Saturday, October 23, 2004

A strange disconnect 

MSNBC - Campaigns tangle over who can keep Americans safer
I guess Bush has decided that a secret trip to Afghanistan wasn't going to do it for him -- earlier this week, bloggers were commenting on Bush's announced intention to "take Saturday off" and speculating that something was up because no campaign, 10 days before the election, would take a day off.
Personally, I thought Bush likely intended a quick trip to Kabul for photos with the newly-elected president and the American troops there. I guess they decided it was either too dangerous, or would just highlight the Taliban resurgence -- better to let the media continue not reporting on THAT story.
One noticeable aspect of this campaign is the disconnect between what the media are reporting and what is actually happening. The national US media stories focus almost exclusively on what they can see in a quick web scan -- dueling speech quotes, meaningless and contradictory national polls, and a few gonzo stories about Kerry carrying his duck. Their 'reporting' consists of constantly interviewing other reporters, rather than talking to real people like, say, actual voters or civic leaders or 911 widows or former governors or scientists or diplomats or military commanders (and I note in passing how many of these real people have declared their support for Kerry.) Oh, and they also treat campaign ads as breaking news.
What they are not reporting is what is actually happening:
- tens of thousands of people are turning out for Kerry's speeches while Bush and Cheney continue to speak to small hand-picked audiences
- Bush STILL needs to shore up his base while Kerry can take his base for granted and can reach out now to conservative voters (witness the duck hunt). The GOP spun the media coverage of the puppies ad into another Reagan comparison, but it only highlights how clumsily Bush is trying to play the fear card.
- momentum is building as the battleground states turn decisively for Kerry. Kerry is winning the newspaper endorsement battle. His domestic policies, particularly on health care, are so clearly superior to anything the GOP can offer that Bush isn't even talking about them anymore.
- the Nader factor is disappearing as a negative for Kerry. When I saw Nader on Countdown last week, I thought he was delusional in talking about how conservative republicans would be voting for him instead of Bush, but apparently some polls are now backing this up.
- and forget about those mythical millions of evangelicals who supposedly did not vote last time. They live in Alabama and Texas anyway, where Bush doesn't need them. The democrats have registered millions and millions of their own new voters in the battleground states and are determined to get them to the polls.
The GOP knows all this, which is why their focus now is on hindering the voting itself. Why doesn't the national media?

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