How Right-Wing Media Failed the Right Wing

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Speaking of “media-driven nightmares about the end of America-as-we-know-it under Obama’s leadership,” Conor Friedersdorf has a good post today about exactly the problem this poses for the Republican Party:

Barack Obama just trounced a Republican opponent for the second time. But unlike four years ago, when most conservatives saw it coming, Tuesday’s result was, for them, an unpleasant surprise. So many on the right had predicted a Mitt Romney victory, or even a blowout — Dick Morris, George Will, and Michael Barone all predicted the GOP would break 300 electoral votes.

….Conservatives were at a disadvantage because Romney supporters like Jennifer Rubin and Hugh Hewitt saw it as their duty to spin constantly for their favored candidate rather than being frank about his strengths and weaknesses….Conservatives were at an information disadvantage because so many right-leaning outlets wasted time on stories the rest of America dismissed as nonsense….Conservatives were at a disadvantage because their information elites pandered in the most cynical, self-defeating ways, treating would-be candidates like Sarah Palin and Herman Cain as if they were plausible presidents rather than national jokes who’d lose worse than George McGovern.

….On the biggest political story of the year, the conservative media just got its ass handed to it by the mainstream media. And movement conservatives, who believe the MSM is more biased and less rigorous than their alternatives, have no way to explain how their trusted outlets got it wrong, while the New York Times got it right. Hint: The Times hired the most rigorous forecaster it could find.

It ought to be an eye-opening moment.

Like Conor, I agree that this should be an eye-opening moment but probably won’t be. The direct audience for conservative news, after all, may be small, but it’s fervent. There’s just too much money to be made pandering to them, and the folks who do it don’t care much about the fact that this pandering has effects that ripple far beyond the true believer base. Unfortunately, failing to be reality based eventually catches up with you.

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