One of the reasons Janet Napolitano has a comfortable approval rating is because she doesn’t have to defend herself or her failings – not as long as she has her media lapdogs available to do it for her.
This became glaringly apparent at our press conference on crime last week. Rather than covering a news story, several reporters set themselves up as defenders of the Napolitano-Goddard record on crime, and then wrote stories reflecting their own bias. The supposedly objective members of the press could not have been any more committed to Napolitano’s talking points and spin than if they were on her payroll.
This trend continues with today’s lead editorial in The Arizona Republic. A newspaper that did not see fit to cover our press conference, now takes half a page to blast us for something we did not do.
The editorial says:
“It is one matter for political candidates to attack incumbents on issues of law and order … Debating crime trends – and the records of sitting politicians regarding those trends – is political fair game, certainly.”
Guess what? That is exactly what Bill Montgomery and I did last week. We stood up at a press conference and challenged the record of Janet and Terry on law and order issues, and pointed out that Arizona has had the worst crime rate in the nation the entire time they have been in office. And we described our background with law enforcement and some of our specific ideas to make a difference.
But the editorial also says this:
“… the sudden burst of opportunism from political aspirants … linking the spate of despicable shootings and sexual attacks in Phoenix to the presumed priorities of officeholders is well beyond the limits of decency.” And also: “That which is not fair game – indeed, that which is contemptible in its outlandish callousness – is to suggest that one officeholder or another should be held personally responsible for a sudden, brutal spate of serial murders and rapes …”.
On several occasions at the press conference I was goaded by reporters to do exactly that, and I refused. In fact, I said explicitly in response to whether I thought Janet Napolitano was responsible for the serial murders and rapes – “No, you cannot tie any particular crime spree to a particular officeholder.” I simply noted that our worst crime rate in the nation was not getting much attention from our Governor, our Attorney General, and the media until this crime spree began to happen.
The media wanted me to blame Janet Napolitano for the serial murders so that they could attack me for doing so. I did not fall for the bait. So they attacked me anyway, accusing me of doing what I specifically declined to do, and following the talking points laid out for them last week by Janet Napolitano’s campaign team.
As I said, it’s easy to have high approval ratings when the media adopts your campaign talking points for you. Once we have a chance to debate these issues and speak directly to the people – without the liberal media filter – we will see where the people of Arizona stand.