By now we all know that a woman at a town hall asked a question of presumptive GOP-nominee Mitt Romney wherein she suggested President Obama “should be tried for treason.” With Romney and Obama tied in the polls and the Obama campaign seemingly incapable of picking up any traction against their likely challenger, Obama’s Media Palace Guards stepped in and used this moment to create an anti-Romney narrative out of the fact that Romney failed to address the treason issue.
But did you know that at an Obama event (presumably his campaign kick-off this weekend) “a handful” of shouts of “traitor” directed at Romney could be heard? Well, not if you get your news from the mainstream media, because they chose not to report it.
Yesterday, while the Romney supporter’s question of treason heard ’round the world was amplified in every MSM outlet desperate to help their struggling Precious One, Zeke Miller of Buzzfeed Politics tweeted this out:
This morning, a citizen journalist sent me the link to the tweet and immediately I went over to the BuzzFeed Politics site to see if they had bothered to write a story about it, and I found nothing. (I also asked Miller via Twitter if they had reported it and, as of now, I’ve not heard back.) What I did find at BuzzFeed Politics, though, were TWO stories about the Romney event.
Please don’t be surprised by the fact that the same Zeke Miller who found the “traitor” shouts directed at Romney worthy of only a tweet is the same Zeke Miller who found the “treason” question directed at Obama worthy of a full write up:
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney didn’t comment on a supporter’s assertion that President Barack Obama should be tried for treason at a town hall event here.
A woman in the audience expressed dismay that Obama was “operating outside the Constitution,” then said Obama should be tried for treason for violating separation of powers.
“I do believe he should be tried for treason,” she said to applause from the audience.
Romney replied that “I happen to believe that the Constitution was not just brilliant, but that it was inspired, and so was the Declaration of Independence,” avoiding the woman’s comment.
Later that same day, McCay Coppins, the media-approved Mormon who recently attacked Ann Romney, wrote an even bigger-themed story about the town hall question, this time laced with a subtext about how Romney doesn’t have the courage to speak out against his supporters who go “off-message.”
Obviously, there’s a difference between what a supporter says directly to a candidate and shouts from a crowd. But let’s rewind to 2008 and look at the standard the media set then about the behavior of crowds at presidential campaign events.
If you remember, one of the ways the media tried to turn into a negative the excitement over the large crowds then-vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin drew, was through a narrative about what the media supposedly heard shouted about Obama at these McCain-Palin rallies. Sometimes the media went so far as to lie about what was shouted, and whether or not the candidate could even hear these shouts was never an issue.
Obviously, what the media was doing here was intentionally throwing the McCain-Palin campaign off message. By focusing on a few yahoos in the crowd and apparently making things up when the crowd didn’t cooperate, a false but very effective narrative was created about the “hate” and “bigotry” the Republican ticket was ginning up whenever they criticized Obama. This allowed the media to blunt and even ignore those valid criticisms and attacks and put the Republican messenger on defense.
Holding a presidential candidate responsible for his or her tens of millions of supporters can only result in that candidate forever being on defense. Moreover, this standard makes it very easy for a single supporter of one candidate to stand near the media at a rival candidate’s event, shout nonsense, and become The Story.
No one can control what everyone who supports them says; the media knows this, and this why they play this game against Republicans, especially when their candidate is in trouble — which is the case now with Obama and was the case when Palin energized the ticket in ’08.
Again, BuzzFeed Politics can argue that there’s a difference between what’s shouted by Obama supporters at one of his events and a question directed at Romney. But the editor-in-chief of BuzzFeed Politics is Ben Smith, and in 2008 this very same Ben Smith found what was shouted by supporters at Republican events worthy of coverage.
The bottom line, though, is that for four years now the way in which a crowd behaves at a presidential campaign event has been news. Therefore, BuzzFeed Politics’ Zeke Miller had news to report about Obama’s crowd and chose instead — other than a tweet a couple days later — to not report it.
Another question: How many other media people heard these “traitor” shouts at the Obama event and covered it up?
Citizen journalists need to go to every Obama campaign event and use Twitter and tip off New Media about everything they hear from the crowd. This is the only way we will know what’s truly happening at these events and the only we can ensure Obama is held to the same standard his Media Palace Guards have cynically set for Romney.