"So close to the ocean, yet I can't push them in"

It’s a classic Newt Gingrich campaign strategy: When all else fails, blame, taunt, tease or joke about the MSM. Today, Gingrich spokesman R.C. Hammond kept up the image of an anti-media campaign with a free tweet of unconcealed emotion and an accompanying picture (h/t Political Ticker).

Apparently, not even daily interaction is enough to render Gingrich staffers and the press corps close friends — unless, of course, they’re so close Hammond can tweet this to the infinite amusement of all involved.

Let’s go with the latter theory. Why? It might be momentarily satisfying to take a swipe at the MSM (I do it myself rather frequently), but it’s not lastingly productive.

I’m reminded of something I read just this morning in the anthology of conservative essays March of Freedom:

In fact, [Hayek] once wrote that he had “fallen … in love” with the Greek word katallattein after he discovered that it meant not only “to exchange,” but also “to admit into the community,” and “to change from enemy to friend.” He believed that exchange in the market — “by which we … induce the stranger to welcome and serve us” — should be called “the game of catallaxy.” This idea greatly attracted him, for he was convinced that the market is “a game which serves to elicit from each player the highest and [most] worthwhile contribution to the common pool …”

Conservatives ought always to recall that the true purpose of “the game of exchange” is catallaxy, to make friends of our enemies.

What relevance does this have to R.C. Hammond’s tweet? A campaign and its press corps are involved in an important exchange. The campaign provides information; the corps provides coverage. Campaign staffers have an unparalleled opportunity to “admit into the community” and “to change from enemy into friend” those members of the press of whom they once were wary — and to elicit fairer coverage as a result. That doesn’t mean a campaign has to expend endless resources on a losing investment, but they might want to at least make an investment initially and gauge the returns.

It is one thing to be aware of the biases of members of the media — mainstream or otherwise — and to take them into account in the evaluation of information. It’s another to write the MSM off as unreachable.

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