After weeks of salivating over a hoped-for defeat, the national media have been hard pressed to acknowledge Kris Kobach’s victory in the Kansas Republican primary.
The conservative media watchdog site, Newsbusters, summarized media coverage thusly, “Networks Ignore Conservative Kansas Win, After Bashing Him Week Before.”
As Newsbusters’ Kristine Marsh notes, all three morning shows failed to mention Kobach’s win. Instead, they “hailed the ‘historic’ Democrat wins, touting the first transgender candidate for governor in Vermont, and a Muslim woman candidate for Congress in Minnesota.”
Last week, as Marsh points out, the networks were pleased to talk about Kobach. ABC’s Jon Karl described Kobach as “controversial candidate Kris Kobach, a hard-right, staunchly anti-immigration candidate.” According to Marsh, “Karl also insisted that Kobach wouldn’t win the election and that Republicans didn’t support him, suggesting it was because of his support for Trump.”
Over on CBS, the announcer in-studio called Kobach a “hard right conservative.” The field reporter agreed, adding that Kobach held “incredibly conservative positions on immigration.”
USA Today ungraciously headlined its story on Kobach’s victory, “Republicans have a Kobach problem and, like Trump, it’s not going away soon.”
According to the USA Today, “The Kansas secretary of state is a regular John the Baptist of flim-flam. He’s the original Javert of voter fraud and such a forerunner on feeding animus against immigrants that he was down on them them before it was cool.”
One could forgive the article’s author its cartoonish spite if the author were someone other than a Kansas City Star editorialist. Melinda Henneberger has been in Kansas City only for a year or two, but she has been here long enough to offer her readers something better than an echo chamber caricature.
To imagine that Trump is a “problem” for Republicans is to have slept through the last two years. Hennenberger may have done just that. A source told Politico that Henneberger was “disengaged” and “constantly absent” before being dumped by Roll Call just two years ago.
In its Web reporting on the victory, CNN was surprisingly balanced. Unlike many in the media, CNN’s Eric Bradner did not suggest Kobach’s relationship with President Trump was a liability, noting that in Kansas “Trump won by 21 percentage points.” That’s a lot of points.
The fact that Trump’s approval rating among those Kansas voters is extremely high should inspire those Democrats who are allegedly “gleeful” about Kobach’s victory to reexamine their glee.