Dear GOP Candidates: Beat the Press

 

shutterstock_120719548This new generation of GOP hopefuls understands what only Newt Gingrich knew in 2012. If you want a chance at the White House, you need to beat the other candidates and you need to beat the press.

Mitt Romney, decent fellow that he is, tacitly accepted the press’ claims of objectivity, even if he didn’t believe it in his heart. Romney grinned and nodded at reporters from CNN, ABC, CBS and NBC, even though their initials could have been DNC.

Right-leaning partisans watched moderator George Stephanopoulos concoct the fictional “War on Women” and moderator Candy Crowley actively support Obama during live debates. Many of us spent 2012 yelling at our TVs and laptop screens, “the press isn’t neutral. They’re on the other side!”

Coming of age during the Obama years, the 2016 candidates know all too well that the press is as much of an opponent as the rival campaigns. Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and Scott Walker all know that the mainstream media despises them. This new breed acts accordingly by questioning the press and their flawed premises.

After Planned Parenthood spent all yesterday attacking Sen. Paul, two reporters coincidentally asked him if he would accept any exemptions on abortion. Come on, senator: is there no limit to your cruel oppression of women? Paul knew the fix was in and responded accordingly.

“Here’s the deal — we always seem to have the debate waaaaay over here on what are the exact details of exemptions, or when it starts,” Paul said, moving his hand to one side. “Why don’t we ask the DNC: Is it okay to kill a seven-pound baby in the uterus? You go back and you ask Debbie Wasserman-Schultz if she’s okay with killing a seven-pound baby that is not born yet. Ask her when life begins, and you ask Debbie when it’s okay to protect life. When you get an answer from Debbie, get back to me.”

Paul knows that Democrats rarely get questions about whether they support partial-birth abortion, if gender selection is acceptable, or if parental consent should be required. The press naturally doesn’t want to put their candidates on the hot seat, so why ask them hot-button questions? Instead, just let the Republicans sweat and damage their chances among low-info voters. To his credit, Paul didn’t play along with this old game; he questioned the premise and threw it back in the reporters’ faces.

Instead of waiting for her newsroom allies, Wasserman-Schultz released a huffy statement. “Here’s an answer,” the DNC Chair wrote. “I support letting women and their doctors make this decision without government getting involved. Period. End of story.”

She forgot to mention that Obamacare ensures government is intimately involved with this life-or-death decision, but I appreciate the clarity. To use Paul’s phrasing, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and the Democratic National Committee are okay with killing a seven-pound baby in the uterus. She doesn’t care when life begins and has no intention of protecting the life of any baby in the womb, even if it’s a minute from being delivered. The baby can be killed anytime and for any reason. Period. End of story.

I hope the other GOP candidates are taking notes. They need to stop trying to placate the reporters who hate them and go on offense for a change. Like Gingrich and Paul, use a little verbal jujitsu to trip up the Democrat-Media Complex. Beltway liberals are wildly out-of-touch with the average voter’s values and concerns. Use that to our advantage.

In two minutes, I came up with several questions to ask of Hillary Clinton and her supporters. It’s only fair that moderate voters know her answers:

  • “Do you believe that Officer Darren Wilson racially profiled Mike Brown? Explain.”
  • “Will you have a gender-neutral bathroom in the White House? Why isn’t there one now?”
  • “What made you finally agree with Dick Cheney that same-sex marriage should be legalized?”
  • “How much should taxes be increased to combat climate change? Did your record-setting number of State Department trips contribute to the problem?”
  • “Should we increase immigration while African-American unemployment is at record highs?”

Have at it, press corps; prove your neutrality. And Republicans, prove that you’ll be able to handle the hostile press if and when you get to the Oval Office.

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  1. user_1065645 Contributor
    user_1065645
    @DaveSussman

    It’s my opinion that Mitt didn’t lose the election because of the Mother Jones hidden 47% video, his wealth, or hurricane Sandy.

    I believe he lost the election when Crowley flummoxed him in the 2nd debate over Benghazi. Low info voters saw him hem & haw… trying to thread a stubby diplomatic needle while Obama was in the background gleefully dancing the Charleston.

    It was that moment Obama rebounded from his disastrous 1st debate and won the election.

    The GOP have always been ‘above’ the media. I don’t think it’s because they are gentile or proud. They are afraid. Deep within the recesses of every politician they want to be liked. Republicans just think if they tow the MSM line, they would have a better chance of being liked than calling the DNC press corp on their bias.

    I didn’t see Rand Pauls answer on TV, but if that’s going to be his approach, I applaud it. Hopefully Rubio and others will follow suit.

    • #1
  2. Mario the Gator Inactive
    Mario the Gator
    @Pelayo

    I can’t wait to watch Ted Cruz use the skills he learned on the Debate Team at Harvard to cut down reporters like a hot knife through butter.

    • #2
  3. Roberto Member
    Roberto
    @Roberto

    You’re off to a good start Mr. Paul.

    • #3
  4. Jim Kearney Contributor
    Jim Kearney
    @JimKearney

    Yes, push back Newt-style on all unfair questions. But an applause line in the primary debate hall won’t solve the underlying problem. We need a candidate who will play hard ball with the Commission on Presidential Debates.

    The ultimate solution is a long march through the news reporting industry, like the one which the Left initiated following Watergate.

    The institutions evolve more quickly now but as the switch-over to digital evolves, the other side has a massive farm system feeding into paid reporting and editing jobs. Local video news outlets are where change begins.

    It’s time for some of our best and brightest graduates to “get in the game!”

    • #4
  5. user_989419 Inactive
    user_989419
    @ProbableCause
    • Given that Planned Parenthood’s founder initiated the “Negro Project,” which promoted abortion of black babies, why do you support federal funding of Planned Parenthood?
    • Given that the original purpose of the minimum wage was to prevent minorities from taking jobs from whites, why do you support such laws today?
    • #5
  6. Max Ledoux Coolidge
    Max Ledoux
    @Max

    Last week after Mike Pence was on George Stephanopulephagelunapolous’s show, I turned to my wife and I said, “You know, I wish that when a Republican goes on George Stephoupulogulouphusoupolious’s show, that they would begin with ‘Good morning, George. I’d like to remind your viewers that you are political operative for the Clintons, that you’re a committed hard-left liberal, and that you have an agenda. Now ask me your questions.’ “

    • #6
  7. user_5186 Inactive
    user_5186
    @LarryKoler

    You know, it’s funny that this condition of the Democratic-Media Complex (h/t Breitbart) has been with us for decades and yet nobody would do anything about it nor articulate this as a problem of equal criticalality to the debate with just the Democrats. Thanks for this good news about Paul and thanks for highlighting this problem.

    Why has it taken our side so long to deal with this existential crisis we have in this country with the left pushing us over a cliff? Madison wanted the elites to fight among themselves instead of going after us (pizzeria owners, bakers and florists). We on the right seem to have no defenders on the level of power that the left has.

    The unprofessionalism of the media must be dealt with and there is no better time than during a campaign — only then do we have a chance but no one will ever seem to use the campaign bully pulpit.

    • #7
  8. user_5186 Inactive
    user_5186
    @LarryKoler

    Max Ledoux, Admin:Last week after Mike Pence was on George Stephanopulephagelunapolous’s show, I turned to my wife and I said, “You know, I wish that when a Republican goes on George Stephoupulogulouphusoupolious’s show, that they would begin with ‘Good morning, George. I’d like to remind your viewers that you are political operative for the Clintons, that you’re a committed hard-left liberal, and that you have an agenda. Now ask me your questions.’ ”

    Right — this must be the line to take. It must be thrown in their face and they must deal with it especially when it’s a live show. That’s a critical part of the advice.

    • #8
  9. Mickerbob Inactive
    Mickerbob
    @Mickerbob

    Thank you Jon for highlighting what should be the focus of the 2016 campaign. Do not allow the media to set the parameters of the debate. If Rand Paul’s answer is a sign of things to come, this will be a great election season!

    • #9
  10. user_517406 Inactive
    user_517406
    @MerinaSmith

    Not a big Paul fan, but if he takes on the press, I might become one.  Romney made a decision not to complain about press coverage, and to the extent that complaints sound whiny, that’s a good decision.  Being combative and giving as good as you get is a whole nother story, however.  The person who does that best and in so doing tells conservative stories and highlights principles, will win.  But I believe the ones that abandon religious freedom will be utterly sunk, because then they will have bought into the progressive project, and why should we vote for them?  .

    • #10
  11. Z in MT Member
    Z in MT
    @ZinMT

    This was an awesome response by Rand Paul, if he keeps this up I will be much more likely to support him.

    • #11
  12. user_5186 Inactive
    user_5186
    @LarryKoler

    anonymous:

    Larry Koler:

    Right — this must be the line to take. It must be thrown in their face and they must deal with it especially when it’s a live show. That’s a critical part of the advice.

    There are few live shows, and you never know how you’ll be edited. But when dealing with adversarial media, you should never agree to an interview without your own camera recording the whole thing and reserving the right to publish it in its entirety.

    I first heard of this strategy on the Wall Street Journal op-ed page in the 1980s and used it in my own take-down of one of their attack reporters in a front page hit piece in 1992. (Keep hitting “Next” for the transcript and a link to the audio recording.)

    It doesn’t reach the low-information people, but forever discredits the “attack reporter” and the outlet which employs him or her. Further, it alerts others potential victims to do the same.

    It is also intensely entertaining.

    I’d like to see a candidate, ideally all of them, make regular postings on YouTube with “What I said” versus “What you saw”.

    Great idea if you can’t do live interviews.

    Why can’t the candidates insist on live interviews? It’s a combative experience and they should insist. But, I suspect that the media people know that the candidates are desperate for coverage and will just go along with whatever gets their face on TV.

    What if all the Republican candidates insisted on only live interviews? Just an idea.

    • #12
  13. Butters Inactive
    Butters
    @CommodoreBTC

    Some more advice for GOP candidates.

    Be wary of pretaped interviews, they are dangerous for conservatives.

    The MSM can chop these up any way they like, even narrate over them 60 Minutes style to add their own spin. They control which of your words the audience hears.

    If you do submit to a pretaped interview, demand full unedited written/video transcripts be published online.

    Or even better, have one of your staff off to the side with a camera pointed at the interviewer the whole time. It will unnerve them to know they are being recorded and can’t control what gets out. Put them on the defensive.

    EDIT: I see anonymous has the same thought.

    • #13
  14. Leigh Inactive
    Leigh
    @Leigh

    Agreed, with the caveat that I don’t want to call for everyone, always, to be as agressive as he was here.  There are subtler ways to do it that are more effective in certain contexts, and personal style matters.

    • #14
  15. Mark Coolidge
    Mark
    @GumbyMark

    Kudos to Mr Paul and a good lesson for the other candidates.  Plus the head of the DNC is now on record saying she’s OK with killing a baby up to the moment of birth (and who knows, maybe even beyond that), a position opposed by the overwhelming majority of Americans and which opens up a whole new bunch of potential responses.  “Please ask Ms Clinton if she supports her party’s radical position that abortion is okay until the moment of birth”.

    • #15
  16. DocJay Inactive
    DocJay
    @DocJay

    I’d pay money to spray mace on the lot of them.

    • #16
  17. SPare Member
    SPare
    @SPare

    I’m not nearly clever enough to have thought of this on the spot, but on reflection, the answer to George Snuffleupagus’ question on contraception should have been something to the effect of:

    “Well George, I understand given your history in the Clinton War Room that contraception would be at the top of your mind, but I don’t really think much about it and I don’t think that most voters consider it an issue”

    Max Ledoux, Admin:Last week after Mike Pence was on George Stephanopulephagelunapolous’s show, I turned to my wife and I said, “You know, I wish that when a Republican goes on George Stephoupulogulouphusoupolious’s show, that they would begin with ‘Good morning, George. I’d like to remind your viewers that you are political operative for the Clintons, that you’re a committed hard-left liberal, and that you have an agenda. Now ask me your questions.’ ”

    • #17
  18. DocJay Inactive
    DocJay
    @DocJay

    Treat the media as your enemy. They are.

    • #18
  19. Aaron Miller Inactive
    Aaron Miller
    @AaronMiller

    “Okay, let’s talk about humility…”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y_CRxSDBeQk

    • #19
  20. Max Ledoux Coolidge
    Max Ledoux
    @Max

    Jim Kearney:Yes, push back Newt-style on all unfair questions. But an applause line in the primary debate hall won’t solve the underlying problem. We need a candidate who will play hard ball with the Commission on Presidential Debates.

    The ultimate solution is a long march through the news reporting industry, like the one which the Left initiated following Watergate.

    The institutions evolve more quickly now but as the switch-over to digital evolves, the other side has a massive farm system feeding into paid reporting and editing jobs. Local video news outlets are where change begins.

    It’s time for some of our best and brightest graduates to “get in the game!”

    The GOP candidate should just flat out refuse to participate in the debates hosted by the Commission on Presidential Debates.

    We’d be better off if the GOP candidate would just say no, then invite the Democrat nominee to a debate that they would each broadcast on their own YouTube channels. And they could invite the networks to simulcast the debate if they wanted to.

    The same is true for the primary debates. Why do we need networks? CNN, especially, should be frozen out in retaliation for Candy Crowly carrying water for Obama. Let the networks carry the debate if they want to, but they should not be involved in the production at all.

    • #20
  21. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Larry Koler:

    Max Ledoux, Admin:Last week after Mike Pence was on George Stephanopulephagelunapolous’s show, I turned to my wife and I said, “You know, I wish that when a Republican goes on George Stephoupulogulouphusoupolious’s show, that they would begin with ‘Good morning, George. I’d like to remind your viewers that you are political operative for the Clintons, that you’re a committed hard-left liberal, and that you have an agenda. Now ask me your questions.’ ”

    Right — this must be the line to take. It must be thrown in their face and they must deal with it especially when it’s a live show. That’s a critical part of the advice.

    “George, before answering your question I’d like to ask you a question.  In your previous job you boasted of having killed unwanted stories for your employers, the Clintons.  How useful do you think the skills you developed while working for the White House will be for the Democrat candidate in the present campaign?”

    • #21
  22. Leigh Inactive
    Leigh
    @Leigh

    Max Ledoux, Admin:

    Jim Kearney:Yes, push back Newt-style on all unfair questions. But an applause line in the primary debate hall won’t solve the underlying problem. We need a candidate who will play hard ball with the Commission on Presidential Debates.

    The ultimate solution is a long march through the news reporting industry, like the one which the Left initiated following Watergate.

    The institutions evolve more quickly now but as the switch-over to digital evolves, the other side has a massive farm system feeding into paid reporting and editing jobs. Local video news outlets are where change begins.

    It’s time for some of our best and brightest graduates to “get in the game!”

    The GOP candidate should just flat out refuse to participate in the debates hosted by the Commission on Presidential Debates.

    We’d be better off if the GOP candidate would just say no, then invite the Democrat nominee to a debate that they would each broadcast on their own YouTube channels. And they could invite the networks to simulcast the debate if they wanted to.

    Which Democratic candidate was it in 2014 who refused to show up for a debate?  As I recall the Republican chose to show up anyway and make a rather successful stunt of it.  I can’t help thinking this might end that way.

    I’m not sure Hillary Clinton actually wants to debate, and she might jump on this as an excuse to have no debates at all while putting the blame on the Republican for being the one to want to hide.  In the end they wouldn’t agree on a moderator and would point fingers at each other over it.

    • #22
  23. Ricochet Member
    Ricochet
    @EustaceCScrubb

    All purpose question in a few months, “Does it make you sad Jon Stewart won’t be featuring you in a Daily Show clip tonight? Or are you a fan of that sexist, anti-semitic Noah Trevor?”

    • #23
  24. user_82762 Inactive
    user_82762
    @JamesGawron

    Jon,

    Attack the Left! That is the battle plan.

    1) Rubio attacks on Foreign Policy.

    2) Cruz attacks on Immigration.

    3) Walker attacks on Economics.

    4) Paul attacks on Abortion and Religious Liberty.

    Do not fall for the left media’s phony narrative of a beauty contest between Republicans. That’s up to the voters to decide. Do not waste time on elbowing each other.

    Attack the Left! Period!

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #24
  25. user_5186 Inactive
    user_5186
    @LarryKoler

    Aaron Miller:“Okay, let’s talk about humility…”

    Oh man, that is so beautiful — thanks so much for putting this up. I’m becoming a Ted Cruz fan more every day. What a great set of answers! Brilliant.

    • #25
  26. user_5186 Inactive
    user_5186
    @LarryKoler

    Leigh:

    Max Ledoux, Admin:

    Jim Kearney:Yes, push back Newt-style on all unfair questions. But an applause line in the primary debate hall won’t solve the underlying problem. We need a candidate who will play hard ball with the Commission on Presidential Debates.

    The ultimate solution is a long march through the news reporting industry, like the one which the Left initiated following Watergate.

    The institutions evolve more quickly now but as the switch-over to digital evolves, the other side has a massive farm system feeding into paid reporting and editing jobs. Local video news outlets are where change begins.

    It’s time for some of our best and brightest graduates to “get in the game!”

    The GOP candidate should just flat out refuse to participate in the debates hosted by the Commission on Presidential Debates.

    We’d be better off if the GOP candidate would just say no, then invite the Democrat nominee to a debate that they would each broadcast on their own YouTube channels. And they could invite the networks to simulcast the debate if they wanted to.

    Which Democratic candidate was it in 2014 who refused to show up for a debate? As I recall the Republican chose to show up anyway and make a rather successful stunt of it. I can’t help thinking this might end that way.

    I’m not sure Hillary Clinton actually wants to debate, and she might jump on this as an excuse to have no debates at all while putting the blame on the Republican for being the one to want to hide. In the end they wouldn’t agree on a moderator and would point fingers at each other over it.

    Max, I’m with you. We simply do not need a media moderator. There are other ways.

    Leigh, to let the leftist moderators be selected as the only option is a sucker’s bet. We must must must do better. There’s no reason to let them win on this — these debates are some of the most critical aspects of campaigning. There’s no reason to throw in the towel.

    • #26
  27. Umbra Fractus Inactive
    Umbra Fractus
    @UmbraFractus

    I was not, and remain not a fan of Cruz or Paul, but credit where it’s due; my opinion of both men improved significantly through reading this thread.

    • #27
  28. Jon Gabriel, Ed. Admin
    Jon Gabriel, Ed.
    @jon

    James Gawron:Jon,

    Attack the Left! That is the battle plan.

    1) Rubio attacks on Foreign Policy.

    2) Cruz attacks on Immigration.

    3) Walker attacks on Economics.

    4) Paul attacks on Abortion and Religious Liberty.

    Do not fall for the left media’s phony narrative of a beauty contest between Republicans. That’s up to the voters to decide. Do not waste time on elbowing each other.

    Attack the Left! Period!

    Regards,

    Jim

    If memory serves, Newt did a lot of that as well. Instead of sniping at his fellow Republicans, he focused on the moderator, Obama and the Democrats. It’s a very smart policy.

    • #28
  29. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Larry Koler:

    Aaron Miller:“Okay, let’s talk about humility…”

    Oh man, that is so beautiful — thanks so much for putting this up. I’m becoming a Ted Cruz fan more every day. What a great set of answers! Brilliant.

    I don’t know who that reporter is and I resent having his voice autoplaying  when I open this page.  Now I have to clean his snot off of my computer.

    • #29
  30. Jon Gabriel, Ed. Admin
    Jon Gabriel, Ed.
    @jon

    Umbra Fractus:I was not, and remain not a fan of Cruz or Paul, but credit where it’s due; my opinion of both men improved significantly through reading this thread.

    I’ve posted two articles in a row praising Paul, but if the election were today, I’d vote for Walker. But we have an impressive, smart, savvy group running this time. Instead of only beating the tar out of each other, I would love them to spend a significant amount of their energy selling conservativism to voters.

    • #30
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