Republican strategists should generally be wary of campaign advice from liberals -- and when it's from the media, generally becomes definitely. Washington Post political writer Chris Cillizza recently suggested Mitt Romney's general-election strategy should start with getting a "positive first introduction" to voters through the liberal media because "only the national media can provide that megaphone and serve as a sort of validator for him."
How hard did he laugh after he wrote that?
No Republican should think he could end-run the liberal media establishment entirely and not suffer damage. Ask Dick Cheney. On the other hand, no Republican can expect fairness from these people, either. Romney should enter the national-media coliseum fully aware he's designed to be food for the lions.
Exhibit A comes from ABC's Diane Sawyer. This is how Sawyer probed Obama just after the 2006 elections: "Do you think that residual resistance is greater for race or for gender? Is the nation secretly, I guess, more racist or more sexist?" In keeping with that line, Sawyer would be expected to ask Romney today if he felt his wealth would be used against him by those who begrudge success. Not even close. Instead, she implied Romney should be dismissed as a Richie Rich or Thurston Howell type who can't connect to the little people. On "World News," she hammered Romney with five questions about his wealth and his tax returns.
Sawyer announced "the Obama campaign is working overtime to paint the portrait of a man whose riches have put him out of touch." She then offered the Obama spin: "the speaking fees, the Cadillac, the story out now that there's an elevator for your cars in the new house you're planning in La Jolla. Is this a relatability problem?"
There's an obvious answer that Romney did not give. "Diane, you make $12 million a year. The ritzy Manhattan penthouse, the wealthy movie director husband, the estate on Martha's Vineyard. Does that make you too rich and elitist to relate to your audience?"
Romney's actual answer wasn't bad. "We don't divide America based upon success and wealth and other dimensions of that nature. We're one nation under God. We come together. This is a time when people of different backgrounds and experiences need to come together."
Sawyer simply replied by calling it "fairness" to resent the rich: "Do you still face a fairness question ... about envy, (as in) fairness is concern about envy?"