I posted on my political blog about the shout heard around the nation last night.
Here’s the issue from a media angle: The Democrats were starting to turn on each other after a pretty ugly recess. Many were starting to pull away from a Public Options and there as some signs of splintering.
With two disrespectful words Joe Wilson shifted the focus from the actual debate about the bill, and colored the entire opposition as disrespectful jerks. So instead of talking about a major piece of legislation, we are talking about whether Wilson has apologized enough, or whether Republicans can engage in civil debate.
From a public relations standpoint, this was huge. From a public opinion standpoint it was bigger. With two words Wilson may have engendered more sympathy for the healthcare bill than anything the President said.
4 thoughts on “Joe Wilson’s Big Mistake”
I agree with on disrespectful and terribly timed. This will hardly change the health care debate. The only people who are concentrating on this is the ultra left. The losing argument the president has been fighting the last 2 months will not change because of two ill timed words. There is way to much at stake for sympathy to change opinions here. In a campaign you may be right but not with pushing legislation.
It’s not so much that the debate will change, but that the media will spend the next couple of days focused on this side issue. If logic and reason carried the day in public opinion we wouldn’t have Obama as a President. If public opinion, or rather the appearance of public opinion does not continue to put pressure on the Democrats, they will eventually pass this legislation in some form. They have the votes. Only the fear of not being re elected can stop them. That is a public opinion issue, in my mnd.
The media? The media ignored Van Jones… still had to resign. The media ignored ACORN…. still in deep trouble. The media ignored the 2 Trillion dollar inaccuracy (http://threeconservativebros.wordpress.com/2009/08/24/budget-deficit/)….. The media ignores everything detrimental to the president and it hasn’t helped at all in this debate or in his poll numbers.
This is the same media that were so in the tank for Obama that they ignored every possible negative thing about him. And what happened? We got Obama as president. The only reason the recess was trouble for Democrats was that “new” media and radio got enough information out so that the town hall meetings became a problem. The mainstream media couldn’t ignore them because the controversy was too juicy. As a result, the attention the media paid to the opposition continued to fuel the opposition from average, normally-apathetic people.
But town halls are over. Congress is in session. The Democrats can force this through. The mainstream media shapes a lot of people’s public opinion. And people are fickle.
Joe Wilson’s outburst distracted the people because the media shifted focus. Even local media is talking about it still. Maybe it will be gone by tomorrow. But the fact remains that the days immediately following the speech, the same old retread speech, the media was focused on Joe Wilson… not the issues. And since they are watched by millions of Americans, America was not focused on the issues.
The story should have been about how nothing new was said, about how there is no real plan here. Instead it as about backlash from a breach of protocol.
Yes the new media and radio can make enough noise to cause some waves (Van Jones, Acorn) but that’s small fry compared to the healthcare bill. Without consistent public pressure the Democrats will push this through. Joe Wilson’s outburst cost the opposition.
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