NYT Pummels Romney, Ignores Obama
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  • Matthew Brotchie

    Watch out for an upcoming documentary from VICE, showing the current war between Mormon polygamist colonies and the drug cartels in Mexico, where Romney’s father was born. I’m sure the media will have some fun with that one.

  • Walter Sobchak

    For me, some of the NYTimes articles have had the opposite of their intended effect.

    They ran one revealing that Romney is a close personal friend of Bibi Netanyahu. And that their friendship long predated the involvement of either of them in electoral politics.

    The article was intended to be a slam on Romney. What PC thinking Upper Left Sider would want to be friends with the ickiest man in Israel. There were also hand wringing quotes from the the usual Obama shills about outsourcing US foreign policy to Israel.

    The article made this Zionist feel a lot better about Mitt Romney as a man and as a potential President.

  • Kenny

    Now remind me again… exactly who and how many of them are there who reads the NYTimes?

    The paper is (and has been for years) inconsquencial. It can influence very, very few. Fact

  • Brian

    “Romney—unlike Obama—has not yet had every aspect of his life exhumed in microscopic detail by a ravenous press corps.”

    Unlike Obama? When did Obama have reporters interviewing his high school and college friends looking for a scoop? How come his pot-smoking group from high school doesn’t get a 5000 word front page WaPo article? And just where are Obama’s college transcripts? Outside of the new biography, have any reporters covered Michelle’s feud with Oprah?

    Obama’s life has only been exhumed for positive features so far, outside the right-blogosphere.

  • Kris

    “NYT Pummels Romney, Ignores Obama”

    I eagerly anticipate the day I too will have this luxury.

  • Data

    Prof. Mead’s take on Romney — as a good man who hasn’t yet told his story, and who will be eaten alive by a 21st-century US mainstream media that too often acts like the Democrats’ PR machine if he doesn’t — is an interesting and, I think, accurate take on the early dynamics of the campaign.

    Romney’s reluctance to make this a campaign about “me” and tell “his story” relentlessly is reminiscent of many of the politicians we had until the 1930s: a stolid, straight-arrow, no-chit-chat Yankee type. A responsible citizen and parent. Not the most interesting or exotic of personalities, because his interests are in fulfilling his responsibilities and providing for his family rather than hiking K2, giving himself a mohawk, or experimenting with New Age remedies. Nobody knows much about the personal stories of James Monroe or John Quincy Adams, and that’s fine; for them, work and obligation came before having a “compelling narrative.”

    In this and other ways, Romney is a classic, taciturn Yankee. You can take that as a negative or a positive (for me, it’s a distinct positive to have in a politician in nearly-bankrupt America).

    The upshot is that Romney, like many Mormons (who in my experience are the most cheesily culturally traditional American people out there despite the suspicion that they are greeted with by many that they are somehow “un-American”), is a throwback to an older type of American. I don’t know if this archetype of American ever really existed, but Romney (and many Mormons I know) go further toward filling it than does any other cross-section of the population. The soft-spoken, hard-working, no-cussing, God-fearing, active-in-civil-society self-reliant type, pragmatic and successful in private business and somewhat wary of the government.

    This stands in contrast to Obama, a man who never really seems to have had a “real” job or one that he worked at for very long or very successfully. Whose entire campaign in 2008 was about his “promise as an individual” (backed by 2 autobiographies on the theme!) rather than his success as a responsible or effective executive. Sadly, after having 4 years in which he could have achieved something widely viewed as a positive by the general electorate, Obama’s campaign once again seems to be returning to the “compelling lifestory” tack … with some more ad hominem, scorched-earth tactics thrown in against his opponent this time around.

    As a representative of the “Millennial” generation (repulsive label that it is), here’s hoping that America decides — after its 40-year, Baby Boomer-inflicted egoism and divorce from reponsibility — to return to the Yankee values that made us into a successful nation and steps back a bit from the Baby Boomer values that have made us an “interesting” one.

  • WigWag

    Some college or university somewhere really should recognize Professor Mead with a doctor of disingenuity honoris causa.

    Does he really think that the piece that the New York Times wrote about Mrs. Romney’s interest in dressage is so unprecedented?

    What about the newspaper’s obsession during the 2008 campaign with the expensive taste that Michelle Obama had in clothes? Perhaps Professor Mead missed this little ditty from almost exactly four years ago (June 8, 2008)

    “What grabbed the eye was the sleeveless purple silk crepe sheath made for Mrs. Obama by Maria Pinto, the former Geoffrey Beene assistant who has long been an Obama favorite. Simple in silhouette and, at about $900 retail, not the kind of garment most working-class voters can reasonably aspire to, the dress was immediately subject to water cooler dissection.”

    It would be easy to cite a hundred more examples of the Times pointing out Mrs. Obama’s expensive tastes.

    Does Professor Mead really not remember the fun the Times had pointing out John Kerry’s penchant for polo and yachting or his wife Teresa’s immense wealth? Could it be that Professor Mead missed this expose during the 2004 Campaign (October 13, 2004) about Ms Hines-Kerry’s love affair with French sauces?

    “At lunchtime in her grand old house surrounded by maples just beginning to turn, the fragrances wafting from the kitchen where Teresa Heinz Kerry taught her three sons to cook were so tempting it was difficult to concentrate on the expressionist paintings from the 1960’s on the walls of the living room…The source of the tantalizing aromas was one of Mrs. Heinz Kerry’s favorite dishes, a fish soup. It was simmering on a Wolf stove in a kitchen filled with all the modern accouterments of the serious cook: a huge center island with a granite top, a Sub-Zero refrigerator; copper pots hanging from the ceiling. A rosemary bush sat on a table inlaid with old blue and white Portuguese tiles…The wife of Senator John Kerry, the Democratic candidate for president, talks as knowledgably about food safety as she does about classic French sauces…”I used to have 80 head of cattle,” she said. I used to feed them a little grain, but now they are all grass fed with alfalfa because of studies that show that animals that feed on grass have high levels of C.L.A.’s, conjugated linoleic acids or nutrients that are believed by some New Zealand scientists, she said, to reduce heart attacks and cholesterol levels.”

    And of course we shouldn’t forget the coverage of Al Gore’s campaign. Has Professor Mead forgotten the deep concern of the Times with the way that candidate Gore dressed? If so, perhaps he should pull out his computer and Google the name “Naomi Wolf.” If he does, he might find an article from October 31, 1999 that says this,

    “Vice President Al Gore has been paying Naomi Wolf, the feminist author, thousands of dollars a month to help him figure out how to become the top dog…Ms. Wolf has been telling Mr. Gore that he is a beta male, a subordinate figure, and must learn to become the alpha male, or leader of the pack, before the public can accept him as president, according to a report in the new issue of Time magazine…Alpha males dominate and lead other members of the pack, while beta males are subordinate and play a helpmate role. According to Time, Ms. Wolf has argued within the Gore campaign that Mr. Gore is a ‘beta male’ who needs to take on the alpha male in the Oval Office before the public will see him as the top dog.”

    Of course, the Times loved George W. Bush and hated Al Gore even though Gore was on the left and Bush was on the right. Perhaps that’s why they published Maureen Dowd’s famous column where she said,

    “George Bush is all swagger, with macho campaign accessories of custom-made ostrich-leather black cowboy boots with G.W.B. emblazoned and a huge belt buckle with Gov. George W. Bush, as well as baseball statistics, pork and beans and a Betty Crocker wife…Al Gore is so feminized and diversified and ecologically correct, he’s practically lactating.” Professor Mead can read the whole thing if he bothers to go here,


    Whatever the Times political proclivities, the idea that the newspaper is treating Ann Romney more shabbily because she is a Republican than they treated the wives of Democratic candidates is simply naive and wrong.

    It is getting progressively more difficult to know whether many of the Via Meadia posts are the work product of Professor Mead himself or the youngsters who intern for him; I suppose that’s the idea.

    But if this post was authored by Professor Mead, he should know better. He was an adult when the New York Times was covering the wives of candidates like Michelle Obama and Teresa Hines-Kerry. He was also an adult when the Times tried to trick the public into thinking that the “feminized” Al Gore was running to become America’s first female President.

    If the post was authored by one of the youngsters, perhaps they can’t be blamed; after all, they were probably only in middle school during those campaigns. Presumably though, one would have thought that they would be inquisitive enough to utilize the search function on the Times’ website to see how the newspaper covered other political wives.

  • Gene

    So our host believes Obama has “had every aspect of his life exhumed in microscopic detail by a ravenous press corps.”

    Astonishing. WRM, I am a big fan of yours, but it really is possible to shred your own credibility in an instant.

  • stan

    The press worked harder to tell dig up everything on Joe the Plumber than they did Obama. Compare and contrast the reporting on Palin with that on Obama.

    Mainstream journalism has become a competition between corruption and incompetence as to which will destroy it first. The tipping point has probably been reached. Corruption is now trying hard to edge out incompetence in taking credit for the inevitable demise when the history gets written.

  • Mark in Texas

    “No wonder Republicans are livid with the early coverage of the 2012 general election campaign.”

    I really don’t believe that there are that many Republicans with enough respect for the New York Times and Washington Post to be livid about any of their Democrat partisan shenanigans.

    The attitude of most is similar to seeing some crazed homeless person urinating and defecating in his pants as he screams incoherent rants at the world. It is sad and disgusting but certainly not something to be livid about because nobody expects anything better from them.

    “Livid” implies a lot more respect than those organizations are entitled to.

  • thibaud

    “It is an instinct the former governor must develop, and soon. If Mitt Romney cannot find a way to talk about himself, the Obama campaign and cheerleaders in the media will gleefully fill the void.”

    This is on target. Despite the pummeling, as it were, that WRM is taking in the Comments section from both sides of the divide, he’s absolutely right that politics isn’t fair and that you either define yourself or others will define you.

    Romney is in danger of being Dukakis’ed. Both were competent governors, decent public servants with lots of intelligent ideas – and dull as dishwater.

    I don’t just mean the Cadillac remarks, but the substantive whoppers as well.

    As with Dukakis’s inability to respond to the question about violent crime as it might affect his family, Romney shows a remarkable tin ear when it comes to ordinary people’s struggles with those deeply screwed-up aspects of American life today, specifically the solicitude our elites show for the TBTF banksters and the for-profit health insurance mafia.

    For example, it’s one thing to attack some of the absurdities of Obamacare and suggest a better solution.

    But it’s another thing entirely to perpetuate the nasty fiction that American families with “pre-existing conditions” – that ridiculous, only-in-America concocted phrase of the for-profit health insurance goons – are somehow trying to scam their way into benefits they do not need or deserve.

    This is beyond insulting. It demonstrates that, beyond his mastery of powerpoint summaries and abstract data points, Romney doesn’t have a clue as to how and why ordinary American families are so upset with our political elites’ tender solicitude for the profits of the private health insurance mafia, or why s.t. like 80% of the public supports ending the insurers’ “pre-existing condition” scam.

    Then there’s ordinary Americans’ anger at our pols’ deep concern for the profits and survival of the TBTF banksters.

    Again, Romney is Dukakis-like in his failure to even recognize that his fortune depended in no small measure upon favorable tax treatment of corporate debt, ie one of many bankster-friendly political decisions that our elite has deliberately chosen with little public scrutiny or debate.

    The point here is that ordinary Americans – those of us who people who “work hard and play by the rules” – have a deep concern for elemental fairness, which is absent from the efficiency-centric prism of a lifelong private equity guy.

    Everyone makes mistakes. Romney has done this once on a major issue. If he keeps on doing it, he will permanently alienate not only this moderate-voter household but millions of others across the country, and he will meet the same fate as Dukakis and Kerry.

  • Corlyss

    Neither story is relevant to the issues. Not the Anne Romney story. Not the Obama Stoner in Chief.

    What kind of free press is this? It belongs in the category of happy-talk “Firemen rescue kitten” stories.

  • I hate ANYONE who had a pony. For I had no pony. Though I dislike horses, more do I dislike my relative lack of one.

  • Jim Shuey

    I thought the story was kind of an interesting side-light on a candidate’s wife and an activity neither of which I knew much about. Didn’t really see it as a hit piece at all.

  • Jim.

    @5, Kris-

    Amen to that! 🙂

    @6, Data-

    You nailed it, there. The sooner America gets back to business and rejects the cloying, creepy “feel your pain” type of political panderer, the sooner America gets back on its feet.

    To [perdition] with “identity politics”. Let’s see something solid here.

  • Otis McWrong

    “Romney—unlike Obama—has not yet had every aspect of his life exhumed in microscopic detail by a ravenous press corps.”

    It’s probably been said already but when exactly did this microscopic examination of Obama take place? Obama’s background has received less inspection BY FAR than any candidate in my life time (the first election I was old enough to pay attention to was Carter/Ford). This is all the more galling considering nobody had even heard of Obama until the mid 2000’s.

  • SC Mike

    Ah, horses! The “report” on Ann Romney’s horses reminds me of the coverage of Jackie and Caroline Kennedy and their horses. Exactly the same, no?

    Is the NYT setting us up for another Camelot?

    Probably not.

  • Kris

    [email protected]: You may be right. How unfortunate then that out of “hundreds of examples,” you chose such problematic ones to illustrate the claim that the NYT treatment of Ann Romney is unexceptional. The story about Michelle Obama’s clothes? In the Fashion and Style section. The Heinz Kerry kitchen story? In the Dining and Wine section. Whereas Ann Romney’s horsies? A1. A1?!

    [email protected]: 🙂

  • Corlyss

    @WigWag –
    “Some college or university somewhere really should recognize Professor Mead with a doctor of disingenuity honoris causa.”


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