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Morning Jay: Bain Capital and Media Bias

6:00 AM, Jul 16, 2012 • By JAY COST
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All of this is why the Romney campaign must tread very carefully with the Bain attacks. Because the media is looking to advance the storyline the Obama campaign desires, a direct response is going to be counter-productive. It only feeds the beast for that much longer, as the media will then lustily cover the "controversy" between the two sides. 

That's not to say these attacks cannot or should not be countered. It's just of question of how and when that should happen. Romney should not try to plead his case to the media, in the hopes that it will be a fair judge of who is right and who is wrong. It will not be. Instead, the best approach is to use his own resources to get his own message out. For what it's worth, I think that is precisely what Team Romney is up to. It plans to use the GOP convention as its launching point -- not to rebut Obama's attacks item by item, but to tell Romney's story in his own terms. Then, through the general election campaign, the argument will be: Obama has failed and Romney's background proves he can do better. 

Is Romney's timing on this questionable? Perhaps, but there has been no movement in the head-to-head polls -- either nationwide or in the crucial battlegrounds of Florida, Ohio, and Virginia, where Obama has been spending all that money. Why should Romney deviate from his strategy if Obama's attacks are having no ostensible effect?

Whatever Romney does, he cannot take the media's bait on this. Despite how effective establishment journalists are at utilizing a neutral news frame, they are not neutral. They are looking to keep this story on the front page as long as possible, and if Romney tries to respond directly to the charges, he is playing right into their -- and Obama's -- hands.

Jay Cost is a staff writer for THE WEEKLY STANDARD and the author of Spoiled Rotten: How the Politics of Patronage Corrupted the Once Noble Democratic Party and Now Threatens the American Republic, available now wherever books are sold.

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