On Sunday, CNN’s Reliable Sources ignored Breitbart News’s extensive reporting on Dave Brat’s campaign before he ousted House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) in a segment that discussed mainstream outlets — like CNN — that dropped the ball and other outlets that did not.
Christina Bellantoni, of Roll Call, Jake Sherman, the go-to reporter for the Republican establishment in Congress for the inside-the-beltway Politico, and David Leonhardt, of the New York Times, joined conventional host Brian Stelter on a program that supposedly analyzes the media to lament about the mainstream media’s utter failures leading up to the race.
Perhaps Stelter should have spoken to the National Journal’s Josh Krashaaur or the Cook Political Report’s Dave Wasserman or read the New York Times or the Washington Post. They noticed that Breitbart News had been thoroughly covering the major issues in the race. Breitbart News reported Michael Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) was even on the ground, covering events like Laura Ingraham’s rally with Brat that drew nearly 700 people and showed Brat’s campaign was picking up some momentum.
“There are hundreds of reporters covering politics in Washington. Before Tuesday night, only a few of them paid any attention to the year’s biggest political story,” the Washington Post‘s Paul Farhi acknowledged. “Most of the national news media slept through the campaign, waking up only when the votes started coming in Tuesday.”
Farhi said, as a result, “perhaps not since the Chicago Daily Tribune’s infamous ‘Dewey Defeats Truman’ headline has the political press been so badly blindsided by an election result.”
“Brat’s most consistent coverage came from conservative media outlets that were attracted by his stance against loosening immigration laws,” The Post‘s Paul Farhi continued (link mine). “Breitbart.com, the news and commentary site founded by the late Andrew Breitbart, was an early supporter, and published a steady string of stories since February. On Wednesday, the site took a victory lap, leading with a headline reading, “Mainstream Media on Cantor Shocker: We Should’ve Read Breitbart News.”
In analyzing the media’s coverage of the race, David Carr, of the New York Times, wrote that “conservative talk radio blows a whistle that many journalists either can’t hear or don’t want to listen to.”
“The same goes for Breitbart.com, which sent a reporter to Mr. Cantor’s district. He stayed there because he noticed something the polls did not — that Mr. Cantor was seldom seen during the race,” he said. “They may represent a significant slice of Vox Populi, but they aren’t on heavy rotation in most newsrooms.”
Carr said that “reporters and commentators might want to pause and wipe the egg off their faces before they go on camera to cluck-cluck about” how Cantor “missed signs of the insurgency that took him out.”
“There was a lot of that going around, and the big miss by much of the political news media demonstrates that news organizations are no less a prisoner of Washington’s tunnel vision than the people who run for office,” Carr wrote.
Last week, the New York Times also acknowledged that “Breitbart flew a reporter to Glen Allen last week to cover the Ingraham-Brat rally, providing some of the scant media attention the event received. Over the course of the campaign, Breitbart writers churned out dozens of articles about Mr. Brat.”
Reliable Sources’ blind spot on outlets that sent reporters to Brat’s district symbolizes, as Breitbart News noted, a greater problem with CNN, a network whose anchors, reporters, Republicans and Democrats all belong to Team This Town and are hardly distinguishable:
As Breitbart News observed, “political reporters who often only read and talk to fellow scribes cocooned in the D.C. bubble” heard Brat’s message about amnesty representing the biggest divide between Wall Street elitists and Main Street for the first time when Brat went on Fox News after his win:
…it was the first time that most mainstream media reporters who were just 95 miles from the epicenter of the most shocking upset in their lifetimes heard it. In that sense, they were no different from Cantor, who was ousted for losing touch with voters in a hometown that is only a two-hour drive from Washington.