Mitt Romney misses ‘presence of editors’ in new media

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The GOP presidential front-runner, speaking to reporters and editors at the Newspaper Association of America conference on Wednesday, described what he called “striking” changes in the journalism industry since his last White House bid in 2008.

“Then, I looked to Drudge or Fox or CNN online to see what stories were developing,” he said. “Now it’s Twitter, and instantaneous reaction. In 2008, the coverage was about what I said in my speech. These days, it’s about what brand of jeans I am wearing and what I ate for lunch.”

To be fair, Romney has tweeted in the past from his official account about his breakfast choices. Elsewhere, the cut of his jeans has been the subject of comparison with President Obama.


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“Most people in my position are convinced that you are biased against us," Romney continued. That could be a reference to his rival Rick Santorum, who has been very vocal in his opinion that outlets popular with conservatives, such as Fox News and the aggregation site Drudge Report — about which Romney seemed more positive — are biased against him in the race.

“Some people thus welcome the tumult in your industry, heralding the new voices and the unfiltered or supposedly unbiased sources," he said. "Frankly, in some of the new media, I find myself missing the presence of editors to exercise quality control.”

He also got in a dig at newspapers that run stories based on anonymous sources. “I miss the days of two or more sources for a story — when at least one source was actually named,” he said. "How your industry will change, I cannot predict. ... But I do know this: You will continue to find ways to provide the American people with reliable information that is vital to our lives and to our nation. And I am confident that the press will remain free."

Romney's campaign has been at the forefront of the Republican presidential field in their use of new-media tools such as Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest and Spotify.