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The Great Media Noise Machine

Written by Daniel Greenfield

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According to the media, the Romney campaign is struggling to recover from a terrible week after an even worse week and the man himself has no hope of winning the election. Also according to the media, the murderers running wild in the streets belong to a religion of peace and the world is in grave imminent danger of destruction from cow farts.

megaphone_reporterThe three-fold process by which the noise machine inflicts its idiocy on us works like this. First the narrative is invented, then endless streams of experts are brought in to comment on and reinforce the narrative, and finally there is a hysterical denunciation of those who reject the narrative as ignorant vermin barely worth of being clubbed on the head on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean.

In the real world, Romney is still running neck and neck with Obama among registered voters, the non-stop gaffe express exists only in the minds of the media, which manufactures stories that fit the narrative, then reports on the narrative and discusses the narrative to death until enough people confuse it with reality.

The Romney campaign is not flailing and it is not guilty of missteps; what it is, is under constant attack by a massive leftist bloc composed of think-tanks, campaign operatives and the media who then use their own attacks to manufacture a narrative of incompetence. Each attack is then called a "gaffe" and used as evidence that the campaign is flailing.

This isn't a new technique, what is the new is the complete and shameless integration of the media into the spin corps and attack poodle ranks of a political campaign so that there is hardly any difference between an anchorman, a reporter and a campaign spokesman. What is new is the level of intense coordination that allows one campaign total airtime and allows the other campaign a chance to pay for ads and be attacked all the rest of the time.

This has nothing to do with Romney, just as it had nothing to do with McCain; the same exact treatment would have been meted out to any human being who chose to run against Obama. The media's treatment of Romney is as impersonally vicious as the behavior of students when faced with a new substitute teacher. It isn't about Romney, it isn't even about Obama anymore, it's about power.

Obama is an actual failure. The only way to run a campaign against a man who has been out of public life for a bit and who has no obvious failures, is to turn his campaign into a failure, a constant failure where everything seems to be going wrong on a daily basis. The only way for the media to avoid the public's inevitable judgement on the competence of a man who has failed them economically is to make his rival seem even more incompetent.

The narrative has certain advantages. It depresses voter turnout and contributions to the Romney campaign and it makes voter fraud safer by creating the perception going into the election that Obama is bound to win. Voter fraud in Russia and Iran met with such violent protests because the results were clearly at odds with public sentiment. In the United States, Mahmoud and Vladimir's pal is making sure that his control of the media can sell him as an inevitable winner which will make truly obscene levels of voter fraud possible and plausible under the cover of universal popularity..

The larger effect of the narrative is to spread doubt and uncertainty on the Republican side as disgruntled campaign operatives pop out of the ground to agree that the Romney campaign is a disaster. That begins a circular firing squad, as campaign operatives call for a halt and begin reevaluating what they are doing wrong, sacrificing momentum and fragmenting their strategy, and then defeat becomes a self-fulling prophecy as the operatives begin preparing to shift the blame for the defeat on each other long before the defeat has actually happened.

obama07_16731745 The good news is that this does not appear to be happening in the ranks of the Romney Campaign, which is still moving steadily forward, despite the narrative. Its greatest challenge may be retaining that constancy of purpose and refusing to be affected by the constant barrage of attacks and the media's poisonous insistence on predicting doom for the campaign. This is not an atmosphere that anyone but a handful of great and charismatic speakers could begin to shift and Romney is no Reagan.

Some have advised that Romney needs to run against the media, but that would be a mistake and it would play into the great noise machine's agenda by making him seem bogged down in pettiness. It's the kind of campaign that Gingrich might have been able to run, but Romney is also no Gingrich, and such a campaign, even with a great deal of force behind it, might have proven to be self-defeating.

The truly important thing to understand about the media is that it is a distraction, a noise machine that spins constantly to block the message. It is a filter between Romney and the public. Rather than fighting the filter, it is best to ignore it as much as possible. That seems counterintuitive until you start thinking of the media as some very expensive and highly paid trolls affiliated with Obama 2012 who are in substance no different than hecklers who follow candidates around hoping to get them to slip up.

Trolls have to be ignored because their only purpose is to divert and distract you from your message. The only way to beat a troll is to starve a troll. When you engage with trolls, the trolls win because the trolls are not there to honestly debate an issue, any issue, they are there only as a diversion.What they do is amusing and rewarding for them while ending any meaningful dialogue.

The great noise machine with its countless speakers and spokesmen, its talking heads and its teleprompters, its instant updates and live-from-the-scene narratives, is only a distraction. It is there to block the issues that we should be talking about by talking about what does not matter and about what it wants us to do. The more attention is paid to it, the more, like all trolls, it is able to drive the narrative, rather than be driven by it.

The election will be decided on economic confidence, not on tax returns, race or any of the other non-stop nonsense coming out of the noise machine. The noise machine's job is to make the election about anything and everything except economic confidence. But the public confidence levels in the media are even lower than their confidence levels in politicians. The noise machine's only hope of making this work is by compelling the Romney campaign to engage with its narrative, to reply to it and to reinforce it instead of focusing on the issues that people genuinely care about.

Romney's path to winning this is to keep calm and carry on, to laugh off the media's predictions of doom and to keep talking about ObamaCare's taxes and their impact on medicine, about what the national debt will mean to our grandchildren, about how an entire generation is lost without work, about how the economy has to be regenerated by giving it some breathing room instead of trying to control it and about how it's time for a change. And he has to do it all despite every distraction that the media throws at him and there will be many more before the election is through.

The consistent message has to be that things can keep on going the way they have or they can get better and the ability to move that message to enough people will determine whether Romney wins or loses. And he will have to do that while running not against the media, but despite the media, around the media and beyond the media. He will have to talk to the people even when he's talking to the media.

120824_romney_reporters_ap_6051 This isn't easy, but what it really requires is not perfection but perseverance. Romney will make mistakes and the media will play off them. He will not make mistakes and the media will claim he did. It does not really matter what Romney does, because the media will still tell the same story anyway. And once he understands that, and perhaps he already does and has for a long time, he will feel liberated because the media will not matter anymore.

Media leverage came from its conditional coverage, but when its coverage is unconditionally hostile then what the media makes of a given thing no longer matters. A completely predictable media is also a completely boring media. It is a media that fewer and fewer people bother with anymore. The media's power is the power of a troll, the power of a noise machine, the power of being paid attention to. The more people stop paying attention to it, the more it dies.

The media can only determine the outcome of an election if you play its game and give it power. Deny its power and the game is yours to win or lose

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