When I asked Paul Ryan Wednesday night for his reaction to the news that the major television networks won’t carry a minute of the opening night of the GOP convention, he responded that he wasn’t surprised and that this is just the media terrain the GOP faces in the 2012 election cycle.
(The transcript of my interview is posted at HughHewitt.com)
Ryan is right not to be surprised, and while he doesn’t have time to be angry, every American –left, right, center, undecided or simply indifferent—ought to be furious. The hypocrisy of anyone bemoaning the loss of civility in American politics who doesn’t also denounce the Manhattan-Beltway media elite’s dumbing down of American political coverage is large.
The conventions feature speeches. Speeches make arguments and they do not rely on soundbytes. Conventions aim to persuade, and it is a rare chance for both parties to make their case directly without the interruption or overlay of the chattering class (which of course on thee networks is overwhelming left.)
The ratings are not huge, but neither is voter turnout. If the future of a country in crisis is significant, so too is the opportunity for the voters to make a change or confirm a course.
But the suits have decided to cut the already drastically reduced coverage by 25%.
This of course helps the Obama/[?] ticket, because the president has nothing to sell and nothing to defend, and it is harder to attack, attack, and attack when you are the incumbent with a record to defend.
The president is fine with reduced coverage. He’d rather everyone be watching anything except the news and people discussing the news. As the ruins of his years in office continue to smoke, he’d like nothing more than to have everyone tune into a repeat of the Olympics.
The Manhattan-Beltway media elite knows this, and giving yet another nudge to the Obama forces is fine with them. They’ll deny that motive of course, and say they are driven simply by greed and that the cable channels will carry the proceedings anyway. (Interesting how when PBS funding is on the line we hear about the millions of Americans without cable, but when the lefty media brass want to put a finger on the scale for Obama that “public interest” argument goes out the window.)
This is a pattern, one that is so stark that it is more amusing than shocking.
Recall the coverage given to the New York Times-Quinnipiac state polls showing an Obama lead in Florid and Pennsylvania a couple of weeks back? The sample was overweighted to Democrats, but it ran and ran and ran without explanation or caution.