Campaign Press Worse Than Random

As we finally near the end of the U.S. presidential race, Norman Solomon looks back (Creator’s Syndicate, 10/25/08) at “a year when the dominant media spin has been upended time after time” and analyzes “the latest twist of political storylines that have been rendered pretzel-like long ago”:

In a piece posted October 21 on the CNN website, Stuart Rothenberg and Nathan L. Gonzales note: “McCain’s nonexistent coattails run counter to the initial conventional wisdom that said his moderate style and crossover appeal would lift Republican candidates down ballot.”

And so, as the long-running media saga of Barack Obama versus John McCain enters its final days, it’s apparent that the news media expectations for the 2008 presidential race have been routinely far from prescient–so distant from prophetic, in fact, that media watchers might have done better to flip a coin after asking for predictions about future developments.

In fact, Solomon finds corporate coverage even worse than random, recalling “the days seven years ago when, in early autumn, the news media suddenly began comparing George W. Bush to Franklin D. Roosevelt in the immediate wake of 9/11” in support of his contention that “the current ‘unpopular Republican president’ and ‘unpopular Republican brand’ would have become even more unpopular sooner without the basic leanings of the news media.”

See FAIR’s magazine Extra!: “From Bozo to Churchill” (5-6/02) by Mark Crispin Miller