Accuracy in Media

Salem radio commentator Hugh Hewitt has become a media darling for his “expert” opinions, as he lectures Republicans on how to handle not only the media but the issues. However, Hewitt is the same commentator who had flatly predicted a big Mitt Romney win. On October 22, 2012, Hewitt announced, “Romney’s momentum will continue unbroken, and his demeanor and especially his poise will be the takeaway for any undecideds that are left…Romney won the debates decisively, which means he will win on November 6. Some things are simple, and this is one of them.”

Hewitt, known as Hugh Blewit, failed to understand that President Obama had organized “the strongest grassroots organization in the history of American presidential politics,” in the words of Jeremy Bird, the National Field Director of Obama for America. This was a network comprised of more than two million volunteers, backed by neighborhood political teams and 2,700 field organizers. They carried the day.

We noted at the time that Republican strategist Karl Rove was raising $300 million for television ads depicting Republican candidate Mitt Romney as a would-be efficient manager of the U.S economy. Rove had advised Republicans not to call Obama a socialist, believing that undecided, moderate or left-leaning voters would jump to Obama’s side if that charge were leveled against him. This was a terrible miscalculation. It meant that a significant percentage of conservative voters didn’t think Romney was up to the task of identifying and rolling back Obama-style Marxism. They didn’t turn out for Romney. They also gave up on the Republican establishment, a continuing wave of outrage and discontent that accounts for outsiders moving to the top of the field of Republicans contending for the GOP 2016 presidential nomination.

But the establishment is back, in the form of such personalities as Karl Rove, a Fox News contributor, and Hugh Hewitt.

A moderator during the recent Republican debate broadcast by CNN, Hewitt engaged in back-and-forth with candidate Donald Trump over a Trump interview on Hewitt’s Salem network radio show. Trump complained that Hewitt was playing gotcha with trick questions about Arab personalities and names in the Middle East. Hewitt has made it clear he doesn’t like Trump’s style and approach.

Now that candidate Ben Carson is under fire by the media for offering his opinion that a Muslim who believes in Sharia should not be president, Hewitt has gone back on CNN to take issue with Carson and offer his advice. On Tuesday he told CNN’s Carol Costello that Carson is a rookie who has to work on getting his message right.

Confirming his role as a gatekeeper, Jim Geraghty of National Review says that Republican candidates are “attempting to showcase their interest in Hewitt’s priorities.” Similarly, Politico says Hewitt “has captured the ears of the GOP and earned the trust of virtually all of its biggest names.” But why? As proven by his faulty prediction in 2012, it seems he is too tied up in the establishment Republican Party view to understand the progressive wave that is not only still strong in the U.S., but around the world. Despite how things may look on the Democratic side right now, these forces are strong and believe that history is on their side.

In terms of their most recent gains, consider that the socialists have solidified their control of Greece, anti-American socialist Jeremy Corbyn has been elected the head of the Labor Party in Britain, and socialists seem poised to win the Canadian national elections on October 19. Even if the New Democratic Party (NDP) doesn’t win nationally, the left-wing party has already taken control of Alberta, the oil-rich and most conservative part of the country.

Here, avowed socialist Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is strongly challenging Hillary Clinton for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination. He draws huge crowds—most of them young people—and attracts people in the New Age movement who believe in bizarre things like a federal Department of Peace. This may sound strange, but the movement has tens of millions of followers who forecast a new Aquarian Age, apparently to be led by Sanders and the leader of a new global religion.

Having misjudged one presidential contest, it would be nice if the public were reminded of the details surrounding Hewitt’s prediction of a Romney victory in 2012. His blog at the time had proclaimed, “Why Romney Wins: the Economy is Tanking.” It is easier to pontificate than actually examine what is happening out in the country, as I recently did when covering a Sanders for President rally. The surge for socialism is real and has taken hold among those being “educated” at our public universities. No wonder Sanders wants to give them free college, a maneuver that could guarantee the Democrats millions of votes.

In a 2012 column entitled “Mittmentum Builds,” Hewitt seemed to have New Age powers of clairvoyance, saying that “He who surges last surges best in a presidential campaign, and it appears that Romney has indeed caught the last big wave.” He said that an “amazing” Romney speech in Wisconsin “is the sort of performance that flows from a candidate who knows he is winning.”

Let’s remember that Republican Mitt Romney lost an easily winnable election. He got only 48 percent of the vote, just two points more than Senator John McCain’s (R-AZ) total in 2008.

Candidates get scorched for making perceived mistakes, in response to trick or gotcha questions, but commentators are rarely held accountable for their errors. Let’s take a look back at some other predictions from the 2012 election, as reflected in headlines or actual quotations:

  • Karl Rove’s Prediction: Mitt Romney wins 285 electoral votes to President Obama’s 253.
  • George Will Predicts 321-217 Romney Romp.
  • Larry Kudlow (CNBC) predicts Romney Landslide. “A huge victory for a principled Romney.”
  • Ann Coulter confident of Romney victory.
  • Why Glenn (Beck) thinks Romney will have a decisive victory on Tuesday.
  • Dick Morris: Romney will win popular vote by 5 or 10 points.
  • Charles Krauthammer: It will be very close but Romney will win the presidency.
  • Landslide (win for Romney): Limbaugh predicts 2012 election.
  • (Michael) Barone predicts Romney wins handily.
  • Fred Barnes in The Weekly Standard: “Why Romney Will Win.”
  • Jonah Goldberg: “I think Romney wins in an absolute nailbiter.”
  • Matt Vespa at Red State: “My Prediction: Romney Wins Comfortably.”
  • Edward Morrissey (Hot Air): “Joe Biden Can’t Save Obama.”
  • James Pethokoukis (American Enterprise Institute): “…Mitt Romney will be elected the 45th President of the United States, winning the two-party popular vote 51% to 49% and the electoral vote by 301 to 237 for President Obama.”

Commentators get things wrong, and that doesn’t disqualify them from continuing to hold their jobs and make predictions. But getting a presidential contest wrong, without analyzing why it happened and whether the progressives are still outsmarting the Republicans, is a recipe for another disaster.

The headline over that October 22, 2012 Hugh Hewitt column was, “Romney Wins Again, And Left Gets It Wrong—Again.” The left was not only “right,” but is as strong as ever. Today, they have the pope on their side.

Republicans listen to and follow a Pied Piper like Hewitt at their own risk.

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  • HillbillieNurse

    Obama didn’t have “the strongest grassroots organization…” He had multiple counties in multiple states with more voters than actual citizens but none had the balls to challenge him.

  • Taurnil Oronar

    Rove is a pox, a scourge and deceiver. His “record” with Republican candidates in my view exposes him as nothing more than a Democrat.

  • Did ANY conservative pundits predict an Obama victory????

    The above-named losers explain why the grass roots is disgusted and done with them. Trump may not be a choirboy, he’s tapped into what’s on America’s mind.

  • Steven Barrett

    All those conservative experts in the punditocracy will have some company from the port side of the DC dock’d “Barque o’ Bullshit” when all the leftist pundits who flat out predicted Hillary Clinton’s inevitable win over Bernie Sanders and other Democrats (who haven’t created nearly as much a following) next winter. Turns out that Sanders is beating Mrs. Inevitable in both key early states Iowa and NH. And the more info about Mrs. Inevitable’s email troubles keeps dribbling out … even before she faces her “come to Jesus” meeting with Cong. Trey Gowdy, (R-SC) … a former prosecutor next month, most likely the old(er) names of Biden, Kerry and sigh, who knows AlGore, will keep popping up.
    Obama won because he built a wide grassroots organization that bested Mrs. Inevitable in her first “formal run” for what she thought then was her’s by right back in ’08. Sanders is beating Clinton hands over fists due to his careful, quiet and steady buildup of statewide organizations across the country. But the DC punditocracy, despite having seen what happens when smarter politicians with their ears kept closer to the sidewalks, get the jump on the “inevitable” DC-picked wannabe kingmaker-breakers … hell, they can’t even learn a damn thign from their own self-generated disaster scripts from previous elections. They’re like the British generals who badly misled their troops off to the Crimea only to see them slaughtered because they kept sticking to their battle plans forumated against Bonaparte. Old brains never get the picture. And nothing was older than Rove’s brains on display when he had his near stroke or “big one” when the results from the Ohio precincts came in and he was mortified to learn he hadn’t fixed the damn election like he was expected to, thus his “creds” became damaged goods. Guys like him are loads no self-respecting politician in either party can afford. The GOP is fast on a self-destructive streak of pitting every damn demographic, religious and whoknowwhatother group they can find to go after each other and letting The Donald play the combined roles of Shakespeare’s three witches in MacBeth. Inasmuch as Walker’s exit was sudden and quite messy for his innermost circle, perhaps he saw something nobody else has seen, the real nature of Trump and what he’s been able to manipulate to a deeply darker scenario that even Walker, the arrogant union-busting, anti-public sector, anti-public higher education govnha, had to say he couldn’t support more of and got out. Well, don’t count on the Right’s punditocracy to figure this out because they’re still mired in their DC-mindset “perspective.” Keep up that “perspective,” guys. LOL, keep it up.

  • Tuxedo_Plowboy

    The 2012 election was most likely stolen through voter fraud, corrupted voting machines, and illegal votes. we have that to face in 2016 also. The question is, can and will anything be done about it this time. We now have illegals getting drivers licenses and being allowed to register to vote while applying. This is insane.

  • Douglas Mayfield

    As long as the Republican leadership consists of cowardly semi-socialist RINOs, the Republicans will continue to lose the Presidential election.

    Both McCain and Romney wasted hundreds of millions of dollars, hundreds of thousands of man hours of effort, while they themselves tried to ‘out smile’ Obama. (That is impossible since Obama is the master of the lying, gulling smile.)

    Not once did they criticize Obama or his socialist poison. If Republicans continue in the same fashion which Rove and Hewitt seem to favor, to repeat, they will lose again.

  • Maria-Erlinda Martinez

    To learn the paradigm for grassroots-conservatives (i.e., conservatives who prefer action –lawful and peaceful, of course– to just posturing and armchair conservatism) go to

    There out there more than 90 million non-leftist Americans of voting age whom the Left can’t penetrate, for they, although oblivious to politics- are of traditionalist instincts. A whopping 40 million of them are Evangelicals. Every one of us have in one’s personal social circle one’s “quota” of those 90 million; they are among our relatives, coworkers, neighbors, fellow church members, sports and hobby pals, etc.Those are the ones whom we grassroots conservatives MUST bring on OUR side to 1- In this 2016 electoral cycle, vote for the largest number of GENUINE grassroots-conservative candidates and issues; and, 2- The very day after the 2016 elections, start the creation of the Grassroots-Conservative Party of America with those we garner from within the 90 million.

    If you support any of the two moves above, do your part recruiting those in your quote, and asking others do the same.

    Remember, our target are those in the 90 million who do NOT vote. Don’t waste time in the ones who already vote; they are already “talked for”, either by the Democrat Party or the Republican Party. Leave it to the DNC and the RNC haggle over them..

  • John Cunningham

    Hewiit would have been right if 3 to 4 million registered Republicans didn’t refuse to vote because they thought Mitt Romney was Conservative enough.
    He wasn’t my choice either but Barack Obama had to go and now in his second term he is turning this Country on it’s ear.

    The Rolling Stones song lyric You can’t always get what you want, you get you get what you need. If Romney had been elected in 2012, America would look a lot different today. I used to vote for the best candidate but, I no longer can vote Democrat. They murder newborns and all who need to go to Hell.

    Grass Roots? You betcha! My newspaper to day talked about SEIU recruiting illegal immigrants here in Florida to get citizenship. They tell these immigrants the Republican Party is their enemy and they need to become citizens so they vote for Democrats.

    That is just exactly what the brown shirts did in Germany in 1931. When Hitler won the _resident and later become Chancellor, one of the first things he did was outlaw Unions and he also purged the brown shirts and had their leader murdered. Is this a parallel? If it is, I expect Barack Obama will become the head of the United Nations after his term as President. Scary ain’t it?

  • BillWestern

    Its Hugh’s smart guy glasses that mesmerize the low IQ voters. He’s just part of the money making racket that is called the “punditocracy”. Making stuff up and getting paid for it. I get better political insights at the Club Tap where I tip a few after work before going home to the shrew I married in a moment of weakness 23 years ago. Except now they’ve announced the plant is closing, job is moving to Uruguay or Vietnam or some place. Whatever. SSDI here I come.

  • frankelee

    Hehehe, Obama won, not because of a great ground game, though it was great, but because more Americans wanted him to be President than not.