As Romney Goes Down, Rightbloggers Double Down on Liberal Media Bias B.S.
Yeah, we know, you've been hearing conservatives talking about liberal media bias forever. It's their version of the Bowery Boys' Routine 11. But during Romney's worst week so far, when things were looking temporarily glum for the GOP candidate none of them had ever really wanted, rightbloggers elevated this sullen schtick into something resembling an art form.
You can understand. In these dark days, even reliable rightwing chumps have been shoving for a little daylight between themselves and Romney. David Brooks, for example, compared Romney to Thurston Howell III from Gilligan's Island, and suggested his campaign was maladroit, for which rightbloggers called the columnist "'conservative' David Brooks," "phony 'conservative' back-stabber," etc.
One-time Reagan speechwriter and longtime GOP apparatchik Peggy Noonan said something similar about Romney, and got similar treatment: Fox News' Chris Wallace said "[Noonan's] conservative bona fides I'm not sure I take too seriously," Ilana Mercer of World Net Daily called Noonan a "D.C. courtesan" and "Ms. Petulance"; others, "faux conservative," etc.
"Peggy Noonan, of all people, should know that the mainstream media has different standards of conduct concerning Democratic and Republican politicians," explained Aaron Goldstein at The American Spectator. "Surely, she understands that the liberal press put Romney under greater scrutiny in a single press conference than they have with President Obama over the past 3½ years." Just as surely, Goldstein would have her understand that it's her duty to tell everyone everything's going just fine or keep her trap shut.
Where lamestream conservatives fell down on the job, rightblogger truth squads stepped up. For example, when Romney came out after the Benghazi consulate attack that killed four Americans and told people Obama "sympathizes" with the attackers -- something even prominent conservatives thought was gross -- they were able to get Philip Klein at the Washington Examiner to write, "How the media turned Obama's foreign policy bungle into a Romney gaffe."
They also reengineered the liberal-media schtick into the Obama-liberal-media schtick. This isn't new: Since before the 2008 election, we've been getting tales of lamestream media loyalty to The One on a regular basis from both the high-end rightblogs -- e.g. Fox News Insider's "Is the Media Protecting President Obama?" -- to the bottom-feeding idiots.
There are many such beats at rightblogger sites -- for example, Breitbart's Big Journalism has a "**INSTA-FACT CHECK** LIVE-BLOGGING THE OBAMAMEDIA" story hole purporting to cover the "corrupt media" that is not only corrupt but "breathtakingly corrupt in its push to reelect a failed president." Sample item: "CNN's Soledad O'Brien Attempts to Smear Christianity as Anti-Gay." ("It's behavior practiced by gays and straights alike that the Bible deems sinful.")
But last week the rightbloggers went into overdrive, insisting that the Romney's poor post-debacle numbers had nothing to do with him and everything to do with an insidious liberal media that has declared the election over, thus either manipulating or contradicting a pro-Romney reality.
At the Washington Free Beacon, Matthew Continetti told us that the Lame Stream Media had already called the election for Obama. That would be news, especially since that would leave the media with eight more weeks till the election and no horserace to cover.
Nonetheless Continetti insisted they insisted it was done. He didn't cite a single all-over headline. Hell, even we, liberal-media biased as we are, can find some -- for example, "Today, Mitt Romney Lost the Election," over at the Marxist Bloomberg site.
Another liberal bias oldie but repulsive-ie.
We can also find "Despite Romney Missteps, Campaign Far From Over" (NPR), "Reports of the Romney Campaign's Death Greatly Exaggerated" (Huffington Post), "Four Reasons Why Romney Might Still Win" (Robert Fucking Reich).
And if we go back to August, we can find stories from the presumably no-less-liberal-then media such as "Romney takes lead over Obama with convention 'bounce'" (Yahoo News), "Romney edges Obama on economy, overall race deadlocked" (Washington Post), "Obama leads Romney in three key swing states" (CBS), etc. Naturally. This kind of hot-or-not back-and-forth is the media's bread and butter.
Continetti nonetheless pursued his war on media bias, mostly via adjectives, e.g., "the conceited arrogance with which our most sophisticated and well-schooled editors, writers, and journalists voice this conclusion makes it that much more annoying." Not only are they conceited and annoying, they're also sophisticated! If only the Beacon had a bigger graphics budget, they could have shown the media wearing tuxedos and drinking out of fancy martini glasses.
Then Continetti broke out the harsher modifiers: "The 2012 campaign suggests that 'bias' is no longer a suitable description of the character of the media establishment. 'Partisan toadies' may be a better one. 'Obama's army' is another." Continetti finally got down to citations -- of news unfavorable toward Obama appearing in such conservative strongholds as the Washington Post and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. It all adds up!
After much snarling and rightwing laugh-lines ("that first tingle ran up Chris Matthews' leg"), Continetti finally decided it was not enough to yell at the media; he must also hector his audience. "Be warned," he Cassandra'd; "If Romney does lose, not only will you have to deal with the consequences of a second Obama term. You also will have to watch as the smug and puffed up soldiers in Obama's vainglorious army pat themselves on the back, and pompously remind the country that they were right all along. And that is a price even the most eager voter should be unwilling to pay."
In a way, it's the whole conservative argument for former RINO Romney in a nutshell: Elect him to piss off liberal elite reporters.
Some of the brethren went small-bore, accusing the lamestream media of malfeasance only in the particular -- for example, Breitbart's Joel B. Pollak claiming that the two minutes missing from the 45-minute Romney tape contained "the most important moment," presumably the one in which Romney said that everything he'd been saying was just a joke and that he loved all Americans and then brought out the resurrected Jesus Christ to endorse him. (As a kind of inside joke, Pollak cited James O'Keefe as a reference.)
When the Romney campaign finally woke up and countered with a 1998 clip of Obama mentioning "redistribution" -- and portrayed it embarrassingly out of context, as a listen to the full clip shows -- the old pros at the Media Research Center, among others, took the MSM preference for covering the more recent newsworthy event as proof of bias. (We especially like Conservative Happenings' version of the story: "In a clear sign of where their heart lies, the Big Three TV networks, by a whopping 13 to 1 margin, devoted much more coverage to Mitt Romney's month's old '47 percent' secret video than to President Obama's 14-year-old but just discovered wealth 'redistribution' audio.")
At The Weekly Standard, Mark Hemingway started by telling us that the workfare requirements for which conservatives like to credit Bill Clinton were weakened by Obama, despite Clinton's denunciation of that whole argument at the Democratic Convention. Rather than indulging in Lewinsky jokes as one might expect at this juncture, Hemingway got with the current program: "It's also telling that Clinton is leaning on allegedly authoritative and independent media fact checkers for validation when their track record of partisanship and botching complex policy issues does not inspire confidence."
Hemingway then indulged the arguments of Republican operatives and rightwing think-tank employees at length before telling us that "the result of all this is a textbook example of how 'fact checkers' corrupt political discourse." He added, "Sure, it was pretty bold to have a convicted perjurer and the man who famously told America, 'I did not have sexual relations with that woman,' make an extended argument for the Romney campaign's dishonesty..." Well, dogs to vomit and so forth.
Some rightbloggers seemed to grasp that the polls weren't faked, and that the election was at least close, but still maintained that something something liberal media oh look a squirrel.