Failed GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney lamented that the demise of traditional media is empowering Republican “insurgents” and preventing establishment Republicans from compromising more with Democrats.
As the Republican establishment is trying convince Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) to run for House Speaker, Romney told David Axelrod on a recent “The Axe Files” podcast that the “extremes within our respective parties are having a louder and louder voice and demanding more attention” and “immediate action” as opposed to more “collaborative action.”
Romney said this phenomenon flows in part from the “change in the world of media.”
“There was a time when we all got the news with the same facts, if you will,” he said. “We had three networks we watched for the evening news. Most of us got newspapers. Everybody in the middle class got a newspaper, so we got the same facts whether we agreed or not with them.”
Now, according to Romney, people “get their news on the web” and “they tend to read those things which they agree with.” He said people are “not seeing the other side” and “not even getting the same facts” while “we have commentators” on left-leaning and right-leaning cable news channels “who are hyperbolic in expressing their views on issues.”
Romney lamented that more Democrats are considering themselves “liberal” and “in my party, there are more and more who feel they are more insurgent than towards the center of the party.”
“And I think that divisiveness is one of the things that has led to Washington having such a hard time getting things done,” he said.
The rise of new media outlets in the Internet age has allowed regular Americans to get access to information that the mainstream press, with the help of the both political establishments, often concealed from the general public when, as Romney noted, Americans all received the same set of facts.
In this election cycle in which outsiders on the GOP side are getting the majority of the vote, Donald Trump has bypassed the traditional media and gone over their heads to get his message directly to his supporters and American voters. Romney blasted Trump on the podcast and implied that his remarks about women, “members of the news media,” and Hispanics would hurt Republicans like Todd Akin’s “legitimate rape” remarks during the 2012 election cycle. Romney referred to “certain things” that were “said by Republicans during my general election race in 2012 colored the perception of the Republican Party and may have caused some people to stay at home.”
Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union, Romney again expressed concern with the rise of conservative insurgents, saying “the challenge in our party is not so much that people have differing views on issues, as much as people have differing views about how to get those issues implemented.”
“There are some in our party who think the best approach is throwing bombs,” he said. “The problem with bomb throwing so far is that most of the bombs have landed on our own team. That doesn’t help.
After praising presidential candidates Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, John Kasich and Chris Christie on CNN, Romney said there are others who think that the “best approach is to see if we can’t find common ground with the people across the aisle.”
“We have Paul Ryan, for instance, that’s willing to work with Democrats,” Romney said. “I think that’s a productive thing.”