Mitt Romney might have thought it was eminently sensible in an NBC interview in London to repeat exactly what the TV networks had already reported on security at the London Olympics, namely, that there was room for concern.
Romney succeeded only in demonstrating how unbelievably shameless and partisan our "objective" media can be. The networks and national newspapers aggressively declared Romney had committed a diplomatic fiasco overseas and repeated London tabloid headlines heckling Romney with insults, such as "Mitt the Twit."
Here's what the networks said pre-Romney. On the July 24 "Good Morning America," ABC reporter Nick Schifrin lamented "an absolute fiasco with the private guards who were supposed to be doing this. Police tell ABC News they're worried those private security guards are not adequately trained." That same night, CBS featured an unidentified British man complaining the transportation system was "going to be a bit of a fiasco. And people are going to get stranded."
On the July 17 "NBC Nightly News," Brian Williams warned, "Ten days to go now until the Olympic games get underway in London, and today, the man whose company was hired to provide security at all the Olympic venues admitted his company screwed up." A member of Parliament told NBC it was a "humiliating shambles for the company."
But the same Brian Williams sat down with Romney on July 25 and asked, "And in the short time you've been here in London, do they look ready to your experienced eye?" Romney calmly replied it was hard to know: "There are a few things that were disconcerting, the stories about the private security firm not having enough people, the supposed strike of the immigration and customs officials, that obviously is not something which is encouraging." In other words, almost exactly what Williams reported the week before. He then went on to praise the "great volunteers here." But nobody heard that part of the sound bite.
The irony here? Everything Williams asked after this Olympics question were typical hardballs: Did he flip-flop on "assault weapons;" why won't he release more of his tax returns; even, why he was a "hidden man" about his Mormon religion. For the Romney-hating press, even the softball questions can be turned around and accelerated to bean the Republican.
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