During Monday morning’s broadcast of Morning Joe, host Joe Scarborough took Joni Ernst to task for canceling meetings with the editorial boards of Iowa newspapers and local news stations. Last week, the GOP candidate for Iowa’s open US Senate seat skipped out on planned meetings with the Des Moines Register and two other Iowa newspapers. Apparently, Ernst didn’t feel like defending her positions or dealing with tough questions from the papers’ editors. It seems that she was willing to deal with any negative fallout from the local media, which would likely come from critical articles and endorsements of her opponent, Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley. (The Des Moines Register endorsed Braley over the weekend.)
After discussing a number of tight Senate races with former White House Senior Advisor David Axelrod, Scarborough brought up Ernst’s decision to skip out on the meetings. While the former Republican Congressman and forever GOP apologist tried to provide ‘legitimate’ reasons, such as liberal bias and unfair coverage, why Ernst would want to avoid the Register in particular, he eventually concluded that there is “[n]ever a justification for not showing up at an editorial board meeting.”
Below is video of the segment, courtesy of MSNBC:
Per Scarborough, even if you think a newspaper is unfair to you, it is far better to show up in front of the editors and writers and defend yourself and your campaign. If you blow off a newspaper or other media outlet who can provide an editorial endorsement, you are inviting far more negative coverage. Scarborough, along with panelist Donnie Deutsch and others, formed the opinion that humanizing yourself as a candidate and sitting down with editors and columnists is always a positive, even if you know they won’t endorse or support you in the end.
This is a nearly-fatal mistake by Ernst and her campaign. This race is extremely close, and any flubs or hiccups down the stretch can make or break this election. By avoiding influential local papers and media, Ernst is revealing herself to be thin-skinned and lacking transparency. If she can’t deal with the Des Moines Register asking her some tough questions, whether it be about her father’s company getting public contracts or her going Sharron Angle regarding the Second Amendment, how is she going to deal with media once she is a US Senator? Essentially, she is showing everyone that unless you are Fox News or another conservative outlet that will provide softball interviews and positive coverage, she isn’t willing to talk to you.
Throughout her campaign, Ernst has been compared to Sarah Palin. Mostly, this is due to her cultivated ‘folksy’ image and extreme conservative ideology. Apparently, we can place avoidance of the ‘lamestream media’ on the list as well.
Justin Baragona is the Managing Editor at Politicus Sports as well as Senior Editor at PoliticusUSA. He was a political writer for 411Mania.com before joining PoliticusUSA. Politically, Justin considers himself a liberal but also a realist and pragmatist. Currently, Justin lives in St. Louis, MO and is married. Besides writing, he also runs his own business after spending a number of years in the corporate world. You can follow Justin on Twitter either with his personal handle (@justinbaragona) or the Sports site’s (@PoliticusSports).