During a report on Wednesday's NBC Today about an upcoming Netflix documentary of Mitt Romney's two presidential runs, New York Times reporter Ashley Parker scratched her head over the footage taken by filmmaker Greg Whiteley: "One of the big questions is, why could this 90-minute documentary by a filmmaker convey a personal, human, warm side of Mitt Romney that his team of very high-paid strategists could not?" [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Perhaps the reason lies in the way Parker and her media colleagues constantly portrayed Romney as being out-of-touch with voters. In one article after another during the 2012 campaign, Parker described Romney as being stuck in a "defensive" posture on every political issue he discussed.
In the Today report, White House correspondent Peter Alexander declared: "It's a rare and intimate look at the man who could have been president. The new documentary Mitt capturing a candidate most people never saw." How many "never saw" that side of Romney because of slanted press coverage?
As the Media Research Center documented in 2012, the media routinely hyped every Romney misstep as a major gaffe while using partisan fact-checking to undermine his campaign message. At the same time, topics damaging to President Obama -- like the bad economy or the Benghazi terrorist attack -- were routinely minimized.
In an interview with Whiteley following Alexander's Wednesday report, co-host Savannah Guthrie wondered why the documentary didn't focus more on Romney's gaffes: "We see sort of a personal -- a much more personal side of Mitt Romney. The film doesn't get into things like the 47% remark and some of these issues that were political issues in the campaign. Was that by design or was that a function of the kind of access that you got?"
Whiteley explained: "Well, I felt like my strategy in making the film was just show up and shut up and just film. I asked him about 47%, he just didn't give me an answer that he hadn't already given 100 other times to reporters. And that wasn't really the strength of my footage....I didn't want to just rehash stuff that people already had rehashed. The strength of my footage was just these very candid personal family moments..."
At the end of the segment, Guthrie teased a live interview with Romney on Friday's Today.