The Fading Bachmann ‘Momentum’

It seems like just yesterday that Michele Bachmann was in the “top tier,” thanks to her narrow victory in the mostly meaningless Iowa straw poll. She had “momentum.” Then came this week’s debate and, well, things are looking different. As the Washington Post described the scene at the debate:

Meanwhile, any momentum that Rep. Michele Bachmann (Minn.), who won the Iowa straw poll in August, may have had from that victory has been extinguished by Perry.

The debates have been a forum in which Bachmann has shone, but she was sidelined on Wednesday night.

She was not asked a question until 14 minutes into the debate, and during an exchange on healthcare, she shouted for a chance to speak–only to be told that it was Huntsman’s turn.

This should serve as a reminder that “momentum” in electoral politics is basically just how much attention media decide to grant a given candidate. Then when the press decide to pay less attention to your candidacy, they can observe that they had no choice–you lost your “momentum.”

About Peter Hart

Activism Director and and Co-producer of CounterSpinPeter Hart is the activism director at FAIR. He writes for FAIR's magazine Extra! and is also a co-host and producer of FAIR's syndicated radio show CounterSpin. He is the author of The Oh Really? Factor: Unspinning Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly (Seven Stories Press, 2003). Hart has been interviewed by a number of media outlets, including NBC Nightly News, Fox News Channel's O'Reilly Factor, the Los Angeles Times, Newsday and the Associated Press. He has also appeared on Showtime and in the movie Outfoxed. Follow Peter on Twitter at @peterfhart.