We Can Thank The Media For This Shutdown

The mainstream media are behaving as expected in covering the effects of the partial government shutdown by blaming the GOP. However, those who watched the events leading up to the government shutdown understand that a major responsibility for the government shutdown rests on Senate Democrats led by Harry Reid, and especially Barack Obama. Both who did not want to negotiate since they wanted a government shutdown so they could blame the GOP. In fact, Hillary Clinton did not even let the government shutdown get in the way of a good party Monday night, inviting darlings of the Democratic Party to her swanky D.C. digs for a fundraiser for Terry McAuliffe.

The media is always shilling for Obamahave lambaste Republicans of all stripes, but especially conservatives for the shutdown even though Democrats voted NOT to take away their health care benefits by not being forced like other Americans to join ObamaCare.

Bad press is always problematic, and since there is a segment of the public that is entirely dependent on the media for political information, conservatives should expect these people to buy into the media template on the government shutdown question. After all, the media does not mention BENGHAZI. In fact, many of the American people have not even heard of the Americans dying in BENGHAZI! I would think that the media would should be heard as accomplishes.

Even though many of the media dependent people are the “low information voters” I’ve been hearing lately that the media’s audience is much smaller than it was 40-50 years ago because of the indirect and rise of talk radio. However, there are still enough “low information voters” to register in public opinion polls. Hence, it should not really surprise anyone if future polls show a shift away from a recent (9/19-22/13) poll for the Pew Research Center that revealed the public was only 3 percentage points in assigning responsibility for the then-impending government closure. That was certainly the case during the last government shut down (1995), when a poll for Pew found 46% of the public blamed the GOP rather than Clinton and the Democrats!

Today as I mentioned that same polling agency shows that the media who are shilling for the Democrats and Obama carries far less weight, and the GOP (and their supporters) should appreciate just how political communication processes have changed in 17+ years, and take that change into account.

Now we come to why Republicans and conservatives should discount the media braying about who is to blame for the government’s shutdown in my opinion.

One reason is that the audience for the media is considerably smaller than it was in the mid 1990s. In fact, I still surprise at the American people who still support the media and their bias by buying their rag! A poll conducted for Pew in 1996, just months after the short-lived government shutdown of the previous fall, found that 71% of those interviewed claimed they “regularly” read a daily newspaper, 81% said they “regularly” watched TV newscasts, and 51% reported they “regularly” listened to the news on radio.
In July 2012, that same polling agency got the following results using identical questions; 1. those “regularly” reading daily newspapers had sagged to 49%, “only” 71% of the poll’s respondents claimed “regularly” to watch TV newscasts, and “only” 42% said they “regularly” listened to radio news broadcasts.

The above poll figures are useful to the story that Republicans, and especially conservatives, need to appreciate.

The polls show significant erosion in the public’s reported trust and confidence in the news. I for one always discount the MSNBC and CNN polls! Gallup polls from the early 1990s to mid-2012, for example, show that the percentage of the public expressing “a great deal of” or “quite a lot” of confidence in television newscasts fell from 46% in the early 1990s to just 21% in early June, 2012. A year later, the percentage was 23%. A recent Gallup poll reported that the percentage of the public who have “a great deal of” or “quite a lot” of confidence in newspapers has fallen to 23%, down 28 percentage points since 1980 and down 14% points since 2000. In addition, another Gallup poll found that 60% of the public in early September, 2012, distrusted the media, while only 40% expressed “a great deal” or “a fair amount” of trust in the media.

Big deal! So the American people do not trust a news source and do not believe that source. Most likely, the people probably do not listen to it either!

In short, the government shutdown of 2013 is not the same as the prior shutdowns.

Thus, do not expect future polls to show massive public opinion changes attached to the Obama’s shutdown. In addition, keep in mind that most of the time, public opinion tends to be short-lived.

The media’s declining audience, and especially their waning public trust, means that Republicans and conservatives are on good ground in contesting Senate Democrats and especially the LIAR in the White House.

Much as I hate to disagreeing with Charles Krauthammer, the government’s closure this time around need not be a boon to Obama.

To get maximum benefit from what the Democrats have done so far, Republicans need to do several things.

1. Republicans got to stop the in-fighting. If they did, nervous Republicans would observe three things. First, the media is very likely to project a negative influence.

2. the antics of Harry Reid and President Obama offer a variety of opportunities to be used as fodder for a smart GOP public relations strategy. Heck, the GOP presented many plans for Reid to accept, but would not. Even Reid and the Democrats thought that ObamaCare was not “Good” for them.

3 The House succeeded in getting its bill funding the military passed by the Senate and signed by the president. This should be followed by other individual bills to sell have Obama will veto and Reid will turn down!

4. Finally, weak-kneed Republicans need to see how the American public is reacting to the shutdown. All indications is that the predominant public reaction to the news about the government shutdown is a loud yawn.

The main reasons, I suspect, is that the media can not shape public opinion like it once might have.

There is a lesson here for the GOP: Stick to your guns!


One thought on “We Can Thank The Media For This Shutdown

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