With a tsunami of bad press hitting them, the GOP blasted the media's coverage of the government shut down on Tuesday.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee sent out a press release criticizing the tone and angle of the coverage:
Last night, hundreds of reporters, journalists, and pundits analyzed a shutdown - well, let's be honest, a slowdown - of the Federal Government in real time. NBC News broke in live at 12:01 to discuss it (we're going to guess the same didn't happen when the government shut down 12 times while Democrat Tip O'Neill was Speaker). There was a pack countdown to shutdown, then a pack realization that nothing noticeable immediately happened at midnight, then a collective period of overtired people cracking jokes and making long-term political prognostications.
The NRSC probably should have been grateful that, with virtually all of the action and drama happening within the Republican caucus, the coverage mentioned the Democrats at all. Even as some members threatened revolts, and John McCain started tweeting news stories about how badly the House plan was polling, the Washington Post was still writing the kind of story that makes the Jay Rosen crew apoplectic: "In shutdown blame game, Democrats and Republicans united: It's the other side's fault." Media Matters compiled a long list of stories suggesting there was a balance of blame between the two sides.
Even so, it was hard to argue with the idea that the press coverage wasn't favoring the GOP. Much of that was due to the fact that seasoned reporters like ABC's Jeff Zeleny kept getting one particular kind of intelligence from their sources — namely, that the Republicans were in disarray.
"if anyone's going to blink first, most people think it'll be Republicans," Zeleny said on Tuesday's "Good Morning America." "The question, of course, is when."
There was also the fact that Obamacare, the law Republicans were supposedly trying to stop in its tracks, proceeded unabated on Tuesday morning, giving the GOP an extra poke in the eye by the mere virtue of its existence. Newspapers and networks from Fox News onward all had to contend with the reality that, politics aside, Obamacare had gone into effect, and they had to tell their audiences what that would mean. Thus, Democrats got a boost in coverage without even trying.
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