The Real Reason for the Right’s Wrath Against Candy Crowley

Candy Crowley DebateCandy Crowley Debate

The CNN reporter, Candy Crowley, who moderated Tuesday night’s presidential debate at Hofstra University has joined the ranks of journalists inside the “liberal media” that the right-wing echo chamber will forever smear, slime, and loathe.

The Republicans, along with their formidable propaganda outlets, Fox News and AM Talk Radio, have their knickers in a bunch because Ms. Crowley fact-checked their beloved candidate, Mitt Romney during the night’s most heated exchange. The hate brigades have taken aim at Ms. Crowley not because she showed “bias” or was “wrong” about the facts or exceeded the role of moderator, but because she performed a genuine act of journalism in front of 65 million viewers.

Ms. Crowley’s crime in the eyes of the Right is that she for one brief moment did what every journalism department at every university in America teaches their students to do: keep the record straight and do not allow politicians to use you as a prop for self-serving lies.

Crowley doing her job has caused more “Chaos on Bullshit Mountain” inside the Right’s echo chamber since David Corn of Mother Jones magazine first released the now historic “47 percent” video capturing Romney dissing half the country to a closed door audience of millionaires and billionaires.

The real reason why the Right has become so unhinged over Candy Crowley’s journalistic moment was best summed up 28 years ago by the campaign of Vice President George H. W. Bush following his historic debate with New York Representative Geraldine Ferraro, the first ever woman on a major party’s ticket.

When members of the press did their jobs and later fact-checked many of the statements that Bush made during the debate and found them incorrect, misleading, or outright lies, Bush’s press secretary responded:

You can say anything you want in a debate, and 80 million people hear it. If reporters then document that a candidate spoke untruthfully, so what? Maybe 200 people read it, or 2,000 or 20,000. (Quoted in The Eighties, p. 55)

The Romney campaign, taking its lead from the way earlier Republican campaigns viewed debates, simply believed he would have free range to say anything he wanted in front of the enormous TV audience. And when any fact-checking trickled in showing he had willfully gotten his facts wrong for political gain, (such as accusing President Obama of not calling the Benghazi attack an “act of terror,” which he did), it wouldn’t matter because the lie would have already served its purpose: planting the seeds of doubt and scoring points in the minds of 65 million viewers. Plus, the Fox noise machine could easily bury any new exposures of Romney’s incessant lying after the debate under yet another mountain of very loud and very partisan bullshit.

joseph palermoSo the real cause for this latest Republican whine-fest is that Ms. Crowley did her job as a journalist, showed respect for the need in a democracy for an informed electorate, and would not allow either candidate to lie in front of such a large audience of voters.

Joseph Palermo
Joseph Plermo’s Blog

Posted: Thursday, 18 October 2012

Published by the LA Progressive on October 18, 2012
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About Joseph Palermo

Joseph Palermo is Professor of History, California State University, Sacramento. Professor Palermo's most recent book is The Eighties (Pearson 2012). He has also written two other books: In His Own Right: The Political Odyssey of Senator Robert F. Kennedy (Columbia, 2001); and Robert F. Kennedy and the Death of American Idealism (Pearson, 2008). Before earning a Master's degree and Doctorate in History from Cornell University, Professor Palermo completed Bachelor's degrees in Sociology and Anthropology from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and a Master's degree in History from San Jose State University. His expertise includes the 1980s; political history; presidential politics and war powers; social movements of the 20th century; the 1960s; and the history of American foreign policy. Professor Palermo has also written articles for anthologies on the life of Father Daniel Berrigan, S.J. in The Human Tradition in America Since 1945 (Scholarly Resources Press, 2003); and on the Watergate scandal in Watergate and the Resignation of Richard Nixon (CQ Press, 2004).