Breitbart.com reported today that newspaper ad revenue, adjusted for inflation, has plummeted to the level of the 1950s. So our newspapers are not being run by geniuses. Maybe it is no wonder, then, that the press’s current strategy in the presidential campaign seems seriously flawed.
Reporters have been trying to help Barack Obama limp across the finish line by creating a daily distraction to divert attention from the Obama administration’s awful record. Whenever possible, they have trumpeted the claim that Mitt Romney has committed one gaffe or another, that he is falling behind in the (bogus) polls, that his campaign is in disarray, and he is basically doomed.
No doubt this gives reporters and editors momentary satisfaction, and they have indeed convinced most people that Obama will likely win, but does that really advance the objective of re-electing Obama? Perhaps they think they are suppressing Republican turnout; if so, their effort is futile. You would have to machine-gun Republicans on the way to the polls to stop them from voting this year. If anyone is deterred from voting by the perception that Obama is cruising to victory, it is the lightly-attached voter who turned out for Obama in 2008 but likely will revert to his usual non-voter status if he thinks the election has already been decided.
As for the small minority of genuinely undecided voters, the press’s attacks on Romney undoubtedly come across as inside baseball, the sort of chatter that non-political people instinctively ignore. Meanwhile Romney’s ads, like the ones we posted earlier today, speak directly to those voters’ concerns about the economy. It also bears remembering that not all swing voters are middle of the road. On the contrary, quite a few of them are traditionalists who are skeptical that either party is conservative enough and occasionally are fooled into voting for Democrats. When the media portray Romney in what they think is an unflattering light, e.g. saying that a lot of people won’t vote for him because they are satisfied to be dependent on government, and that such dependency has exploded under the Obama administration, they are in fact enhancing his stature with this relatively large group of swing voters.
So, as long as Romney continues to pound away on the economy and on Obama’s incompetence in foreign policy, reporters can be as hysterical as they want over the gaffe du jour. I suspect they are harming their cause more than they are helping it.