Bozell Column: Making 'Earthquakes' for Romney
After watching the national media’s performance since the party conventions, one can only hope that journalism students are out on summer safari or some Third World Peace Corps mission. Anything to avoid this mess of a profession. Sean Hannity is right. The establishment news media are dead. Whatever remains has only one standard. If it helps Obama, it’s “news.” If it doesn’t, reporters should move on; there’s nothing worth covering.
Our media don’t just report “news” unfavorable to Romney. They obsess over it, complete with repetitive and thoroughly unnecessary incantations that Romney’s campaign is hopeless. On September 17, perhaps not accidentally after Team Obama started to struggle over their handling of the outrageous and deadly attack on the American consulate in Libya, the hard-left Mother Jones magazine leaked a secret tape of Romney talking to donors.
But what did he say? He told them Obama can count on 47 percent of the voters who will vote for him no matter what, “who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it.” He added: “My job is not to worry about those people. I'll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”
Impolitic? In a private campaign briefing with donors, no. Untrue? Again, no.
I will wager a million dollars that Barack Obama has told his major donors in private that strategically he is not concerned with the 47 percent of greedy right-wing rich Republican voters who will never vote for him. Impolitic? No. It’s the way politicians talk to donors in private. Untrue? They'd deny it.
The news media know this, which is why they ignore it. That’s why their assault on Romney is so disingenuous.
Four years ago, in April of 2008, Obama was caught by The Huffington Post telling donors in San Francisco that small town Americans are "bitter" people who “cling to their guns or religion or antipathy towards people who aren’t like them.” This drew a few negative stories for a couple of days, but it quickly vanished from the media’s campaign narrative as Obama secured his party’s nomination.
This Romney tape was recorded in May, but the activists who recorded it obviously wanted to delay its release until the fall campaign. Once the radicals at Mother Jones posted it, on cue, the network carnival barkers erupted with the chants of “bombshell” and “earthquake” on a “seismic day” for the Republican campaign. A viewer might imagine the Earth would open up and swallow Romney whole.
On CBS, Bob Schieffer was handing out the shovels to dig a grave for Romney. “I just can’t think of anything that he could have said that could have hurt his cause more.” I can. Another million-dollar wager here. Before this one's over there are going to be one, or two, or three or more “earthquake” moments for Romney. It could happen while he’s brushing his teeth if these reporters decide that constitutes a new “earthquake.”
There were 88 minutes of TV morning and evening news on this Romney tape on ABC, CBS, and NBC. The networks were right. There was an earthquake -- of their own making.
In response, the Romney team directed the networks to a 1998 tape of Obama where he professed his love for redistributing other people’s money, solidifying the socialist world view Obama has so zealously denied. The networks gave this real bombshell six and a half minutes of attention.
That’s “fairness” to these TV people, a 13-to-1 advantage for Obama. So you say Obama's comments were logged 14 years ago, and don't constitute "news"? OK, then consider the coverage of Obama’s “Fast and Furious” scandal. On September 19, the Justice Department’s inspector general released a scathing report detailing the government’s incompetency that resulted in the death of an American border agent. The same networks that devoted 88 minutes to Romney talking about government dependents voting for Obama gave this scandal just six minutes and 40 seconds of air time.
As usual on this scandal beat, CBS gave it most of the play, three minutes and 59 seconds. NBC allowed one minute and 44 seconds. ABC included a mere 61 seconds of anchor blather.
It must have been a joke over at ABC when morning anchor Amy Robach announced: “And now to the big story in Washington” as she gave it a grand total of 26 seconds. We know by now that to these “news” manufacturers, nothing can be a “big story” unless it makes Obama look good and helps him win a second term.