Watchdog Blog

Gilbert Cranberg: Inexplicable Journalism in Des Moines

Posted at 6:25 pm, September 15th, 2011
Gilbert Cranberg Mug

Texas Gov. Rick Perry is at risk of having his presidential campaign derailed because of far-out remarks about Social Security – a “Ponzi scheme,” “a failure,” “a monstrous lie.”

In June 2010 Iowa Republicans outdid Perry and called for scrapping not only Social Security but also Medicare and Medicaid. The Iowa GOP declared: “We believe with the eminent (sic) failure of Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, Republicans should take any and all necessary actions to abolish these programs, over time, and replace them with private solutions.”

For good measure, the party added that claims “of human caused global warming are based on fraudulent, inaccurate information” and, among a host of other reactionary positions, demanded abolition of the minimum wage and the Internal Revenue Service.

A funny thing happened to the party on its way to capturing the White House for the GOP: absolutely nothing. Unlike the storm that greeted Perry’s musings on Social Security, the Iowa party that plays a crucial role in the caucuses that helps select the party’s presidential nominee, experienced no backlash at all. The reason: the newspaper whose coverage Iowa supposedly depends upon, the Des Moines Register, decided in a fit of journalistic incompetence, that nothing the party said in its platform was newsworthy. The paper initially failed to report that the party even adopted a platform, let alone inform readers of any of its contents.

Now that Social Security has become Topic A among politicians and promises to be on everyone’s lips during the general election, it will be interesting to see how the Register explains to readers how it happened to overlook the Iowa GOP’s provocative positions on the country’s three main pillars of social policy.

Nor are Iowa readers the only ones owed an explanation. Iowa plays an outsized part in presidential politics by virtue of the skillful way it maneuvers to be first in line during the parade of caucuses and primaries in the presidential nominating process. Being first shouldn’t matter, but because the press makes such a big deal out of the first caucus, it matters a great deal. It would matter much less if the press and public realized that the GOP caucuses have come to be dominated by small numbers of right-wing zealots in no way representative of the Iowa electorate.

(Editor’s note: We couldn’t find the Iowa GOP platform online but we did find some items from it.)

(Second Editor’s note: Several helpful Iowans showed the way to the GOP platform. Click here for it.)

2 Responses to “Inexplicable Journalism in Des Moines”

  1. Grover Lover says:

    The whole platform can be viewed here:

    In skimming, I noted they oppose the “bullying law.” Appropriate, I suppose, since they seem to be the biggest bullies around.

  2. Brotherdoc says:

    Wow–reading this GOP platform is amazing. In the introductory material one would think the Constitution as written in 1787 had never been altered, that a Civil War has never been fought. In fact they call for repeal of the 13th and much of the 14th Amendments. The American people need to know about this kind of stuff. Are other state GOPer platforms this radically to the right? I must admit I have never read a state one, only local ones, which rarely go into this kind of detail. Many people think these documents are just eyewash anyway but more and more, we see these things coming to fruition across the country. Abolish the Department of Agriculture? The IRS? Their own state Dept. of Natural Resources? I know the GOPers want to turn the clock back to McKinley but the D of A was established during the Lincoln administration!

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