Romney and Obama - a Tale of Two Ideologies and the Press - image mrmediatraining.com
From Politico: the Headline: “Romney: 'I'm fighting uphill battle' in media” covers the remarks made by Republican Presumptive Presidential Nominee in reference to the type of reporting from what has become known as the “mainstream” media – which is consistently negative, and growing more contentious and sensational by the day.
If one watches the morning news, it is obvious that the President is treated, on the campaign trail, as above the fray, while Romney is consistently vilified – based on remarks or “information” coming from campaign sources. The print press has been relentless, and the blogs that feed the press – even more ridiculous. What the independent sees, however, is a disparity, wondering what those in the media whose obvious support for one candidate over another, is doing – besides alienating at least fifty percent of the electorate – and fueling a greater partisan divide. The fact that Romney has been successful in his career, has been fodder for the media to portray the candidate as an “out-of-touch”, mean-spirited, rich guy – which, when one looks at past presidents from both major political parties, Romney’s “wealth” is sometimes dwarfed by those know by Progressives as coming from the Second Estate – the Robber Barron’s who made their wealth through dubious means, and emerged as the nation’s leaders – the Carnegies, the Rockefellers, the Kennedy’s. When the last Senator Ted Kennedy ran against Jimmy Carter in 1980, there was little mention of his off-shore holdings – which is common knowledge in the Bay State. Fast forward to the current contest, and the fact that President Barack Obama is not, decidedly, in the poor-house, but doing quite well in the Millions category – apparently is given a pass. Of course, there is a pass given to this President, not due to the fact of race, or competence, or anything other than a shared ideology – it is a political bent that is fueling the coverage of both Candidates.
The question now remains is the public buying into all of the negatives – it’s quite possible that, unlike the eight years the press hammered away at President George W.Bush, (and sometimes to be fair, deservedly), which was pivotal is allowing John McCain to be painted with the same “Bush” brand, and made it impossible for anyone with an – R – in their resume, to be elected (or re-elected) in 2008. By 2010, something occurred that shocked the media – apparently, this Tea Party thing, and the general public, decided to upend the entire Congress and almost caught the Senate – Now with Romney, there has been a) too much time between Bush and Romney to draw any specific comparison (although they have tried), and b) too little time to do as much damage as they hope. It is a matter of trust, and the trust in the instructions of News, both print and other, is in the tank –and not by half of the nation, but by two thirds or more.
Gallup Polling’s annual “Trust in Institutions” polling from 2011 indicated that merely 28 and 27% of the respondents put their trust into newspapers and televised news. The 2012 poll suggests that the situation has not improve with a 21% suggesting Televised News was trustworthy, and 25% placed their confidence in newspapers.
Gallup is not knows as a politically motivated, rather bi-partisan polling firm, therefore, these numbers should be fairly accurate.
The Sample of Headlines from Google News alerts regarding Mitt Romney from one alert (an alert may contain one to 10 articles and there are multiple alerts throughout the day) dished up the following:
From the Boston Globe: Romney attacked on Bain Question”
The LA Times: Dick Cheney Hosts Fundraiser for Romney (one must read the article to get the full effect)
The Boston Globe Mitt Romney and his tax returns: Déjà vu?” (Reference to the Obama Campaign requesting Romney release scores of tax returns, which is neither precedented nor unprecedented in the political arena).
Upstate ”Romney gets rocky reception from NAACP”
The Washington Post Mitt Romney’s Cynical Response to NAACP Booing”
New York Daily News: Mitt Romney Uses Old Hilary Clinton Footage to Attack President Barack Obama”
The Dickenson Press: Stinky Economy Plays into Mitt Romney’s Hands”
And on and on and on...
However, if one has a Google Alert set up for the President – one finds the following – far too many mentions to post in one short blog – 99.9% of those in supportive verbiage – rather than any mentions of missteps, such as Solyndra, or Fast and Furious, or the drums of war beating again as the U.S. heads towards the Persian gulf.
It is a divide so obvious and so great, is it any wonder that a) the press has scored so low in Gallup’s polling and b) Romney is raking in contributions, and not, as portrayed in the press, at just those big fundraisers (the President has those as well but they are reported in glowing, rather than “negative” terms) but at the clip of $3.00 to $10.00 per donation, adding up to a net plus in the last reporting to $34,000,000 more than the President managed to amass.
The political cheerleaders in the U.S. media may find a backlash – similar to the one in 2010, but more important, a need to replace the ever decreasing readers and viewers who simply cannot stand another issue/broadcast – regardless of the coupons, crossword puzzles, and other “exclusive news”. It has little to do with the internet, or Fox News (often vilified), or the “blogs” (guilty as charged) – if one reads all material, or one watches all network news (and cable news network’s) one sees a definitive difference in reporting on the same event – from the press to MSNBC in the extreme, to Fox offers straight news, with no inflection of opinion, and opinion programming, clearly marked as not news, yet compared to MSNBC, extreme right, to CNN, where there’s a seeming middle ground. CBS, NBC and ABC, both local and national is clearly in sync and clearly invested in the campaign.
Romney, however, is most likely the least surprised at the fact that he will never be friends with the media, and will have little to no fair coverage, nor would any other candidate who may have been the front-runner and the presumptive GOP nominee. It would not have mattered one bit, the treatment would be the same.
This is why, in a short history lesson, the Founders, in letters published in the Federalist Papers, debated heavily over giving the Press certain rights, there was keen opposition mainly due to the possibility that the press might actually try to change or overthrow the government – from the Federalist Papers #84 – written by Alexander Hamilton
I go further, and affirm that bills of rights, in the sense and to the extent in which they are contended for, are not only unnecessary in the proposed Constitution, but would even be dangerous. They would contain various exceptions to powers not granted; and, on this very account, would afford a colorable pretext to claim more than were granted. For why declare that things shall not be done which there is no power to do? Why, for instance, should it be said that the liberty of the press shall not be restrained, when no power is given by which restrictions may be imposed? I will not contend that such a provision would confer a regulating power; but it is evident that it would furnish, to men disposed to usurp, a plausible pretense for claiming that power. They might urge with a semblance of reason, that the Constitution ought not to be charged with the absurdity of providing against the abuse of an authority which was not given, and that the provision against restraining the liberty of the press afforded a clear implication, that a power to prescribe proper regulations concerning it was intended to be vested in the national government. This may serve as a specimen of the numerous handles which would be given to the doctrine of constructive powers, by the indulgence of an injudicious zeal for bills of rights.
On the subject of the liberty of the press, as much as has been said, I cannot forbear adding a remark or two: in the first place, I observe, that there is not a syllable concerning it in the constitution of this State; in the next, I contend, that whatever has been said about it in that of any other State, amounts to nothing. What signifies a declaration, that "the liberty of the press shall be inviolably preserved"? What is the liberty of the press? Who can give it any definition which would not leave the utmost latitude for evasion? I hold it to be impracticable; and from this I infer, that its security, whatever fine declarations may be inserted in any constitution respecting it, must altogether depend on public opinion, and on the general spirit of the people and of the government.3 And here, after all, as is intimated upon another occasion, must we seek for the only solid basis of all our rights.
To put the essay into perspective, the Bill of Rights was put forth by the State of New York, insisting that the language in totality be included in the framed Constitution. There was a rather heated debate – much of which is available in biographies of Madison, Jay and Hamilton. That said, the questions raised in the past, were not, obviously unfounded. In the end it was included by a vote as well as the need to keep the New York contingent in the fold.
To be certain, the document is timeless and somewhat prophetic – in not the way that the press would cause a revolution, per se, rather in how the press would choose political sides, and a progressive ideology to support and include in their “opinionated straight news”. That is not to say the press is without purpose, nor that the entire body is to be maligned, as there are obviously solid journalists with integrity who will not inflict their personal opinions into an article to make one appear less than perfect, or perhaps use video footage that has been so badly edited, one is immediately caught (Andrea Mitchell, editing Mitt Romney’s on the campaign trail),or consistently being forced to retract incendiary headlines or statements, under threat of law suit (too numerous to mention).
If for example, the media woke up tomorrow, and began to report straight news, and use investigative journalism in reporting for good, or ill, on both candidates, one can bet the house, there would be a renewed subscriber base or viewership – one that had the highest score in Gallup’s trust in institutions polling. That would have a net effect of creating more jobs in journalism and the trickledown effect of an increase in revenue. The aforementioned is, of course, wishful thinking.
Mitt Romney might, in the long run, wish to thank those in the press for being so gung-ho for one political ideology, as only 30% are listening with attention, while the balance are not buying it – like the collective boy who cried wolf, sooner or later, the people will rise up and elect a Republican candidate – just as they did in 2010 and with each negative article or broadcast, as the cash pours into the Romney Campaign, it may represent a return to 2010, at all levels – the only way the press has to prevent this is to treat each candidate – equally.