The Huffington Post’s coverage of the Republican primary race does no favors for the site’s left-of-center cause. It’s impossible to scan HuffPo’s front page without seeing provocative headlines about nefarious, obnoxious, or incompetent GOP contenders. But click on the stories and you’ll find precious little substance.
While it’s always nice to see dissension and chaos within these campaigns, sucking readers in with deceptive headlines is not only uncool, it’s counterproductive.
“Bachmann’s ex-NH staff: Campaign was rude, cruel,” crowed HuffPo after Michele Bachmann’s New Hampshire campaign team quit en masse. Had these Granite Staters shaken the blinkers off their faces and become Democrats? Of course not. What they’d said, in fact, was that Bachmann’s national campaign was “rude, unprofessional, dishonest, and at times cruel” to them and “abrasive, discourteous, and dismissive” of the state’s voters.
So the national campaign rubbed New Hampshire’s Bachmann boosters the wrong way and dissed the state’s citizen-Republicans. Big frickin’ deal. This is something lefties should get excited about?
As for Rick Perry, well, take your choice. Today banner headline, for example, screams “RICK STEPS IN IT” with the subhead “Perry Talks ‘Birther’ While Unveiling Economic Plan.” Barack Obama’s birth certificate, Perry revealed in an interview, is “a good issue to keep alive.” Why? “It’s fun to poke at him a little bit,” he told MSNBC. Of course it is—that’s politics. (As opposed to statesmanship, which none of these bozos could ever be accused of.) All Perry did here was accidentally let slip a bit of marketing strategy, the kind of stuff that’s supposed to stay behind the scenes. This is a big revelation? This is going to hurt Perry? In favor of his primary opponents? In favor of Obama? Give me a break.
Topping all this off is the headline “Santorum Caught Red-Handed.” Just what was the smooth-skinned former Senator nabbed doing—embezzling funds from the scrawny pension funds of suffering 99-percenters? Employing illegal immigrants on his genetically engineered soybean farm? No, this fascinating Huffington Post expose is about how the holy-rolling crusader was spotted watching a college football game instead of paying attention to Newt Gingrich—one of his opponents, no less—as the froggy former House Speaker addressed a frightening-sounding body called the Iowa Faith and Freedom Forum. For goodness’ sake. All Santorum did was have faith in his team, and the freedom, thanks to today’s tablet technology, to watch them play.
It’s all part of the game. But HuffPo ought to stop playing schoolyard games and try wallowing in reality for a change. There’s enough bad stuff there for plenty of boldface headlines.