The Media vs. Mitt Romney: Tax Returns, Foreign "Missteps," and a Sleazy "Wimp" Charge

Vol. 25, No. 16

CBS Trumpets Sleazy “Wimp” Cover As If It’s Real News


Correspondent Jan Crawford: “I just got a copy of the Newsweek cover that’s going to be hitting the newsstands tomorrow that calls you a ‘wimp.’ Have you seen this?... Has anyone ever called you a ‘wimp’ before?”
Mitt Romney: “Don’t recall that, no.”
— Exchange shown on CBS’s Face the Nation, July 29.

“I’m going to ask you about this new edition of Newsweek. They have on the cover Mitt Romney and it says ‘The Wimp Factor.’ Now this is reminiscent of a sort of an infamous Newsweek cover back when the first George Bush was running for, running and it said — they put out a cover that said ‘Fighting the Wimp Factor.’ Is Mitt Romney a wimp?”
— Host Bob Schieffer to DNC Chairman and Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz later in the same show. [Audio/video compilation (1:02): Windows Media | MP3 audio]


Obama’s Media Helpers Try to Keep Romney Tax Return Controversy Alive


“On to another topic, and that is your taxes....People hear he’s not going to release the rest of his returns and they wonder why. They wonder, ‘Is there a year there where he paid no taxes?’ They wonder about expensive horses and houses and what have you. So I’ll ask another way, what is it that is preventing you from releasing the rest of your returns?”
— Brian Williams interviewing Romney on NBC Nightly News, July 25.

“We know that there was one year where you paid about a 13.9 percent tax rate. Can we clear this up by asking you a simple yes or no question: Was there ever any year when you paid lower than the 13.9 percent?”
— ABC’s David Muir to Mitt Romney in an interview shown on the July 29 World News.


Punishing Romney Over Manufactured “Missteps”


“The day began in Israel with another diplomatic misstep that forced the Romney campaign on the defensive....”
— Correspondent Peter Alexander on the July 30 NBC Nightly News.

“A new diplomatic dust-up.... Mitt Romney left controversy in his wake today as he left Israel for Poland in his first overseas tour as the presumptive Republican nominee.”
— Scott Pelley on the CBS Evening News the same night.

“Today, another overseas controversy, in a trip with missteps already. Romney talking to Jewish-American donors with words one Palestinian leader later called ‘racist’ after Romney  compared the Israeli economy to the Palestinian economy, linking economic success to your culture.”
— David Muir on ABC’s World News, July 30.


“Romney averred that Israeli and Palestinian economic development might be related to culture. A Palestinian Authority spokesman obligingly jumped forth to accuse Romney of racism, among other thought crimes. The American media bought it whole, despite the fact that Romney’s assertion was a direct echo of the U.N. Arab Human Development Report, written by Arab intellectuals and commissioned by the U.N. It unambiguously asserted that ‘culture and values are the soul of development.’ And went on to report how existing cultural norms — ‘including traditional Arab culture and values’ — are among the major impediments to Arab economic progress.”
— Conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer writing in the August 3 Washington Post.


Trying to Spin Away Obama’s “You Didn’t Build That” Gaffe


“Republicans have seized on the line ‘you didn’t build that’ to falsely claim that Obama was speaking directly to business owners about their businesses.”
— ABC News staffers Amy Walter, Elizabeth Hartfield and Chris Good in a July 24 article at

Co-host Charlie Rose: “But the President was saying, if you look at the full context of that, he was talking about building roads to these businesses, and they didn’t build the roads; where the Romney campaign seems to try to indicate that he was saying, they didn’t build the businesses.”
CBS News political analyst John Dickerson: “Exactly, and what the President was saying, is it takes a village essentially, to use a cliche from a previous campaign; that no matter what you’ve done, you’ve been helped in your life, whether it’s by teachers or roads or the policeman on the corner.”
CBS This Morning, July 26.


Cynical Romney Pandering to GOP’s “Nativists” and “Xenophobes”


“He [Mitt Romney] is playing to — and has from the beginning of the campaign — played to the kind of nativist base of the Tea Party. And by nativist, I mean people who are, in essence, afraid of the world....The Republican Party is going to cripple itself beyond recognition if they don’t quit being xenophobes, which is what they’re doing here now.”
— Longtime Newsweek reporter Howard Fineman, now a Huffington Post columnist, on MSNBC’s Hardball, July 23. [Audio/video (0:40): Windows Media | MP3 audio]

Clip of Mitt Romney on CNBC: “It’s a very strange, and in some respects, foreign to the American experience type of philosophy. If you have a business and you started it, you did build it, and you deserve credit for that. It was not built for you by government.”
Host Andrea Mitchell: “Without getting into the argument as to whether he is taking the President out of context over the ‘build it’ business, he is still using the term ‘foreign’ and I’m telling you, this is happening every day, it is a dog whistle....Out of touch is out of touch. Foreign is suggesting somebody who grew up in Indonesia, who’s — I’m telling you, words matter.”
— MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Reports, July 24. [Audio/video (1:04): Windows Media | MP3 audio]


Another Tragedy, Another Chance to Smear the Tea Party


Co-host George Stephanopoulos: “I want to go to Brian Ross here, because, Brian, you’ve been looking — investigating the background of Jim Holmes here. You’ve found something that might be significant.”
Correspondent Brian Ross: “There is a Jim Holmes of Aurora, Colorado page on the Colorado Tea Party site as well, talking about him joining the Tea Party last year. Now, we don’t know if this the same Jim Holmes. But it’s Jim Holmes of Aurora, Colorado.”
— ABC’s Good Morning America, July 20. A few hours later, Ross appeared on ABC to confess: “An earlier report that I had was incorrect, that he was connected to the Tea Party. In fact, that’s a different Jim Holmes....”


Blaming the NRA, “The Enabler of Death”


“Before the law changes, the conversation has to change. So we can’t really expect yet to get, to get changes in the law, but we can end the gag order that the NRA has essentially imposed on our national conversation. We can’t even talk about it, so this is an opportunity to say, ‘No, you know what, we are going to talk about this. We’re not going to let you silence us.’”
— Longtime Newsweek senior editor Jonathan Alter on MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry, July 22.

“And there you have it: the arsenal of democracy transformed into the arsenal of death and the NRA — the NRA is the enabler of death — paranoid, delusional, and as venomous as a scorpion. With the weak-kneed acquiescence of our politicians, the National Rifle Association has turned the Second Amendment of the Constitution into a cruel hoax, a cruel and deadly hoax.”
— PBS host Bill Moyers in a July 20 Web site “video essay” posted on the Web site for his Moyers & Company show.


Nostalgic for Clinton’s Anti-Gun Leadership


“It’s terrible. Listen, there was a president named Bill Clinton who had the guts to stand up on these issues. He did it in 1993, signing the Brady Law. 1994, he added another law, an assault weapons ban. And then he came up with a smart — on a bullet law. Three laws. And he got re-elected. You know, he showed some leadership. We don’t see that today.”
— CNN senior political analyst and ex-Clinton White House operative David Gergen on Anderson Cooper 360, July 24. [Audio/video (0:40): Windows Media | MP3 audio]


Admitting the Obvious: Media’s “Overwhelming Sentiment” Against Gun Rights


“If you walk the halls of most major news organizations or of the OEOB at the White House or West Wing, I think you’d find overwhelming sentiment that there should be stricter gun control laws in the United States.”
Time’s Mark Halperin on MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell Reports, July 23.


“Very Conservative” Dewhurst vs. “Even More Conservative” Cruz


Anchor Scott Pelley: “There was a runoff for the GOP nomination for a U.S. Senate seat, and a conservative Republican was beaten by an even more conservative Tea Party candidate. Ted Cruz will head into the election in November as the virtual shoo-in to be the state’s next U.S. Senator....”
Reporter Sharyl Attkisson: “By most any standard, [lieutenant governor David] Dewhurst is considered a very conservative Republican – tough on taxes and social issues – and was endorsed by Texas Governor Rick Perry. Cruz spent months tacking even further to the right, chatting up prayer groups, party meetings, tapping into frustrations about Washington spending....”
— Report about the Texas Senate primary on the CBS Evening News, August 1.


“Big Dog” Bill Clinton Has Finally “Gotten His Bone”


“Bill Clinton, Bubba, the big dog, Elvis, how many names of endearment will he carry before this love affair comes to an end? It’s gone on for 20 years now....Well, today came word that the Lord — or at least the Democratic Party here on earth — is not finished with the big dog. He’s going to get a big chunk of primetime at the Democratic National Convention — a hot night in Charlotte, all to himself. He, William Jefferson Clinton, will be the one to put the name ‘Barack Obama’ into nomination for his second presidential term....Listen even now, somewhere high in Manhattan, above the park and above the trees you can hear the bark — loud, clear and happy. The big dog has gotten his bone.”
— Host Chris Matthews wrapping up MSNBC’s Hardball, July 30.


A Liberal Weenie’s Olympic Dilemma


“As I’ve grown older, I find my ‘U.S.A.!’-chanting reflex increasingly interrupted by pangs of discomfort, and not because I’m ashamed of our country or our Olympians....Missed in the ensuing red-white-and-blue hoopla, of course, is the fact that we are not so exceptional outside the Olympic village....We are not gold, silver or even bronze medalists when it comes to healthcare; sadly, we are 39th for infant mortality, 43rd for female mortality, 42nd for adult male mortal-ity....If we do stand atop a dais anywhere other than at a sporting event, it is for military spending, carbon emissions and incarceration rates.”
— Colorado radio host David Sirota in an August 1 piece for, “Don’t chant ‘U.S.A.!’ It’s liberal Americans’ Olympic dilemma: How do they root for their countrymen without being jingoistic?”

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