Mitt Romney has consistently claimed media bias, even prior to officially receiving the Republican Party nomination. Romney may just be toeing the party line and beating the conservative drum, but he is quick to echo his reservations about the media by reminding voters that he has not been represented fairly.
At nearly every turn during the Republican primary, Romney’s opponents attempted to paint him as a Massachusetts moderate. To some extent these attempts were successful, but in reality they merely prolonged the primary. The irony regarding Romney’s media bias allegations is that throughout the primary he received press coverage that was twice as favorable as compared to that of President Barack Obama.
The issue that Romney now faces in the general election is that he opposes an incumbent that has laid nearly everything out on the table. Obama’s accomplishments are visible, his failures are well documented, and his tax returns are released. Not knowing critical aspects about a presidential nominee can be concerning to the average independent voter that may feel betrayed once all the facts are revealed.
The media has not been biased; they have merely picked up on the fact that the Romney campaign, at this juncture, is more vulnerable than Obama. This is, of course, all subject to change -- especially as Romney and his newly selected VP, Paul Ryan, will now be able to shift the rhetoric back to the economy and away from his business past. If Romney is unable to sway the media in the coming months he will most likely encounter an opposition similar to the one he endured during his time as Governor. Unlike what some may lead you to believe, it was not the media that destroyed Romney’s chance at running for re-election in Massachusetts.
Romney was a divisive Governor who rarely attempted to reach out to a legislature that was 85 percent Democratic. David Welna of NPR reported that Romney bragged about taking on his Legislature stating, "I like vetoes; I vetoed hundreds of spending appropriations as governor". More precisely, Romney vetoed 800 spending appropriations, which for the most part were all overturned by the legislature. Perhaps this inane act of defiance in opposition to spending was Romney simply setting himself up for his upcoming presidential bid. If this were in fact the case, his actions in 2006 regarding the passage of the Massachusetts Healthcare Insurance Reform Law --and his actions since its passage -- are quite peculiar.
The media has hammered Romney for his initial support of the law, and subsequent denial of support for the bills federal counterpart trumpeted by Obama. Romney has found himself changing positions on several issues other than health care. He has backed away from his support of renewable energy as a viable form of job creation in light of the Solyndra scandal, as well as stiffened his language on abortion in 2007 stating that his previous position established in 1994 “was wrong.” In light of the many position changes that Romney has taken over the course of his political career it is fair to point them out. It is the media’s job to uncover candidates that change their opinion for the sole purpose of re-election.
This week has shown the true pettiness of both campaigns, which have both come out with unsubstantiated and exaggerated claims. Ironically, the majority of media outlets is reporting the claims as false and is acknowledging that this may well be the lamest week in the campaign to date. Although independent fact checkers are having a field day, this behavior is likely to reflect in the polls. Romney, Paul Ryan, and the Obama campaign have a chance to pivot the rhetoric seen last week in order to address real issues regarding the economy, immigration, and perhaps even common sense gun control legislation.