It really is disgusting the extent to which the media has begun to panic about the idea that they won’t have Trump around as a Republican frontrunner to drive their ratings anymore. I’ve talked before at length here about the obsessive, symbiotic relationship the media has had with Trump, and how they are clearly dedicated to doing whatever they can to keeping him in the news as long as possible – which means of course that he needs to win the Republican nomination.
So what the media does is give him basically infinite free airtime, then goes as intentionally over-the-top high handed as they can when criticizing him so that it galvanizes his supporters. They know exactly what they are doing. They chuckle all the time, on air, about how being criticized by them is probably going to help his polls. And that is exactly what Trump wants them to do, so they are doing it.
Now, Trump wants them to focus obsessively on this Carsongate non-controversy. This is, to put it bluntly, one of the lamest examples of “cheating” I have ever seen. Cruz was clearly following a story generated by the media. To the extent that his campaign tweeted something that wasn’t exactly equivalent to what Jake Tapper and Dana Bash (two very respected journalists) were discussing on air, how many times have literally all of us tweeted something based on what we thought we heard on TV only to later realize that we had some particular fact wrong, or even completely misheard?
It happens all the time, to everyone, and here’s how I know. I see people – respected members of the media – tweet things all the time about “so and so said this.” And I think to myself, “That sounds like it would make an interesting story,” so I go and look on TV Eyes and lo and behold, all they got right is the general gist, and the actual words are completely different (and, inevitably, less interesting and salacious). Partly that’s exaggeration for the benefit of the story, but part of it is that it’s difficult to remember with exactitude anything that’s said in the heat of the moment. What we remember is the impression that it makes on us. And if you watch the Tapper and Bash video, you can completely see how Cruz’s staffer got the idea he did.
However, even if Cruz’s staffer had sent out the erroneous information intentionally and with malice aforethought, it would not have cracked the top 100 political dirty tricks that have been pulled just this election cycle thus far. It certainly doesn’t rise to the level of suggesting, with absolutely no basis, that Ted Cruz is not eligible to vote for President, or repeatedly lying and saying that Ted Cruz tried to hide loans that he disclosed on a different publicly available form.
Furthermore, the idea that this affected the outcome of the election in any way is completely implausible for reasons I’ve set forth here. Put briefly, there is absolutely no way that a tweet sent exactly at the start of caucus time could even have been read and received by any significant number of people who were actually at the caucus locations… you know, caucusing. And if it were true that such a tweet could be disseminated that quickly, then the subsequent statement from the Carson campaign clarifying that he was staying in the race would have to be assumed to have also been disseminated that quickly. But more to the point, the idea that another 6,300 votes existed for Ben Carson that somehow switched to Ted Cruz over this is patently ludicrous and inconsistent with the state of the race as we knew it going in to the caucuses.
An even more salient point is that the media – who are slavishly pretending this is a real story at Trump’s insistence – are not able to find even one of these alleged 6300 people who can claim with any credibility that they switched their votes as the result of a belief that Carson was dropping out of the race.
Let’s put it this way – Mike Huckabee claimed earlier on in the race that evangelical pastors were on the take for Ted Cruz. This is a much more explosive allegation and if true, would have been much more likely to tip the balance of power in Iowa because evangelical pastors are key vote organizers there. However, when Huckabee made the allegation, it went no further than the Todd Starnes Podcast. Why? Because the media has no reason or interest in bolstering Mike Huckabee’s chances because he’s basically the anti-Trump of ratings.
The one and only reason the media is following this story around is because they have a vested, ratings-driven interest in keeping controversies involving Donald Trump front and center in the public’s mind. And it’s shameful that they’re dropping their objectivity to do it.