Posted on | December 2, 2011 | 29 Comments
One cause of this year’s up-and-down cycles in the contest for the Republican presidential nomination has been the powerful influence Fox News exercises over conservative opinion. While I am capable of filtering Fox in the same way I filter any other information stream — and am naturally resistant to peddlers of Conventional Wisdom — it cannot be denied that, for some Republican voters, What Is True on any given day bears a strong resemblance to What Fox News Said the night before.
Understand that I have made a career in recent years as someone who knows what goes on behind the scenes in Media World and occasionally reveals it (usually through sly sarcasm) to readers who have never worked in a newsroom. And I have sometimes talked about what I call “The Water Cooler Consensus” that emerges among a group of newsroom co-workers discussing politics. The opinions that solidify in those informal conversations among colleagues have a way of expressing themselves in decisions about what is and is not news.
From this understanding, then, I approach this Washington Post column by Charles Krauthammer:
It’s Iowa minus 32 days, and barring yet another resurrection (or event of similar improbability), it’s Mitt Romney vs. Newt Gingrich. . . .
My own view is that Republicans would have been better served by the candidacies of Mitch Daniels, Paul Ryan or Chris Christie. Unfortunately, none is running. You play the hand you’re dealt. This is a weak Republican field with two significantly flawed front-runners contesting an immensely important election. If Obama wins, he will take the country to a place from which it will not be able to return (which is precisely his own objective for a second term).
Every conservative has thus to ask himself two questions: Who is more likely to prevent that second term? And who, if elected, is less likely to unpleasantly surprise?
If you are a supporter of any candidate other
than Newt or Mitt, you’re wasting your time.
This is a belief that has been repeatedly telegraphed to Fox News viewers for the past two weeks. And the people who are communicating that message may be entirely sincere. But no one should discount the possibility that they are also sincerely wrong.
Charles Krauthammer is a brilliant man, but he is not the only brilliant man in the world, and not all of the brilliant men in this world are nationally syndicated columnists employed by Fox News. Ergo, I’m no more likely to outsource my political thinking to Krauthammer than I am to let Chris Matthews, Peggy Noonan, Paul Krugman or Meghan McCain dictate my opinions.
Will Fox News pick the next president? Or do ordinary people in Iowa still have more influence than the Krauthammer Caucus?
UPDATE: Richard McEnroe is not one of The People Who Matter. Neither are the voters of Iowa. Nor, for that matter, are you or I.
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What You Can Do
If you agree with the logic of the foregoing argument, why don’t you copy it in an e-mail and send it to your Republican representative, senator, governor or state GOP chairman? You can also e-mail it to your favorite local or national talk radio host. Also, by using the “share” button at the bottom of the post, you can share it via Twitter or post it to Facebook. Thanks in advance for your help in spreading the word.