Buzzfeed's McKay Coppins tells us all about how terrible Mitt Romney is for the clickin' culture:
The well-starched Republican's traffic poison has been felt this year at websites across the political spectrum — including at BuzzFeed — and it's left many editors, publishers, and bloggers yearning for the days of the unpredictable Sarah Palin, the maverick John McCain, and the Obama-Clinton blood feud. Bloggers and editors are left to decipher its causes — is it Romney's discipline, his blameless personal life, or the simple fact that his supporters are less likely to be trolling the web?"
Some of this is probably because Romney is old news; in a sense he's been running for president for five years," said Matt Lewis, a blogger at conservative news site The Daily Caller. Lewis, like other journalists interviewed, declined to share specific metrics. But he said he sees a noticeable drop-off in online engagement when he writes a post about Romney."He's also a middle-aged white guy, which is boring because it is so common in our history," he said.
And while he said he misses the days "when merely mentioning the name Sarah Palin would give you an automatic spike in both traffic and buzz," Lewis said Romney's traffic-killing persona could be good for him, politically."
I do think there is often an inverse relationship between running a serious and disciplined campaign, and generating a huge amount of online excitement," he said. "Being exciting and being serious aren't mutually exclusive, but only the truly great politicians seem to maximize both."
It seems that it's not enough to be the presumptive nominee of the wingnut party without that guy also being "buzzy."
REALLY? Buzzy? It's not buzzy that he's having a closed meeting with his billionaires this weekend? Check out the guest list at this self-described "very important meeting." It reads like Dubya's first inaugural celebration. It's not buzzy that his main source of attack ads -- Karl Rove -- is also a commentator at Fox News? It's not buzzy that he hasn't said anything of substance in his policy papers but instead publishes reconstituted Bush policy positions? That's not buzzy?
Hey, Mr. Matt Lewis. Here's a "buzzy" story or two for you. Why not follow up on Mitt Romney's passion for impersonating law enforcement officers? Or his payoffs to his BFF JW Marriott, Jr., purveyor of big campaign bucks? How about his "dancing horses" business? Or perhaps his blind trust that sees all? Are those stories buzzy enough for you?
Who says "buzzy" is the right metric anyway? Villagers, that's who. Last weekend pollster Scott Rasmussen was a panelist at the Koch-sponsored Right Online conference. His topic? "The Power of Polling: How Polling Data Directs Conversation and Wins Arguments." Remember now, that Very Serious Journalists on All Sides consider Rasmussen polls to be Very Serious Polls even if they do tend to tilt a bit rightward.
See, we don't need candidates anymore. We just need polling data to direct conversation and win arguments. The candidate is merely the vehicle through which the winner of the argument changes narratives. This is why Villagers insist on the Presidential horse race, where Mitt Romney is on his dressage horse dancing his way to 270 electors, one lie at a time.
Evidently, we don't need a press that tells the truth, either. Just one that finds "buzzy things" to publish online for the clicks. In their own words:
Another specific damper on traffic: The Drudge Report, the largest single source of traffic to the political web, rarely links stories critical of the Republican nominee.
What a surprise! Everyone pull out the 50-point headlines for that one: BREAKING: Drudge doesn't link to critical stories about right wingers!!!! Fox News should break into their latest self-flagellating Fast and Furious story for that tidbit.
Never fear, they have a plan:
In the absence of the potential for a First Woman President or a First Black President, is there any saving grace that could salvage the next four months for politics websites?
"This is perhaps one of the reasons we should all be rooting for Romney to pick someone like Marco Rubio for veep," said Lewis.
Yes, well. Sarah Palin drove clicks to your buzzy little websites paid for by your billionaires, Matt, and God knows you all flogged that for everything it was worth, but in the long run, she cost votes. Marco Rubio? Marco Rubio might have gotten himself elected Senator in Florida despite his smarmy corrupt ways, but it won't play nationally the way Lewis hopes it will. But then, he's not really interested in the health of the nation. He's just looking for that next "buzzy" thing. And clicks. Many, many clicks.
God bless Amercia.