FauxPolitik

Friday, January 30, 2004

Keystone Konspirators? I've just finished reading a bit about the media's role in the Democratic nomination. Here's Ann Coulter:
At the behest of the Democratic Party establishment, the media dutifully destroyed Howard Dean, the legitimate leader of the opposition. Democratic voters are so obedient to the media, they followed their media puppet masters and instantly switched from Dean to John Kerry.
Now, Adam Wolfson:
Not since "Dewey Defeats Truman" has the press been so surprised (and so wrong) about a political race as last week in Iowa and this week in New Hampshire. For months and months the liberal press had been declaring Dean to be the Next Big Thing. He was their darling. Time, Newsweek, and National Journal all ran cover stories on him. The New York Times Magazine and countless newspapers wrote in-depth analyses of why Dean could not lose. He was called "invincible," and his nomination "inevitable." Yet as it happens, he was a total flop among real Democrats, coming in a distant third in the Iowa caucuses, and a disappointing second in New Hampshire. What gives?
What gives, indeed. Was Big Howard getting knobbed by the media or not? Wolfson says they were blindsided when "their" candidate lost. Annie says the very same media engineered Dean's fall.

I know we limp into this issue every few months, like some clockwork McLaughlin Group, but it needs airing again: the specter of Media Bias. The kind of stuff that Coulter and Wolfson are peddling is the kind of bias-mongering I can't stand. I agree (and have so stated) that the media leans liberal, sometimes heavily, and usually blindly, not by design. But in the case of the current primary race, I don't see much going on, other than a media continuing to push conventional wisdom. (And, as Jesse Walker says here, the CW isn't necessarily false or true. It's just easier than thinking.) In fact, the media has been . . . well . . . not objective, really. But debate moderators, for the most part, have resisted the urge to snicker between the words "Reverend" and "Sharpton." Moreover, if Dean was a media darling, it was the phenomenon they loved, not the man or, particularly, his politics. (For that matter, I'm not sure anyone in the media could figure out his politics, beyond his pretty transparent opposition to the war. Come to think of it, what the hell are his politics?) Whatever you think of him, Howard Dean brought eyes to newspapers, newsweeklies, and TV shows for the better part of a year. You always, in the national media, run with a story that's selling.

But conservatives have to stop pushing the "bias" point so hard. It dulls the issue by overuse. It's like the liberals and the race card. At some point, both sides are going to smugly throw down their killer card, only to find that trump has changed while they weren't listening.

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