Some of the most conservative and combative Republicans running for Congress are convinced that the media have it in for them.
But these candidates seem to regard it as an affront when reporters challenge them on their past statements and inconsistencies, which is a basic function of journalism. They are avoiding or limiting interviews with all but the friendliest faces as a way of circumventing the press. And some of them delight in skewering the mainstream media, a tactic that plays well with their base.
Since her primary victory in Nevada, Senate candidate Sharron Angle has spoken mainly with Fox News, sympathetic radio hosts, columnist George Will, the Wall Street Journal editorial page and, in an online video, Christian activist Ralph Reed. Angle told the Christian Broadcasting Network’s David Brody last week that she’s not “running from the media” but that “the whole point of an interview is to use it, like they say, ‘earned media,’ to earn something with it, and I’m not going to earn anything from people who are there to badger me and use my words to batter me with. . . . Will they let me say I need $25 from a million people, go to SharronAngle.com, send money?”
Another Republican, Senate candidate Rand Paul in Kentucky, told “tea party” activists they have to “control the message” — through advertising — to combat efforts “to paint us as something we’re not,” because “we’re not going to get a lot of help from the newspapers.” Both seem to think the media’s primary role should be to help them — raise money, carry a message — rather than hold them accountable.