Wednesday, November 10, 2004

That Giant Sucking Sound

That phrase made famous by Ross Perot is back. This time, though, it can be applied to the SCLM as they jockey to be the biggest toady to the emboldened Bush 2.0.

The press’s timidity toward the Bush White House is nothing new, and for the trend to continue after his victory is not that surprising. But it was hard not to be slightly taken aback while watching CNN’s “Wolf Blitzer Reports” on Nov. 4, when it aired a segment about Bush’s controversial call to privatize portions of Social Security savings. Only two experts were interviewed on camera — one from the conservative American Enterprise Institute and one from the very conservative Heritage Foundation. Both enthusiastically supported Bush’s unprecedented plan to move some retirement money into private investment funds.

And the press’s now familiar deference toward Bush was on display in the New York Times over the weekend in a news story addressing a confirmed string of serious election mishaps in the crucial state of Ohio. “The way the vote was conducted there, election law specialists say, exposed a number of weak spots in the nation’s election system,” the Times reported. Yet before stating that fact, in its very first sentence, the Times article made the blunt assessment that “voters in Ohio delivered a second term to President Bush by a decisive margin” (emphasis added). Bush won Ohio by 2 percent. In fact, of the 30 states Bush carried last week, only two were won by slimmer margins than that in Ohio — Iowa and New Mexico, which Bush won by 1 percent. Yet the Times, in an article documenting the shortcomings in Ohio’s voting process, seemed to go out of its way to suggest, erroneously, that the too-close-to-call state voted for Bush by a “decisive margin.” [Salon.com]

I suppose it’s only natural for the press to suck up to the current power structure and in doing so embellish the results of the election so that their reaction doesn’t come across as being so craven. But if the election had turned the other way, do you think that Kerry winning Ohio by 2% would be considered “decisive”? I think not. The press would more than likely be talking about his “razor-thin win” and how hamstrung a Kerry administration would be thanks to the narrowness of the victory.