Political junkies get excited about the Republican and Democratic national conventions, but for many Americans they provide a stark reminder of how out of touch our political system has become. The strange rituals and bad jokes seem oddly out of place in the 21st century, almost as strange as seeing an engineer use a slide rule rather than an iPad to perform some complex calculation.

While partisan activists tune in when their team's big show is on the air, most unaffiliated voters view the conventions as a waste of time and money. For the past week or so, everyone I know in the political world has been talking about the latest convention buzz. But I live far from Washington, and most people I talk to aren't wrapped up in politics. Among that group, the most common response to mentioning the convention was something along the lines of, "Oh, yeah, I forgot that was going on now."



“I’m frankly, fed up, with the one-sided bias,” a frustrated Newt Gingrich asserted on Sunday’s Meet the Press, citing two blatant examples. First: “Where is the outrage over overt, deliberate racism” in Vice President Joe Biden telling a black audience “if the Republicans win you will be ‘in chains’”?

Second, President Obama “voted three times to protect the right of doctors to kill babies who came out of abortion still alive. That plank says tax-paid abortion at any moment, meaning partial birth abortion -- that’s a 20 percent issue,” a position which Democrats “couldn’t defend...for a day if it was made clear and as vivid as all the effort is made to paint Republicans.”



For sheer arrogance and self-importance, it's pretty hard to top a pair of political pundits at Politico on the power they  believe media "insiders" have to tell Americans what Mitt Romney really said and meant in his nomination acceptance speech at the Republican convention Thursday night.

I daresay that most Americans, almost six years after the web site's founding (January 23, 2007, according to Wikipedia), don't even know what the Politico is ("Oh, is that the new bar downtown?"). But by gosh, Jim VandeHei and John F. Harris, in an "analysis" updated early Friday morning, clearly believe that a couple hundred of their colleagues in the media (possibly including themselves), also largely unknown, will be able to take control of Americans' perceptions of Romney's presentation -- and, ultimately, of his campaign (bolds are mine):



To welcome guests to the Republican National Convention, the Media Research Center placed a "Don't Believe the Liberal Media" billboard outside the Tampa airport last week.

On HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher, the host aired a video by Alexandra Pelosi which included a shot of this billboard (video follows with commentary):



After Yahoo's Washington bureau chief was fired Wednesday for saying the Romneys are "happy to have a party with black people drowning," you would think media members would be more careful accusing Republicans of racism.

Apparently not, for on PBS's Inside Washington Friday, Colby King, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post columnist, actually said Republicans "always have African-Americans on the [convention] podium. Either it’s somebody singing 'God Bless America,' or praying, you know, before or after" (video follows with transcript and commentary, file photo):



Near the end of his Wednesday night speech at the Republican National Convention, vice-presidential nominee Paul Ryan told his audience and the nation that "sometimes, even presidents need reminding, that our rights come from nature and God, not from government."

John Hayward at Human Events noted that MSNBC's Touré Neblett did not handle Ryan's self-evident assertion very well. In fact, Thursday morning, Toure went into a bit of a tirade:



Just hours after a producer for deranged MSNBC host Chris Matthews was accused of physically assaulting Republicans outside the party’s national convention last night, Matthews himself has admitted to verbally confronting several GOP delegates at a restaurant in Tampa, Florida calling them a “douchebag convention.”

According to The Hill newspaper, the perpetually angry liberal television host confronted the delegates early Friday morning following taunting questions they asked about whether he felt “thrilled” following GOP nominee Mitt Romney’s acceptance speech.



This afternoon, NB's Kyle Drennen did a great job of runnng down the pathetic contention by establishment press "fact-checkers" that vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan somehow lied or misled viewers during his speech Wednesday night concerning the closure of the General Motors plant in Janesville, Wisconsin and what presidential candidate Barack Obama said at the plant in 2008.

No, WaPoNew York Times, and the Associated Press (called out by Ed Morrissey at Hot Air), the plant didn't close before Obama was elected; it closed in April 2009. But since we're on the topic of lies about auto plant shutdowns, let's look at one from late April and early May 2009 told by President Barack Obama himself with the assistance of his car czars and other apparatchiks. I blogged about this in mid-May 2009. My full post, which also appeared at NewsBusters, includes noting non-existent national press coverage (only the Cleveland Plain Dealer's Stephen Koff and other local reporters in the towns affected raised their voices). 



White House reporter Jackie Calmes talked to Obama campaign strategist David Axelrod for a strong hit of Republican Convention bashing in her Friday New York Times story "Obama Team Sharpens Attacks on Rivals' Character." Calmes cited liberal media analysis to bolster her contention that even "independent fact-checkers" think the Republicans are lying.

As the Obama campaign heads into its convention next week, Democrats see openings both to fill in unpopular details of Mitt Romney’s agenda left unsaid by Republicans in Tampa this week and to raise new questions about Mr. Romney’s character after widespread criticism of misstatements by him and his running mate, Paul D. Ryan.



Immediately after Paul Ryan concluded his acceptance speech for the Republican Party's vice presidential nomination on Wednesday, the media sought ways to tear down the Wisconsin Congressman's indictment of the failures of the Obama administration. In particular, networks and newspapers attempted to knock down Ryan's accurate claim that President Obama promised to keep open a GM plant that closed in 2009.    

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and PolitiFact quickly labeled Ryan's criticism as "false," claiming Obama made no such promise and that the plant closed before he took office. But as The Examiner's Conn Carroll detailed on Thursday, that supposed "fact check" was false:

 



The latest entry in the media's obsession with picayune and partisan "fact-checking" of the Republican National Convention: New York Times reporter Michael Cooper's Friday "Check Point," "Facts Take a Beating In Acceptance Speeches." The original web headline was ridiculously partisan for a news story: "Ryan's Speech Contained a Litany of Falsehoods."

Representative Paul D. Ryan used his convention speech on Wednesday to fault President Obama for failing to act on a deficit-reduction plan that he himself had helped kill. He chided Democrats for seeking $716 billion in Medicare cuts that he too had sought. And he lamented the nation’s credit rating -- which was downgraded after a debt-ceiling standoff that he and other House Republicans helped instigate.



As the presidential campaign season has moved along, veteran Democratic strategist-turned MSNBC host Chris Matthews has become increasingly vocal in expressing his hatred for Republicans and adoration for President Barack Obama. That tension must be rubbing off on his staff members since one of them, a producer, is now accused of assaulting two men at the Republican National Convention last night over taunts they made to Matthews.

The alleged incident began after two men, presumably supporters of GOP nominee Mitt Romney, began heckling the deranged MSNBC anchor about his now famous remark (first exposed by NewsBusters) that listening to an Obama speech gave him a "thrill going up my leg."