Nor has Mr. Obama faced many tough questions lately, like those about the response to the attack in Benghazi, Libya, since he generally does not take questions from the reporters who trail him everywhere. Instead, he sticks to generally friendlier broadcast interviews, sometimes giving seven minutes to a local television station or calling in to drive-time radio disc jockeys with nicknames like Roadkill.”
How can you read that and not think that such journalism is roadkill?
L. Brent Bozell III is president of the Media Research Center.