Like Birds on a Telephone Wire ...
It’s hard to say what bothers me most about what we call the mainstream media. Their bias, of course, is an evergreen, always high on the list. So is their arrogance. Their refusal to admit mistakes is galling (see CNN playing “Stupid Girls” song to lead into Sarah Palin segment, then with a straight face saying it was unintentional). But their mindless lack of originality – their zombie-like repetition of what some other journalist just said or wrote – at this moment, tops my list.
Which brings us to the word … gaffe.
If you’ve been following the news, you know that Mitt Romney’s overseas trip was filled with gaffes, at least according to a lot of journalists, almost all of whom are liberal and of course plan to vote for Barack Obama.
In London, Romney told NBC news that there was some concern about security at the Olympics. NBC didn’t think this was especially newsworthy. Certainly not a gaffe. Not until the British press and a few British pols got into the act and expressed their unhappiness that a foreigner would have the nerve to visit their country and say such things – things, by the way, the Brits themselves had been saying long before Romney arrived.
American journalists, of course, could have said something about how the Brits are awfully whiny and thin-skinned these days, something about how they got their knickers in a knot simply because Mitt Romney had the audacity to speak the truth.
But no. Instead, they picked up where the British press left off. One Fleet Street tabloid ran a headline that said, “Mitt the Twit.” American journalists agreed. He couldn't get by without a gaffe on his first stop.
Then it was off to Israel, where Romney supposedly made another gaffe. His offense was saying that “culture” matters, and that it was one reason Israel was so successful.
Anyone with half a brain knows this is true. In our own country, it’s obvious that culture matters; it’s why the underclass is the underclass. In their culture having babies without having husbands and dropping out of school is part of the culture. That’s a big reason why the underclass has such a hard time.
Ah, but the Palestinians took offense. Some said it was racist. What was wrong with their culture? How about suicide bombers and other terrorists who the moderates can’t control? A mere detail. No, the Palestinians were justifiably offended and so, according to those high-minded objective American journalists, Romney was guilty of committing another gaffe.
Next stop, Poland, where Romney supposedly screwed up again. According to CBS News, “even in friendlier Poland, Mitt Romney's union policies drew criticism from the current leaders of the movement that toppled Communism.”
And at a plaza near the Tomb of The Unknown Soldier, reporters barked questions at Romney as he was getting into his car.
CNN: "Governor Romney are you concerned about some of the mishaps of your trip?
NYT: "Governor Romney do you have a statement for the Palestinians?
Washington Post: "What about your gaffes?
NYT: "Governor Romney do you feel that your gaffes have overshadowed your foreign trip?"
CNN: "Governor Romney just a few questions sir, you haven't taken but three questions on this trip from the press!
That’s when Romney’s press person jumped in and told the reporters, to "Show some respect."
The NYT reporter wasn’t amused. "We haven't had another chance to ask a question," he said.
To which Romney’s press person responded diplomatically, with this: "Kiss my ass. This is a Holy site for the Polish people. Show some respect."
Once the “gaffe” storyline was in place, anything Romney did or said that offended anybody, qualified as a gaffe. If one reporter used the word, others had to use it too. Reporters are like birds on a telephone wire. One lands on the wire and you can bet the ranch that a hundred other birds will be there in a second.
In the aftermath of all this, American news organizations went into high gaffe mode. On its Web site, CBS ran a headline reminding American voters that another candidate went overseas when he was running for president four years ago, and, well, he did much better.
“Romney gaffes contrast with Obama in '08,” said CBS News.
ABC News -- like those birds on the wire -- said the same thing: “Romney Gaffes Contrast With Obama in '08”
The Huffington Post shouted, “Mitt Romney Olympics Fallout: Gaffe Creates Struggle For 2012 Presidential Hopeful”
Over a column by a left wing journalist, the Daily Beast showing absolutely no subtlety said, “The Ugly American: Mitt Romney’s Disastrous Overseas Excursion” – followed by a sub-headline that read: “Though his advisors keep putting Romney in a message box, he keeps bursting out with gaffes”
And finally, CNN wondered: “Was Romney's trip 'a great success' or gaffe-filled disaster?”
Gee, I wonder what CNN thinks? Here’s a clue:
Jim Acosta, the CNN reporter covering Romney said, “it's really no surprise really, that the press tried their best to get a question to him today," adding, "I think it should also be noted that this press aide, and what he said to us, was really inexcusable."
Memo to Jim Acosta: What Hitler did was inexcusable. What Pol Pot did was inexcusable. What the terrorists did to us on 9/11 was inexcusable. Telling a reporter to “kiss my ass” doesn’t come close to inexcusable. I’d classify it as “long overdue.”