The 2016 GOP field has now endured a week of escalating scrutiny on a subject they would very much like to avoid: the 2002 decision to invade Iraq, a widely-regretted decision made by an unpopular Republican president that undermines that GOP’s current hawkish return.
By Sunday conservatives had seen enough of this news cycle, and resorted what they do best: blaming “the media.” First came Liz Cheney:
— Liz Cheney (@Liz_Cheney) May 17, 2015
“It is an easy question for journalists to ask. It’s a dumb question for a journalist to ask.”
Blaming “the media” is a classic case of deflection, bending the focus of the debate onto soft targets who are often unaccustomed to the viscosity of political warfare, or onto institutions like the New York Times or CNN, which don’t want to get bogged down in partisan sniping.
But in this case the phone call’s coming from inside the house. The Iraq hypothetical wasn’t some gotcha question posed by a secretly liberal mainstream outlet: it was asked by a spectrum of Fox News pundits, who likely didn’t view it as a trap. The question has thus far been posed to Jeb Bush by Fox’s Megyn Kelly and Sean Hannity, and to Marco Rubio by Fox’s Chris Wallace. The Iraq War mini-primary is an Fox-created and contained phenomenon.
When Cheney bashes “the media,” she’s referring to Fox News — her former employer. When Sununu calls reporters “dumb” for posing the hypothetical — on Fox News! — he’s referring to Kelly and Wallace, who work down the hall from the studio on which he’s appearing. The liberal media conspiracy now includes Roger Ailes’ staff.
That, or Cheney et al are defaulting to a talking point so facile they don’t realize when its aimed at themselves.
[Image via screengrab]
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