Mitt eats vegan burrito in his “Darkest Hour”

In the wake of the great, surreptitiously recorded Romney fundraiser video, the media continue their long stumble in the wilderness. Rather than press on policy, they pursue the “process story.” Just look to the Washington Post, which in declaring “Mitt Romney’s Darkest Hour,” proceeds to analyze how analysis will lead to soul searching and second-guessing (these in themselves being more analysis). This is supposed to doom Romney–but not definitively.

At Yahoo News, Holly Bailey continues her embedded coverage on the Romney plane. She maintains the edgy style that Ron Fournier sullied the Associated Press brand with in 2008: ditching the pretense of neutrality for moody framing devices and the liberty to issue gut calls.  Ever out to paint Romney as dry and lame, the most valuable detail in one of Bailey’s recent reports was what Romney had for breakfast: a vegan burrito.

What madness is this: using so many words to say nothing at all. Good thing newsprint today is made of electrons instead of wood pulp.  It lessens the waste.  All too many journalists dwell on trivia while major questions, such as what President Obama really intends to do about this anemic recovery, go unasked, let alone unanswered.

Higher up at Yahoo News, the slide continues apace. Once, stories from AP, AFP, and Reuters populated the front page. Now, almost every “news” link there takes the reader to one of Yahoo’s many branded blogs.  And from the looks of things, the leanings of recently sacked political editor David Chalian are still intact. It was he who remarked over an open mic during the Republican National Convention, “They are happy to have a party with black people drowning.”

Away from the open mic, writers signal subtle derision toward the Least Favored Candidate.  A blogger at Christian Science Monitor’s Decoder Wire responds to Romney’s 47% remarks with an “Umm, OK.”  Follow that with a cherry-picked characterization of the governor as a “plutocrat.”

So is the revelation of the 47% video Romney’s “Darkest Hour?” Conservatives seem to be shrugging it off well enough. Per Bailey’s report, Romney was all smiles, burrito eating aside.

One might point to pseudo-conservative David Brooks’ disappointment with Romney.  He compared  the governor to Gilligan’s Island character Thurston Howell, III.  This led MSNBC’s Dave Weigel to tweet, “When you’ve lost David Brooks, you’ve lost middle America.” A responding tweet set the record straight: “BS. When you’ve lost Brooks, you’ve lost weaselly coastal elites.” After all, David Brooks is the Alan Colmes of All Things Considered: a weak ideological opponent trotted out to slake the blood lust of a partisan audience.

The mainstream media will continue to bury Romney with process stories as long as the news industry’s systemic jet stream will allow it.  But neither apocalyptic visions, ad hominem attacks, nor mundane meal descriptions will satisfy undecided voters who want to make a real, informed decision come November.  Those who look beyond the superficial potshots to answer questions of character and policy will find Mr. Romney to be wholly worthy as our next commander-in-chief.

A modern apotheosis

A succession of Republican presidential contenders has melted under the media’s gaze, and now Mitt Romney is squarely in the unforgiving spotlight.  We witness presently a perverse quadrennial apotheosis, wherein some Republican must ascend to a celestially fixed bulls-eye, to endure for a term an uninterrupted stream of spin and slander.

The perverse quadrennial apotheosis of the GOP

Last week at a New Hampshire town hall, Mitt caught flak from a Chinese-American woman who complained that twenty years of Reagan’s “trickle down theory” (what is that?) has left her “tin can” empty.  She scored points with victimhood circles by insisting that Romney no longer “put Asians down.”  Blog site Angry Asian Man, omniscient in things potentially offending Asian-Americans, lauded this woman’s lecturing of the former governor.  But there is nothing inherently racist about calling out the very real phenomenon of Chinese currency manipulation.

Meanwhile, another prog blog acclaims the confrontational woman as a “tiger mom,” but what kind of tiger mom rattles a beggar’s cup of change?  Her trickle down rhetoric only parrots progressive platitudes against the free market.  The video exchange her cheerleaders posted cuts off Romney mid-sentence, but its here if you want to see just how formidable and commanding the candidate is.

The tin can tiger mom encounter, telling as it is, is small beans compared to the coverage other Mitt moments get.  There is the “corporations are people” that commentators like to milk.  Of course, it will never deserve as much infamy as Obama’s contemptuous “cling to guns and religion” quote.

Currently, the “I like to fire people” uproar is sucking up the precious oxygen that should otherwise have been going to journalist’s brains.  Yahoo’s Holly Bailey has given us a sense of the media’s madness while simultaneously partaking in it.  In covering a recent press conference, she gets to color Romney how she wants, insisting, “he seemed to will himself to keep smiling, perhaps knowing that even the hint of a frown could produce an image that he might regret.”  Really?  Her dramatic license aside, I didn’t know she had a press pass to inside his brain!

Ultimately, the “fire people” moment is overinflated.  The recent populist “fire your bank” campaign poignantly shows that Romney is far from alone in his desire to exercise his economic liberties.  After all, who hasn’t wanted to dump their high-speed internet provider?

Unlike his fellow GOP contenders, Romney seems to be well-equipped to endure the media’s slings and arrows.  He is scandal free, he remembers his lines, and he and his team demonstrate well-rounded discipline and competence.  He might not light everyone’s fire, but he can certainly take the heat.

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