Producer Was Amazed Historian Thought Romney Would Win -- Then Later Asked If He Would Discuss How Debates Don't Matter

British journalist and historian Tim Stanley is a conservative expert on American politics. He blogged at the Telegraph (U.K.) website that the liberal media lost in the first debate, suffering a "humiliation for an industry that has spent several years setting Obama up as the wisest, most eloquent, most popular politician since FDR."

Stanley found that American media bookers fully expected Obama to dominate Romney, and were amazed with his bizarre theory that Romney would win. Then when Romney won, they called to ask if he would talk about how debates don't matter! He wrote:

In the last couple of days, I’ve done a lot of interviews talking about the debate. A conversation with one producer was illustrative of Romney’s battle against poor media expectations. He called just before the debate and said, “So, I guess Obama’s going to win easily tonight. Do you want to come on and talk about it?” I replied that I’d love to but that Romney was actually the stronger debater and I’d be tipping him to win. “Really?” Yes. “Well, that is a surprise. I’m not sure people will buy it, but if you want to say that – it's up to you.”

The day after the debate he rang again. I was expecting him to say, “Hey, you were right! Can you come on to talk about how Romney won?” Instead, he said, “Can you come to talk about how debates don’t really matter?” I sighed deeply.

We can only guess who the producer was, but let's at least note that Stanley appeared Tuesday with Brooke Baldwin on CNN. He went against the grain of Obama-will-win in his interview:

STANLEY: It's very interesting that they're trying to spin things that way. And my theory is that they're worried that because of the president's reputation as a fantastic speaker, and he is a very good speaker, that the audience will be tuning in expecting to see Obama win. And if Romney just holds his own, if he just lands a few punches, then the audience might actually think that Romney won. So I suspect Team Obama is trying to lower expectations, trying to say these debates don't matter precisely because they're worried that Mitt Romney will do a good job.

Baldwin noted that he also felt the no-applause format would help Romney:

STANLEY: I think it has to do with personality types. I have a lot of sympathy with Mitt on this because I'm also an uptight rich guy. And when you come from a certain background, you're not used to dealing with big crowds, you're not used to being populist and, you know, throwing your weight around rhetorically, but you can absolutely flourish in things like job interviews and silent one on one style debates. And I think there's something about Mitt Romney,that he's very, very good at analyzing details, at being critical, of jabbing and landing punches. And if the debate is silent, which it will be, if the audience can't participate and it's Romney versus Obama, no holds barred, then I think this guy's kind of corporate analytical background could serve him very, very well.

Tim Graham's picture