When all else fails — heck, when all else works — blame the media.
Why not? Everybody else does.
Sean Hannity wondered Wednesday on his Fox News show how the race for U.S. Senate in Arizona between Martha McSally and Kyrsten Sinema could possibly be so competitive.
And he did it in the most Sean Hannity way possible.
“How is it possible that a woman that says Arizona’s the meth lab of democracy; and says people of Arizona are crazy; invites the blind sheik’s lawyer, the radical lawyer, to speak at Arizona State University; and says that it’s OK for Americans to join the Taliban; while you have served 28 years, six tours of duty, while she was out organizing protests — and I’m not making it up — with witches. How is this even a race with the people of Arizona?”
McSally, a guest on his show, was ready with an answer. And yes, it included a swipe at that most-dependable of targets, the media.
“Well, Sean, it is unbelievable, and this just goes to show you that she’s Chuck Schumer’s top recruit and with a lot of money, with TV ads, with millions and millions of dollars, she’s been able to fool a lot of people. They’re not aware of those things unless they’re watching your show, which I’m grateful that you keep bringing it up. But the Arizona media has been protecting her, so she’s coming across as something she’s not, in the biggest political makeover in our history.”
A go-to strategy
This has been a go-to strategy for McSally. It has been a go-to strategy for President Donald Trump. It has been a go-to strategy for pretty much anyone who has ever had a story written or broadcast about them that portrays them in anything less than a positive light.
It’s a rather dubious claim. Some of the stories originated on conservative outlets, but mainstream media — Arizona and otherwise — reported the stories worth reporting on and ignored the ones that weren’t.
That is pretty much the way media works. Every claim, every long-ago tidbit dredged up by either side to generate a few headlines as we get ever-closer to the midterm elections, isn’t necessarily a real story.
It isn’t about protecting one candidate or another. Certainly, Arizona media have written and broadcast plenty of stories Sinema wishes they’d protected her against.
There’s the story of the Arizona State Troopers Association withdrawing its endorsement of her. Several outlets wrote about her somewhat robotic performance in a debate with McSally. McSally pulls ahead in polling? That’s reported, too.
This isn’t to say that media don’t play a role in deciding for whom to vote. They do, and they should — by providing information from which readers, viewers and listeners can better make informed decisions. That information is readily available in a lot of places. Without it, McSally and Hannity wouldn’t have anything to complain about.
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