By: Robert Schreier
NBC's sister television station MSNBC caught my attention this week via an in-depth report by Rachel Maddow, a left leaning news talk personality and host of the Rachel Maddow Show.
With the barrage of campaign ads scattered across all forms of media, Maddow capitalized on proximity of the 2012 Presidential Election to examine the content of the messages out of Govenor Mitt Romney's camp (indeed examining what both President Barak Obama and Romney "approve" at the conclusion of each gashing ad).
The video (below) is damning evidence of a persistent pattern of lies and miscontextualization on the half of the Republican presidential hopeful.
While this complete blitz, that encompassed a full 10 minutes to fully articulate, could be seen as a liberal personality on a liberal leaning television station simply shooting par on a midweek program, this is evidence that has not been featured on NBC programs before and should be credited.
These investigative elements are missing when many undecided voters are making their voting decisions with the clock ticking to the general election.
It also ushers in questions of the political press being marginalized by social media outlets.
Digging Deep (Through Packing Peanuts)
Maddow begins with the blanketing story of Romney saying that his campaign removes and changes all incorrect facts or statements with the utmost transparency.
The MSNBC host continues by detailing that this is a normal action by the campaign; however, Maddow uses multiple example of specific facts that are false in Romney ad campaigns or speeches.
It all starts with a misapplication of a quote used by Obama saying that, "If we keeping talking about the economy, we are going to lose."
Obama did say that, but if you listen to the full quotation, the President was talking in terms of the John McCain presidential race in 2008.
What's more troubling is the fact that the video in question is still unedited and included on the official Mitt Romney YouTube channel, regarded as one of the most viewed mediums in this 2012 political season.
By the end, she highlights over 10 examples of misquotes, wrong facts, and other blunders.
In reality, there is not much digging to do on the part of Maddow because the Romney party has not done its part in removing these videos, even after Maddow has slashed the party days later. (It should be noted the investigative report ran on Wednesday September 26 with the YouTube search completed for this report coming Sunday September 30).
After every example of the misrepresentation, there are several press clippings showing the media calling out Romney's party on his facts.
However, nothing has been done to remove or correct. Why?
No Bite in the Media Dog?
Normally, there is an element of respect, or reaction, when the press detects falsehood and lies with political.
In other words, there is usually a noticeable action in order to appease the press or to limit the damage from the viewing audience
What Maddow points out reflects a dynamic change in a fundamental role in journalism: the watchdog.
Either the Republican campaign is lazy (unlikely), unmotivated (unlikely), or untrained (unlikely) to make the corrections in the videos.
Or, what could be considered the beginning of the end for watchdog journalism, Romeny and his crew no longer care about the press calling him out.
It begs the question, is there research or facts to back up that the new voting community no longer trusts or relies upon the press so that whatever is posted on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, or the newest social media application is THE TRUTH?
While this certainly was not the intention of Maddow's report, the debate now begins whether there is a clear dismissal of one of the pillars that has held journalism upright from the beginning of the craft.