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Hullabaloo


Thursday, January 31, 2008

 
Losing Mittens

by digby


I can't tell you how odd it was to be watching the Romney people being worked over by the McCain fanboy club on MSNBC last night. It's a rare occasion when a Republican is as openly loathed as the average Democrat on these shows, but the press loathes Romney and they don't mind who knows it.



From last week:
CARLSON: See, everybody, obviously, in the press despises Mitt Romney.

STODDARD: No.

CARLSON: No, I‘m not saying you. I‘m just saying, everybody --

STODDARD: I love when he—

CARLSON: You must be the only person who does. Every single person I know who works in the press just hates Mitt Romney, almost as an aesthetic matter, like ew.
(Typical Tucker to say "like ew" as if he were a seventh grade cheerleader. )And Tucker really, really loves St John the Flyboy, so perhaps he's not a good judge. But I don't think he's wrong. The press loves McCain and they loathe Mitt Romney.

And once again, I don't get it. Sure, I can see why people like McCain. He's got a good sense of humor (if a little bit jock/frat mean for my taste.) And he's sort of an irascible coot who seems like an actual living human being. Except for the bloodthirsty warmongering, abject hypocrisy wingnut thing, I might even like him myself.

Romney is a stiff personality and a typical Republican phony, but I can't figure out what it is about him that brings out such visceral loathing. He just seems like an average plastic pol to me, no worse than most.

But the press hates him and they are not going to give him an inch. Tucker told Romney's spokesman last night that he couldn't figure out why Romney would fight McCain on this timeline business. After all, even though McCain is obviously lying about this, he is seen as a strong leader and straight talker and Romney is seen as a flip-flopper. Doesn't it hurt Romney to be seen flip-flopping like this? The spokesman, who is quite good, was sort of gobsmacked but carried on bravely despite the fact that the eye-batting, guileless Tucker had just planted a disingenuous mudpie right in his face.

I'm not Romney fan, but he doesn't seem to me to be substantially worse that McCain or any other Republican. And no matter what, I don't believe that members of the press have the right to skew election coverage simply because they think a candidate is "ew." We can hope that the voters see through it, or pay no attention to it, and elect someone for their own reasons. But if one of the "ew" candidates gets the nomination they end up fighting an uphill battle that has nothing to do with politics and everything to do with a bunch of spoiled little media brats who think they have veto power over who should win simply because they don't "like" them. There can be grave consequences:

MARSHALL (8/10/02): I think deep down most reporters just have contempt for Al Gore. I don’t even think it’s dislike. It’s more like a disdain and contempt.

KURTZ: Why?

MARSHALL: That’s a good question, and I’m not sure I have the answer for it entirely, or at least not one that you’d let me run on long enough to make clear here.

KURTZ: He’s never been successful in the courtship of the press.

MARSHALL: No, not at all, and this was, you know, a year-and-a-half before the election, I think you could say this. This wasn’t something that happened because he ran a bad campaign. If he did, it was something that predated it.



In some ways, Fox has more integrity than the mainstream press. They wink and nod about being fair and balanced, but everyone knows they aren't. They are a Republican party propaganda arm and as such you know exactly what to expect. It's ideological and partisan.

The rest of the news media, however, aren't advancing their partisan or ideological views (at least not consistently.) They seem to view politics through a personal psychological prism. Indeed, it's gotten so bad that Chris Matthews is now regularly featuring a body language expert to "interpret" for us what the candidates are "really" saying. Chris finds it fascinating how often these psychological profiles adhere to his impressions. Imagine that.

Their group think and feeding frenzy mentality is detrimental to our politics and our country, regardless of whether your preferred candidate is their idol this week. They damaged Al Gore enough that a Republican halfwit was in a position to steal the election. Last night, between the commentary about the "hallowed ground" of the Reagan library and the naturally ensuring worship of St. John McCain as the successor to the Great Man, we got a preview of what's to come in this cycle.

Here's a guy who did what they all wistfully seem to wish, looking back, that they had done. (You saw this yearning when they gushed over the codpiece, too.) By backing McCain they will be able to seize a little piece of his manly glory, and transfer all that Big Russ, greatest generation love right back on to themselves. Romney, on the other hand, is just like the guys they went to college with. Handsome, rich, boring. In fact, he's a lot like them. No wonder they hate him.

You'd think that after George W. Bush they would have taken a look at their role in where we are today, but there is absolutely no evidence that they have done that --- or are even capable of doing that. And whether we like it or not, they do have influence:



Luckily, the internet is creeping up. But I wonder how much of that "news" is coming from the CNN, MSNBC sites too, which feature all the usual suspects too.


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