Did conservative media fail its audience election night?

The New York Times | The Atlantic | Mother Jones
When Karl Rove criticized Fox News’ decision desk for calling Ohio for President Obama Tuesday, he drew his “complicated and conflicting roles in this presidential campaign” into relief, Jeremy W. Peters writes.

There is no one quite like him in politics today. With a vast treasury at his disposal, he can direct huge sums of money to candidates, while helping shape political perceptions through his roles commenting for Fox News and writing a column for The Wall Street Journal.

Michael Clemente, Fox News’ executive vice president for news, told Peters that Rove’s role in the 2000 Florida recount convinced him to put Rove on the air.

“The first thing that came to my mind, the first thing burned in everyone’s mind, is Florida 2000. … And the minute you hear, ‘Hold the phone,’ you sort of get that oh-my-goodness feeling.”

The decision desk told Fox anchor Megyn Kelly there were just not enough votes left for Romney in Ohio.

Conor Friedersdorf argues conservatives who ignored or even scoffed at the data journalism exemplified by Nate Silver’s poll forecasts “were operating at a self-imposed information disadvantage” through election season.

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. What conservative Washington Post readers got, when they traded in Dave Weigel for Rubin, was a lot more hackery and a lot less informed about the presidential election.

Is that fair? Well, here’s Jennifer Rubin on election night:

In the Romney camp, at the RNC and among Republican gubernatorial staffers in key states, I hear several things. Iowa, Colorado and Florida are looking strong for Republicans based on turnout in Republican counties vs. turnout in Democratic counties.

Based again on what she was hearing from Republicans, Rubin also expressed optimism about Virginia and wrote, “Those polls that called states like Ohio and Iowa by a big margin for Obama are almost certainly wrong.”

Obama won Iowa by 5.6 percentage points. He won Colorado by 4.7 points. Florida’s still counting, but Obama’s leading. Virginia went blue by 3 points, Ohio by 1.9. Silver’s forecasts for all those states were very close to what actually happened.

Erik Kain argues conservative voters are “being held hostage to a powerful, self-sustaining entertainment industry and that the interests of the party and the interests of Fox News are not one and the same.”

Fox News and the talk radio shock-jocks across the country win whether or not conservatives are in power; these purveyors of political entertainment thrive under a Democratic president, perhaps even more so than under their preferred candidates.

Besides the “buckets full of money” conservative outlets make in or out of power, Kain says, conservative media has a “revolving doors” problem: “Failure for Republican politicians doesn’t always have to end in tears. Play to the cameras well enough, and you might just land yourself a job at Fox News.”

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Harold-Maio/1398619703 Harold Maio

    a soap opera fix for the mentally Ill delusional haters in our
    society

    You take a very serious issue, mental
    illnesses, and make it comic comic caricature, not journalism at its best.

    Instead of setting high standards, you fall
    to a low one.

    Harold A. Maio, retired Mental Health Editor

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Harold-Maio/1398619703 Harold Maio

    —a soap opera fix for ‘the mentally Ill’ delusional haters in our
    society

    You take a very serious issue, mental
    illnesses, and make it comic comic caricature, not journalism at
    its best.

    Instead of setting high standards, you fall
    to a low one.

  • Kenneth Conway

    Megyn Kelly to Karl Rove: “Is this some kind of Republican math you do to make yourself feel better?” Who knew Kelly had it in her? But then of course the poor thing was forced to walk the plank … to the Fox decision desk.

  • bob bear

    First of all, Michael Clemente, Fox News’ executive vice president will likely be fired for letting Rove come on live TV. and expose to the World that Fox News is a soap opera fix for the mentally Ill delusional haters in our society, they are not news!

    I personally would like to thank Mr Clemente for making this exposure on live TV so we can view it, and show it to those haters in our society every time they crawl out of their holes!!!

    Can you see the puzzled ‘I don’t think Murdoch had this scripted for us’ look on the faces of Wallace and Kelly while Rove was close to crying, it was great! The smell on the set of Rove peeing in his pants when Fox called it for Obama must have been why Kelly ran down the hall!!

  • Anonymous

    tv/cable are 24 hour operations. they’ve got to have SOMEBODY fill up all that time by talking, whether what they say makes any sense or not.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=717583338 Karl Idsvoog

    Did conservative media fail its audience? If it’s supposed to do journalism, why would you even ask the question? FOX and MSNBC are the professional wrestling versions of journalism. Jon Stewart is far more fact-based than either. Conservative media didn’t fail its audience, it failed journalism. And when journalism fails, bad things happen. Certainly there have been some excellent exceptions, but one primary reason the country is in such a mess is because of the overall failure of American journalism.

  • Anonymous

    Perhaps it’s time for all news organizations to escort the political operatives out of the newsroom and also off the interview lists. We’re covering politics and it might be enlightening to hear real politicians instead of paid mouthpieces and stick-to-the-talking-point strategists. I could easily live without Karl Rove, James Carville, Donna Brazile, Alex Castellanos, Paul Begala, Mary Matalin and the like.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=691664022 Sue MacDonald
  • http://www.WhoNeedsNewspapers.org/ Paul Steinle

    If Fox News does not understand why using Karl Rove as an “analyst” is NOT a conflict of interest, it seems to indicate they cannot differentiate between the concepts of ideology and integrity. Is it ethical naivete or cynical disingenuousness? Or do they simple lack critical thinking skills? It’s time for Fox News to post a copy of the SPJ ethical guidelines in the newsroom.