In the face of a mounting daily barrage of Romney and GOP falsehoods, Rachel Maddow has challenged the mainstream media to do their jobs.
Here’s the video from MSNBC:
After playing White House Press Secretary Jay Carney’s criticism of the media for acting as stenographers for Republican talking points, Maddow said this presents a test for the mainstream media,
Here’s the test. Mitt Romney wants to be held to 6% unemployment at the end of his first term. What did he say President Obama should be held to?….Sure, President Obama’s brought unemployment down, but anything over 4% is an Obama failure. Four percent unemployment is something we have seen precisely once since 1970. In the year 2000 at the end of the Bill Clinton presidency.
But Mitt Romney says anything over 4% is a failure of the Obama administration then two and half weeks later he says his own goal is 6% unemployment. It should be noted that the CBO forecasters have already said earlier this year that we’re on track to hit 6% by that timeframe anyway under current policy, so Mitt Romney is pledging to get the unemployment rate all the way that it’s expected to go to even if he does nothing, but anything less than 4% right now for President Obama right now is a failure.
This is a test of the Washington press corps. This is not a test for bloggers, or snarky opinion columnists, or liberals on TV who talk about this stuff all the time. This is a test for straight up report the facts Beltway reporters charged with the responsibility of conveying the importance of what the candidates say and do. Mitt Romney says he wants to be held to a 6% unemployment rate, but if Obama isn’t at 4%, that’s a failure. This is a test. This is only a test. If there were a real national investment in the rigor of Beltway reporting, your job would be on the line if you didn’t get this right.
The mainstream media’s laziness when combined with their desperate pandering to the conservative audience has led to a corporate media that acts “neutral” by never questioning anything that Republicans say. The media may in their own view be neutral, but as the Fourth Estate they are letting the country down by taking the easy way out and not reporting facts to the American people.
The result of this behavior is a mainstream media that elevates talking points to the same level as facts because if they challenge the validity of the Republican talking point they risk angering conservatives or even worse, making their corporate owners unhappy. It is better to just shake your head and throw in a well-timed nod instead of rocking the boat.
Romney and the Republicans are testing the media. For the next five plus months it is going to be only implausible fact deprived statement after another coming from the Republican camp. Democrats may have facts on their side, but when the media gives a lie equal weight to the truth, having facts on your side isn’t worth a whole lot.
If the media ever wants to have any value or credibility again, they must step up and reclaim their role as the safeguard of facts. Their jobs may not literally be on the line, but if the media screws this up, they will hasten their fast track demise towards laughingstock irrelevance.