Friday, September 10, 2004

PRE-SPINNING THE POST-ELECTION SPIN


ABC News' "The Note" this morning stakes a beach head for the parameters of discourse for the post-election pundit-o-crats (and also provides an incisive self-critique of the political media--with all the credibility of George Soros arguing for capital controls):

...if nothing changes in the race as it now stands — with President Bush winning a decent-sized victory — much of the talk will be about the greater technical proficiency of the Bush-Cheney effort.

In fact, even if Kerry wins, there will be much talk about the discipline, focus, success, and, yes, shamelessness of the BC04RNC team:

Avoiding a nomination challenge; merciless distribution of message of the day; deflection of any serious discussion of the war in Iraq, health care, jobs, or the tax burden; installing a White House press secretary willing to use the podium for political purposes but not respond directly to any hard questions; making the race not about the incumbent's record but the challenger's, all the while claiming to want to focus on "the future"; and the wielding of national security as the ultimate political trump card.

For the Democrats in Cambridge (under a Kerry loss scenario), the talk will be about August, reliving the Dukakis nightmare, and the press' inability to live up to the shared claim about the historic "importance" of the election.

For the journalists there, questions will be raised about the ease with which the establishment media was led around by the nose by the Internet, cable, and paid media that was just above the video-press-release level.

Some preliminary conclusions, sure to be part of the IOP discussion:

1. As long as political reporters — rather than reporters who cover health care, economics, and military affairs — dominate election coverage, there will always be more emphasis on narrative that implicitly celebrates tactical cleverness and bare-knuckles ruthlessness over narrative that celebrates ideas.

2. Serious scrutiny of four-year plans for deficit reduction, Iraq, homeland security, etc., were crowded out by coverage of polls, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Bob Shrum.

3. Neither candidate was made to answer detailed questions about his plans (We particularly look forward to reporters who got pre-convention Bush interviews recounting how about a third of their allotted time was taken up by a presidential speech!).

1 Comments:

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