What issues are most important to voters this presidential election year? If you said the economy, jobs and the budget deficit, congratulations, you are like the rest of America. But if you said gay marriage, birth control and pranks Mitt Romney pulled in high school in 1965, then you either already are, or may have a future in the liberal media.
The Labor Department reports that 367,000 more Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week. That is still about 100,000 more than prerecession levels. Economists lowered their economic growth projection for 2012 from an already stagnant 2.2 percent to an anemic 1.5 percent. Gallup reported one-in-three young U.S. workers is underemployed. The federal budget deficit is at an all-time high. Americans are fleeing the workforce in record numbers. And if Congress and Obama do nothing, we will all be hit with a job-killing $494 billion tax hike on New Year's Day.
So what is the liberal media covering this week? Gay marriage. In fact, not only are they covering it, they created the story. Obama's flip-flop on the issue was forced after NBC News popped the question to Vice President Joe Biden on Sunday. On Monday, NBC News followed up by trapping Education Secretary Arne Duncan with the same question. By Tuesday, the White House press corps would not let Obama spokesman Jay Carney talk about anything but gay marriage. And on Wednesday, it was the only subject being covered by the elite media.
On Thursday, the Washington Post chimed in with a 5,000-word hit piece accusing Romney of being a bully in high school. Except that story didn't even make their print edition because it was pre-empted by ... gay marriage, of course!
Do Americans care about any of this? Not according to the Pew Research Center. They presented Americans with a list of 18 issues and asked them to identify which ones were important to their vote. The top three? The economy, jobs and the budget deficit. The least important issue of the 18? Gay marriage.
If voters decide the 2012 election based on Obama's economic record, he will lose. And so the liberal media, as in love with him as ever, is helping him parade shiny objects to distract voters from that record. The wall-to-wall coverage of Obama's sudden evolution in his personal position on same-sex marriage follows in the tradition of the Republican War on Women; the Buffett Rule; tax breaks for private jets; Romney's supposed soft-spot for Osama bin Laden; a student loan bill that would save the average borrower all of $7 per month; and endless 30-year-old stories about Romney's dog.
If he wishes to be president, Romney must not take the bait. This is not the ground he should fight on. He should keep talking about the economy and other issues that actually affect Americans' lives. Eventually, they will hear him through all this sound and fury.