Mitt Romney is using a tried-and-true technique to curry favor with conservatives and unite the Republican base behind him: Attack the media.
"There will be an effort by the, quote, 'vast left-wing conspiracy' to work together to put out their message and to attack me," the Republican presidential front-runner told conservative commentator Larry O'Connor on Brietbart News last night. And he condemned the mainstream media for being a central part of this effort. "They're going to do everything they can to divert from the message people care about, which is a growing economy that creates more jobs and rising incomes," Romney said.
He added: "Many in the media are inclined to do the president's bidding and I know that's an uphill battle we fight with the media generally." His reference to the vast left-wing conspiracy seemed to be a mischievous attempt to echo then-first lady Hillary Clinton's complaint in 1998 that a "vast right-wing conspiracy" was trying to destroy her husband Bill Clinton's presidency.
Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, is considered the presumptive GOP nominee, but he is still having trouble persuading activists and voters on the right that he is a true conservative who will stick to his guns. Few techniques work better at motivating strong conservatives than reminding them of how much they resent the "mainstream media" and what they consider its liberal bias.
The tactic worked for former House Speaker Newt Gingrich during the GOP presidential debates earlier this year, as Gingrich often attacked the media. Former Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska didn't get into the presidential race but she remains popular on the right in part because she derides the "lamestream media."