One of the strangest comments post- Iowa straw poll came from reporter Kelly O’Donnell on NBC Nightly News (8/14/11):
Both Pawlenty’s exit and Perry’s launch consumed political oxygen that typically would have gone to the straw poll’s actual winner, Congresswoman Bachmann, who appeared on all five Sunday morning talk shows, including Meet the Press.
I’m having trouble imagining how someone could put those two thoughts together. Bachmann was merely on five national TV shows Sunday morning. That’s being overshadowed?
If that’s oxygen deprivation, one has to wonder what you’d call the media treatment of Ron Paul, who finished one percentage point behind Bachmann, despite being treated as a non-candidate by the national media. Politico‘s Roger Simon (8/15/11), argued that you can’t say the straw poll means almost nothing and that Bachmann’s victory makes her a top-tier candidate:
Straw polls are just organized bribery, with the campaigns buying the tickets and distributing them to supporters. (And, in fact, this is what I wrote before Ames.)
What they really show, many argue, is not where the philosophical heart of the party is, but the organizational abilities of the candidates.
Fine, I’ll buy that. But why didn’t Paul get the same credit for his organizational abilities as Bachmann did for hers?
He points out that last time around finishing second was treated as a victory:
Four years ago, Mike Huckabee came in a bad second to Romney, losing by 13.4 percentage points. Huckabee managed to spin that into a victory at Ames and became a media darling.
But Paul almost wins the thing and he remains poison.
Simon’s conclusion, though, is disappointing. GOP operatives and officials were responsible for determining the winners/losers storyline:
So don’t blame the media. Here are Republicans, presumably Republican operatives, who said if one candidate wins, the contest is significant, but if another wins the contest is not credible.
That doesn’t add up. Reporters don’t have to take their marching orders from party operatives.
But if you want the definitive take-down of the corporate media’s Paul-blocking top-tierism watch this segment from the Daily Show: