The controversy over a photo of Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann that appears on the cover of Newsweek magazine this week has drawn comment from people all over the political world.
Except for one: Bachmann herself...
That (relative) silence affirms a simple but important truth of this campaign: Michele Bachmann is no Sarah Palin...
Palin, the former governor of Alaska, has spent the last several years pursuing an aggressive strategy aimed at villainizing the lamestream, er, mainstream media — insisting that they regularly print inaccuracies about her and her family
Her no-grievance-left-unanswered approach has won her kudos among her supporters but has left voters outside of the base confused as to what issues she truly cares about besides the alleged bias of the media.
Here he suggests that Governor Palin responds to ALL instances of media bias. That simply isn't true! If Governor Palin responded to every garbage-filled, biased article from the press, she literally would have no time for anything else in her life. And that includes eating and sleeping.
Then Cillizza writes that Palin's "approach... has left voters outside of the base confused as to what issues she truly cares about besides the alleged bias of the media." Honestly, only self-absorbed members of the media are "confused" on that matter. Americans in the know understand that Governor Palin cares deeply for this country's state of affairs. They have read her insight on issues such as the nation's downgraded credit rating, raising the debt ceiling, the deficit, the Obama administration's distribution of missile defense secrets, the war in Afghanistan, borrowing money from foreign lenders, respecting our allies, health care, energy development, fiscal prudence, the list goes on and on. For Cillizza to not acknowledge any of that, is in itself, another example of media bias. But then again, his whole article is.
Bachmann’s refusal to engage in an extended back and forth over the Newsweek cover coupled with her approach to stories raising questions about her ability to cope with migraine headaches suggests she is taking a very different tack.
During the migraine episode and now with the Newsweek flap, Bachmann is hewing rigidly to her economic/jobs message — knowing that the vast majority of people who will vote for her in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina have the economy and not much else on their minds right now.
That's why, as I just wrote (complete with links) that Governor Palin has focused most of her recent statements on the economy. Everybody is concerned about our economic conditions, because everybody feels the effects of the reckless fiscal policies of the current administration.
That said... didn't Bachmann's staff get in a little trouble for pushing around Brian Ross from ABC for asking a question about those migraine headaches? Seems they were taking a "no-grievance-left-unanswered approach" if you ask me.
Cillizza ends by writing:
What Bachmann grasps that Palin either didn’t/doesn’t (or chose not to) is that by commenting on these questions of media bias only leads to more and more stories. It’s like pouring a can of lighter fluid on a small fire...
The broader strategic calculation Bachmann appears to have made is that she needs to expand beyond her political base rather than simply deepen her supporters’ connection to her in order to be something more than a sideshow in the nomination fight.
It’s the right one.
Is it? I don't think so...
He writes that "by commenting on these questions of media bias only leads to more and more stories. It’s like pouring a can of lighter fluid on a small fire." But in the beginning of his piece he wrote that the Newsweek cover of Bachmann had "drawn comment from people all over the political world." So, no, ignoring constant attacks, hit-pieces, etc. does nothing to make them go away. Bachmann has ignored the "Queen of Rage" Newsweek article, yet it was still talked about on every news channel, and on every political news site. Are there "inaccuracies" in the Newsweek article? Probably, but really I don't know because I never heard Bachmann's take. It should also be noted that the women's group "NOW" spoke out against the Newsweek cover photo
Something Governor Palin wrote to the freshman members of Congress came to mind as I was reading Cilizza's piece. She wrote:
When the Left in the media pat you on the back, quickly reassess where you are and readjust, for the liberals’ praise is a warning bell you must heed.
This applies to 3rd term congressional members as well. You see, the liberal press will praise any conservative who permits their attacks. When they are not in the process of attacking them of course, and only when they are using their lack of response to attack another conservative.
I have worked in a media environment for well over a decade. I watched all eight years as the press annihilated George W. Bush's reputation and he never fought back. In all honesty, I lost a certain amount of respect for Bush for not standing up to the corrupt media. He allowed them to define him and the issues his administration were coping with. Which, whether Bachmann knows it or not, she is allowing them to define her as well. The Bachmann camp may think it makes her look "presidential" or some such nonsense, but the damage is already being done.
Now is not the time for pushovers. Now is also not the time to sit back and act like we have an objective media in this country. Americans have a right to know when the media is lying, being lazy, or just plain left-wing ideologues. There is nothing wrong with Governor Palin defending herself, she should! After all, as you may recall from the beginning of this piece, she doesn't have all those respect-worthy GOP insiders going to bat for her. Governor Palin does just fine without them.