Perry Could Be Perfect Storm for News Business

by , Aug 29, 2011, 4:48 PM
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There's not much TV news likes more than a major weather event. The visuals are hard to beat, constant uncertainty leads to intensity in the reporting and the ratings spike.

Hurricanes are ideal. Blizzards work pretty well, too.

But, if this coming winter doesn't offer much in the way of bad weather, Texas Gov. Rick Perry could be the perfect storm for the news business. A percolating argument holds that Perry's outspokenness and coarse commentary make him un-presidential and will turn voters off as he runs for the White House and tries to capture the Republican nomination.

But, he's defying conventional wisdom by performing well in the polls, while harboring some of the tendencies that have traditionally been the province of fringe candidates.

Fortunately for cable and other news operations, Perry is showing no signs of changing tone. His comments that if Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke prints more money, that might amount to treason and the kind of behavior that could get a person in trouble in Texas met with considerable criticism for going too far.

No matter. Over the weekend, he had the government going Bernie Madoff with Social Security.

"It is a Ponzi scheme for these young people," he reportedly said. "The idea that they're working and paying into Social Security today, that the current program is going to be there for them, is a lie. It is a monstrous lie on this generation, and we can't do that to them."

If Perry starts to rack up primary and caucus wins in the winter that could force a challenger like Mitt Romney to step up the negative campaigning (good for the news business) or prompt Perry to tone down his rhetoric to try to appeal to more moderate voters (bad).

There's no evidence so far the latter fits him.

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