Tight. Highly contested. Neck and neck. Changing daily. Heated. We love to use exciting words to play up the political horse race of elections.
But what if it’s really not that exciting? Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibi proposes that actually, this presidential race is pretty hum drum, and it’s just the media trying to hype it up so they have something to cover that is adding any tension to it.
“The apathy factor in American presidential politics has seemingly never been higher,” writes Taibi. “As if to combat this, we’re getting stories now about how this election is closer than you’d think, how Obama is in for a ‘tight race‘ or a ‘fierce fight; with Romney, and how the Republican challenger is ‘closing in‘ to a ‘statistical dead heat.’They’re going to say this, and they may even have numbers to back it up, like this week’s Gallup poll showing Obama with just a two-point lead. But I think it’s a mirage.”
Is the rough and tumble, duking it out image the media presents different than what the candidates themselves are seeing in reality? It could be, which would explain the Obama reelection campaign’s calm attitude. “In a series of interviews with campaign officials in Chicago, it is clear that the entire re-elect operation likes its odds of winning a second term, reports Mark Halperin. “The informal slogan is essentially ‘Be confident, but take nothing for granted.’”
So is the media creating drama where there isn’t one? And if so, why? Perhaps its the hours and hours of daily coverage now required in order to keep the mass of cable news channels and talk radio stations flooded with content.
At what point do we stop and ask ourselves, is the news driving the media, or is the media driving the news?
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