Sunday, October 16, 2011

Misleading Headlines Mask Romney's Strength

There were two internet stories today with slightly misleading headlines, suggesting weaknesses in Mitt Romney’s 2012 Presidential campaign. If one only read these posts headlines and their first two paragraphs, they would be left with the impression Romney is in trouble financially and with earning endorsements. However, the exact opposite is revealed when the entire stories are read to their completion. This is an old media “Bait and Switch” trick of trying to bury good news and Romney supporters and detractors need to exercise caution when reading these news accounts. For the first group there may be undue anxiety and for latter unwarranted elation. 

The first story from Politico, alarmingly proclaims “Romney has spent 12 million of 14.2 he raised. The first two paragraphs breathlessly alert the reader of the following:

”Mitt Romney has dramatically accelerated spending on his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination, burning through nearly as much money as he raised in the third quarter to cover hefty fundraising, travel and consulting expenses."

"The former Massachusetts governor brought in $14.2 million in contributions from July to September while spending more than $12 million, according to a report filed with the Federal Election Commission on Friday.”

Since most people on average only read the first two paragraphs of a news story, these readers would be left with the impression the Romney campaign is dire financial straits. However, those who soldier on to paragraphs 5 and 6 would find out Romney is increasing his spending on his ground game, beefing up staffing in the early primary states. He also has approximately the same amount of cash on hand as his GOP rival Rick Perry, who raised $17 million in Quarter 3 and spent a mere $2 million and his campaign is stalled.

In “Many former Romney supporters slow to back 2012 bid.” the second piece from The Hill, the article’s first two paragraphs inform readers of the following:

“Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney has racked up a number of congressional endorsements but a handful of supporters of his 2008 bid have yet to endorse him this time around.
Nearly two dozen lawmakers who endorsed Romney in 2008 have refrained from signing onto his campaign for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination.” 

Delving further into the article readers would find out these lawmakers who backed Romney in 2008 are only holding back due to their having personal with some members of the current 2012 Republican field. A few candidates come from their home states of Pennsylvania, Georgia and Texas. These legislators are waiting to see how the field shakes out before endorsing. Many are said to be waiting to back Romney once their home state candidate drops out. Hardly worth the worry the negatively title post would infer. In fact, the article is quite positive about Romney and how he has improved as a candidate since 2012.

After reading the articles the headlines should be more aptly rewritten as follows:

"Romney's Cash Invested in Primary Organization While Other Flounder"

And

"Romney's Relationship Skills Poised to Reap Big Endorsement Benefits"

So just keep these two small examples in mind when you hear the talking heads and see the gloomy headlines about Romney’s stalled or troubled campaign and his 2012 chances. After all the news media doesn’t want the GOP race to be a foregone conclusion, at least not too early. They need to build up to the voting and have a horserace to cover. They need to work extra hard now, after the really exceptional week Governor Romney just had, with his strong debate performance, solid polling and the Chris Christie endorsement.

And please remember to read ALL of the articles to the end; you just might miss some really good news.

UPDATE: Monday morning brings a news story about a Pew Research study of the 2012 GOP campaign and bias towards the candidates.     H/T Gop 12 and Politico

3 comments:

hamaca said...

I've heard that sometimes it's a different person coming up with the headline than who actually wrote the article. If so, I wonder if the authors ever complain!

Either way, this is an important reminder to always check below the surface.

Thanks Doug!

Graham Bradley said...

I really hope Romney pulls off the ultimate win and makes it to the White House. He's poised to do so now, but I take nothing for granted. It will be (among other things) a lesson to these "reporters" who are bent on shaping the news instead of telling it.

Evelio said...

Nice piece Doug, the bias also shows in the M.S.M. only reporting the NBC/WSJ poll in which Romney is losing and not all the other more accurate ones that show Romney ahead, media bias at it's best!.....