Conservatives Should Confront Media Bias Rather Than Work Around It

On his radio program Wednesday, a very frustrated Rush Limbaugh wondered aloud at what he characterized as an insufficient amount of attention to President Obama's record.

He blamed the problem on Republican election consultants (including perpetual failure  Ed Rollins) and their misbegotten belief that telling the truth about liberalism will somehow disenchant unaffiliated voters. "I want to know why these independents don't get turned off when Obama calls Romney a murderer and a felon?" Limbaugh asked.

After referring to a preposterously indecisive focus group which National Review's Daniel Foster wrote about earlier this week which was operated by Republican pollster Frank Luntz, Limbaugh said he was struck by how little Republicans actually mentioned President Obama's name during speeches.

RUSH LIMBAUGH: The Republican hierarchy, from its consultants on down, truly believes that mentioning Obama by name and then criticizing will cause these swing voters that Luntz had that I told you about to run straight back to the Democrats. It is clear they believe it.

Naturally, I profoundly disagree.

But I think also it's obvious that these people don't see this as a turning point election. They see it as just another one in the cycle. Here's Joe Trippi. Joe Trippi is a Democrat consultant. Trippi ran Howard Dean's ill-fated campaign in 2004 when John Kerry (who served in Vietnam, by the way) ended up being the nominee. He was also on the Fox show this morning. After Ed Rollins said, "Yep, yep! Not hitting Obama was the perfect way to go," Joe Trippi said...

TRIPPI: Christie last night, there's been some disappointment he didn't go after Obama enough. But what he did was talk to the undecideds out there. If he had pounded on Obama in that way, I think it woulda turned those people off.

LIMBAUGH: Folks, I'm literally going insane hearing this. I want to know why these independents don't get turned off when Obama calls Romney a murderer and a felon. Why is it that independents only get turned off? Why is it that our guys are agreeing with a Democrat consultant? Why is it that the independents only get turned off when we're critical? And we're not even being "critical" when we tell the truth! [...] You're hearing the Republican consultants say it. It's good not to do that! Why, it's gonna send these independents running back to Obama. But they never run from Obama when Obama calls us murderers. [...]

Where was the beef? Where was the red meat? There wasn't any. Everybody doesn't know about Obama's terrible record! I'm gonna tell you something. Mr. Rollins, if everybody knew Obama's record, he'd be down 20 points.  "Well, we're talking about the attendees at the convention, Mr. Limbaugh. They know." No, you're talking about people watching on television.  You're trying to take this beyond the attendees in the hall.  And if the people knew Obama's record and if they knew Obama's direct culpability in this nation's economic disaster, he'd be down 20 points.

There's a simple answer to the question: It's the media.

After having to deal with liberal media bias for so long, many Republican consultants and politicians have grown weary with the situation. They are resigned to their fate of being perpetually maligned, disparaged, and questioned by liberal journalists.

Instead of standing up and trying to fix the situation, they instead have tried to "manage" it. Instead of challenging the media's astounding lack of ideological diversity and its craven reflex to parrot back the latest Democrat talking point, these consultants are content with trying to avoid confrontation altogether.

Unfortunately, such efforts are doomed to failure. The "nice guy conservative" will never win the day against even the nastiest liberal in the eyes of left-leaning journalists simply because said conservative doesn't think the correct opinions. Every losing Republican presidential campaign has proven this lesson: John McCain, George H. W. Bush, and Gerald Ford uniformly tried to play the "nice guy" game. They all lost because of that.

Matthew Sheffield
Matthew Sheffield
Matthew Sheffield, creator of NewsBusters and president of Dialog New Media, an internet marketing and design firm, left NewsBusters at the end of 2013