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Hugh Hewitt Book Club

Agenda Journalism Alert, And The Joy Of A Good Spokesman

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Most of the presidential candidates have pretty good press operations, but Mitt Romney’s got Kevin Madden.

Madden had not joined the campaign when I completed A Mormon In The White House, so I didn’t interview him for the book. I do admire his ability to handle even the ever-hostile Scott Helman, the Boston Globe’s Luca Brasi when it comes to Mitt Romney. (Though not nearly as effective as Brasi, and certainly not bound for the fishes.) Today’s Helman-hit on Romney argues that social conservatives are bolting to Thompson en masse, and then quotes my Salem colleague Richard land, who started down that road a few months ago. Deep in the article it is noted that James Dobson hasn’t endorsed anyone. No where is it mentioned that Romney’s long list of conservatives already on board includes many many high profile activists. In short, it is the latest in a long series of “Romney’s in trouble” pieces from his hometown howler. (The WSJ reports, btw, that “[r]evenue at the [New York Times’] New England Media group, which includes the Boston Globe, decreased 6.4% in the second quarter, with ad revenue down 7.6%.”)

Asked if Romney’s worried about the non-mass migration of no one in particular to Thompson, Madden responds:

“A lot of people ask, they’ll say, do you worry about a new candidate coming into the race?” said Romney spokesman Kevin Madden. “My response automatically is, worrying is for people without a plan. Worrying is for campaigns without an organization. Right now we are comfortable that we have both and that we can go out and earn support from conservative voters.”

The best line in Helman’s breathless expose is “Not all conservative leaders have applauded Thompson,” followed closely by “The precise level of that support for Thompson — and what, in concrete terms, that support will mean — is difficult to gauge at this point.” Helman’s really got a scoop here, doesn’t he?

The reality is that each of the big three have a pretty good bench of social conservatives, though Romney’s is, at this point, deeper and more committed. That doesn’t make great copy, but it is the true assessment of the state of the campaign among “values voters.” Perhaps if the Globe gave more space to reporting and less to agenda journalism, their bottom line wouldn’t be pointed down quarter after quarter.


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