Although its provenance is in question, everyone knows the adage, “Timing is everything.” Everyone, that is, except Republicans on Capitol Hill. GOP House leaders appear to be operating in a vacuum with little sense of how to read the room. This week’s news events confirmed this suspicion when they had some real news to offer regarding the testimony of IRS whistleblowers – but botched it by letting the information fly on the same day as the announcement that the Titan submarine imploded in the depths of the ocean next to the wreck of the R.M.S. Titanic.
New York Post columnist Miranda Devine even implied the White House timed the announcement to compete with the media attention that would force news outlets to report on the sub and bury the House Ways and Means Committee news. “The Biden administration knew the Titan submarine imploded Sunday,” she tweeted. “But waited until today to make it public. Convenient smokescreen for today’s House Ways & Means release of IRS whistleblower testimony of DOJ sabotage of the Hunter Biden investigation.”
The loss of the Titan with five souls aboard is just the type of news story that captures the public’s attention. Hope and pathos came to a head on Thursday, June 22, when the wreckage debris was finally located. It’s doubtful – as Devine alleges – that the Biden administration made sure the news would be broadcast the same day as the whistleblowers. But she can be forgiven for the conspiracy theory because the GOP’s poor timing has become a pattern. What is more likely is Republicans in the House have become tone-deaf and unable to maneuver the media as deftly as the Democrats.
On the one hand, the House Ways and Means Committee had 168 pages of damning testimony regarding, in their words, “an unequal application of the law.” On the other was the story of the five people who lost their lives in a high-end tourist accident. Which should lead the news?
Perhaps ‘should’ is the wrong word because anyone who has ever worked in a newsroom is familiar with the phrase, “If it bleeds, it leads.” So it should have come as no surprise that even on Fox’s premier nightly news program, Special Report, the submarine tragedy sucked up the first 11 minutes of airtime before they got to the whistleblower story.
The legacy media often intentionally ignores GOP-led news, but here is a case of the Republicans making it easy for them to deep-six the story. It’s as if the House schedule is set in concrete, and damn the torpedoes, they will not let anything get in its way. But by being so inflexible, they are shooting themselves in the foot. Worse still, this Republican rigidity appears to be a pattern.
Republicans Set in Stone
On May 10, the House Oversight Committee revealed “new evidence in [the] Biden family’s influence peddling,” to quote their own headline. There were maps and charts, bank records, and more outlined by committee chair James Comer (R-KY). It was big news.
However, let’s take a moment to look back at the news cycle. We can identify another front-page story: A Manhattan jury found former President Trump liable in a sex defamation lawsuit. E. Jean Carroll was awarded $5 million in the case. Guess which headlined the news of that week – the bank records or the sex story? That’s a rhetorical question.
It’s mind-boggling that Republicans on the Hill haven’t figured out how to garner the media’s attention. They are being outplayed by the Democrats or, at the very least, are not paying attention to the world beyond the Beltway. But that’s the milieu of the voting public, and The GOP had better find out soon that they must step out of the ivory tower and find a way to grab the media’s attention, or else be permanently relegated to the back burner.
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