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David Frum: Republicans Were Fleeced And Lied To By The Conservative Media

David Frum was on Morning Joe this morning talking about the factors that led up to Romney’s loss, and he made an excellent point about the role that the conservative media played in this election:

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Paul L. says:

    The same David Frum who claimed that the Democrats will retain control of Congress until the Republicans moderate like he advocated today.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 9

  2. superdestroyer says:

    David Frum is a neo-con and is one of the people who are responsible for the terrible condition of the Republican Party. If the Bush II Administration had not gotten involved in Iraq and had not ran up huge debts to pay for two wars, then the Repulbicans would not feel the need to pander to Hispanics to remain relevant.

    Given that Frum has had no ability in the past to understand the long term consequences of his own proposals and actions, I have no faith that he understands what he is saying today.

    If Republican politicians want to take power away from the taling heads, competence, performance, and long term thinking will work much better than open borders and unlimited immigration.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 10 Thumb down 11

  3. Herb says:

    “The people who put the cement shoes on his feet now blame him for sinking.”

    Very astute, Mr. Frum….

    Although, the Republicans need someone who’s going to challenge the “conservative entertainment complex,” not bend over backwards to court it. Maybe next time.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 3

  4. MBunge says:

    The Tea Party is the lightning rod, but the truth is that the biggest problem with the GOP is elites like Frum. They were perfectly happy to obliterate standards of intellectualism and decency to stir up the rabble in support of whatever the elites wanted (in Frum’s case, Israel!).

    Mike

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 1

  5. Herb says:

    @superdestroyer: In your racist zeal to slam hispanics, you forgot to mention that David Frum is an immigrant from Canada.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 1

  6. john personna says:

    @Herb:

    I see that as a repeat of the McCain story as well. Which makes it a stable dynamic. When they take the most moderate of contenders once, and twist him into a damaged further right winger, that’s sad. When they do it twice, it’s a pattern.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  7. Rob in CT says:

    Yeah, Frum sometimes makes good points, but Frum is a neocon and thus a big part of the problem.

    Frum is exactly the sort of guy who brought us the “compassionate conservatism” of Dubya. Do liberalish stuff at home, but don’t pay for it and then go pick a dumb fight in Iraq.

    Frum’s not wrong when he says the GOP has serious issues, but this is hardly a startling observation at this point. I’m not terribly impressed by him.

    Recall also that Frum was pro-Romney.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  8. stonetools says:

    Conservative media, for ideology and profit, served up just the kind of mush to the conservative masses that they wanted to hear. First it was talk radio, then Fox News then finally the blogs.
    In the end, it became a self-contained feedback loop in which the conservative opinion makers actually came to believe their toxic misinformation. Its not clear that there is any way out of the loop for either the producers or the consumers.

    The only thing that we can do is to wrest control of the House and maybe, eventually, the Supreme Court, out of the control of these self deluded ideologues. On to the 2014 elections!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 3

  9. mattb says:

    The problem is that the issue isn’t that Conservative Media was found to be lying to it’s audience. That’s happened at least four major times in the last decade: 2006, 2008, 2012.

    The problem is that the audience keeps coming back because they want to be lied to.

    I mean, Dick Morris is still employed as a commentator. And chances are he will be for the rest of his life. Why? Because he says what the audience wants to hear — not just his “predictions”, but his promise that the only real Americans are Conservatives. That the rest of the country is wrong.

    I mean, look at the reaction across so many right wing sites — it wasn’t that the Republican/Conservative message failed, it’s that AMERICA FAILED.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 24 Thumb down 2

  10. grumpy realist says:

    @mattb: Precisely. The Conservative sites are filled with people ranting about how a) the election was stolen b) most of America has turned into “takers” c) America is DOOOMED d) All of the US except them is stupid and e) how could that Marxist/Communist/ni-CLANG! have won because they don’t know anyone who voted for him. Oh, and the reason they failed was because Mitt wasn’t conservative enough.

    It’s going to be a long, hard slog in the wilderness for these bozos….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 4

  11. C. Clavin says:

    The Conservative Media lied? I am shocked, shocked.
    The funniest thing…well besides Rove’s tantrum…is that had Moderate Massachusetts Mitt ran…he would have won. He may not gotten out of the primaries…but he would have beaten Obama.
    As the saying goes…the mark of charachter is how you respond when you get knocked down.
    I frankly think the Republican party is devoid of charachter today…but we shall see.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 3

  12. john personna says:

    @grumpy realist:

    in Asian-Americans destroy the “maker/taker” narrative, Noah Smith digs into The Corner’s comment threads and finds the same.

    Maker/Taker is a mask for white identity politics in ways that I didn’t fully understand.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

  13. legion says:

    @mattb:

    The problem is that the audience keeps coming back because they want to be lied to.

    You are not wrong. This is pretty much a direct consequence, IMHO, of what you get when you try to run government (or a political party) like a “business”. In “normal” politics, when you surround yourself with yes-men, you lose embarrassingly and go away or, at best, become a long-running joke candidate. In the Republican party, however, only the candidates lose – the idiots and con men who actually screwed up get lionized for their “experience” and survive on Wingnut Welfare and Fox jobs until the next election cycle. How else could perennial dimwits like Dick Morris and Bill Kristol still thrive? In any world that actually rewarded people based on competence, these guys would be living in cardboard boxes.

    But the GOP loves to be told only what it wants to hear – the gossip trickling out of the Romney campaign now solidly confirms that their entire operation was totally disconnected from reality. And the boneheads and gurus that lost this election will be handing out their resumes and lining up jobs for the next cycle, make no mistake. In the GOP, there’s no penalty for failure – only for telling the truth about failure.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 1

  14. @john personna:

    Which makes it a stable dynamic.

    Isn’t “a stable dynamic” an oxymoron?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  15. john personna says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    It might imply a Strange Attractor.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  16. Scott F. says:

    In any world that actually rewarded people based on competence, these guys would be living in cardboard boxes.

    Amen!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  17. J-Dub says:

    @john personna: Very interesting article, worth reading.

    http://noahpinionblog.blogspot.com/2012/11/asian-americans-destroy-makertaker.html

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  18. mattb says:

    @legion:

    This is pretty much a direct consequence, IMHO, of what you get when you try to run government (or a political party) like a “business”. In “normal” politics, when you surround yourself with yes-men, you lose embarrassingly and go away or, at best, become a long-running joke candidate.

    Have to disagree. On this point. The nature of party politics in the US and the results of gerrymandering of districts means that being a “yes-man” is a very safe path for a career politician or party official. And that holds true for either party. Chicago politics is a prime example of the success of yes-men on the Democratic side.

    Many of the current problem for the Republicans and Conservatives is traceable commercial and coalition infrastructure that they built in the 80′s and 90′s, and the social wedge issues that were crystallized in the two GWB runs for president.

    The fact is that for the moment, a significant portion of the GOP base is at once an electorate and a very lucrative audience. The challenge is that increasingly, the needs of the party (and IMHO the country) are diverging from the needs of Conservative Inc. And the audience of Conservative Inc tends to be people who feel especially strong about traditional wedge issues.

    The country is changing and the nature of both parties continues to change. BUT CHANGE IS NOT NECESSARILY A SAFE THING FOR ESTABLISHED MEDIA TYPES. An it’s doubly bad when your audience is to varying degrees deeply reactionary.

    BTW, the individual to watch in all this is Sean Hannity. He’s by far the most party (versus ideology) oriented of the major talkers. And yesterday he came out for immigration reform and limited amnesty (claiming his views have “evolved”). Everyone else seems to be doubling down. I’m looking forward to seeing how his audience handles this rather major shift.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  19. mattb says:

    BTW, just so I’m clear, this is not in and of itself an issue that is caused by conservatism. Its easy to imagine a world in which the same thing happened with a wildly successful left wing media sphere.

    That said, I think there are a couple things unique to a conservative world view — in particular a deeply held believe in universal rights and wrongs and a tendency towards reactionism — that makes them particularly susceptible to the down side of Conservative Inc.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  20. Barry says:

    @Stormy Dragon: “Isn’t “a stable dynamic” an oxymoron? ”

    No, you’re thinking of ‘static dynamic’.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  21. swbarnes2 says:

    @mattb:

    BTW, just so I’m clear, this is not in and of itself an issue that is caused by conservatism. Its easy to imagine a world in which the same thing happened with a wildly successful left wing media sphere.

    This would not happen to the party that has 10x as many scientists in at as the other party.

    We are a very long way from an alignment that flips those figures.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  22. mattb says:

    @swbarnes2:

    This would not happen to the party that has 10x as many scientists in at as the other party.

    And it is exactly that level of smug self assurance that demonstrates exactly how and why it could happen.

    I’m not anti-progressive or even anti-science. But holding “science” up as a defense for why a party or group of individuals wouldn’t be susceptible to epistemic closure via media is similar to using “relgion” as a foundation for why someone is always morally right.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  23. gVOR08 says:

    Frum and Scarborough just now figured this out?

    @mattb: I think swbarnes was not arguing that scientists will keep us pure, I think it was shorthand for scientists are drawn to the rational party. Their presence demonstrates that we are the rational party. Being rational, we are not prone to going closed minded.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  24. superdestroyer says:

    @mattb:

    You can begin to see how the left wing media is moving away from reality. Just look at the number of people who think that Texas has horrible schools because a few local politicians said something about evolution. However, when one looks at Department of Education scores Texas schools have some of the highest scores in the nation. The eigtht grade science scores in Texas beat all other states for white students.

    In reality, several of the bluest states such as California, Rhode Island, and the District of Columiba have the worst public schools. But MSNBC is never going to cover how bad the public schools are in the blue states.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 4

  25. Unsympathetic says:

    @mattb:

    You’ve got the causation entirely backwards. And THAT is why the Republican party will continue to fail until it changes.

    Scientists are part of the Democratic party because the Democratic party changes its positions after any new data is verified as correct. The Republican party rejects all data and attempts to impose its worldview on others.

    This is actually two entirely different ways of looking at the world. Republicans attempt to make the world conform to their preconceived notions.. and reject all data which doesn’t fit what they want to hear. Democrats simply form their opinions after the data has been concluded.. thus the conclusion [and political position] is derived only after the data is in!

    As an example, Nate Silver would still be accepted by Democrats even if he had showed a Republican win.. because his data was correct. Republicans, however, attacked him for the temerity of using accurate data.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

  26. Rob in CT says:

    Nate Silver WAS accepted by Democrats after projecting a Republican blowout win. In 2010.

    Those of us following Nate in 2010 knew we were about to get our clocks cleaned.

    Generally, however, I’m inclined to agree with mattb in cautioning against smug self-assurance.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  27. legion says:

    @mattb:

    being a “yes-man” is a very safe path for a career politician or party official

    On a small scale, that’s true. But on the larger stage, where people actually pay attention to what someone said and did last cycle (or last week), it’s a lot less safe. The Romney campaign lost, in a large part, because they were staffed and supported by professional chumps. People who have spent their entire careers rising, not by being competent at their nominal position, but by being good at telling the boss what he wants to hear. I fear putting a mess of links in here, lest I get filtered out for spam, but just look at their “Project ORCA” election-day tool. Untested, no backups, doubtless already paid for – the checks just going to another charlatan/crony. Look at the stories trickling out about GOP campaigns across the country being penalized for not using “approved” vendors and contractors – more cronies.

    I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Republicans only see politics as a way to either get revenge or get rich. And Republican candidates tend to surround themselves with people who feel exactly the same. They put lip-service to the party line, regardless of what it is or how it changes, far far ahead of actual competence.

    They got what they deserved on Tuesday, and they won’t change until the hucksters find some other activity that’s easier & more rewarding than lying to voters and rich donors.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  28. David M says:

    @Rob in CT:

    Nate Silver WAS accepted by Democrats after projecting a Republican blowout win. In 2010.

    Those of us following Nate in 2010 knew we were about to get our clocks cleaned.

    I knew the Dems would lose seats in 2010, and I thought it would be a lot of seats, I just hoped it would be on the small side of his estimate rather than the large side. It turned out to be the large side unfortunately, but it made me more confident that Obama would be reelected because it meant Nate wasn’t just cheering for Obama.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  29. Davebo says:

    Texas schools have some of the highest scores in the nation. The eigtht grade science scores in Texas beat all other states for white students.

    I read somewhere that white kids in the 8th grade in Texas literally got their clocks cleaned on standardized testing by a significant percentage of minority students in southwest Houston.

    That and they have funny characters on their street signs. We all die eventually, after all.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  30. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @superdestroyer:

    The eigtht grade science scores in Texas beat all other states for white students.

    Because, white students are the only ones that matter.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  31. Janiah Hoff says:

    @Davebo: “Literally got their clocks cleaned”? Weird science they teach in Texas.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  32. Janiah Hoff says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: you know, he didn’t say white students were the only ones that matter. Presumably, that’s the group that did well. If he hadn’t said “white” his sentence would have been inaccurate (I assume).

    Noting a fact about a demographic group does not mean you think that group is the only one that matters.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  33. jukeboxgrad says:

    Related material (link):

    The Republican Party Needs to Ditch Fox News If It Wants to Win … 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. … At some point, Republicans will need to wake up to the current state of affairs and realize they’re 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.

    Also (link):

    Conservative Media Lie To Conservatives Because That’s What Conservatives Want … On Election Night, I tweeted that Republicans shocked about Mitt Romney’s loss Tuesday should be angry at a conservative media that misled them about the former Massachusetts’ governor’s chances. … [but] I think my original tweet, blaming the conservative media for misleading the readers who depend on them, doesn’t capture the fullness of the problem. Conservative media lies to its audience because much of its audience wants to be lied to.

    And although I have many complaints about Frum, I think his words do an excellent job of summarizing the problem:

    Republicans have been fleeced and exploited and lied to by a conservative entertainment complex

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  34. jukeboxgrad says:

    I stumbled across this comment at RedState. It stunned me (link):

    Yet more evidence that we have been living in fantasyland for too long now. I don’t want to hear that this is all Romney’s fault, or all the campaign’s fault. The simple fact is that in the run-up to this election, we were fed a steady diet of lies, from all our “loyal” sources. We need to hold not only the Romney campaign accountable, but also the conservative press (specifically the Murdoch press – Fox was the worst of the bunch), and the establishment talking heads like Karl Rove and Peggy Noonan. We need to get clear about something: these people are selling us a product. They have been taking our money and telling us bedtime stories. We complain about the MSM, but can we honestly say that the conservative press has been more honest?

    How do we expect to win elections if we can’t even get straight facts about the electorate? But maybe it’s our own fault. There was practically a revolt around here when Erik said he didn’t think the polls were false. And yet he was right, and they were right. Have we become allergic to the truth?

    I’m pretty sure there aren’t too many like him.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0