Republican candidates must do a better job bypassing liberal media outlets and reaching out directly to voters through social media
Obama’s Other Running Mate: The Media
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One day, scholars, analysts and others will ask why the media didn’t do its job this Presidential election. That job, quite simply, is to pose questions and insist on answers. However, the media only made demands on Mitt Romney and other Republicans. The press showed an amazing lack of curiosity when it came to the Democrats. . .especially if the issue involved President Obama.
Why wasn’t the the cover-up of four dead Americans pursued by the national media this election?
Why wasn’t the horrific eight percent unemployment given the dramatic reporting it deserves?
Why wasn’t this President blamed for slow relief and rebuilding after Hurricane Sandy, the way his predecessor was blamed after Hurricane Katrina?
Sadly, this is the country we live in. There’s one set of rules for the Republican Party and another set for the Democratic Party. And it’s not just with the Presidency. When a Senate candidate—whether in Missouri or Indiana—says something careless, the avalanche of negative coverage destroys their chances of winning. An apology is not allowed when it comes from a Republican.
When Mitt Romney dared to criticize President Obama’s policy after four Americans were needlessly killed in Benghazi, there were three full days of media attacks on the Republican candidate. What was Mitt Romney’s crime? He had the nerve to question the Democrat’s Messiah.
What about asking the President tough questions and demanding that he be held accountable? That didn’t happen because the media had a lot invested in Barack Obama and would not do anything to spoil his re-election.
I’ve developed a formula to calculate the impact of slanted media coverage. Based on the typical American’s reading and television viewing, I estimate that the media’s bias gave the President an extra 6-to-8 percentage points at the polls.
The issue isn’t only which stories the media chooses. It’s how those stories are framed. For instance, Hurricane Katrina was a major event that everyone reported. But the press bias showed in the questions. During that disaster, the dreadful stories usually included a version of the question “Where is President Bush?” As well, local and national reporters relentlessly asked if the President could be doing more? Or they wanted to know “Is the President Bush’s entire administration incompetent?”
Yet when there were consistently dismal job numbers under President Obama, the media looked for a silver lining in the cloud. Reporters weren’t asking struggling or homeless families if the President was doing enough for them.
Liberal media is a tremendous force. The three big morning shows are watched by more than 15 million viewers daily. Add to that, three nighttime network talk shows, each with an unapologetic liberal slant. At the same time, the President’s policies are actively promoted by major newspapers like The New York Times, Washington Post, LA Times, Boston Globe, Chicago Sun Times, etc. Meanwhile, those publications dismiss Republicans as the party of the rich and intolerant.
With such large reach, if liberal media outlets want to destroy a candidacy, they can. . . just by endlessly repeating certain themes. You saw that each time a Republican got momentum during the primaries. First it was Michelle Bachman to take down. Rick Perry was made to look like a cartoon character. We also had brutally effective press assaults on Newt Gingrich, Herman Cain and Rick Santorum. By the time the media was done, each of those Republican candidates had awful approval ratings. Because of that taint, Michelle Bachman barely survived her Congressional race.
If there’s anything to learn from this Presidential race, it’s that Republican candidates must do a better job bypassing liberal media outlets and reaching out directly to voters through social media, events and other tools that President Obama used decisively.
Adam Weiss is founder and head of AMW PR, a groundbreaking strategic media firm based in New York. Adam has conceived and executed successful publicity campaigns for prominent politicians, best-selling authors, leading entrepreneurs and other notables. Adam’s clients have been featured by Fox News, CNN,The New York Post and other major media outlets.