Rejecting Reality: Rove, Trump and the Fringe Factor
As televised theater, it was hard to beat. As political prognostication, it was a head-scratching moment. As partisan warfare, it was nothing short of audacious.
But Karl Rove’s insistence that Barack Obama had not carried Ohio—despite the call by his own network, Fox News, that the president had done just that—represented something larger. It captured, for some long and awkward moments, the refusal of some in the media-and-politics game to accept reality.
And that has been a recurring pattern this year.
We’re not talking here about a bad judgment call by a pundit. Everyone in the commentary business, including yours truly, has made those. If failed predictions were a felony, the jails would be filled with media folks.
Rove, to be sure, is a smart guy. He wasn’t called George W. Bush’s architect for nothing. He helped his guy win two presidential elections. He knows polls inside out.
But Rove occupies a rather unique perch at Fox, and not just because he jumped from the Bush White House to the role of conservative cable commentator.
Rove, who also has a Wall Street Journal column, helped create two political action committees, American Crossroads and Crossroads Grassroots Political Strategies, that raised and spent about $175 million in this campaign, most of it on television ads promoting Mitt Romney or attacking Obama. He was, in every sense of the word, a full-fledged political player.
But he was also Fox’s most visible contributor, appearing far more often than Sarah Palin, delivering his political insights on shows from morning to night.
Fox isn’t the only news channel to employ active partisans—CNN has a few, too—and media organizations long ago decided to blur the line between journalism and politics. I know the ties are generally disclosed, but personally, I wouldn’t allow anyone who raises money or holds a party position to be on a news organization’s payroll. Why should viewers think they’re getting anything but one-sided spin?
Still, Rove undoubtedly wants to preserve his reputation as a political seer, which is why it was so stunning when he went rogue on Tuesday night.
Read more at CNN.com
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