The so-called Romney mistakes over the past week are – in the context of the great issues facing this nation – irrelevant, except to the extent that the media continues its search and destroy mission where the Republican nominee is concerned.
Now, sure, Romney could have made his point about government dependency a bit more precisely, but the larger point he was making is not remotely controversial: America is evolving into a dependency culture as an increasing share of our economy is governmental. To the extent that millions of Americans depend on government patronage for their economic viability, they will tend or be tempted to support the party that is dedicated to making government the central factor in our economic calculus. Remarkably, this comment and Romney’s reaction to the attack in Benghazi are generating more scrutiny and comment than the sitting administration’s policies and actions in the wake of the real news happening around the world.
Let us consider some of the news in the past week or so:
· We have seen an embassy attacked and an ambassador and several others murdered. Accompanying this attack, we have seen riots against the United States break out across the Middle East. We also know, now, despite claims made by the president, that the attack in Benghazi was planned. Had the Bush administration, intentionally or not, put out a false story it would have been major news on every network and on every front page. Again, see the coverage of Romney’s response to the attack – versus the scrutiny given Obama.
There has been virtually no skepticism in the media about the false claims put forward by the administration or its stonewalling. Likewise there is little commentary about the Obama administration’s overarching foreign policy given the turmoil and the fact that the Middle East is tilting in a highly precarious direction. Given the tenor of the criticism against the previous administration, the contrast is striking.
I don’t want to overstate the issue. The radicals in the Middle East have plenty of reason to oppose the United States, at least in their minds, due to our support of Israel and other regimes hostile to their agenda, and our starkly different views of the world. Obama cannot be blamed for all of this – there is a long history there. Even so, evenhanded, tough coverage is justified. The media should do its job.
· The economy has continued to show little sign of recovery, despite media’ attempts to cultivate a perception that all the signs are trending in a good direction. In fact, what little job growth there has been is far exceeded by those who are giving up looking for a job. Contraction is being predicted by a number of experts, including those at FedEx, and household income has been on a nonstop decline. Gas prices (remember the attacks on Bush about big oil profits) continue to remain high with hardly a critical word from the Obama media. It is amazing how few sad stories you can find in the news about struggling workers, the homeless and young people who can’t find jobs. They sure are plentiful during Republican administrations.
· Tensions with China are on the rise, protests in Russia are occurring, and Iran is inching closer to nuclear capability. These are huge issues far more important than a comment or two made Romney.
It is not my intent to suggest that President Obama can wave a magic wand and solve all these issues. No president can. What is clear, however, is that were the president a Republican a different standard of accountability and scrutiny would be applied by the mainstream media. This isn’t even debatable — just witness the media’s historic indifference to Obama’s academic records, his radical associations and his nonchalant approach to the current crisis in the Middle East. Meanwhile, a college incident involving Romney nearly a half century ago is given a full length investigation in the major media.
One can understand the advocacy guys at MSNBC pushing their liberal agenda – they are, after all, that network’s answer to Limbaugh, Hannity and O’Reilly. More troubling is the weak kneed journalism being practiced by those whose job it is to provide reasonably unbiased and fair reporting.
The manipulation of news for raw political purposes is dangerous long-term to this nation whether it is done for the left or the right. Power must always be held accountable, and government power even more so than private interests because of its long and devastating reach. The media needs to do its job – by being tough on both the presidential candidates, and by holding accountable the governing administration for the results of its policies and actions.