GOP: Boycott the Mainstream Media
In 1981, S. Robert Lichter, then with George Washington University, and Stanley Rothman of Smith College, released a survey revealing that the political leanings of 240 highly influential journalists from New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Time, Newsweek, U.S. News & World Report, ABC, CBS, NBC and PBS were unabashedly liberal. In 2005, a UCLA-led study confirmed that reality. Tim Groseclose, a UCLA political scientist and lead author of that study, followed up that report in 2011 with a book, Left Turn – How Liberal Media Bias Distorts the American Mind. In it he revealed that every mainstream news outlet in the nation has a liberal bias. This is the sobering reality with which the GOP must contend. And it’s about time they did something about it.
In one sense, they already have. On January 29, MSNBC tweeted an attack on the American right regarding a Cheerio’s commercial with a biracial family in it. "Maybe the rightwing will hate it, but everyone else will go awww: the adorable new #Cheerios ad w/ biracial family,“ it stated. No doubt their justification for that outrage was based on similarly biased reporting by the likes of the Huffington Post. In May of 2013, that website contended a previous Cheerios ad with a biracial family "generated such a strong racist backlash on YouTube that the comments section had to be closed.”
How strong was that so-called backlash? The ad generated 1,600 likes and more than 500 dislikes, as in a more than three-to-one ratio of approval. Furthermore, it takes a highly biased leap of faith to assume – as MSNBC so transparently did – that those dislikes were generated solely, or even mostly, by people on the right.
Republican National Committee (RNC) chairman Reince Priebus was not amused by MSNBC’s overt bias. In a letter sent to MSNBC chairman Phil Griffin, he denounced the “petty and demeaning attacks [that] have become a pattern at you network.” He then cut to the chase. “Until you personally and publicly apologize for this behavior, I have banned all RNC staff from appearing on, associating with, or booking any RNC surrogates on MSNBC. I have asked Republican surrogates and officials to follow our lead.”
Griffin subsequently apologized, and RNC Communications Director Sean Spicer sent a memo to RNC staff members, informing them that Priebus had accepted it. "We appreciate Mr. Griffin’s admission that their comment was demeaning and disgusting, and the Chairman accepted his apology,“ Spicer wrote. "We will aggressively monitor the network to see whether their pattern of unacceptable behavior actually changes. We don’t expect their liberal bias to change, but we will call them out when political commentary devolves into personal and belittling attacks." In an email to Politico, Spicer confirmed that the boycott had been lifted. "That was the deal. Apology and corrective action,” he wrote.
Here’s a far better corrective action: the entire GOP should engage in a total boycott of the mainstream media.
Radical? Compared to what? Getting your collective asses handed to you on a daily basis? Currying favor with networks and newspapers whose sole objective is to undermine you at every turn? Continuing to abide a political landscape where the unrelenting two-against-one combo of Democrats and their media lackeys, not only conspire against you, but coordinate their efforts to do so?
Have Republicans forgotten the 2010 Journo-list scandal, where more than 400 people in media, academia and think tanks coordinated their 2008 coverage of President Obama, in order to protect him from the racist rants of Rev. Jeremiah Wright? Can they remember the 2012 election campaign, when the Washington Post dredged up a 45-year-old story about Mitt Romney cutting a fellow classmate’s hair, that also implied he had an anti-homosexual bias? Can they remember CNN’s Candy Crowley shamelessly running interference for Obama during the second presidential debate?
Can they even remember that they were stupid enough to roll over and allow every presidential and vice-presidential debate moderator to be plucked from the liberal media plantation?
Enough is enough. Aiding and abetting the same media that has routinely ignored or downplayed every major scandal afflicting this administration, from Fast and Furious and Benghazi, to the IRS and ObamaCare, is a fool’s errand. And that foolishness is exponentially amplified when Republicans help the media frame the leftist agenda, or promote the leftist narrative. As long as they continue to abide that reality, Republicans will be the reactive party.
During the GOP presidential debates, Newt Gingrich invariably elicited wild applause from the audience whenever he challenged the media’s agenda and its honesty. Like Priebus’s boycott, that effort was a baby step aimed at addressing a despicable reality to which Republicans have by and large resigned themselves.
It’s time to go on the offensive. Republicans should refuse to appear on ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC and CNN. Every Republican should answer every question by a reporter from the New York Times, the Washington Post, the LA Times, along with a host of other biased media outlets, with either a terse “no comment,” or by saying that as long as your newspaper operates as a de facto wing of the Democrat Party, I have no interest in collaborating with it.
After that, the GOP can take its case to the American people by appearing on talk radio and Fox News, and doing interviews with newspapers like the Washington Times and the New York Post, as well as websites such as the American Spectator, the Weekly Standard and Townhall. Those are places where the GOP can illuminate their agenda and frame their narrative, absent the ideological filter that regularly confronts them everywhere else.
Such a strategy would take courage, discipline and unity, but I am hard-pressed to think of something better around which the various factions of the party could unite and rally. No doubt their would be a handful of jerky boys, so desperate for the mainstream media’s attention – and approval – that they would rebel. But the bet here is that they would be a tiny minority. One of those jerky boys would undoubtedly be John McCain (R-AZ), who might want to peruse a recent survey that reveals he is the most unpopular Senator in the nation at the moment.
Make no mistake: the mainstream media’s reaction to such a strategy would be a mixture of hysterics and seething rage – both of which would be extremely revealing in and of themselves. Furthermore, their business models, which rely on a certain level of GOP bookings and interviews – to preserve the guise of presenting “balanced” reporting – would be thrown into total chaos. With a little bit of luck, such chaos might even hurt their bottom line.
It couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of leftist manipulators.
Such a strategy might also be a hit with the public. A 2012 Gallup poll revealed that 60 percent of Americans “have little or no trust in the mass media to report the news fully, accurately, and fairly.” That’s a reality ripe for exploitation. And it’s long past time the GOP exploited it.
A GOP mainstream media boycott would rock the nation. And while the that mainstream media would undoubtedly respond initially with a series of reports about the party’s “immaturity” or similar garbage, the pressure would begin building.
The GOP could respond with a series of carrots and sticks. For example, any TV interview would either be conducted with the same number of conservative and liberal spokespersons, or Republicans wouldn’t appear. Hosts would be required to ask questions, or deal with issues, that accrue to the interests of both sides, not just Democrats. Newspaper reporting would either stick to the facts of a story, with editorials relegated to the editorial section, or the boycott would continue.
The alternative? Republicans continuing to whine about unfair press coverage. The media continuing to slant the news leftward, by both omission and commission, with impunity. The American pubic continuing to remain uninformed, or ill-informed, about a host of critical issues facing the nation.
For years, the GOP has displayed a spinelessness directly associated with media bias they have long considered insurmountable. It’s time for the party to man up and directly challenge a paradigm they have meekly accepted for far too long. Counter-punching is for losers. Try acting like winners for a change, as if the survival of the GOP – and the nation itself – depends on it.
Because it does.
© 2014 The Patriot Post