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UW Election Eye 2012

Campaign 2012 through the eyes of UW faculty and students

Topic: elite media

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January 25, 2012 at 2:25 PM

Why big media was the biggest loser in South Carolina

From the opening minutes of the CNN Southern Republican Debate in Charleston, SC on Thursday, the tone was combative. But it wasn’t the candidates going after each other.

CNN moderator John King opened by asking candidate Newt Gingrich to address allegations of infidelity made by his former wife in an interview with ABC News.

Rather than respond to the allegations, Gingrich unleashed an angry tirade on King, and the rest of the “elite media,” to a rousing applause from the audience.

“I think the destructive, vicious, negative nature of much of the news media makes it harder to govern this country, harder to attract decent people to run for public office. And I am appalled that you would begin a presidential debate on a topic like that.” Gingrich said, leaving the CNN anchor stammering to defend himself.

Whether or not it was the right choice of opening question, one thing is clear: in the debate, as in the campaign as a whole, slamming the media is a sure way to win points with voters.

Reporters mob Rick Santorum in the Spin Room after the CNN Southern Republican Debate

Over the course of our week in South Carolina, I heard numerous references to the ‘elite’ or ‘liberal’ media from all four of the candidates.

Which makes sense. It’s a brilliant tactic, which allows the candidate to paint them selves as an underdog in touch with the common folk, who can’t get the tough truths they’re delivering out to more potential supporters because they’re being censored and attacked by a biased media machine.

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Comments | Topics: CNN, debate, elite media