Sunday, August 31, 2008

Obama Outwits the Bloviators
Frank Rich

But was this a surprise? Hardly. No major Obama speech — each breathlessly hyped in advance as do-or-die and as the “the most important of his career” — has been a disaster; most have been triples or home runs, if not grand slams. What is most surprising is how astonished the press still is at each Groundhog Day’s replay of the identical outcome. Indeed, the disconnect between the reality of this campaign and how it is perceived and presented by the mainstream media is now a major part of the year’s story. The press dysfunction is itself a window into the unstable dynamics of Election 2008.

At the Democratic convention, as during primary season, almost every oversold plotline was wrong. Those Hillary dead-enders — played on TV by a fringe posse of women roaming Denver in search of camera time — would re-enact Chicago 1968. With Hillary’s tacit approval, the roll call would devolve into a classic Democratic civil war. Sulky Bill would wreak havoc once center stage.

On TV, each of these hot-air balloons was inflated nonstop right up to the moment they were punctured by reality, at which point the assembled bloviators once more expressed shock, shock at the unexpected denouement. They hadn’t been so surprised since they discovered that Obama was not too black to get white votes, not too white to win black votes, and not too inexperienced to thwart the inevitable triumph of the incomparably well-organized and well-financed Clinton machine.

His campaign, unlike TV’s fantasists, knew the simple truth. The New York Times/CBS News poll conducted on the eve of the convention found that the Democrats were no more divided than the G.O.P: In both parties, 79 percent of voters supported their respective nominees. The simultaneous Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll also found that 79 percent of Democrats support Obama — which, as Amy Walter of National Journal alone noticed, is slightly higher than either John Kerry and Al Gore fared on that same question (77 percent) in that same poll just before their conventions.

The main reason McCain knuckled under to the religious right by picking Palin is that he actually believes there’s a large army of embittered Hillary loyalists who will vote for a hard-line conservative simply because she’s a woman. That’s what happens when you listen to the TV news echo chamber. Not only is the whole premise ludicrous, but it is every bit as sexist as the crude joke McCain notoriously told about Janet Reno, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton.
The Obama campaign has long been on board those digital locomotives. Its ability to tell its story under the radar of the mainstream press in part accounts for why the Obama surge has been so often underestimated. Even now we’re uncertain of its size. The extraordinary TV viewership for Obama on Thursday night, larger than the Olympics opening ceremony, this year’s Oscars or any “American Idol” finale, may only be a count of the horses. The Obama campaign’s full reach online — for viewers as well as fund-raising and organizational networking — remains unknown.
The 'media' is owned by gazillionaires. Gazillionaires love tax cuts. The media has a massive right wing bias.

Connect 'the dot', people. Stop being stupid.


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