Sharron Angle's Losing Anti-Media Blackout Strategy
Sharron Angle's hostility towards the media held on until the very end. Early election day, the Nevada candidate appeared on a conservative radio show to lambaste journalists once again, this time because she was–gasp–approached by a reporter at the airport. "We need to bring back the professionalism into reporting, and I think that when we have an opportunity to teach a lesson, we should," she told a conservative talk show host. The statement, however vague, was a capper in her campaign-long aversion to the media, one echoed in the campaigns of her losing Tea Party affiliates/spiritual cohorts Christine O'Donnell and Carl Paladino:
Christine O’Donnell (R-DE):Shortly after winning her primary, Ms. O’Donnell canceled her scheduled appearances on Fox News Sunday and CBS’s Face the Nation, earning the ire of both hosts. According to a story last month in Politico, Ms. O’Donnell, “…has been nearly impossible to track down in Delaware since winning her primary.” Late last month, she threatened to a radio station with a lawsuit if it released a video of her interview with the station. She was soundly defeated by opponent Chris Coons.
Carl Paladino (R-NY):New York’s Republican candidate was the only one to threaten to kill a reporter. In a particularly nasty confrontation, he told a New York Postreporter, “I’ll take you out.” Late last week, he walked off a live interview with a local New York television.
Some of the anti-media candidates even seemed to forget about the First Amendment:
Joe Miller (R-AK):Sarah Palin’s hand-picked Tea Party favorite for Senate abruptly announced last month he would no longer take questions from the media about his background. But the low point in his campaign came when Miller’s private security guards handcuffed the founder of the Alaska Dispatchafter he asked the candidate a question.
And while Rand Paul and Ron Johnson won despite employing similar media-avoidance strategies–Paul even canceled an appearance on Meet the Press,a first in the show's 62-year history– they nailed the right-wing media strategy to a T. It's an idea that germinated with Sarah Palin's bungled televised run-ins during the 2008 presidential campaign and solidified during the midterms. What Angle and her cohorts were really advocating was not "professionalism in journalism," nor were they advocating true journalism at all. They were demanding the media kowtow to their agenda, always advocating, a rosy reflection of their will. Fortunately, this time, that strategy mostly backfired.