Closer than it really is…

Michael Grunwald’s Time article about McCain spends most of its time discussing the long odds against the Arizona senator in the 2008 presidential election. His last paragraph really resonated with me, however:

That doesn’t mean that anything’s probable. The media will try to preserve the illusion of a toss-up; you’ll keep seeing “Obama Leads, But Voters Have Concerns” headlines. But when Democrats are winning blood-red congressional districts in Mississippi and Louisiana, when the Republican president is down to 28 percent, when the economy is tanking and world affairs keep breaking Obama’s way, it shouldn’t be heresy to recognize that McCain needs an improbable series of breaks. Analysts get paid to analyze, and cable news has airtime to fill, so pundits have an incentive to make politics seem complicated. In the end, though, it’s usually pretty simple. Everyone seems to agree that 2008 is a change election. Which of these guys looks like change?

This explains almost exactly (though not entirely) how I feel about the media’s approach to this election cycle. Could it really be a close race? Maybe. But if it wasn’t you’d hardly know. Remember when it was practically fact that Obama had knocked Clinton out of the primary race, but the media still clung to every last vote as if there was some chance Hillary would find a way?

I think Grunwald’s right – unless there’s some dramatic mistake or world event or who knows what else, this election looks pretty locked up for the junior senator from Illinois. But a done-deal doesn’t make for good ratings or page views or sales of those dreadfully partisan books (from both sides) you see in the center tables at Barnes and Noble during election season.
(via Gruber)

4 thoughts on “Closer than it really is…

  1. “In the end, though, it’s usually pretty simple. Everyone seems to agree that 2008 is a change election. Which of these guys looks like change?”[Had you left that part out of the quote, I would have no issues with this post. But you didn’t, so I feel like I should respond.] Mom always told me it was smart to judge a book by its cover. I know you and I are likely on different sides of the spectrum here, but come on Dan. I expect far more from you. You are way too thoughtful and insightful to post something like that.I’ll agree that this is a “change election”. What are we changing from/to though. Despite what the media is trying to say, BOTH candidates offer a huge change from the conservative policies of Bush the last 8 years. If that is the “change” people want, either choice is a good one. However, if people want change from “politics as usual”, I think there is only one candidate to consider, and it isn’t the one with the rhetoric of change, it is the one with a history of it. There is a reason McCain isn’t liked by conservatives and republicans… he is the “maverick” that has opposed Bush and the republican masses more often than not. He is the closest thing I’ve seen in a long time of a candidate who votes his conscious, regardless of what his party thinks. That is change from politics.That is the one sort of “change” that Barak can’t even begin to compare on either. On the rare occassions he actually votes (something other than “present”), he never breaks with the dems. He is a politician, not a leader.

  2. @chriswho:I think you misunderstand my intention in posting the quote, especially in the context of the rest of the post itself.1. I certainly don’t think Obama represents change. The way he’s morphed his own positions to stay on everybody’s collective good side is evidence enough of that (Oh, and McCain has done the same thing).2. I included the entire paragraph for completeness of the quote – and my statement immediately following the quote makes pretty clear that my point is hardly about politics so much as the media’s treatment of a presidential election.I continue to support neither of the major candidates. Just because I think one is more likely to win doesn’t mean I support him.

  3. @lizbit: Not yet…but I’m sure we could chat about it sometime in the near future.And I don’t want to sound dismissive, but that’s not what this post was even about. I want to try to keep the focus of this post on the media’s mishandling of political events as a whole. Not for the right wing or left wing – but for their own capital gain.

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