The Huffington Post is a favorite website of mine. They give you a nice swath of the day's political news, albeit in a rather light form.
This morning I saw a headline regarding an answer Mitt Romney gave to CNN's Soledad O'Brien after his victory in the Florida Primary, where he trounced Newt Ginrich.
The headline read "CLUELESS." Which on first glance, sounded about right. What nimrod presidential candidate and likely Republican nominee for President would say something so idiotic as "I'm not concerned about the very poor." It sounds like a novice might have said it or something. Romney is no novice. So I read the article which started out as follows:
Well, perhaps that sounds awkward, but not overly nutty. So, I watched the actual video for myself.
Yes, repeating part of his response does sound incredibly insensitive and rather stupid, but that's not what he said. Taken in its full context, plus given Romney's previous comments two weeks ago in South Carolina, its really pretty brutal to even go there. I'm no fan of Governor Romney and probably won't vote for him in November. That said, its not fair to put a headline like that out there.
CNN's Soledad O'Brien failed us as did the headline writer at HUffPo.
There's been plenty of instances where quotes from Obama or his people were misrepresented and it drives me crazy. My favorite is the claim that Obama lied about keeping unemployment under 9.5% if he got the Stimulus program he wanted. (Read the article from PolitiFact on it. Two economists projected that result, it was never a guarantee or a promise and it never came from President Obama's lips...)
In times like these, the partisan rhetoric only hurts the process. It makes it harder for regular citizens to decipher the facts from the fuss contained in so many newscasts, internet websites, talks shows, etc. I have little hope that these media entities will suddenly start policing themselves. That means we need to do it for ourselves. I've suggested the following, but its worth repeating. Check multiple sources, and do your own research. Most of the media is working a subtle agenda and has its own biases. If you love Fox News, force yourself to watch with an open mind MSNBC a few hours a week. If you love Thom Hartmann on left wing radio, make yourself listen to Mark Levin on the right.
Its not easy and its not very fun to do this, but we just can't trust any single source for our information. With the accessibility of the internet, the good news is we really don't need to.
NOTE: This is the second story in a week I've written about an on air talent at CNN handling a situation poorly. I'm curious to see if this is a new trend.