Robert McCain says that what we’re seeing this week isn’t so much a case of rampant media bias as it is that Republicans just hate the media more than the media hates Republicans.
In light of the three stories about Bristol Palin on the front page of the New York Times, I find that observation hard to believe.
Let me volley a couple questions back to Robert. How many drinks would an RNC operative had to buy the editorial staff of the Times to get just one story about John Edwards on the front page of the Times at any point during the primaries? How many Jack and Cokes would it have taken to convince the Times board to only run, say, one story about the nominee’s pregnant teenaged daughter on the front page instead of three?
I’ve no doubt that Republicans do not treat reporters well. I think, generally, it’s a case of reacting to an assumed condition instead of any direct malice. Why would you treat the average MSM reporter particularly well knowing that their publication is going to shank you the minute your back is turned? Why toss campaign money away knowing before you spend it that it’s not going to do you a bit of good? Robert asks why McCain people weren’t “dealing with the US magazine staff”. How, exactly, would you deal with a publisher that’s already put out the most brazen Glowbama magazine cover of the entire election and is publicly in the bag for the Democrats? I can’t imagine any circumstance where McCain’s people could have headed off the Us magazine hatchet cover.
But let’s look at a more obvious example. There hasn’t been a Republican who has enjoyed as much positive attention from the MSM as John McCain has over the past decade or so. If he’s getting the brickbats now, it’s surely not because a host of reporters suddenly woke up and said “Hey! That McCain staffer didn’t pick up the tab on my sandwich and sweet tea!” and decided to take it out on them in print. If John McCain can’t get some friendly coverage, then which Republican not named Chuck Hagel can?
I do agree with Robert’s point that Republicans aren’t nearly as aggressive as they should be in the places they can make inroads. The McCain campaign has been woeful, so far as I’m concerned, when it comes to keeping in touch with bloggers. Like it or not, the lefty blogosphere is very plugged into the Democratic Party, to the point where on any given day you can almost see the talking points spreading out from various points around the
dextrosphere sinestrosphere. I’d be willing to bet that the DNC touches base with at least a hundred blogs every day, if not more. I’d also be willing to bet that the RNC doesn’t contact more than a dozen each day. That’s inexcuseable and it needs to change.
I’ll give a quick personal example. During the Republican primaries, I reagularly heard from the Thompson and Romney campaigns. I was getting at least one blast e-mail a day in my box. The Thompson campaign even took a couple of posts I had written and spread them around to other bloggers (and they did the same for other bloggers as well). I didn’t hear a peep from the McCain campaign and I still haven’t.
I used to be in regular contact with Thaddeus McCotter’s office as well. I’ve not heard from his office in a while and I suspect that’s due to some personnel changes in his office. I’ve never been contacted by any other conservative legislator. I’m not saying that I’m such a traffic monster that I expect to hear from them, but my traffic’s not nothing and an e-mail costs only the time it takes to send it out. That’s not a lot of effort for the possibility of reaching another few hundred people.
So, yes, the Republican Party could so a lot better with its media outreach. But I don’t hold them much to blame at all for the overwhelming bias we see pretty much on a daily basis.