The Republican Party is still struggling to understand why it lost in 2012, and – barring voter fraud, redistricting, and disenfranchisement of voters – will, until it can reflect on those events with some honesty, continue to lose.
Brent Bozell, founder and president of the Media Research Center, was pushing the idea on Newsmax TV’s The Steve Malzberg Show, that the so-called, if nonexistent, “liberal media elite” stole the election. That’s also the angle he takes in his new book (written with Tim Graham), Collusion: How the Media Stole the 2012 Election — and How to Stop Them from Doing It in 2016.
In his book, Bozell claims, “Never before has the so-called mainstream media shown such naked political bias as in the 2012 presidential election.”
It wouldn’t be that the GOP alienated nearly every minority group in the country. On Election Day, Obama got the support of 55 percent of women, 71 percent of Hispanics, 73 percent of Asians, 93 percent of African-Americans. Outside of white evangelicals, the GOP didn’t do too well with any demographic.
But don’t blame exclusionary politics. Don’t blame the small and verging on tiny tent. it’s the media’s fault. A media that is about as far from liberal values as you can get.
Watch what Bozell has to say:
The first thing you have to recognize is the seriousness here, the importance of this issue. Mitt Romney was one who didn’t understand it.
The problem wasn’t with the media, however. If anything, the media was kind to Mitt Romney. The problem was Mitt Romney and the Republican platform, largely written by a bunch of religious bigots. Ronney’s inability to tell the truth, to remain consistent yet claiming to be consistent, Bozell puts down to the media’s “repetition of harmful soundbites.”
Bozell isn’t concerned about who made those soundbites possible – Mitt Romney – or by the fact that Mitt Romney continued to make them all the way through the election – and after. But then Bozell is clearly no more interested in facts or in the truth than Romney himself.
We are talking about an across-the-board, institutional failure of American conservatism to participate in our shared reality. We are talking about cognitive dissonance on a grand scale, seldom if ever surpassed in history.
The Republican Party, if it wants to be taken seriously, will need to grow up and accept responsibility for what it says and does and stop the childish game of blaming everybody else for its behavior and for its shortcomings. Republicans talk a lot about “personal responsibility” but we see little enough evidence of it.
But rather than be concerned with a platform and with policies that alienate people, that treat minorities and women like second-class citizens, that show scant regard for the poor and for children, they want concern focused on how unfairly the media is supposedly treating them – for at times, actually reporting honestly what Republicans are saying and doing:
So if [Republicans] don’t make it a top-shelf concern, they’re never going to learn. They have to not just be smart about this, they have to stand up to these people.
Stand up to these people. He must mean like Michele Bachmann, who insists when she is quoted accurately that it’s merely an “urban legend” or like other Republicans who simply insist they never said that, even when we replay video of them saying that.
It never occurs to them to not say that in the first place.
Bozell says in his book that “the leftist media agenda” threatens “democracy itself” but it is hard to see how this could be true since it is not liberals who are stripping away voting rights, which are the very heart and soul of democracy, given that democracy demands that political power derives from the will of the people – not corporations or religious bodies – and that if the people can’t vote, there is no democracy.
But why let facts get in the way of good excuse making?
Bozell’s complaints ultimately go hand-in-hand with the corresponding belief that somehow (Michele Bachmann’s magic wand, perhaps) handsome, smiling politicians stripping away your rights will elicit more votes than physically less appealing politicians. Both solutions beg the real issue: Republican policies, rhetoric, and behavior.
But those old prior beliefs get in the way (as does religion). They insist their policies are spot on. They insist they represent the will of the American people. But they continue to lose. But if they are right and that’s what people really want, how can they be losing? Since it can’t be that they’re wrong about those things, it must be some external force.
Like the media.
But Bozell says Republicans need no longer be victimized by Sarah Palin’s “lamestream media.” They have their own on the Internet or Faux News:
Once upon a time the liberal media had … a monopoly on this subject. It doesn’t exist anymore. You can go around them. You can get your story immediately and directly to the American people free of this distortion machine.
All you have to do is use the new media. You go to the Internet, you go to talk radio, you go to Fox. You can communicate directly to the public and you no longer need to care what Brian Williams does or what Barbara Walters does or what CNN does.
Yeah, I guess you don’t need Brian Williams or Barbara Walters when you have that paragon of veracity, Sarah Palin.
I guess it’s fitting that what Bozell has crafted here is a feel-good fairy tale for Republicans, designed to reinforce their sense of persecution and to perpetuate their state of denial, to do everything, in fact, to steer them away from the only thing that might save the Grand Old Party: Self-reflection.
Update [7.22.13]: Link added to Bill Moyers article on billmoyers.com