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Blaming the Media for Romney’s Unforced Error

RedState’s Erick Erickson is out this morning with a tired-sounding midnight-oil rant about media bias. He peppers it with this incantation: “But the media wanted to focus on Mitt Romney.”

A few points.

The media focused on Mitt Romney yesterday because Mitt Romney asked them to.

If he had merely issued a formal statement expressing outrage at the mobs in Cairo and Benghazi, the media would have focused on the aspects of this ongoing story that Erickson finds so interesting — effectively, as Daniel Larison observed via Twitter, it would have done Romney’s work for him.

I suspect we will be learning a lot more in the coming days about how much the Obama administration knew about security threats to our embassies, and whether they should have acted more quickly to fortify them. If it turns out the administration was derelict in this duty, it will deserve all the subsequent grief it gets from the Romney campaign.

But that wasn’t the point of Romney’s attack, was it?

The point of Romney’s attack was to invidiously link Obama with the Egyptian and Libyan protesters — to imply that he doesn’t love America enough to stand up for values such as free speech. On that score, Daniel McCarthy already has dismantled the argument from free speech.

Here is Erickson on the subject: “Yesterday, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, a man who swore an oath to defend the Constitution of the United States of America, called an American civilian to ask him to stop exercising his first amendment rights.”

This is rich.

As Jeffrey Goldberg put it in the Atlantic, someone working in a besieged embassy sent out a tweet in fear — understandable, if not excusable.

I love the picture of Erick Erickson facing the same situation, making like an ACLU lawyer in the desert.

Indeed, behold the bravery of condemning the U.S. media for exercising its first amendment rights at the apparent expense of the hapless Mitt Romney.

about the author

Scott Galupo is a freelance writer living in Arlington, Va. In addition to contributing to The American Conservative, he writes for TheWeek.com and reviews live music for The Washington Post. He was formerly a staff writer for The Washington Times and worked on Capitol Hill. He lives with his wife and two children and writes about politics to support his guitar habit.

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