The media misses Mitt Romney's YouTube moment
Romney's gaffe occurred on August 8, while at an "Ask Mitt Anything" Town Hall meeting in Bettendorf, Iowa. That's where Rachel Griffiths got up and asked Romney if any of his five sons were serving in the military, and if not, how did they plan to support the war against terrorism? "The good news is that we have a volunteer Army and that's the way we're going to keep it," Romney told the crowd, adding, "[O]ne of the ways my sons are showing support for our nation is helping to get me elected, because they think I'd be a great president."
The Romney story garnered lots of online buzz, which meant every journalist covering the campaign knew about Romney's clumsy/offensive comments. The mainstream press, however, remained completely uninterested.
In the 24 hours following his miscue, I found, using TVEyes.com, 71 mentions of Romney on network and cable television, as well as National Public Radio. Of those 71 mentions, less than six dealt with his comment about his kids helping to get him elected. In fact, three days after it occurred, I still could not find any proof in CNN's transcripts that the news outlet ever reported Romney's outrageous comment. I repeat: CNN never reported the story.
The morning after Romney's blunder, The Boston Globe, Newsday, the Chicago Tribune, and the Orlando Sentinel ran brief, 100-200-word items about it. USA Today included just a couple of sentences about the gaffe at the bottom of a longer Romney campaign report.
Incredibly, those were the only major American newspapers in the country to touch on the story in real time. I have a hard time imagining the same deafening silence would have met Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) or John Edwards if they had made such dismissive and condescending remarks as suggesting their children served their country not by serving in the military, but by working the rope line on their parents' campaigns.