Politicians’ sure-fire fallback position: Attack the media
Updated: April 5, 2012 3:55PM
No politician ever lost votes by bashing the media.
The sight of a politician cursing out some smart-
alecky reporter is one most Americans savor. Media-mashing is a quick way for a politician to get on the news and to elicit a favorable response from the electorate.
As a campaign tactic, attacking the media is used most often by a politician whose campaign is not going all that well and who needs some kind of attention-getter.
Thus, it’s not surprising that GOP presidential hopeful Rick Santorum recently lashed out at a New York Times reporter who asked him a question. The tantrum garnered Santorum a lot of media attention (ironic, isn’t it?) and since the target was a reporter from the New York Times, a lot of “Atta-boys!’’ from several segments of the public.
What all this made me ask is whether media-mashing tantrums would benefit any and all political campaigns?
And if so, why don’t more candidates do it? Or why don’t candidates who do it do it more frequently?
Perhaps the answer is that candidates don’t always have a target for their outrage and ire.
It’s not as easy as you’d think to pick a fight with the media. The media is often — how can I say this kindly? — kind of teddy-bearish when it comes to questioning politicians, tossing them soft questions and not challenging answers.
Attacking teddy bears is not exciting political theater. No, what a candidate needs from the media is somebody offensive or intrusive to attack.
This presents a business opportunity, a start-up company that would provide such media people to candidates. The business would operate very much like an escort service. Journalists would register with the company. A candidate/client would call and say he or she needs a journalist to yell at at a press conference or rally. The candidate/client would select a journalist from a catalog — print, TV, Internet, etc.
The journalist would show up and ask a pre-arranged question. The question would arouse the righteous wrath of the candidate/client, who would then verbally assault the journalist to the plaudits of the assembly and a spot on the evening news.
The length of the harangue, how much profanity it contains, all would be determined in advance on a sliding fee scale. The more abuse the journalist undergoes, the more it costs the candidate.
And, of course, no rough stuff.
You know, I could use some additional income.
When one of you starts this company, let me know. I’d like to be a media target.
But, no rough stuff, right?