I am in route today to Tampa for the Republican National Convention. Just as interesting as the Republicans will be the media, as the latter strain and squint to nitpick, harangue and distract. Members of the media are not there to observe or to report, but to shape, massage and even distort what is said and done. (I’ll keep an eye out for truly egregious cases.)
There is much we don’t know — what Mitt Romney will say in his speech, which speaker not on the ticket will steal some limelight (I’ll put money on New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie) and whether there will be any moments of actual spontaneity ( I’m thinking not). But just as we know there will be silly hats, tipsy delegates and lots of glossy videos, some things are entirely predictable. Here are my favorite 10:
1. The media will talk about abortion much more than will any speaker.
2. The media will bring up Todd Akin; no Republican will.
3. The media will explain that Romney needs to be “humanized” and then pronounce what ever attempts are made to do so as “unsuccessful,” “unconvincing” or “contrived.”
4. Republicans will use the word “recovery” more than the Democrats will at their convention. “Imaginary recovery,” “recovery summer” and ”non-recovery” will be popular.
5. Ann Romney will be lovely; the media will compare her to her husband as a way of disparaging him.
6. The letter “d” will be used freely to describe the president — debt, despair, deficit, decline, denial, divisive, delay, dereliction, distract, devastating, etc. The “r” words will be used to describe their own side — reform, revive, remake, redesign, remodel, reinvigorate, restore and reclaim.
7. Ohio will get lots of attention (e.g. upfront seating for the delegation, many anecdotes from speakers). Delegations from deep-blue states will get Uecker seats at the back of the hall.
8. The media will do everything possible to aid President Obama in making Romney an unacceptable choice. The man once with no convictions, they claimed, will be a “right-winger” and an “extremist” and have “radical” views that are “out of the mainstream.” This will be said about policy positions that a majority of Americans support (e.g., voter ID laws, limits on abortion, reduction in the size of government, and coal and oil development).
9. A Romney grandchild or a Ryan child will steal a scene or get some affectionate laughter. (Even the media will concede that both Republicans are “good family men,” which is a way of saying “but not people we like in public office.”)
10.You’ll hear more about Obamacare at the RNC than at the DNC.