BOSTON (CBS) — In politics, it’s the oldest trick in the book: when things aren’t going your way, don’t re-evaluate what you’re doing and why you’re flopping, just blame the media, and hope there are enough gullible voters around to swallow it.
This shallow, self-serving ruse is a non-partisan gimmick. Hillary Clinton and her husband have a long, pathetic track record of blaming all their troubles on supposedly-antagonistic, incompetent media coverage. In 1992, George Bush the elder actually had bumper stickers printed up in the final weeks of his doomed campaign that read “Annoy the Media: Re-Elect Bush.”
Even hopeless, hapless Ralph Nader had the nerve to blame his overwhelming rejection by the voters in 2000 on media coverage that quite rightly emphasized the fact that he was little more than a spoiler for Al Gore.
And now it’s Donald Trump’s turn to betray his panic and ineptitude by blaming all his troubles on the “disgusting and corrupt media” that “put false meaning into the words I say.”
Ha ha, that’s a good one. It was the $2 billion worth of non-stop, embarrassingly uncritical coverage of Trump’s word salads that put him where he is today.
Now that his loose ad-libbing is being challenged, he’s crying foul.
Someone call a whambulance.
Look, nobody serious thinks the media is without bias, totally fair, or in any way above criticism.
But the notion that a multi-year presidential race in which oceans of uncritical coverage supplement millions worth of paid spin by the candidates is being determined by what a few reporters write or TV talking-heads say is not just false – it implies that the voters are malleable idiots unable to think for themselves.
Maybe some are. I think most are not.
And I think candidates who play the media blame game make fools of themselves, not their targets.
Listen to Jon’s commentary: