Wack job journalism

One candidate, who talked of privatizing Social Security, also declared that pregnant rape victims should make the “lemon situation into lemonade.”

Another candidate says he has reservations about the 46-year-old Civil Rights Act.

Another candidate says unemployment benefits aren’t authorized by the Constitution.

And the latest tea party favorite, among other things, defaulted on her mortgage, didn’t take the college courses she claimed, and is on tape criticizing masturbation and blabbing about dabbling in witchcraft.

Much of the media are portraying the likes of Sharron Angle, Joe Miller, Rand Paul and now Christine O’Donnell as wacky extremists. That may prove to be unduly dismissive.

To be sure, journalists have every right to unearth past statements about retirement benefits and civil rights by Republican nominees who are now trying to fudge their records. And it’s certainly fair to question, in O’Donnell’s case, why she made $6,000 over the last year, sued her former employer for gender discrimination and who once said that “homosexuals’ special rights groups can get away with so much more than nobody else can,” including “perversion.”

In a normal year, the accumulation of rhetoric and might be enough to send a candidate down to defeat. But this is not a normal year.

And here’s the thing: the slightly mocking tone with which some journalists are portraying these tea party conservatives is probably helping them with the broad swath of voters who don’t much trust the media. If some of these voters are fed up with the establishment, that would include the establishment press. O’Donnell, for one, has cleverly brushed aside questions about her checkered finances by saying that helps her identify with struggling workers.

I don’t immediately associate having dabbled in witchcraft with senatorial service. But if see the 11-year-old Bill Maher clip one more time I’m going to feel like making my TV set disappear. The thing went so viral in 24 hours that it now looks like open mockery. Debra Saunders of the San Francisco Chronicle told me that the media were acting like the cool kids making O’Donnell the geek. Now that we’re turning her into the witchy woman, I’m sure some voters will ask, what’s this got to do with me?

The Atlantic’s Marc Ambinder has a different thesis:

“Wackiness will always cut through the clutter. But the difference this cycle is that wackiness has been MAINSTREAMED. Hecklers and provocateurs have been mainstreamed…
“Look at our fascination with reality shows and pornography…

“But all the reality shows — and the characters who have been mainstreamed and are now a part of our lives, people who we would otherwise encounter when we browsed the tabloids at the supermarket — have conditioned us for ‘wild and woolly’ candidates. Culture bleeds into politics, and the other way around…

“But why do audiences accept them? I think that elite media derision, as it always has, helps to legitimize people for a large segment of the American public that believe themselves to be at odds with the establishment.”

Reality shows? Well, GOP strategist Mark McKinnon notes that Wisconsin congressional candidate Sean Duffy is not only a world-class lumberjack but an MTV reality star:

“These conservative candidates are not professional politicians. They sometimes say the wrong thing. They often irritate the self-anointed because their pasts are not pedigreed. And they sometimes have ‘real people’ problems.

“While there may be a few fruitcakes among the bunch and some may be flawed–as if those already in D.C. aren’t–they are real. And some of them are real interesting….

“Christine O’Donnell may want to put Chris Matthews and Charles Krauthammer on her payroll. Every time she is ridiculed, the cash register rings.”

The conventional wisdom is that these are weaker November candidates–that, for instance, O’Donnell’s win over moderate congressman Mike Castle has flipped Delaware from a sure GOP victory to a likely Democratic win. That could still prove to be true. Thirty thousand Republican primary votes, which is what O’Donnell got, is a far cry from carrying a state.

But after being wrong about Scott Brown, Bob Bennett and Lisa Murkowski, among others, I’m not sure the media really have a handle on the nature and magnitude of this Republican revolt. And if they’re wrong, all the derision in the world may not stop Angle, Paul and O’Donnell from becoming United States senators.

Original Post >>>HERE<<<


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