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Monday, March 24, 2008

Media Still Favors Obama? Hardly.

(Editor's note: Today is part 1 of PPFA's first "mailbag," in which I will directly respond to reader emails and comments from the last few weeks. Part 2 will be tomorrow. All questions, comments, and personal attacks are accepted through the comment page at the end of each post as well as through the "Email" button on my profile.)

Reader comments and emails from the month of March:

Date: 3/6
Reader: Jay G
Re: Clinton winning big states
Comment/Question: So what about Clinton saying she won Ohio and Democrats need Ohio in November? Is she right?
PPFA Response: She's right in the sense that she did win Ohio and that Democrats probably need to carry Ohio in the general election, though I've crunched some realistic electoral math that show otherwise. However, the implication that she is the only Democrat that could win Ohio is erroneous.

She implies that a Democrat cannot win without winning women and rural areas. This is, of course, true. However, just because Barack Obama lost women to Hillary Clinton will not mean he will lose women to John McCain. Similarly, just because Clinton loses the black vote to Obama does not mean she will lose the black vote to McCain.

Ultimately, both Democratic candidates are depending on the base of their primary opponent to carry any swing-state. This is actually part of a much larger underlying question. Will the emotionally wounded loser of the Democratic Primary have an ego intact enough to genuinely and passionately rally their base in an attempt to bolster the chances of their vanquisher? By extension, will supporters of the Democratic loser be too bitter to show up on November 4th?

Date: 3/7
Reader: KindelRe: Florida and Michigan
Comment/Question: Could they redo their primaries and only award them half their delegates?
PPFA Response: Kindel made a great suggestion here, but it seems as if a re-do of their primary is out of the question. This would have solved a couple problems, still penalizing the states for defying the orders of their national party, but also giving them a voice at the convention.

However, it seems as if no re-votes will take place. Still, I fully expect Florida and Michigan to be seated, as explained in my "Fixing Florida and Michigan" column from March 7th. They will either split each delegation down the middle or allocate their delegates proportionally based on the national pledged delegates. That way, neither felonious state can impact the primary, but both will get the opportunity to be represented at the national convention.

Date: 3/11
Reader: DJ
Re: Big Primaries
Comment/Question: I thought that if she won Texas, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, she was going to win the nomination. You're saying no?PPFA Response: Perhaps you heard that somewhere else, but not here. I believed that heading into the March 4 primaries, the only way she could win was by winning all three states. Winning the three, however, did not necessarily mean that she would win. Besides, she ended up splitting Texas with Obama anyway, as she won the Texas Primary and he won the Texas Caucus. Ultimately, he actually came away with more total Texas delegates.

Date: 3/7
Reader: Karl
Re: Florida and Michigan Re-votes; Obama favoritism
Comment/Question: If Obama was the one who needed the states, they would revote.PPFA Response: This line of bitterness comes from one of many who believe that Powers That Be are trying to destroy Hillary Clinton. I beg to differ.

Typically, Powers That Be are influential insider bigwigs. In the case of a Democratic Primary, that means lobbyists and superdelegates, both solidly in the corner of Clinton, though her support from the ladder is waning as Obama wins states, the popular vote, and pledged delegates.. Most superdelegates favor Clinton, and continue to seek reasons to commit to her.

So the Powers That Be are not the insiders. Who else might they be?

Popular sentiment from the Clinton camp: The media has handed Obama the nomination. Indeed, one can make a case that the media favored Obama earlier in the primary process. The question is: Why? Let's not forget two crucial factors in their subconscious or 1% conscious effort to do so.
1) It's easy to cook when you have the right ingredients. Obama is likeable with a clear message of hope. Nothing is easier to play up.
2) They wanted a close race. Clinton was dominating the polls throughout 2007 and any sign that Obama could give her a race was played up by the media in order to cover a close contest.

In the last few weeks, however, there has been a palatable media swing to Clinton, enthusiasm about The Speech aside. For example, one of the two most media driven issues in the Democratic Primary are the possible re-votes. The media would not continue to talk about Florida and Michigan if they were truly biased towards Obama; they would not want the re-votes to take place. They know the re-votes would help Clinton and tighten the race, therefore the media continues to talk about them, despite the unlikelihood of them happening.

It is crazy to wager on Clinton to win the nomination at this point, but the media covers it as if it's still a toss up. She has no margin of error if she wants to come back. She would need every single break for the rest of the race to keep it close and nothing would please the media more. That's the point. They love a close race and they love a long race. It's why they favored Obama until - with their help - he made that huge push in February to begin to put Clinton away. Now they need to correct their bias with bias in the other direction. It's what basketball fans dub a "make-up call."


Part 2 of the mailbag is tomorrow, when I'll respond to a rather angry emailer who thought the media, including myself, overrated the Obama speech.

4 comments:

Andrew said...

I don't even think the media favored Obama at any point. Its just that he comes across much better on TV.

The Dude said...

Newest member of The Powers that Be: Sinbad.

Adam said...

Did you just say "...the media, including myself,..."?? I understand what you were saying but ...eww, doesn't it just make you feel dirty?

IC said...

Yeah, it stung a little

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