By Steven Travers
During the 2004 presidential race, many pundits believe the momentum shifted to Republican George W. Bush when CBS anchor Dan Rather ran a story later found to be based on a fake document, claiming the young Bush skipped out of his Air National Guard duties.
Now, it appears MSNBC has attempted to make GOP candidate Mitt Romney look foolish by misrepresenting video of an incident at a campaign rally.
It comes on the heels of a video of a black woman boasting at a Romney campaign rally in Cleveland that she got an “Obamaphone,” a clip first seen on MSNBC.
The latest clip is of a campaign rally in Dayton, Ohio. It first played on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” with former Florida Republican Congressman Joe Scarborough and his co-host, Mika Brzezinski.
It appears to show an embarrassing moment in which the crowd – according to the captioning – was supposedly chanting “Ryan! Ryan!” for vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan. Romney then comes on stage and, according to the footage, apparently admonishes the crowd not to chant “Ryan! Ryan!” but instead to chant “Romney-Ryan!”
Brzezinski first cites a recent New York Times report contending Romney has failed to “fire up” enthusiasm in Ohio, a crucial swing state, and that Ryan was brought in to do just that. She added Ryan’s greater popularity “may have been evident” at the Dayton rally.
Romney is seen calling Ryan “quite a guy” before appearing to tell the crowd to stop chanting for Ryan alone and to include his name.
Brzezinski puts her hand over her face as if demonstrating mock embarrassment over Romney’s “gaffe.” Scarborough holds his head in his hands in abject defeat while muttering, “Oh, sweet Jesus.”
The clip makes it look as if a vainglorious Romney is displeased that his vice presidential running mate is more popular than he. Brzezinski then tells Romney, “I’m sorry,” insinuating he already is defeated.
But a “former Democrat” who was at the rally called talk host Rush Limbaugh and asserted MSNBC “is lying.”
He explained the crowd actually was chanting “Romney! Romney!” and that, contrary to the MSNBC clip, Romney was asking his supporters to include Ryan’s name.
A caller to the “Pat & Stu” program on Glenn Beck’s Blaze TV named Sherry also said the same thing. When the unedited clip was replayed, the narrative was revealed.
The Huffington Post also reported the crowd was chanting Romney’s name, not Ryan’s.
“I don’t know where to start,” said California Republican official Catherine Bragg. “MSNBC’s narrative is constantly against conservative principles; responsibility of the individual, limited government.”
MSNBC’s “ratings are in the tank compared with Fox, who are balanced, but this skewed message is what most Americans hear, except they don’t know how skewed,” continued Bragg.
“We hear Romney has already lost, don’t bother to vote. Other messages offer these deceptions, that Obama should still run this country. Because of the Internet I’ve been able to see this for myself. Let’s not worry about what the Left is doing. Their agenda is not about individuals, it’s about control.”
The accusations by Republicans of media bias, which go back at least to Richard Nixon’s 1952 “Checkers” speech, have also focused on what many claim to be inaccurate poll numbers meant to dissuade voters from turnout and giving money to the GOP.
Steven Travers is a USC graduate and ex-pro baseball player who is the author of 20 books, including “One Night, Two Teams: Alabama vs. USC and the Game That Changed a Nation” and “The Last Icon, Tom Seaver and His Times.” His Web page is here and he can be reached at [email protected]