Relax, Herald: The ‘Media’ Agree that Romney Won

Image Credit: Boston Herald via The Newseum

“The only question left from tonight’s debate is: Will the mainstream media report accurately that Obama lost?” asks the Herald‘s Holly Robichaud. Robichaud can rest easy. The “mainstream media,” (a group that includes newspaper columnists, by the way) got the memo.

Looking at the microcosm of the national news that is Boston’s opinion machine this morning, there seems to be consensus forming that Mitt Romney put in a surprisingly energetic, convincing performance and that Barack Obama missed opportunities. Even mid-way through our live-blog last night, we noted that this sense was already beginning to take hold among the pundit-class. And this morning, it’s been borne out. The Globe‘s Joan Vennochi, no Romney fan, opens her column this way:

One presidential candidate showed up to debate Wednesday night. His name is Mitt Romney.

President Obama was often grim, mostly disengaged, and generally ineffective in their first showdown. He could have been standing next to anyone; he never seriously challenged Romney on any point he made. Romney was sharp, aggressive, and “likeable enough,” to borrow a phrase from candidate Obama in 2008.

The Globe‘s Jeff Jacoby, a conservative, agreed, of course:

The former Massachusetts governor was plainly enjoying himself. The president seemed to want nothing more than to run out the clock and bring a painful evening to an end.

As did WBUR’s Todd Domke, who provided the station’s news analysis:

The debate was surprisingly lopsided. Romney has never been as persuasive.

Obama, by contrast, lacked energy and focus. It was as if he just woke up from a nap. He didn’t have any great moments or seemed passionate about anything. He spoke longer, by four minutes, but seemed to say less.

Debates rarely produce such a clear winner.

Meanwhile, in Herald land, pundits spent precious time complaining about the “mainstream media,” time they could have spent, at long last, celebrating and recapping their candidate’s performance. (They did some of that, too.) There was Robichaud, wondering if the media would notice Romney’s performance. (They did.) Howie Carr, of course, did the same:

It wasn’t just that Romney was smart. It was that Barack was revealed as a clueless dolt. Even MSNBC and The New York Times won’t be able to put this Humpty Dumpty back together again.

(Not, for the record, that either of those outlets really tried. The Times wrote a bitter editorial wondering why Obama didn’t make several points to rebut Romney. MSNBC’s Chris Matthews asked, “Where was Obama tonight?”)

And yet, here’s Howie, gloating, “Not even Barack’s soulmate Jim Lehrer could save him.” Is he seriously going to complain that the moderator was in the tank for Obama on a night when the moderator basically sat back and let Romney have his way?

You have to wonder, why are these conservatives wasting column inch space taunting their least-favorite media outlets when they could be informing readers at greater length about their guy’s win? It’s a question we pretty much always have with the right-wing media outlets. Instead of acting as sideline media critics, whining about the state of the news industry and its perceived liberal slant, why don’t conservative journalists serve as a corrective by doing honest-to-God reporting from a conservative perspective? At least today, the right-wing media critics didn’t have much to criticize. It seems to have been nothing more than reflex.