Campfire Blog

Debbie Downers Try to Use Hurricane to Tarnish GOP Convention

That’s a category five stretch

Tampa— I write this while overlooking the fairly calm waters of Tampa Bay, bypassed by Tropical Storm Isaac. That should deflate the media narrative that Isaac could hurt Mitt Romney’s convention and his bid to win the White House, right?

Nope. The narrative blows on, like the tropical storm, having no regard for whatever facts might lie in its way. John Adams might have said “facts are stubborn things,” but for a media that favors President Obama facts just don’t matter. Amazingly, some are now saying that the fact that Isaac is bypassing Tampa and headed possibly toward the vicinity of New Orleans will be bad for Romney. Basically, as long as there is a hurricane, it’s bad for Romney. And if it’s not a hurricane, they’d be talking about how the shooting at the Empire State Building or the Maryland school shooting hurts Romney.

Headline at the Daily Beast:  “Why Tropical Storm Isaac Could Blow Away Mitt Romney’s Convention Moment.” Columnist Howard Kurtz writes that it’s of little consequence that Tampa has been spared (the city hasn’t been hit since 1949); the hurricane still possibly spells doom for Romney: “the fallout still threatens to inflict heavy damage on Mitt Romney’s big national moment.”

Does anyone who doesn’t dwell in the fever swamps of D.C. or who has other things in life to talk about besides political reporting really think that a hurricane will inflict damage on Romney? The only way it will hurt Romney is if the media is successful in vaguely making him look bad because of an Act of God. The whole thing is ridiculous. It is entirely possible that the two things–the hurricane and the convention–are unrelated.

Trying to sound reluctant, reporters have been saying over and over: Well, you know of course we’ll have to focus on Isaac during the convention; the journalistic creed obliges us. And we can’t ignore all the other news in the world. On Tv they take up huge amounts of air timing saying that yes, we’ll cover this one event but it’s important to remember there are so many other things going on. Listen to see if they say that during the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte next week.

The media–if it is what it collectively claims to be–has a responsibility to cover the convention, both of them. They only happen every four years. They only are a key part of how we will choose to govern ourselves for the next four years. Would there be any question of co-opting Olympic coverage due to a storm? Not really.

Many convention articles quote Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, who seems to be a real Debbie Downer. A few days ago, when there was a slight possibility of Isaac coming near Tampa, Buckhorn was quoted again and again saying he was willing to shut down the convention because, you know, people come before party. I read so many negative quotes from this guy, in contrast to Florida Republican Gov. Scott’s upbeat attitude of “we know how to handle hurricanes,” that I started to wonder what Mayor Buckhorn’s party was. Notably, no article I read made mention of it, though they all made it clear Scott’s a Republican.

Turns out, he’s a Democratic.  Surprise, surprise.


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