When Will Republicans Stop Treating the Press Like they’re Journalists? Hillary Gets It.

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Over the Independence Day weekend the Bob Family was visiting Grandma and Grandpa Bob for a few days. One piece of good timing that came of it was that I got to see on Fox News cuts of Megyn Kelly’s recent interview with Mitt Romney (The Bob household “Cut the cord” over a year ago). The entire interview was interesting, but it was the last part that most got my attention.

Unfortunately I can’t find a transcript of the interview, so I won’t have the wording down exactly (if anyone has a link please drop it in the comments). Kelly asked Romney about  the infamous Candy Crowley moment in the 2012 debate where the moderator jumped in to rescue her candidate and proceeded to start debating Romney directly. Romney was too stunned to know how to reply, and from there the rest was history. When asked about it Romney’s response to Kelly went along the lines of, “She’s the moderator, and if I start beating her up I’ll just get heat for attacking the moderator!”


For some odd reason Republicans have this strange notion that most of the mainstream press are not anything more than the media team for the Democratic party. Just like Stephanapolous wasn’t an objective moderator during the GOP Primary debate, Crowley was not either. The moment she interjected was when she crossed the line of being a moderator and exposed herself as a partisan hack. Of course there will be pushback if you fight back – you’re battling in a damned election! But showing a willingness to punch back and not get pushed around will fire up the base. And maybe this can be a good way to start reaching out to people in the center who don’t even see how biased the press is. It didn’t hurt Rand Paul, as I recently wrote.

I’m not calling for candidates to just indiscriminately attack the press – if there’s a legitimate question regarding a scandal or a policy position it should be answered and the reporter should be treated with respect. But if the reporter is asking a leading question or framing it in a way that shows a bias toward your opponent you’d damned well better call them out on it. If you let them trap you you’re only helping them campaign against you. Ted Cruz did a great job of fighting back:

“Is there something about the left — and I am going to put the media in this category — that is obsessed with sex?” Cruz asked after fielding multiple questions on gay rights. “ISIS is executing homosexuals — you want to talk about gay rights? This week was a very bad week for gay rights because the expansion of ISIS, the expansion of radical, theocratic, Islamic zealots that crucify Christians, that behead children and that murder homosexuals — that ought to be concerning you far more than asking six questions all on the same topic.”

Cruz also said he did not think his opposition to gay marriage will hurt his chances with moderate voters.

“With respect, I would suggest not drawing your questions from MSNBC. They have very few viewers and they are a radical and extreme partisan outlet,” Cruz told a reporter. He cited the expansion of “mandatory same-sex marriage” as an assault on religious liberty in the United States.

At the end of the day challenging the press over unfair or biased questions is not just a good tactic – when the principles you are campaigning on are under direct attack, it is your obligation to defend them, regardless of the source.

I remember a few moments form the 2012 campaign that stood out as what could have been great moments for Republicans to seize the initiative. We remember that it helped Gingrich during his brief surge. How about if we had seen a few like these:

Remember Bob Schieffer’s testy scolding of Herman Cain over the ad that showed his campaign manager smoking, and how it went viral?

Schieffer:  “Let me just tell you, it’s not funny to me,” Schieffer said, noting that he is a cancer survivor. “I don’t think it serves the country well, and this is an editorial opinion here, to be showing someone smoking a cigarette. You’re the frontrunner now, and it seems to me as frontrunner you would have a responsibility not to take that kind of a tone in this campaign. I would suggest that perhaps as the frontrunner you’d want to raise the level in the campaign.”

Cain: “We will do that, Bob, and I do respect your objection to the ad,” Cain said. “Probably about 30 percent of the feedback was very similar to yours. It was not intended to offend anyone. Being a cancer survivor myself, I am sensitive to that sort of thing.”

What Cain should have said: Look Bob, as a black man who happens to be conservative I don’t get the same kind of fawning puff pieces to promote my campaign the way someone like President Obama does. If a somewhat controversial video gets me some free publicity that my insurgent campaign needs than so be it. And the last time I checked, cocaine is a lot more harmful than tobacco, and I don’t recall you blasting a certain candidate who bragged to a bunch of young people about his cocaine use.

Or when Cain got asked about the sexual harassment allegation against him during the debate:

“You know the shareholders are reluctant to hire a CEO where there are character issues,” she said, then asked, “Why should the American people hire a president if they feel there are character issues?”

Loud, low-pitched boos grew among the crowd, as Cain replied, “The American people deserve better than someone being tried in the court of public opinion based on unfounded accusations. that’s what — I value my character and my integrity more than anything else and for every one person that comes forward with a false accusation, there are probably — are thousands who would say none of that sort of activity ever came from Herman Cain.”

What Cain should have said: “Yes. (Brief pause) You didn’t question character issues similar to the allegations against me the numerous times you interviewed President Clinton, so why must I face this double standard?

Or how about the “journalists” shouting harassing questions at Romney as he was visiting the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Poland?

Romney’s Response: Ignore the nimrods while his press secretary told the reporters to shove it.

Correct Response: Ignore the nimrods. Fire the press secretary for losing his cool when he knows he’s facing hostile forces. Have each of the offending reporters removed from the press pool and sent home. Offer their publications the opportunity to publicly apologize for their reporters’ actions unless they want to be permanently barred from the campaign’s press pool.

I could go on all day, but you get the idea. As Ace pointed out, the GOP is officially freaking out over Donald Trump’s poll standings.

The head of the Republican National Committee, responding to demands from increasingly worried party leaders, spent nearly an hour Wednesday on the phone with Donald Trump, urging the presidential candidate to tone down his inflammatory comments about immigration that have infuriated a key election constituency.

The call from Chairman Reince Priebus, described by donors and consultants briefed on the conversation and confirmed by the RNC, underscores the extent to which Trump has gone from an embarrassment to a cause for serious alarm among top Republicans in Washington and nationwide.

Priebus’s decision to reach out to Trump came after days of talks with Republican donors and officials about how best to manage Trump’s outsize presence on the airwaves. Many financiers who are influential at the RNC have been fuming about Trump’s ascent and told Priebus that he must ensure that the RNC’s efforts over the past year to win more of the Hispanic vote is not harmed.

As I’ve argued before, Trump is a symptom of a problem the GOP is either unwilling or unable to deal with…there’s a significant part of the party’s base that feels it’s not being served by the party. Trump for all his ridiculousness and liberal history is at least giving some alienated voters the sense they are being heard and represented. An imperfect messenger is better than one that tells you, “shut up, I don’t care what you want.” So here’s a crazy idea for some of the back of the pack but respectable candidates…represent this group and take up their causes.

So guess what advice Howard Kurtz from Fox News has to offer Republicans? Be nice to the press, of course!

The press has become quite the piñata in the 2016 campaign, a fat target for candidates eager to score points against our unpopular business—or just to vent their frustrations.

Does it work? It certainly doesn’t hurt in a Republican primary. But at some point candidates have to figure out how to use the press to sell their message, rather than just complaining.

Because of course, all good Republicans should follow the RINO who the media is adoring though the primaries who will help advance the pro-amnesty agenda:

As for access, The Atlantic’s David Frum pivots off my piece about Hillary’s plans to contrast her media reticence with that of Jeb Bush. He says the former governor has done 39 interviews since February, ranging from Jimmy Fallon to the Daily Caller to Der Spiegel:

“Jeb Bush accepted invitations from journalists likely to pose tough questions, including Fox’s Megyn Kelly, talk radio’s Hugh Hewitt, and CBS’s Bob Schieffer…

“Jeb Bush seems determined to communicate: ‘I’m accessible, I’m approachable, I feel entitled to nothing.’”

Nobody is making an issue of Jeb’s media access, and he hasn’t complained about his treatment.

Just ask John McCain and Mitt Romney how well this approach worked. I’ve even seen unsubstantiated buzz that in the closing days of the 2008 presidential election McCain actually believed that his relationship with the press over the years would pay off. Two years ago Ted Cruz nailed it:

Cruz, “There are a lot of Democrats and folks in the media who like their Republicans timid and house-trained to just sit quietly in the corner, to accept losing, and to stand for nothing,” Cruz said on Sean Hannity’s radio show.

Two months later Cruz thrashed David Gregory on Meet the Press, prompting Breitbart’s Joel Pollack to offer a few tips for Republicans in terms of media training. I won’t elaborate on them here, but the link is worth your time to check:

1. Question the premise.

2. Stick to the message.

3. Cite your opponents’ supporters in your favor.

4. Never forget your constituency.

5. Believe that your opponent secretly agrees with you.

Rick Wilson at Ricochet summed up how the press (and too much of the GOP establishment) view most of the conservative base:

Many reporters and editors loathe how aware people have become of the journalistic process. They can barely conceal their anger at having the public (largely conservatives) challenge what, when, and how they cover the news.

And the feeling is quite mutual. Which brings us back to Hillary. I wrote a month ago about how she’s handling the press is absolutely brilliant. We just had the rather unpleasant incident where those courageous, speaking-truth-to-power journalists covering her campaign allowed her staffers to rope them off and shepherd them as if they were a flock of sheep, wohich of course, they are. And treating their adoring sycophants in the press in this manner is nothing new to the Clintons – jump into the Wayback Machine to 1992! But Hillary was kind enough to grant an interview this week with a friendly reporter over at CNN. Draw and Strike! provides the best analysis I’ve read:

The Point Of Hillary Breaking Her 87 Day Silence For That Interview On CNN Wasn’t To Make News –  It Was So The Democrat Base Could Hear Her Say What It Wanted To Hear… What did Hillary’s base want to hear her say on the record?  Two things:

1)  “I’ve done nothing wrong.”


2)  “This is all right wing attacks.”

This interview should have been given to Jake Tapper.  But of course, as we all know, Hillary wouldn’t have agreed to be interviewed by Tapper since he has a well earned reputation of being tough but fair.  That’s not what Hillary wanted out of this ‘interview’.  She wanted a campaign infomercial and Keilar & CNN willingly handed it to her.


Of course, Hillary’s coronation is hardly a foregone conclusion. Over at The Daily Beast Stuart Stevens makes a good argument for how Bernie Sanders can win the primary. I doubt that at the end of the day that Hillary will lose the nomination. Say what you will about her, she understands that the press are a useful tool for Democrats and has been making an excellent use of that tool. The press can be useful for Republicans as well, but in a completely different manner. It’s one thing to disable your opponent’s artillery – it’s quite another to turn the cannons around and have your opponent scurry as their favorite weapon is used against them. The question is, will they actually decide to go on the offensive and use this weapon?

I’ll leave you with a few of my favorite tweets regarding Hillary and her flock

But on a more serious note…

Cross posted from Brother Bob’s Blog

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Blogging by the credo of "Making the world a more offensive place, one blog post at a time", Brother Bob started writing posts around the beginning of the Obama presidency over at Brother Bob's Blog. A born-again Existentialist and self-professed libertarian with conservative tendencies, he has ironically chosen to live in the Washington, DC area - deep behind enemy lines. He has always loved history, and spent eight years volunteering as a tour guide on weekends, giving over 200 tours to roughly 2,500 mostly foreign guests. His tours were highlighted by stories generally not found in the history books or most other tours, such as the importance of the Battle if Antietam, the origins or Arlington Cemetery, and dispelling the myths of FDR's New Deal. Although his favorite subject to blog about is Economics, as seen in his Economics for Politicians series, his posts try to address angles that other conservative writers and the mainstream media (naturally!) miss. "There's no point in putting up a post on a subject that someone smarter than me has already written". He believes in the "Happy Warrior" approach, and tries to inject humor in his posts, sometimes successfully. Two such examples are his posts comparing the modern left to the horrible Star Wars prequels, and analyzing the laments of a DC woman in search of a feminist boyfriend. Brother Bob lives with his very patient wife known as Sister Babe, and their fantastic son. Little Bob. Little Bob is also the reason that being a tour guide came to an end, as spending Saturdays raising a son takes priority over giving lectures to foreign visitors on the folly of Keynesian economics. BB is also grateful for the opportunity to take his place among the outstanding writers at Flopping Aces, appreciates every person who takes the time to read his posts, and especially those who join him in the conversation in the comments.

22 Responses to “When Will Republicans Stop Treating the Press Like they’re Journalists? Hillary Gets It.”

  1. 1


    Ted Cruz doesn’t want to talk about sex………………. now
    That is because he now realizes that the majority of Americans do NOT agree with his views on that subject
    Let’s not forget that up until 3 short years ago the Party Platform of the GOP in Texas called for making sodomy a felony once again.
    That support of same sex marriage is now at 60% and is going up 5% per year.
    Is it any wonder he doesn’t want to tell people about his views?

  2. 2

    Brother Bob


    Nope, he just isn’t playing the game of these leftist hypocrites who shriek about gay marriage and could give a damn about genuine oppression against gays. It’s easier for these cowards to attack people who won’t murder them.

  3. 5



    Don’t they?

    Let’s not forget that up until 3 short years ago the Party Platform of the GOP in Texas called for making sodomy a felony once again.

    Let’s also not forget that even more recently than that, Obama had the same view on same-sex “marriage” as Cruz. Only, the media didn’t want to emphasize it.

    One wonders, if the media is actually upset that Hillary will not address her many and varied scandals to the media, why they won’t just INVENT the documents they need to prove whatever point they want to prove? It wouldn’t be the first time…

  4. 6

    rich wheeler

    @Brother Bob: “Genuine oppression agaist gays”
    Agree and I’m glad it’s a cause you and your fellow Republicans are concerned about.

    Off subject—Scott Walker has officially thrown in —–and the silence is deafening.
    Trumpists have stolen whatever thunder he had as he’s sunk from first to no better than fourth. Cruz will be lucky to get into the Fox debate, as he ‘s on life support around eighth.

    As I predicted Trump’s bluster has got him to 15% in the polls—it’s gonna be fun from here.

  5. 8

    rich wheeler

    @another vet: Webb’s my guy. It’s a huge uphill fight against HRC—but as you know he was a huge underdog against Conservative darling Allen in VA.–AND HE WON.
    What do you think of Trump being right where I said he’d be? He can win at least a couple of primaries with as little as 17%—-He’s knocked previous Conservative favorite Walker into a massive tailspin.

  6. 10

    another vet

    @rich wheeler: As I told you before, it’s too early to be calling the election for anyone. As for Hillary, Doug Schoen, a pollster who worked for the Clintons, believes she is in deeper trouble than people are admitting. Her numbers are going down against the potential Republican challengers and open socialist Bernie is chipping away at her lead. Does that mean she won’t get the nomination? No. It’s too early to tell on either side. While I believe the Republican primary field is set and we have seen who their nominee will be, I don’t believe the dem side is set yet.

  7. 11

    rich wheeler

    @another vet: I’m not calling the Republican Primary for anyone. But you’re the guy who strongly discounted Trump from early on. What say you now?
    Webb’s interview Sunday on Fox.was excellent. He is a Southern Dem populist, a legitimate war hero, that can win the Presidency if he can get past the Clinton machine. Aqua, he reminds me of Sen. Sam Nunn in his demeanor and basic positions.

    Bill BHO BEAT HRC—Why not Webb?
    You still like Walker?

  8. 12

    Brother Bob


    @Rich Wheeler: BHO had the benefit of a few years of perpetual fellating via the MSM to help him beat Hillary, not to mention McCain & Romney. Webb won’t get the same treatment.

    Trump can’t last – too many liabilities to list here. The biggest danger from him is a 3rd party run, and I’m not sure who that would hurt the most. He claims to be a Republican but runs on mostly leftist positions

  9. 13

    another vet

    @rich wheeler: I still say it is way too early to predict who is going to win. We can probably rule some out. Remember 2012? Every week there was a new front runner and you were here trying to stir things up over that too. Just because Trump is popular now, and you are probably privately salivating over him being picked, doesn’t mean he will be picked nine months from now. He has a tendency to get old fast. Right now there are a lot of angry people in this country and Trump is playing on that. So is Sanders and it’s why he is moving up in the polls. One thing Trump’s popularity (if 15% is considered popular) shows is that the Republican tent is a lot bigger than the dems’ tent. Webb is at 2.3%. Clinton and Sanders, both way to the left like Obama, have a combined total of 77.1%. That should say something about the state of the Democrats and why Webb made the comment he did.

    Another way to look at Trump is like this. If he were to go head to head with say Bush, who do you think the 72% of the voters who are backing one of the other candidates are going to vote for? And who do you think those candidates are going to throw their support behind? Trump’s biggest threat would be if he ran as a third party candidate just like it would be Webb’s best chance.

  10. 14

    Nanny G

    Hillary spoke today and I felt like the 1930’s called and want their political speech back.
    She hasn’t driven since 1998 but she sees Uber as the enemy.
    She doesn’t much like that app that allows you to rent out a room in your home, either.
    And make stuff in your home to sell at flea markets, open air craft marts or even at conventions? Hillary sees that as a threat, too.
    She actually used the phrase ”crack down,” referring to such new ways Americans are making money.
    I mean, she’s worried about ”the unions.”
    She sees these things as a way around paying more taxes, more wages, and being regulated enough.
    If the media doesn’t ream her over this speech, they really are in her pocket.

  11. 15

    rich wheeler

    @another vet:We both know Trump won’t win the Repub. nod. We also know neither he nor Webb could win as 3rd party nom.
    Webb is a social lib. and an economic mod. A populist Scotch Irishman from a military family.
    The only candidate with a “union card, a tattoo and 2 purple hearts” Webb 2016

  12. 17


    @rich wheeler: Not every liberal thinks like you do, Rich. Military success and citations is the kiss of death. He’s a “baby killer”; a “war criminal”. Your beloved left will have no use for him.

  13. 18

    rich wheeler

    @Bill: And not every Repub thinks like you. That’s why you’ve had two defeated RINOS in 08 and 12.- Chances are good you’ll get another in 2016.
    Webb has a puncher’s chance against HRC .who is vulnerable.
    If he wins America will love his story.
    Semper Fi

  14. 19

    oil guy from Alberta

    Yes Hitlery loves to control the press. They have to spread the propaganda correctly. Remember the Sir Edmund Hillary horse apple story about being named after the Everest climbing hero. At the time of Hitlery.s birth, Sir Edmund was a bee keeper. The climbing heroics came 5 years later. A fair and informed reporter would have asked- Mrs. Clinton, did your parents name you to honor a bee keeper?

  15. 20


    @rich wheeler: he would have a better chance running as a Republican. Democrats no longer have a taste for a moderate; they want far left or far, far left. Note that Hellary only gets competition from an avowed socialist. Democrats also wanted Woo Woo Warren to run, who is also to the left of Hellary.

    If you held any affection for a Democrat party that would field someone like Webb, too bad for you. Ain’t gonna happen.

  16. 21

    Brother Bob


    @Rich Wheeler: While I disagree with some of your points I have to give you props for making a good argument for Webb. But that leaves one uncomfortable question: How come the series Democratic candidates are so far to the left of Webb?

  17. 22

    another vet

    @rich wheeler: There was a time in the past when someone with Webb’s credentials would have been a serious competitor in the Dem primaries. Not anymore. Rather than fretting over who the Republicans are going to nominate, you as an active party member should focus your efforts on taking your party back from the leftists who control it so someone like Webb can actually stand a fighting chance.

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