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If you choose to believe the raving nonsense that comes out of the mouths of those obsessed with the fantasy of an “elite media” — and you need to be on Lithium if you do — there is a grand conspiracy among those of us who work in “mainstream media” to (pick one):
Blame it on the Internet and the emergence of keyboard commandos who pass themselves off — often anonymously — as instant experts on the media and how journalism works.
While we do not — under any stretch of imagination — consider Capitol Hill Blue part of the mainstream media, the charge is often leveled against me personally because of more than 40 years of working for various media outlets and the fact that I freelance today for newspapers, magazines, television stations and networks and wire services.
So some want to line me up along the wall with all the other so-called “elite media” types and gun us down in a political firing squad for crimes drawn out of thin air by people with too much time on their hands and too little grey matter between the ears.
To accept the fantasy of an “elite media” that exists strictly to protect the status quo, you have to accept the ludicrous belief that those of us who toil in the profession would rather report pabulum and ignore juicy news stories.
In other words, we are — according to the grand “elite media” fantasy — more inclined to sit back and watch a failed President like Barack Obama succeed or an empty suit like Mitt Romney win the GOP nomination.
Hogwash. Good journalists — and there are lot of them out there reporting every day for the so-called “establishment” media — would rather write about failure than success. Writing about Obama falling on his face is a better news story than a day when everything runs smoothly. Reporting on an economy falling apart is better news than people going back to work. Seeing a long-shot contender come out of nowhere to win an election is a hell of a lot more fun to write about than the frontrunner cruising to victory.
But so is uncovering fake populists like Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum and Ron Paul. So is finding a lie in government-issued statistics or a campaign aide who screws up royally like the Romney senior aide and his “Etch a Sketch” skit.
The various competing news organizations don’t have a conference call every morning to decide how to slant the news against those who decry an “elite media.” We don’t accept anything anyone tells us as fact. We do what the critics don’t — we check things out before putting it out there for public consumption.
For most of these self-declared experts on the media, bias is when we print something that the other side says but we don’t print what they — the extremists — say. There’s a good reason for that. Most often, the other side’s story checked out and the fantasies pushed by the extremists did not.
The extremists would have us believe Texas Congressman Ron Paul stood a chance at winning of the GOP Presidential nomination and, ultimately, the Presidency. The fact is that he didn’t stand a chance. Never has. Paul is a fringe candidate with a small — but loud — following. End of story Move on There’s nothing to see here.
If Mitt Romney wins the GOP nomination — and the numbers suggest he will — it will not come from any so-called “media conspiracy” to promote his candidacy over that of anyone else. It will come from money, organization and the backing of the bulk of the GOP power structure.
No conspiracy. No manipulation of the news by an “elite media” or any other grand conspiracy — just cold, hard political fact.