Communications, Issues, Media

Mass media persuasion by osmosis

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Having lived inside the Washington Beltway for over 30 years I have often criticized my conservative friends for supporting the leftwing Washington Post by subscribing to it. The most common response has been, “I just read it to know what the enemy is thinking.” The problem with that is these same people will give you an opinion directly from the editorial page of the Post without realizing that it is the basis of their thought. I call it persuasion by osmosis.

The most recent example of this is the nontroversy over Trump’s complaints about a California Judge of Mexican heritage. This is a textbook example of media manipulation.

As Ann Coulter points out in a brilliant column, “The entire media — and most of the GOP — have spent 10 months telling us that Mexicans in the United States are going to HATE Trump for saying he’ll build a wall. Now they’re outraged that Trump thinks one Mexican hates him for saying he’ll build a wall.”

What is clear is that the legacy media is as always obsessed with race, gender and class and they never miss an opportunity rub salt into those perceived wounds. Every Sunday show featured a panel discussion on Mr. Trump’s perceived racism. Every GOP guest on those shows was questioned about it.

By contrast some weeks earlier Hillary Clinton and Bill DeBlasio joked about “colored people time.” This is a phrase used to stereotype Blacks as always being late. No panel discussions were held on the Sunday shows discussing Hillary’s racist stereotyping. No Democrat guests were questioned about it.

The most discouraging thing about this is the reaction of Republican office holders. They go before the cameras and quote the New York Times and Washington Post mantra.

Mitt Romney says “Presidents have an impact on the nature of our nation, and trickle-down racism, trickle-down bigotry, trickle-down misogyny, all these things are extraordinarily dangerous to the heart and character of America.”

Treachery from Mitt Romney should not be surprising, it runs in the family. He is doing exactly the same thing to Trump that his father did to Barry Goldwater in 1964.

I spent an afternoon with Mitt and his father George Romney in 1994. Mitt was running for the Senate against Ted Kennedy. I was there to go over the research book that the National Republican Senatorial Committee had put together on Kennedy. I came away from that meeting with two strong impressions. Number one Mitt was slavishly subservient to his father and number two politically they were dumb and dumber. Nothing that has happened in the intervening 22 years has caused me to question that judgement.

Paul Ryan says, “Claiming a person can’t do the job because of their race is sort of like the textbook definition of a racist comment. I think that should be absolutely disavowed. It’s absolutely unacceptable.”

This quote makes one wonder if Mr. Ryan is capable of two step thinking. The natural question to ask after he labels Mr. Trump a racist is do you support him? Ryan said yes. What does that make him?

GOP leaders and office holders must reject the notion that the picture painted by the legacy media is an accurate depiction of what is really news and what Americans care about.   As Mr. Trump has demonstrated it is not.

In my campaigning days I would travel the state with my candidate. In each town we would visit the local news outlets. In each town the reporter would ask basically the same questions and my candidate would give basically the same answers.  The same has been true on a national basis until Mr. Trump broke the mold — and that is a good thing.

This is a guest post by Don Todd Director of Research of Americans for Limited Government.

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