First things first: Mitt Romney’s London fiasco is unlikely to cost him a single vote in November and in fact is unlikely to be remembered, at least in the United States, by the time the Closing Ceremonies come around. It’s a one-day story in the news, and maybe a one-week story for Jay Leno and David Letterman. So it’s not a big deal.
I do have to disagree, however, with Erik Wemple’s complaint about the media coverage:
That last comment wasn’t the presidential aspirant’s most politic moment. Even so, his reservations about preparedness drove much of the outrage and bad publicity that Romney has received over the past two days — despite the fact that his assessment of the security problems was 1) spot-on accurate; and 2) pretty mildly stated, compared to the coverage of recent weeks.
Those considerations notwithstanding, media organizations covering this “gaffe” and “blunder” in many cases failed to include a big, red, blinking box of text shouting that Romney was referring to some real problems that had been widely reported and lamented.
Well, no. The story here is that Mitt Romney went to London and wound up getting scorned and ridiculed by British politicians and the British press. That’s the story. It’s not whether his comments were accurate, well-stated in some abstract way or anything else. It’s not hard to imagine any number of perfectly accurate things that Romney could say in the Israel leg of his trip, stating them as mildly as possible, that would nevertheless set off a major brouhaha.
Now, there’s a reasonable sidebar about whether the Brits are oversensitive, or about how intruding on local politics in a foreign nation is always a bit of a minefield — but the whole point of Romney’s trip was to show that he was no diplomatic lightweight. “But he was telling the truth” is hardly a defense for a diplomatic bungle. I have no problem with saying that the media should mention it as a portion of their reporting – that is a part of the context here – but it’s not “big, red, blinking box of text” material. This one isn’t a (American) press-created phony gaffe story. If the press is going to cover it, the story to cover is that Romney made a mess of his London trip.