Politico targeted Herman Cain in an almost unprecedented fashion, turning its homepage into all Herman Cain all the time for about two weeks.
Politico can move and shape a story because of its high traffic (reportedly 60 million page views a month and 8-10 million “unique visitors”), and its relationships with traditional mainstream media.
Now Politico has moved on to Newt, with this headline and image on the homepage this morning:
This is not a one-off. Politico has become as obsessed with Newt as it was with Cain. The difference is that when it came to Cain Politico was purporting to pursue a news story.
During the past week Politico has run a handful of straight up news stories about Newt (e.g., New Hampshire Union Leader endorses Gingrich), but that has been the exception not the rule. Mostly Politico has run opinion or news analysis pieces which give Politico the ability to shape an image of Newt.
A clear theme is emerging at Politico: Good Newt versus Bad Newt, the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde candidate. It is a theme right out of the Romney camp playbook.
Politico pulls off the feat of portraying Newt as both an unelectable hardcore conservative and a RINO who should not appeal to hardcore conservatives.
Here are some Politico opinion and news analysis articles this week in which Newt’s name was in the headline or a problem with Newt was the focus. The headlines are particularly important because the headline is what readers see first, and often is the only thing that readers see:
- Bad Newt’s Coming Back
- The return of Bad Newt
- Pete King questions former House colleague Newt’s ‘discipline’
- Will Newt’s immigration stance fly?
- Gingrich recycles Romney energy plan
- Gingrich needles Mitt, says he won’t needle Mitt
- Newt’s chosen successor fundraising for him in DC
- Newt’s 2006 paper: ‘Zero tolerance for amnesty’
- Newt, influence broker
- Same health plan, different candidate
- Romney engages Gingrich: Lifelong Washington man
- In ’07, Newt suggested he was a National Greatness conservative
- Newt’s past still present?
- Who is the real RINO?
- 1989 Newt, the pro-Rockefeller GOPer
- A warning to ‘Good Newt’
That’s just one week, and most of the stories were in the past 3-4 days. I’m sure it’s just coincidence.