It's a topsy-turvy, upside-down political world out there for people who thought Barack Obama would be cruising at a 70 percent approval rating while crushing the Republicans like bugs. In fact, the opposite has happened. The Senate majority leader is in grave danger of involuntary retirement. Everyone in Washington concedes Nancy Pelosi is unlikely to bang the gavel in January.
So why in the world does the tone of news coverage suggest all kinds of political problems ... for conservatives, as if they were the collapsing majority in this campaign?
The media elites sound like they're resigned to the idea that a lot of Democrats are going to be unemployed in November. Their coverage seems designed now to stanch the bleeding, to devote their coverage to close races where they can bash conservative challengers in the hope of turning the tide there.
On the first Monday in October, ABC "Good Morning America" reporter Jonathan Karl was alarming the masses about Alaska Senate candidate Joe Miller, insisting he was at war with history and the mainstream of politics. "In an exclusive interview with ABC News, Alaska's Joe Miller talked about rolling back the power of the federal government further than Republicans have talked about for more than 70 years."
"Should the federal government be requiring a minimum wage?" Karl asked. Miller said no, that should be left to the states. But really: Is there any chance that the Senate in 2011 will repeal a federal minimum wage? ABC doesn't really care. They're trying to scare voters about conservative positions. Karl continued: "Miller and other tea party candidates also favor eliminating the Department of Education. Some want to pull the U.S. out of the U.N." Horrors. Are these likely to happen (as much as this writer would like)? It doesn't matter. Halloween's coming early.
Karl proceeded to announce it was somehow newsworthy that ABC had a supposedly damaging audio clip of Sharron Angle saying she can arrange a meeting with top Senate Republicans when she comes to Washington. That is "news" only if the reporter assumes she's an extremist who's political poison to every other Republican she touches.
Over on CBS News, Jeff Greenfield flagrantly offered tips to the Democrats, including this advice: "Convince the voters that this election is a choice, with ads that argue the Republicans are just too extreme." This was followed by an actual campaign ad: "Sharron Angle, and she's just too extreme." National news stories and local negative ads go hand in hand.