The art of the political campaign has long been painted in deceit. It’s nothing new. Candidates have always been willing to make bold-face lies to get their hands on the US Presidency.
Even as far back as 1840, William Henry Harrison ran a “Log Cabin Campaign.” He described himself as the “Log Cabin and Hard Cider candidate” in order to relate to the common American. His opponent, Martin Van Buren, was depicted as “out of touch,” even though Van Buren had come from modest upbringing, and Harrison himself was born into wealth.
Even though the scenario was totally fabricated, that mattered little. Harrison defeated Van Buren and was inaugurated as president (and died a month later).
If this sounds kind of familiar, it’s because time has not changed this strategy. The Obama campaign is portraying Mitt Romney’s success as something that we should disapprove of. If having money disqualifies one for the presidency, then it would be interesting to note that the Obama family pulled in $991,296 in 2006 alone.
Most Americans pay no more than a passing glance at what the candidates are saying about each other, and really only pick up on general themes. The 30-second television ads are practically tailored to this approach: make a few comments that paint your opponent as second only to the anti-christ, and move on. People take that perception to the polls.
The problem is that, here in 2012, the news media is playing the game, also. They’re not just reporting campaign themes, they’re fabricating them. In June, MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell aired a deceptively edited video of a Mitt Romney campaign speech, and had a hearty chuckle about how “out of touch” Romney is. The video wasn’t just edited; it was painfully obvious that it was butchered in snippets to portray Romney as someone who has just seen technology for the first time.
Those claiming unbiased journalism have even harped over Romney’s tax returns, while failing to mention that Obama has not bothered to publicly release his own college transcripts, Fast & Furious documents, the White House guest lists, state Senate papers, and countless Freedom of Information Act requests. That’s the short list. Those very journalists are quick to forget that Obama promised a presidency in which transparency and the rule of law was to be the touchstone.
In much the same fashion, Ann Romney’s $900 blouse is newsworthy, but Michelle Obama’s $6800 shirt is not worth the attention.
People are more likely to trust news sources over campaign advertisements. When news organizations are so painfully biased, it’s not just a discredit to themselves, but to the entire nation. History has shown that campaigns will be underhanded and nasty. Mainstream news media has no place in participating.