Signs of savvy in GOP candidates dealing with biased media
One of the key ingredients in a successful Republican candidacy for president is skill in handling media bias. Ronald Reagan was a master of the craft, but others who followed were much less so. Perhaps the worst moment of the Romney campaign in 2012 was the second presidential debate, where Candy Crowley’s brandishing of a transcript conveniently at hand in response to President Obama’s misleading claim of having identified Benghazi as a terror attack marked the end of the Romney momentum generated in the first debate.
Fortunately, at least some of the GOP field this time around are showing the way in handling bias. The star so far is Carly Fiorina, who is not only articulate, disarmingly charming, and female, but who also plans ahead to counter the obvious obstacles ahead. A phony “scandal” has been trolled up and even given a –gate suffix: “domaingate,” in an obvious effort to discredit her tech savvy. Instead of looking lame and apologizing, Carly has gone on the offensive, and turned the tables on her wannabe tormentors. Christine Rousselle of Townhall explains:
GOP presidential candidate and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina is running a clinic on how to rebound from an embarrassing gaffe. After it was revealed that someone not-so-fond of Fiorina had purchased CarlyFiorina.org, Fiorina absolutely schooled Seth Meyers by revealing that she had purchased SethMeyers.org and redirected the domain to her official campaign site. Today, she did it again--this time with Chuck Todd from Meet the Press
ChuckTodd.org now redirects to the Carly for President website.
Sen. Ted Cruz used a slightly different tactic when encountering Bloomberg’s Mark Halperin attempting to impugn his authenticity as a Hispanic in this interview. When Reuben Navarette called himsef this “nauseated” at this display, the blowback on Halperin began, forcing him to apologize.
My apology regarding a recent interview with Senator Ted Cruz. http://t.co/unovSDhchw— Mark Halperin (@MarkHalperin) May 11, 2015
Cruz handled the apology with grace:
Mark Halperin is a serious and fair-minded journalist. Today he kindly issued an apology for some silly questions he asked me in an interview. The apology was unnecessary -- no offense was taken, nor, I believe, intended -- but is certainly appreciated.
I'm proud of my Cuban heritage, my father's journey from oppression and prison in Cuba to freedom in America, and also my Irish-Italian heritage on my mother's side. Both are integral parts of who I am today.
The 2016 Republican field is shaping up to be the most diverse in history, and I look forward to a robust and substantive conversation about how we work together to turn around our current stagnation and expand opportunity for everyone to achieve the American Dream.
While the temptation might be to go for the jugular, Cruz knows that Halperin and Bloomberg are not going away anytime soon. They are on notice that their bias is showing, and may go out of their way to demonstrate they’ve learned their lesson, instead of seeking retribution.
In a moment of ill-considered frankness, Evan Thomas, then of Newsweek, estimated that pervasive media bias was worth 15 points to the Democrats, a number he later described as “stupid,” though he conceded 5 points was “maybe” accurate.
Five points is the difference between winning and losing in most presidential elections. The best medicine for addressing this media sickness is embarrassment. To be sure, some media figures like James Carville are incapable of embarrassment, but he is the exception (and an embarrassing one at that for many liberals in the media).
I am sure that I am not the only person who has noticed Carly Fiorina’s skills. She maybe a long shot for the presidential nomination (though in an era when a vast majority of Americans are fed up with the professional political class her “lack of experience” in political office may not be a disqualifier), but in the Veep slot, she could be an incredible force criticizing the presumptive Democrat nominee and keeping the media bias in check to the degree possible.