The media is not giving a clear picture of 'going negative'

Jay Haug

Mitt Romney's super-pac spent multiple millions in Iowa attacking Newt Gingrich. In the bizarre "arms length" world of campaign fund-raising, Romney was able to avoid criticism for this behavior by deftly employing a "don't ask, don't tell" response to media questions about his super-pac. The media wagged their tails and walked away mumbling "that's politics." Winner Romney.

But wait a minute. Newt is being treated differently because he must now respond personally to these attacks, but he has little super-pac money to "do a Romney." Moreover, Newt is being characterized by the media as "livid,"  "upset,"  and "angry" about these Romney attacks reinforcing stereotypes, though in interviews he is as calm as ever. Remember this: when conservatives, be they voters or politicians, respond to events or attacks, these are often called "temper-tantrums" by the media. (See Peter Jennings in 1994.  More recently they told us: OWS are wonderful young people protesting injustice, while 65 year-old tea party activists are dangerous, racist and violent.) Not helping matters, a lot of the conservative media is jumping on Gingrich as well, forgetting Reagan's 11th commandment.

So what are we left with? Mitt is "see no evil, speak no evil, hear no evil," while Newt is throwing a tantrum. No wonder we have super-pacs. Lesson learned? If we want to fund campaigns in this way, the media is going to have to do a better job chasing down who is really going negative, why, and that a response is entirely appropriate. This is like the NFL. The referees, no doubt trained by media mind-control experts, always miss the instigator, the first guy who throws the punch and get the second.

But there is also another lesson learned: you cannot let negative attacks go unanswered, no matter how lazy the media are.

 

Jay Haug is a free lance writer living in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. You may contact him at cjcwguy@gmail.com

Mitt Romney's super-pac spent multiple millions in Iowa attacking Newt Gingrich. In the bizarre "arms length" world of campaign fund-raising, Romney was able to avoid criticism for this behavior by deftly employing a "don't ask, don't tell" response to media questions about his super-pac. The media wagged their tails and walked away mumbling "that's politics." Winner Romney.

But wait a minute. Newt is being treated differently because he must now respond personally to these attacks, but he has little super-pac money to "do a Romney." Moreover, Newt is being characterized by the media as "livid,"  "upset,"  and "angry" about these Romney attacks reinforcing stereotypes, though in interviews he is as calm as ever. Remember this: when conservatives, be they voters or politicians, respond to events or attacks, these are often called "temper-tantrums" by the media. (See Peter Jennings in 1994.  More recently they told us: OWS are wonderful young people protesting injustice, while 65 year-old tea party activists are dangerous, racist and violent.) Not helping matters, a lot of the conservative media is jumping on Gingrich as well, forgetting Reagan's 11th commandment.

So what are we left with? Mitt is "see no evil, speak no evil, hear no evil," while Newt is throwing a tantrum. No wonder we have super-pacs. Lesson learned? If we want to fund campaigns in this way, the media is going to have to do a better job chasing down who is really going negative, why, and that a response is entirely appropriate. This is like the NFL. The referees, no doubt trained by media mind-control experts, always miss the instigator, the first guy who throws the punch and get the second.

But there is also another lesson learned: you cannot let negative attacks go unanswered, no matter how lazy the media are.

 

Jay Haug is a free lance writer living in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. You may contact him at cjcwguy@gmail.com