The Media Shaped Primary

Erick Erickson
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Posted: Jan 15, 2016 12:01 AM
The Media Shaped Primary

We now know that there was no mechanical problem with the two U.S. Navy boats the Iranians captured. Our sailors were treated like prisoners while the American president refused to even acknowledge the incident in his State of the Union address. The Obama Administration claimed that Iran's quick release of our sailors was proof of a new and better relationship with the Iranians. Please pay no attention to the number of Americans being held in Iranian prisons for, among other things, reporting on Iran for American newspapers.

Were there a Republican in the White House, the American media would provide wall-to-wall coverage in an attempt to shame the President and his Defense Department. Instead, the media has begun picking winners and losers, just like Washington. We see that in this presidential campaign cycle.

Bernie Sanders is a man who once wrote rape fantasy fiction. He is a self-avowed socialist who laments Americans having so many choices in deodorant. He has been very pro-gun, but also very anti-capitalist. On twitter and in his public statements, Bernie Sanders has poured forth a hodgepodge medley of second grade level economics. The supply and demand curves are to Bernie Sanders conjoined boomerangs of no meaning.

A cursory review of the American media, as Bernie Sanders surges ahead of Hillary Clinton in several early states, would reveal none of this. The media has amped up its glowing coverage of Bernie Sanders while ignoring Hillary Clinton's growing scandals. The American press corps seems to have decided that for the sake of ratings, the Democrats need an exciting primary too.

On the Republican side, the press continues to push Donald Trump to the nomination. In prior years, most consultants would deny media coverage helps candidates surge and sustain them. But this year, most everyone is willing to admit the coverage of Trump, which was disproportionate before his polling surge, has only gone up. Not only do all the networks give Trump wall-to-wall coverage, they grant him entitlements other candidates have never been given. He can call in on a phone without ever having to go in studio.

For six months, as Texas Senator Ted Cruz has gone up in polling, the media all but ignored him. Several studies showed Cruz was getting less attention than Jeb Bush, Carly Fiorina and Chris Christie, all of whom were polling far less than Cruz. But now that Cruz is eating into Donald Trump's lead, suddenly the media cannot stop talking about Ted Cruz, and it is all negative.

The American media has decided Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump should be the front runners, and the press corps is ignoring damaging stories while playing up positive stories, cutting the candidates breaks, and shaping coverage to harm anyone who comes close in order to keep the races close.

Conservatives should be concerned. The media has only given cursory coverage to Donald Trump's prior positions, business deals, and his personal life. Should Trump get the nomination, conservatives and the Republican Party will find themselves under a constant barrage of savage attacks from the American press. Before it is over, the Republican Party will be begging for a concurrent colonoscopy and root canal as less painful than the mass media exploration of Donald Trump's record.

As more and more Americans have tuned out from actively paying attention to the political process, the media has begun to excel at shaping stories for passive consumers. Narratives come before facts and reporting. Facts that harm the narrative are either ignored or explained away.

Once the media has sufficiently built up a hero, the press corps immediately begins tearing that hero down. Their bias is always against the right, so the hero Donald Trump in primary 2016 will become the villain Donald Trump for the general election. Conservatives smirking, thinking Trump will find away around it, should consider the number of low information voters who will go vote after months of passive listening to a news media that knows who it wants to win and who it wants to lose.