What Responsibility the MSM and Punditry?
Since long before Mitt Romney was officially even a candidate, we were treated to articles “pondering” whether Evangelicals could possibly vote for a Mormon. We have been treated to dozens of articles, most of them wrong in some aspect or another, about what Mormons believe and what Evangelicals think about that. We have seen poll after poll after poll about whether Evangelicals were suspicious of some generic unnamed Mormon.
I have not done the stats, but it is very obvious that there was a narrative established for Mitt Romney concerning his faith. While there has been attention paid to Obama’s race and Clinton’s gender, race has never been established as the narrative of the Obama campaign and Clinton has chosen to use her gender as a positive part of her narrative. The MSM has largely respected the narratives that these candidates chose for their campaigns and have followed the plan. Obama’s Muslim background notwithstanding, the amount of “ink” devoted to that topic pales in comparison to that devoted to Romney’s faith, and it has often been spun to appear as a positive appeal to “diversity.”
How would this Republican primary season have been had the MSM and the punditry chosen to respect the narrative Romney wished to establish for his campaign? Suppose every time Romney said “Americans want a president of faith” it was allowed to stand as a positive statement, rather than challenged with a citation from some poll somewhere – What would have happened then?
Yes there were a few evangelical leaders that said negative things, but largely they were silent. Suppose the press had allowed the Romney-defined narrative to stand in the face of the silence – might not Evangelicals have reacted very differently?
Which Brings Me To . . .
When it is all said and done this primary season, what do you think the over-arching narrative for the primary season is going to be, at least as written by the MSM? Well, let me suggest this – regardless of outcome on the Democratic side, they will have embraced, finally, the totality of diversity. While on the Republican side it will be that they are stuck in the old times, bigoted, short-sighted and close-minded.
This narrative will harm John McCain in the general. This narrative will harm Republican chances in the legislature and in statehouses and governor’s mansions throughout the nation. Republicans have to get control of this narrative and they have to do so now. This is one of the many reasons Mike Huckabee needs to get out and get out now.
John McCain is beginning to look at running against Barack Obama – that is smart given yesterday’s results. But he also need to begin to look at continuing to run against Mitt Romney, in the sense that this narrative is going to haunt him.
There is much at stake for Evangelicals. We are making progress, and we are doing it in those state legislatures and we can still do it federally if we control the House and Senate. We will not be able to do so unless we stand up now and take action against this narrative. Mitt Romney is out. The time for silence is over. We cannot afford to give the MSM and punditry the ammunition they need through our silence.
New media has, finally, given us the tools we need to control our own narrative. It is high time we put them to good use.