By Mario Trujillo - 03/29/14 09:02 AM EDT
Republicans and Democrats are engaged in a new round of blaming the media that is likely to intensify as the election comes closer.
According to Senate Democrats, reporters are too focused on ObamaCare.
According to Washington Republicans, they’re not focused enough on Democratic corruption at the state level.
A day later, Republican National Committee communications director Sean Spicer turned his fire on the media, which he said was ignoring stories about Democratic state lawmakers recently charged with corruption.
If it was Republicans caught in corruption, Spicer said his phone would be ringing off the hook.
"Believe me, if all of these officials were Republican the RNC would be asked to comment on each one and whether the party would be able to recover – how this would affect 2016, the impact it would have on fundraising, etc, etc," he said before providing the number to the Democratic National Committee's office.
Prodding the press is nothing new.
Politicians and press secretaries routinely and often push back on journalists to try to influence future reporting, in the same way athletes "work the refs" to get a desired call.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie gave a master's course in the practice of badgering the press during a long news conference on Friday in which he repeatedly confronted reporters on an individual basis.
But it’s a little unusual to see both sides start the game this early in the election year. The midterms remain more than seven months away, but with little attention being given to lawmaking, the focus is almost exclusively on gaining an advantage in November.
The technique will likely become more comment as the midterm elections roll closer and Republicans try to slice into the six-seat majority Democrats hold in the Senate.
Schumer said the media’s focus on ObamaCare isn’t matched by the public’s.
“I know the media is just focused on ObamaCare but that’s not what the public’s focused on. You look at all the surveys, ObamaCare comes out sixth, seventh, eighth,” he said.
It’s true that the healthcare law isn’t named as the most important issue by a majority of voters, but it’s hardly sixth or seventh.
In a Gallup poll earlier this month, 11 percent of people named healthcare as the most important problem facing the country. That trailed behind unemployment, government dissatisfaction and the economy in general.
Spicer argued that if Republicans were involved in the kinds of state corruption that has captured several Democrats, the headline in mainstream newspapers across the country would be “"Republicans in freefall amid bribery scandal."
Yet many of the Democrats in trouble are hardly household names for most people.
He specifically referenced Charlotte Mayor Patrick Cannon (D), who resigned Wednesday after his arrest for allegedly accepting bribes from undercover FBI agents; and California state Sen. Leland Yee (D), a candidate for secretary of state, who was arrested Wednesday on charges of corruption and conspiracy to illegally deal guns.
A number of prominent Democratic lawmakers in the state, including Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, have called on him to resign.