The media’s backlash against Paul Ryan and the factually unsound premises of his Wednesday convention speech continued well into Thursday, and turned what the GOP hoped would be glowing headlines into a less lustrous mix of fawning and criticism.
“There are some things that I think were factually questionable,” said Fox News anchor Chris Wallace on Thursday, adding himself to the list of unexpected journalists to question the accuracy of the would-be vice president’s arguments.
Time magazine’s Mark Halperin added on MSNBC that “there’s lots of substantive flaws to what he talked about.”
Wallace and Halperin — along with many other reporters and punditss — also hailed Ryan as an effective speaker who rallied the Republican crowd with his fierce attacks on President Obama. But their criticisms of his substance threaten to undermine Ryan’s reputation as an honest broker, which has been central to his rise as the Republican Party’s intellectual standard bearer.
That perception faces a test as more and more news anchors question Ryan’s facts. It’s a departure from traditional reporters’ tendency to praise Ryan as an earnest budget hawk — one further reflected in the Associated Press, Boston Globe, Washington Post, CNN, ABC News and other outlets.
The Romney campaign is simultaneously under media scrutiny for attacks on Obama’s tweaks to welfare reform, Medicare and his views about entrepreneurship — attacks that have widely been dismissed as false or taken out of context.
Earlier this week the Romney campaign — encouraged by conservative advocates — brushed off critics. Romney pollster Neil Newhouse famously said in Tampa, “We’re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact checkers.”
Sahil Kapur is a congressional reporter for TPM. He previously covered politics and public policy for numerous publications including The Guardian and The Huffington Post. He can be reached at sahil [at] talkingpointsmemo.com.