Republican Campaign Failed to Confront Media Bias
By: Cliff Kincaid
Accuracy in Media
The simple explanation for what happened on Election Day is that the American people voted for President Barack Obama because they didn’t understand the nature of his Marxist agenda. But it is inconceivable that the public would, on a fully informed and rational basis, choose a political ideology that guarantees American economic decline and foreign policy retreat.
Fortunately, there is a record of how this happened. The New York Daily News said that GOP strategist Karl Rove, who raised $330 million for his Super PAC to guarantee Mitt Romney’s victory and win Republican control of the Senate, had been advising Republicans to avoid calling Obama a socialist or left-winger. Rove believed that undecided, moderate or left-leaning voters would jump to Obama’s side if that charge were leveled against him.
“If you say he’s a socialist, they’ll go to defend him,” Rove said. “If you call him a ‘far out left-winger,’ they’ll say, ‘no, no, he’s not.’” Rove said Romney had to remain “focused on the facts and adopt a respectful tone” toward Obama.
We see where this got Romney. He was respectful toward Obama, especially in the third presidential debate, but got savaged by the media in the process.
A wake-up call to Romney came on September 21, when Democratic consultant Pat Caddell gave a speech at the AIM “ObamaNation” conference and basically warned Romney and his advisers that he had to confront liberal media bias immediately and alert the American people to the facts about the national security crisis in the Middle East that were being carefully concealed and covered up.
In this riveting speech, which went viral on the Internet, Caddell called the media an enemy of the American people and said it was absolutely imperative that Romney and his campaign understand they were up against two major forces in society—the Democratic Party and the media. But it didn’t happen. There was no urgency. It was if Romney and his advisers thought he could coast to victory.
The failure by the liberal and most of the conservative media to truly “vet” Obama continues to be a major failing of our democratic system. Professor Paul Kengor wrote a blockbuster book this year, The Communist, on Obama’s mentor, which is a great contribution to helping people understand Obama’s policies domestically and internationally. But because Obama’s mentor, Frank Marshall Davis, was a Communist, even conservative media organizations such as Fox News were reluctant to cover this topic in-depth. It is reported that Kengor was warned in advance of some of his media appearances not to even suggest that Obama was a Marxist. Joel Gilbert’s provocative film about the Obama-Davis relationship, Dreams from My Real Father, was not covered at all by Fox News. Advertising for his film was rejected by Newsmax, a conservative site.
As noted in a previous column, the predictions of a Romney victory by various Fox News commentators were based on the erroneous assumption that the election enthusiasm was on Romney’s side, and that the true believers behind Obama in 2008 would not be with him this time around. “I’ve got egg on my face,” Dick Morris now says, after predicting a Romney landslide.
“You have more than egg on your face,” countered one angry conservative, who copied me on his email to Morris. “You have misled the American public, the Tea Party and me by making an assumption. I thought you knew what was going on! Your job is to know how people are voting!”
It appears that Romney’s strategy was to let the conservative media take on the liberal press, in the hope that the bias would somehow be neutralized. Conservatives were also told that Romney had a natural advantage as a successful businessman over a President who was presiding over a lackluster economy. In the words of one clever pundit, the assumption was that Bain Capital would emerge victorious over Das Kapital. It seems liked common sense.
But voters didn’t fully understand that Obama did represent Das Kapital, which is the name of a book by Karl Marx that offers a critique of capitalism. And Rove’s $330 million didn’t tell them.
What the commentators who were convinced of a Romney victory also ignored was the establishment of a progressive infrastructure, funded largely by George Soros, which generated grass-roots support for Obama and his agenda and complemented the work of Obama strategist David Axelrod and the others in Chicago. This elaborate network, which operates here and abroad on behalf of what Soros calls the “open society,” has benefitted from the incredible sum of $8 billion from Soros and his foundations.
While Soros is now hailing Obama’s win as an opportunity for “more sensible politics,” veteran conservative activist Richard Viguerie says Karl Rove’s Super PAC was clearly “ineffective” and that Republican donors should never give him a dime again. Donald Trump agrees, calling Rove’s spending “a waste of money.”
In his Wall Street Journal column congratulating Obama and his strategists on their win, Rove gripes about an “anonymous New York Times headline writer” who wrote the unfair headline, “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt,” over a Romney op-ed on reorganizing the auto companies. This occurred back in 2008. It was the only example of liberal media bias that Rove brought up in his piece. Even now, the lesson has been lost on this top GOP strategist.
Cliff Kincaid is the Director of the AIM Center for Investigative Journalism and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.