What follows is an excerpt of my November 19 op-ed in the Washington Times. You can find the full article here.
The two stars of the recent election were Barack Obama and "mainstream media" bias. In this media climate, the terms "Republican" and "conservative" have been relegated to epithet status.
My Democratic-leaning friends argue, fairly, I think, that if the media are so biased, why have Republican presidents sat in the Oval Office for nearly 20 of the last 28 years? The answer is that while the media always play a huge role in presidential elections and their aftermaths, they don't play the only role.
As Republicans burrow into the political desert, a strategic, if anecdotal, walk down memory lane may be instructive. After all, the only difference between what we're seeing with the mainstream media now and what we saw when I entered the work force in the early 1980s is that today there's not even a pretense of objectivity.
So what are the Republicans to do?
While my present career in damage control is apolitical, I got my start in Washington in 1982 as an intern in Reagan White House's PR operation headed by the late, legendary Michael Deaver, whose worldview famously served as the touchstone for all Reagan administration communications. I recall no hallway debates during this time period about mainstream media bias. It was simply assumed as a point of indisputable fact - and palpably felt in the cramped press office. Deaver knew, however, that to espouse a belief in a liberal media bias in polite society was to admit to being an uncouth rube, so Americans never heard much carping on the subject from Reagan officials.
Still, Reagan's team knew that managing the press in some manner was crucial, so the administration's approach was anchored in two of Deaver's favorite terms: The Talent and The Optics.
Eric Dezenhall is chief executive officer of Dezenhall Resources Ltd., a crisis management firm based in Washington D.C. He is the author of "Damage Control: Why Everything You Know About Crisis Management is Wrong."