Rush Limbaugh’s claim that the media is conspiring to get Mitt Romney after his remarks on Libya completely collapsed under the weight of its own stupidity today.
Yesterday, Limbaugh claimed that the media was out to get Romney. Today, he took the conspiracy a step beyond and claimed that the media is working together to establish daily anti-Romney narratives.
Transcript from Rush Limbaugh,
LIMBAUGH: I’m trying to put my finger on what bothers me the most. There’s something that’s been gnawing at me. I always try to not get caught up. It’s very hard. It’s hard to avoid this. The narrative. I was talking about the narrative when the program started. The daily media narrative. There is one. We wonder how they can all end up using the word “gravitas.” We wonder how they can all end up using the same words. We heard it with Jan Crawford and Ari Shapiro setting the narrative. Grab audio sound bite 26. I’m sorry to be so scattered here, folks. I literally cannot keep up with my brain here. There’s too much. I can’t keep up with my own brain. I’m sorry if it sounds disjointed, but I get a neuron of a thought and I want to launch and explain it ’cause I’m afraid I’ll forget it if I set it aside. Here, grab the sound bite. This is again the coordination, two reporters, one CBS, one NPR. They are setting the narrative of the day. This is before they’ve asked Romney a single question.
CRAWFORD: That’s the question.
SHAPIRO: Do you have any regrets?
CRAWFORD: Yeah, that’s the question. I would even say – I would just say, do you regret your question?
SHAPIRO: Your question? Your statement?
CRAWFORD: I mean, your statement. Not even the tone…
CRAWFORD:…because then he can go off on…
SHAPIRO: And then if he does, I think we should follow up and say, “But this morning your aides were continuing to send…”
CRAWFORD: Who he calls on, we’re covered on the one question that…
SHAPIRO: Do you stand by your statement or do you regret your statement?
LIMBAUGH: So the answers that Romney would give to any of those questions are irrelevant. They don’t care what he’s gonna say. They don’t care what his ideas are. They don’t care what his policy is. They don’t care a whit. The only point that they have here is to set up a narrative all day long where Romney’s the problem; where Romney spoke too soon; Romney’s unpresidential; Romney’s unqualified; Romney’s this, Romney’s that. That’s the objective, and that is something that happens every day in the media, every day. They don’t have to collaborate, although we now know that they do. They don’t have to. They all think alike. They all have the same objective. They are Democrats with bylines. It’s very hard to avoid this narrative each and every day.
Here is the so-called proof that the media is conspiring against Romney:
The LA Times checked out Limbaugh’s conspiracy theory and reported that, “If that is true, then the corruption goes on every day in America, in city halls, statehouses and, yes, the White House, by reporters of every possible political persuasion. Yes, they talk to each other. And sometimes even “collaborate” on how to best use their limited time with the politicians they cover. A couple of veteran White House reporters confirmed in interviews Thursday that they routinely talk to colleagues about how they might question President Obama and how to pair questions and follow-ups to try to minimize evasions. That process has gone on through Republican and Democratic presidencies. It has become particularly important when the media confront Obama, because he has done few news conferences in recent months.”
Of course, you don’t have to ask White House reporters to know that this goes on. If you have ever watched C-SPAN and mics are open before a live news conference, this kind of chatter is common. If you have ever been to or taken part in an event where the media are asking questions, you have probably seen this type of conversation take place.
Reporters coordinate their questions because they want to make maximum use of their collective interview time. Every reporter in the room is going to use the answers that the subject gives to their questions. It doesn’t matter who asked the question. They will all use the information.
Members of the media were game planning how they were going to use the roughly five minutes that they had to ask Romney their questions. They were doing their jobs.
The most hysterical thing about this is that the reporters were going to ask Romney neutral questions. There were no gotcha scenarios. Nowhere in this exchange do they conspire to make Romney look bad. The Republican nominee built the perception of fail all on his own with his answers. In other words, Mitt built that.
As the realistic possibility of Romney’s defeat closes in on right wing minds, they are looking for refuge in their favorite conspiracies. For decades the myth of liberal media bias has been the blankee used to soothe the toddler like psyches of some in the conservative movement, so it is absolutely predictable that this is the sanctuary Limbaugh would seek.
Republicans are waking up on Christmas morning, bounding down the steps, and realizing that all Santa left them was four more years of Obama.
No matter how stupid they sound, right wing voices like Rush Limbaugh would rather blame the media than face the growing realization they just couldn’t beat Obama.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA.Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association