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Thread: More Examples of a Healthy Democracy

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    More Examples of a Healthy Democracy

    [SIZE="4"][B]Is Romney winning Rove primary?[/B][/SIZE]

    By: Keach Hagey and Kenneth P. Vogel
    March 30, 2012 12:33 PM EDT

    As a political analyst on Fox News, Karl Rove is often asked to play the role of hypothetical adviser to various GOP candidates. And no matter how hard Sean Hannity teasingly tries to get him to admit who he supports, he refuses to endorse one. When he riffs about what a “terrific speech” that Mitt Romney made in November, he’ll make sure to interject, “I’m not here to make his case.”

    But it’s hard to miss, among all of Rove’s Fox commentary and Wall Street Journal columns, that he seems to favor one candidate over the others. Over the last year, Rove has used these powerful media platforms to systematically undercut every rising Romney challenger in succession while lauding Romney’s victories as “historic.” The pattern has gotten under the skin of the supporters of Romney’s challengers, who argue that Rove has more ties to Romney and his super PAC than he is disclosing to his media audiences, and thus has no business assessing the Republican primary race as a purportedly independent analyst.

    “Speaking for myself, certainly there is some frustration when Rove poses as neutral in this race but seems to be pushing information with a bias,” said Tim LeFever, an influential conservative activist and Rick Santorum fundraiser who asserted that Rove is biased towards Romney.

    Earlier this month, Santorum complained that Fox was “shilling” for Romney, a critique that Gingrich supporters agreed with — particularly when it comes to Rove’s role.

    “Our supporters make comments to us all the time about this,” said Bob Walker, a former congressman and Gingrich adviser. “We hear the same refrain over and over from them (including my wife): ‘We can’t bear to watch Fox anymore. It’s sad.’ In this respect, when I saw Rick Santorum’s comments, my first thought was, ‘We feel your pain.’ But Rick’s comments are not a revelation to Fox. Fox knows there are a lot of the public who think the same way. I think Fox management is either in a state of denial or just doesn’t care.”

    Santorum and Gingrich are both former Fox News contributors, and have been beating Romney handily, in terms of airtime, on the so-called “Fox News primary” throughout the campaign. But they are not winning the all-important Karl Rove Primary – significant both for his media prominence and his association with the super PAC American Crossroads and a sister group that together plan to spend as much as $300 million attacking President Barack Obama and other Democrats in the general election.

    Rove, who declined to comment, has been batting away Romney’s challengers early and often.

    When Romney was being ridiculed for offering to bet Rick Perry $10,000 in last December’s debate, Rove told Hannity he “didn’t think it was a big mistake,” and then pivoted to attacking Gingrich for his talk of a lunar base.
    Later that month, when Gingrich complained about being carpet-bombed by negative ads paid for by Romney’s super PAC in Iowa, Rove called him a “whiner.”
    When Gingrich was leading the polls in January, Rove dinged Gingrich for calling Romney “a liberal” and suggesting that poor children should work as janitors in schools.
    In mid-February, as Santorum was coming off a batch of wins, Rove said Santorum’s views on contraception, particularly within the bounds of marriage, “appears to be judgmental,” before going on to call Gingrich a “whiner” once again.

    As things were looking close between Romney and Santorum in Michigan, Rove accused the press of “rooting for Santorum to win even though they are hammering him with a lot of social things” because “the media is rooting for Obama to win.”
    On the night of the Michigan and Arizona primaries, he echoed the Romney campaign’s complaints about Santorum’s robocalls to Democrats and called out Santorum for labeling Obama a “snob” for wanting everyone to have a college education. That, Rove said, “hurt more than what you might think” because “most of us believe that higher education is a means for prosperity.”

    In his Wall Street Journal column following those primaries, he declared the primary “solidly in Mitt Romney’s direction” and proceeded to reiterate Santorum’s “unforced errors,” from the college comment to his dismissal of John F. Kennedy’s speech about the separation between church and state.
    Even when Rove is critical of Romney, as he was in a Feb. 1 Journal column declaring the “Romney campaign is tilted too heavily toward biography and not nearly enough toward ideas,” he acts like a supportive adviser doling out constructive criticism, tossing in lines boosting Romney and chiding Gingrich for their respective handling of Paul Ryan’s budget.
    In December, after Democratic super PAC operative Bill Burton suggested that Rove “might have a dog in this fight,” Mediaite wrapped up all of Rove’s attacks on other Romney challengers during the earlier stages of the race, including Sarah Palin, Donald Trump, Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry, revealing an arresting pattern.

    Were Rove simply a pundit, such a slant might fall well within a talking head’s right to his opinion. But Rove is also a player with ties to the Romney camp.

    The strongest tie is Carl Forti, an operative who Rove once described as “one of the smartest people in politics who you’ve never heard of.” Forti both co-founded the pro-Romney super PAC Restore Our Future and serves as political director of American Crossroads.

    Rove pushes back against the notion that he is running American Crossroads or its nonprofit sister, Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies, but he is described on Fox News as being “associated with” the organizations and references them on the air.

    Rove and fellow Bush-era GOP operative Ed Gillespie in the run-up to the 2010 midterm elections conceived of and helped recruit donors for the Crossroads outfits, as well as a network of new or revamped conservative groups designed to balance the well-funded extra-party political infrastructure built by liberals during the Bush years.

    In fact, the ongoing meetings of the network, which has expanded significantly, are called the Weaver Terrace Group — so-named for the street in Northwest Washington where Rove used to live and hosted the first brainstorming sessions. Rove has even appeared in Crossroads advertising.

    American Crossroads and Restore our Future share more than just Forti. There is overlap between their donors and their vendors on everything from direct mail to attack ads, according to FEC filings.

    It’s this kind of thing that drives supporters of Romney’s rivals crazy.

    Gingrich campaign insiders were particularly galled to hear Rove call Gingrich a “whiner” on Fox for complaining about the attack-ad assault from Restore our Future in Iowa, without disclosing his ties to the people behind that very assault. Walker also suggested that Fox’s endless replaying of Restore our Future’s anti-Gingrich ads during Iowa amounted to “an in-kind contribution.”

    Through an assistant, Rove declined to answer questions about whether he supports Romney or had recommended vendors, staff or donors to Restore our Future, referring all questions to Fox News. Fox News did not respond to several requests for comment.

    Paul Gigot, the editorial page editor of the Wall Street Journal, responded to questions about Rove’s ties to Romney’s supporters by defending his right to a slant.

    “Karl Rove is an op-ed contributor who runs on the Journal’s opinion pages,” he said. “He has a point of view that he doesn’t hide, and readers can decide if they agree or not.”

    American Crossroads has been careful to emphasize its plans to remain on the sidelines during the Republican primary.

    “Crossroads and Crossroads GPS will not be involved in the Republican presidential primary,” Mike Duncan, the former Republican Party chief serving as president of both groups, said last year.

    But there has long been chatter about a Crossroads-Romney alliance. Ears perked up last June, when Crossroads Communications Director Jonathan Collegio told Reuters, “Romney is the best opportunity for the Republicans to have a well-funded campaign,” though Collegio later told Ben Smith that his quote was not intended to try to clear the field. In January, American Crossroads sent out a memo defending Romney’s electability, the Times reported, but felt compelled to follow up with a note saying it “probably should have been clearer” that it was neutral in the GOP primaries. Earlier this month, when The Daily asked a Crossroads insider whether the group might rally behind Romney before his GOP rivals had dropped out, the response was: “The answer is yes. The question is when that point is and the answer is, as of yet, undetermined.”

    At a recent fundraising solicitation in New York for the Crossroads groups, Rove explained how the groups would be helpful when Romney was the nominee, said one person familiar with the meeting.

    “The entire thing was presented thorough the lens of Romney’s inevitability,” said the source, explaining that angered at least one donor who supported Santorum. “Rove needs to be careful of that because there are some folks who are very nervous about the Rove-Romney thing.”

    As if to answer those people, Rove participated in a recent Wall Street Journal profile of billionaire and American Crossroads donor Harold Simmons, in which Simmons in a rare interview described Rove as his “political muse,” telling him that it was worth investing in Santorum’s super PAC because Rove wouldn’t count Santorum out. Simmons also recently gave money to support Romney.

    Nervousness about Rove’s ability to put his thumb on the scale because of American Crossroads goes back to the earliest months of the campaign. As Rick Perry, who famously feuded with Rove in Texas, geared up to get in the race, former RNC chairman Michael Steele told POLITICO said that such fears were quite justified.

    “Absolutely,” he said. “We’re talking about Karl Rove here. Absolutely. Why do people tiptoe around this crap? Everybody in town knows what the deal is…You’ve got people who are trying to influence this process because they want to be in play. They want to be the guy or gal who makes the next president or at least the next Republican nominee.”

    Rove has been accused of using his media and fundraising platform to meddle in GOP congressional primaries before.

    During the 2010 midterms, he found himself on defense after an appearance on Hannity’s Fox show during which Rove disparaged Christine O’Donnell, the Delaware Senate candidate and tea party favorite, as unimpressive and unelectable on the night she defeated the candidate who seemed to be Rove’s choice – and that of the GOP establishment – Rep. Mike Castle.

    Conservative blogger Michelle Malkin branded Rove as “Tokyo Rove” for his O’Donnell comments, while former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee accused him of “elitism.”

    In the days before O’Donnell lost the general election to Democrat Chris Coons, Rove told POLITICO he didn’t regret the comments and explained, “I’m, as a Fox News analyst, paid not to be a cheerleader for everything that has an ‘R’ behind it, but to give candidate analysis.”

    Bob Schuman, who raised money for Perry as the chairman of Americans for Rick Perry, agrees that Rove doesn’t often say negative things about Romney.

    “After Perry announced, I did get some complaints from people who thought that Rove was being unfair,” he said. But Schuman, who met Rove in the College Republicans, didn’t see it. To him, Rove’s digs at Perry and lack of them at Romney was just a matter of the establishment supporting its own.

    “Karl, he’s part of the establishment now,” he said. “And Romney’s the establishment candidate.”

    [url]http://dyn.politico.com/printstory.cfm?uuid=0BB523C0-8ACB-496D-873F-848352F43FB0[/url]

  2. #2
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    [SIZE="5"]"Our major mistakes have not been the result of democracy, but of the erosion of democracy made possible by the mass media’s manipulation of public opinion."[/SIZE]
    -Robert Cirino

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    [SIZE="5"]the owners and managers of the press determine which person, which facts, which version of the facts, and which ideas shall reach the public."[/SIZE]
    -- Report by the Commission on Freedom of the Press

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    Karl Rove duplicitous?

    I'm shocked.

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    Wait a second... you're complaining about favorable treatment from the press for... Mitt Romney??

    Have you been ASLEEP the past 4 years?

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    [QUOTE=Bonhomme Richard;4423307]Wait a second... you're complaining about favorable treatment from the press for... Mitt Romney??

    Have you been ASLEEP the past 4 years?[/QUOTE]

    I don't think that is what he is complaining about.

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    [QUOTE=Bonhomme Richard;4423307]Wait a second... you're complaining about favorable treatment from the press for... Mitt Romney??

    Have you been ASLEEP the past 4 years?[/QUOTE]

    really? That is what you took from my posts in this thread? :huh:

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    [QUOTE=intelligentjetsfan;4423316]really? That is what you took from my posts in this thread? :huh:[/QUOTE]

    I'll be honest -- that's how I took it too (that we don't have a "healthy democracy" because the media allows people like Karl Rove to "stack the deck")

    All I know is we have more people who care about American Idol contestants than Presidential candidates -- THAT'S why we don't have a healthy democracy . . .:(

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    [QUOTE=OCCH;4423353]I'll be honest -- that's how I took it too (that we don't have a "healthy democracy" because the media allows people like Karl Rove to "stack the deck")

    All I know is we have more people who care about American Idol contestants than Presidential candidates -- THAT'S why we don't have a healthy democracy . . .:([/QUOTE]

    I think his example is what is confusing people, that coupled with this boards left-right divide where everything is seen as either a liberals attacking conservatives or conservatives attacking liberals.

    I think the point is that the media stacks the deck, they decide who to cover and they decide who the fringe candidates are before we even get a chance to find out what their platform is. The media as a whole sort of drives our attention away from candidate a and onto candidate b.

    The narrative I see on all of our political leaders seems to stem from the 24 hour news networks, radio and the internet. Everything we think we know about a politician is shaped by the people who report on them.

    I was having a conversation with someone today, how journalism is dead, and not due to bias, but due to the way we get our news and what news has evolved into.

    No one investigates stories anymore because they have to be the first to report, and when competing with each other and the internet that leads to sloppy journalism. There never seems to be any follow-up, any real correction of error. No accountability.

    We have people who basically just speculate and call that reporting. I swear, I have seen stories getting covered where the person on TV has no idea what they are talking about and just start making stuff up that could be happening, that may have happened, that could happen later, with no basis in reality simply because they can't take the time to find out, they have to get it on the air.

    We are living in a world where anyone with a URL and a keyboard can break a story, and they never have to answer to anyone or verify anything and the news media, in trying to keep up, does the same thing, and validates the bloggers methods. We never have anyone answer for any errors because 48 hours later the new hot story is all that is getting covered.

    Couple that with who we get our news from, look at who is on TV and calling themselves news reporters. The networks are in reality just giving us 22 hours of editorials with 2 hours of hard news. When Al Sharpton has his own "news program" there is a problem with American journalism.

    Doesn't the fact that people like Kieth Olbermann, Ed Schultz, Nancy Grace, Lawrence O'Donnell, Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly, and Rush Limbaugh et al being the primary voices that bring people news stories make anyone else mad? None of them are ever held accountable like a real journalists would be. Nancy Grace should be out of a job after the Duke debacle.

    And then we had these people on TV who can't stop putting themselves into the story, all those silly stupid people wearing hoodies while on the news during the week long coverage of a month old shooting in FL. How do you call yourself a journalist and do that?

    There is still some good news reporting out there. Some of the people overseas, covering the middle east, but they get no time on TV, they have 8 minutes at best, and whatever they give us as real hard information gets interpreted and disseminated by the same people we can't trust for news for the rest of the day.

    All right, I'm getting off the soapbox, rant over.

  10. #10
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    [QUOTE=OCCH;4423353]I'll be honest -- that's how I took it too (that we don't have a "healthy democracy" because the media allows people like Karl Rove to "stack the deck")

    [/QUOTE]

    That's how I took it, as well. Frankly, I saw intelligentjetsfan posting about Karl Rove, the media, and the end of democracy (and the addition of vague, boring quotes that are supposed to "mean something" that you just know he lifted from a ****ty assignment he gave to his class), and drew the logical conclusions.
    Last edited by Bonhomme Richard; 03-31-2012 at 01:42 AM.

  11. #11
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    [QUOTE=piney;4423401]I think his example is what is confusing people, that coupled with this boards left-right divide where everything is seen as either a liberals attacking conservatives or conservatives attacking liberals.

    I think the point is that the media stacks the deck, they decide who to cover and they decide who the fringe candidates are before we even get a chance to find out what their platform is. The media as a whole sort of drives our attention away from candidate a and onto candidate b.

    The narrative I see on all of our political leaders seems to stem from the 24 hour news networks, radio and the internet. Everything we think we know about a politician is shaped by the people who report on them.

    I was having a conversation with someone today, how journalism is dead, and not due to bias, but due to the way we get our news and what news has evolved into.

    No one investigates stories anymore because they have to be the first to report, and when competing with each other and the internet that leads to sloppy journalism. There never seems to be any follow-up, any real correction of error. No accountability.

    We have people who basically just speculate and call that reporting. I swear, I have seen stories getting covered where the person on TV has no idea what they are talking about and just start making stuff up that could be happening, that may have happened, that could happen later, with no basis in reality simply because they can't take the time to find out, they have to get it on the air.

    We are living in a world where anyone with a URL and a keyboard can break a story, and they never have to answer to anyone or verify anything and the news media, in trying to keep up, does the same thing, and validates the bloggers methods. We never have anyone answer for any errors because 48 hours later the new hot story is all that is getting covered.

    Couple that with who we get our news from, look at who is on TV and calling themselves news reporters. The networks are in reality just giving us 22 hours of editorials with 2 hours of hard news. When Al Sharpton has his own "news program" there is a problem with American journalism.

    Doesn't the fact that people like Kieth Olbermann, Ed Schultz, Nancy Grace, Lawrence O'Donnell, Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly, and Rush Limbaugh et al being the primary voices that bring people news stories make anyone else mad? None of them are ever held accountable like a real journalists would be. Nancy Grace should be out of a job after the Duke debacle.

    And then we had these people on TV who can't stop putting themselves into the story, all those silly stupid people wearing hoodies while on the news during the week long coverage of a month old shooting in FL. How do you call yourself a journalist and do that?

    There is still some good news reporting out there. Some of the people overseas, covering the middle east, but they get no time on TV, they have 8 minutes at best, and whatever they give us as real hard information gets interpreted and disseminated by the same people we can't trust for news for the rest of the day.

    All right, I'm getting off the soapbox, rant over.[/QUOTE]


    I agree with that, and honestly, a great example is how the media has been driving the Trayvon Martin story. Maybe Zimmerman is guilty, maybe he isn't, but the fact is that our court system exists for a reason. Zimmerman has been put on trial by the media and the public has already decided he's guilty. When you talk about democracy, and the building blocks of our legal system, it's just not right the way that situation has been handled.

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