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Roger L. Simon

Fear and Shame on the Campaign Trail

August 8th, 2012 - 12:05 am

Anyone who doubts the enduring power of the mainstream media need look no further than the rise in Romney’s unfavorables in a recent Pew Poll. Yes, this poll is likely skewed, but the percentages are too extreme to escape the conclusion that a large number of Americans do not find Mitt “Mr. Nice Guy.” (I met him and thought he was perfectly okay — but what do I know?) Obama, on the other hand, is still considered a swell fellow.

All this although the economy has been a disaster throughout his presidency and, for the last year, probably more, he has seemed a petulant prig when confronted with the slightest criticism. Not an attractive trait.

You would think under those conditions those poll numbers would be reversed and the election polls themselves would show Romney with a gigantic lead, but no. Like a nation of ostriches, huge portions of the American public have swallowed the media/Axelrod line that Mitt Romney is a rich self-interested capitalist out of touch with the masses, whoever they are and whatever that means(it doesn’t matter as long as they vote for Obama), hell-bent on robbing from the poor to give to the rich like a reverse Robin Hood.

In other words, a large portion of the American public has effectively been brainwashed. And the brainwashers are the Democratic Party and the mainstream media. The former is quite understandable since political parties cling to power by virtually any means when threatened. But for the media it’s another matter. Why do these people persist in their views in a situation where, objectively, almost any corporation or business would have been looking for new leadership long ago? Why are they so destructive to our society and ultimately to themselves? Don’t they have children and grandchildren?

Many explanations exist for this seeming blindness; among them, and not to be ignored, is good old-fashioned habit. But I would suggest, having lived among them, particularly the Hollywood variety, for decades, two other components: fear and shame (and, yes, loathing, to extend the Hunter Thompson analogy).

But fear first and foremost.

It seems counterintuitive, but journalists are some of the most risk-averse people around. Few of them are really entrepreneurs. Despite bohemian veneers, they have little daring. They work for somebody and that somebody calls the tune. “Freedom of the press belongs to the man who owns one,” as the great A. J. Liebling reminded us many years ago.

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