Why Is The Media “Ignoring” Herman Cain (Or Gary Johnson, Or Fred Karger)?

It's Campaign Fact of Life No. 1: If you aren't a factor in the race, you aren't going to get free media.

Glenn Reynolds passes on a note from a reader who wonder why Fox News is “ignoring” Herman Cain:

“This morning, Fox News put up a list, with pictures, of potential GOP contenders for President, including people like Tim Pawlenty, Sarah Palin, and Michelle Bachmann who have not yet announced. There was no picture or mention of Herman Cain, who, by most accounts, won the GOP debatein South Carolina that was ironically broadcast by Fox News. Herman Cain is announcing he is entering the race tis next week, May 21st. How could they leave him off of their list? He would be a great candidate and would totally refute the liberal and MSM label of racist charges against conservatives.” I don’t watch Fox enough to judge — I just watch Redeye on DVR and whatever I see at the gym, mostly — but have they really been ignoring him in general?

Additionally, both Instapundit and Robert Stacey McCain wonder why Time Magazine doesn’t include Cain in a chart of candidates that appeared in its most recent issue, and one Cain supporter says this:

If Herman Cain is such a long shot for the election, why are ALL the major broadcast media running in fear from him?

This is typical of what you see from supporters of a long shot candidate during a campaign like this. Lack of coverage is usually seen as some kind of deliberate decision to deny a candidate press coverage because they’re “dangerous” for some reason. In reality, the reasons are far more simple than that. You aren’t seeing Cain’s name in the news much because he isn’t doing anything newsworthy. We are far from the point where any candidates daily activities in Iowa, New Hampshire, or South Carolina are the stuff of daily coverage on the cable networks, and certainly not on the 30 minute nightly news on CBS, ABC, and NBC. More importantly, right now Cain’s name barely shows up in the polls. Yes, he did come in second in a recent Zogby poll, but that polls methodology (its an online poll with questionable screening practices for its sample) and Zobgy’s horrible record of inaccuracy over the past several years make that number essentially worthless. There are, quite honestly, only so many broadcast minutes in a day and a network concerned with ratings, and strapped for cash to send reporters to  cover even  the candidates that are leading in the polls, isn’t going to give every candidate the same amount of coverage,and they shouldn’t be expected to.

I saw a very similar attitude from Ron Paul supporters in 2008 who couldn’t understand why this guy who they were absolutely convinced was great wasn’t doing better in the polls and the primaries, so they started blaming it on the fact that the “media” was “ignoring” him. Of course, the media was giving Paul the coverage dictated by how well he was doing in the race, but they didn’t seem to get that.

Here’s a simple truth – no candidate is entitled to any media coverage at all. If they aren’t doing anything newsworthy, or if it doesn’t look like they are having much of an impact on the race, then there’s absolutely nothing wrong with someone making an editorial decision that they don’t really need to spend the time and money sending a camera and reporter to cover your latest stump speech. So, to the Cain supporters out there, or the supporters of any other candidate, I say this; don’t expect the media to do your job for you.

 

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2012, US Politics,
Doug Mataconis
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. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. James Joyner says:

    Herman Cain is an interesting guy with some appeal to the CPAC crowd. But, no, he’s not going to be the Republican nominee. He ran an unsuccessful bid for the Senate from Georgia years ago and hasn’t been heard from since. And, I’m sorry, running the 97th largest* pizza chain in the country isn’t qualification to be president.

    _____________
    *An inexact estimate.




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  2. @James,

    I tend to agree. I think he’s the kind of candidate that the media might give some time to as a “Hey look at this guy” candidate but unless he pulls off a heck of a surprise in the Ames Straw Poll in August, he’s not going to be considered a top tier candidate.




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  3. Beth says:

    “He would be a great candidate and would totally refute the liberal and MSM label of racist charges against conservatives.”

    This is the biggest irritation of all to me. I thought the Left was supposed to be the side who did identity politics? And are these people f’ing stupid? Do they REALLY think this would “refute” any charges of racism? LMFAO! If anything, picking Herman Cain for that reason alone sort of lends credence to the stupid charge that our people of color are “tokens,” as the left always hypocritically calls them! “Oh, let’s find a conservative black man so they can’t call us racist any more.” Give me a break. Only a complete moron would believe this would happen. The Left’s reaction will be the same it always is – Herman Cain will be an Uncle Tom, a “house negro,” a race traitor. And the idiots who support him based on skin color alone will be standing around like idiots, confused again about why they’re called racists because they think picking a black guy absolves them of any responsibility for their actions elsewhere.

    The truth is, some (too many) conservatives want a conservative version of Barack Hussein Obama. They want an empty suit who makes them feel smug and absolved of their sins, who can sing all the pleasing partisan standards and give them a “tingle” up their legs Chrissie Matthews-style. They talk about wanting Reagan but they wouldn’t know a Reagan if Zombie Reagan walked up and asked where to get tax-free braaaaains. (Not that there are any brains to be found among partisans of any flavor these days, anyway.) Therefore, we have Snooki Palin (maybe, anyway – but I never miss an opportunity to take a cheap shot there!), Herman Hussein O’Cain, Donald Trump, for God’s sake!, Marshall Applewhite Paul, and an assortment of others pouring out of the GOP Clown Car.

    We should be able to nominate and elect a ham sandwich, but the GOP primary voters/tea party are determined to give us a shit sandwich, by God, so they can be true to their “principles,” whatever the hell they decide they are this week based on whatever the hell Beck and Levin and the other loudmouth Talk Radio Conservatives tell them they are this week, like “Common” at the White House or 25% tariffs on Chinese products. WE ARE DOOMED.

    /send hateful replies to someone who cares




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  4. Patrick T. McGuire says:

    You aren’t seeing Cain’s name in the news much because he isn’t doing anything newsworthy.

    Really, nothing?

    But Tim Pawlenty has done something newsworthy, right?

    And, I’m sorry, running the 97th largest* pizza chain in the country isn’t qualification to be president.

    Really? How about the fact that he took that pizza chain from near bankruptcy to profitablility in 14 months. Or that he was a VP at Pillsbury, or the CEO of the National Restaurant Assoc., or that he was director of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.

    Remind me again, just what were Obama’s qualifications to be president?




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  5. Beth says:

    My dad is more qualified for the office based on private sector experience (and intellect, and education) than Herman Cain in about a hundred ways, but I don’t think he necessarily should be President of the United States. I guess if he were not a white male people would say he should run. The truth is, nobody would give a damn about Herman Cain if he were a white guy. He is nothing special; there are a million Herman Cains out there (and yes, that includes black men and women too).

    And again, you bring up Obama’s qualifications. As I stated before – people are asking for a conservative Obama. I DO NOT WANT another unqualified empty suit just picked to make people’s legs tingle.




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  6. ponce says:

    Psychiatrists would call all the fringe right gushing over Herman Cain “overcompensating.”




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  7. Neil Hudelson says:

    And, I’m sorry, running the 97th largest* pizza chain in the country isn’t qualification to be president.

    Fantastic. Tweeted.

    Beth,

    While I disagree with a good 50% of what you said, that was one of the better written and more creative rants I’ve seen in awhile.




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  8. G.A.Phillips says:

    Really? How about the fact that he took that pizza chain from near bankruptcy to profitablility in 14 months. Or that he was a VP at Pillsbury, or the CEO of the National Restaurant Assoc., or that he was director of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.

    Remind me again, just what were Obama’s qualifications to be president?

    🙂




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  9. G.A.Phillips says:
  10. G.A.Phillips says:

    /send hateful replies to someone who cares

    lol….how about a valium?

    /sedate a crazed rino




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  11. TG Chicago says:

    There was no picture or mention of Herman Cain, who, by most accounts, won the GOP debatein South Carolina that was ironically broadcast by Fox News.

    I got quite a chuckle out of the notion that Fox’s broadcast of that debate was ironic.




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  12. KhalMojo says:

    @Doug

    “I tend to agree. I think he’s the kind of candidate that the media might give some time to as a “Hey look at this guy” candidate”

    Oh no, he’s the “Pizza pie bill’s too damn high” guy?




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  13. Viv says:

    When I hear a candidate’s supporter whining about lack of media attention, I can only think they want the sheep to be swayed by the media about their candidate. They would prefer the media to frame the rhetoric. A candidate who is worthy of the office doesn’t need the media to do that for them, unless of course, they are Barack Obama. And we all know how “worthy” he is.

    p.s. – I’m voting for Beth’s dad. Anyone who gave life to such a brilliant (and funny) child must certainly be qualified. The GOP clown car description was hysterical! Oh and Beth doesn’t need a valium. Instead she should be awarded with a permanent guest spot on Red Eye with her honest wit. I can assure you Beth is probably laughing at being called a RINO by some unknown blog commenter who doesn’t have a clue about her voting record or her Republican loyalty.




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  14. Pete says:

    Psychiatrists would call all the fringe right gushing over Herman Cain “overcompensating.”

    Ponce, I think this could apply to Obama’s election.




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  15. G.A.Phillips says:

    I can assure you Beth is probably laughing at being called a RINO by some unknown blog commenter who doesn’t have a clue about her voting record or her Republican loyalty.

    lol, Unknown?

    We should be able to nominate and elect a ham sandwich, but the GOP primary voters/tea party are determined to give us a shit sandwich, by God, so they can be true to their “principles,” whatever the hell they decide they are this week based on whatever the hell Beck and Levin and the other loudmouth Talk Radio Conservatives tell them they are this week, like “Common” at the White House or 25% tariffs on Chinese products. WE ARE DOOMED.

    Sounds like rino crap to me, perhaps a comedy central fan? Sorry if I am missing something.




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  16. Beth says:

    Unknown to me, and like I said, who cares? I’m a RINO to you, and…? You’re a RINO PLUS PLUS PLUS, and you pick your nose! Take that!!! LMAO




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  17. RINO = whoever the person using the term RINO happens to disagree with




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  18. G.A.Phillips says:

    Unknown to me, and like I said, who cares? I’m a RINO to you, and…? You’re a RINO PLUS PLUS PLUS, and you pick your nose! Take that!!! LMAO

    hahaha:)




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  19. G.A.Phillips says:

    er….




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  20. G.A.Phillips says:

    RINO = whoever the person using the term RINO happens to disagree with

    and guys on my side of ilse who watch Jon Stewart and say stuff like “Jon Stewart nails it again”….: O




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  21. G.A.Phillips says:

    Snooki Palin

    And this is giving me some messed up visual imagery and highly regretful thoughts….




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  22. G.A.Phillips says:

    http://www.620wtmj.com/home/ondemand/44930432.html my guy is coming up next live from Milwaukee after the Brewer’s game if you want to get a clue for kind of Republican I am. He is a American of African decent and a conservative.Like Mr. Cain 🙂




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  23. Scott O. says:

    Maybe Romney should consider running in blackface.




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  24. G.A.Phillips says:

    http://www.620wtmj.com/home/ondemand/44930432.html the National Conversation is live:)




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  25. G.A.Phillips says:

    Here, Cain questions Clinton on health care http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-WP5dYfBBzU




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  26. G.A.,

    Let’s try to make the comment thread someplace where we discuss things and not just a dumping ground for links about Herman Cain (or any other candidate for that matter), deal?




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  27. Hey Norm says:

    I haven’t seen the most important factor about the pizza man…does he think evolution is a hoax?




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  28. anjin-san says:

    There was no picture or mention of Herman Cain, who, by most accounts, won the GOP debatein South Carolina

    If you mean he repeated Fox talking points more forcefully that the others, sure. Guess that counts as a win in today’s GOP…




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  29. Cincinnatus says:

    Go ahead and under estimate Herman Cain. He will be the candidate ‘who can’t win’; until he’s the candidate “who can’t lose”.

    Why does it matter what race he is?

    He is the one candidate that is both a fiscal and social conservative. Period. End of story.




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  30. michael reynolds says:

    I do believe we should pick our presidents based on their involvement with pizza. But I don’t think the key element is the number of outlets. (By that standard Godfather’s in #9, by the way.) But on the quality of pizza produced by a given national chain. And on the quality of side items such as salads, pasta and deserts.

    I realize it’s controversial to suggest that salads should have anything to do with our choice of president. And I know the right wingers will denounce me as a salad-loving liberal. But let me just say this: California Pizza Kitchen makes good pizzas and great salads.

    I think the only questions is which of the two CPK co-founders should be president and which should be vice president.




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  31. Ernieyeball says:

    P.T. McG. inquires “Remind me again, just what were Obama’s qualifications to be president?”

    George Clymer et. al. respond:
    “No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.”
    Art. II Sec. 1 Clause 5 US Con.
    ——————————————-
    “There was no picture or mention of Herman Cain, who, by most accounts, won the GOP debate in South Carolina…”

    Just what constitutes “winning” this and other candidate non debates, an Applause-O-Meter?




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  32. Devin says:

    Herman Cain has not yet announced he is running for president (wait till next weekend shhh ), yet he does have quite a few followers. You look at the fox news focus group of “who won the debate” and fox news clearly showed as the winner by a wide margin.

    Gary Johnson and Fred Karger, have done a very bad job so far. Not only do they not have the name recognition, and support views that arnt main stream, but they haven’t done a good job conveying what they mean. And that is death to a campaign.

    We will see how the trees shake out once pain and Romney decide to run or not. We are still very early in this process and Cain may very well win it yet. What I can tell you is that he will be in the next debate, as will everyone else that might win but wasn’t there for the first one (Romney, Palin Newt, Bachmann), if he does as well in that debate as he does in the first, he will be the next president.




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  33. Southern Hoosier says:

    Herman Cain is a Black conservative, something that the press thinks doesn’t exist. So how can they report on something they think doesn’t exist?




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  34. G.A.Phillips says:

    G.A.,

    Let’s try to make the comment thread someplace where we discuss things and not just a dumping ground for links about Herman Cain (or any other candidate for that matter), deal?

    Sorry Doug, I was taking your advise

    So, to the Cain supporters out there, or the supporters of any other candidate, I say this; don’t expect the media to do your job for you.

    Forgive me, I got carried away.




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  35. G.A.Phillips says:

    I haven’t seen the most important factor about the pizza man…does he think evolution is a hoax?

    Great, a religious litmus test about a hoax.




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  36. G.A.Phillips says:

    Herman Cain is a Black conservative, something that the press thinks doesn’t exist. So how can they report on something they think doesn’t exist?

    lol yup, most liberals and rinosliberal conservatives, liberal libertarians also have this assumption, the reason I put up a link to one so you could hear his talk show live.

    my guy is coming up next live from Milwaukee after the Brewer’s game if you want to get a clue for the kind of Republican I am. He is a American of African decent and a conservative.Like Mr. Cain 🙂

    But to no avail it seems….




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  37. greatness lost is legend says:

    Mr Cain has been on talk radio for years. He has guest spotted for Rush Limbaugh (The other African American guest host is Walter E. Williams) Hannity, and will end his current radio spot this Saturday. He has about 6X the listeners as Mr. Schultz the top Liberal talker. Mr. Cain’s program has been featured on the Military radio network as well.

    The man is more than articulate in the Obama sense. He believes what he states, hence, like Mr. Limbaugh speaks in a manner that draws people in off the top. Those who go after this man for his term at the Federal Reserve are just Daily Kos meatheads who are trying to head Cain off at the pass.

    It is obvious Beth does not tune into talk radio, and seems to discount that Cain has a built in following there. If Rush, Hannity, and Beck get behind this guy, you could see 40 million ground troops push him into the White House in 2012. Cain could build a larger ground movement than Obama had in 2008. It will be motivated, and almost revolutionary.




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  38. Wade says:

    All interesting points, but still not answering why a news organization such as NYT is doing their best to ignore Cain?

    Here’s the latest: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/23/us/politics/23repubs.html?ref=politics

    Notice that you will not find his name even though he has been more newsworthy of late as compared to some of those other names. But what really puts things in perspective are the volume of fawning NYT articles on Obama way back when he was even less known nationally than Cain is today. NYT archives are easy to find and search. One gets the sense that they do not want their readers knowing much of anything about Cain, but went way out of their way to push Obama and that was back when Hillary was considered a lock.




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  39. jimbobjoe says:

    The media gives people who aren’t running more attention than those that are, even when they aren’t doing anything news worthy either. It is supposed to be their job to inform the citizen on these people, not push the most elite and polarizing of them. It also has little to do with them doing anything newsworthy. They are generally omitted out of the daily pundit discussions about GOP contenders. Like they are not even worthy of a mention. Chris Christie gets talked about in these tv circles in regards to the GOP nomination far more many of the candidates actually running. He hasn’t been doing anything at all newsworthy in regards to the Presidency.

    In 2008 didn’t abc choose to stop reporting on some of the Dem’s candidates all together because they didn’t think they had a chance? That is not the media’s job. To pick and choose and only allow a select few to be known to their viewers; even when many inclusions are not even running. The entire media narrative regarding this race has been absurd. They are looking for a good candidate, not a good leader. They are supposed to be informing us in these events, but instead they are only hindering democracy.




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