Wednesday, June 11, 2014

A lazy media once again misses how politics has changed

Today the media pundits are tripping over themselves to tell us what Cantor's primary defeat means for the future of national politics. But one word of caution about listening to their prognostications: these are the very same people who never saw this one coming. At some point we have to question their predictive capacities. Unless/until they are willing to do a little self-examination to uncover why they were so wrong, we should take their current machinations with one HUGE grain of salt.

I've been hesitant to say this outright, but I think one of the biggest reasons they get so much wrong is that too many of these pundits are lazy. Its much easier (and more conducive to lucrative linkbait) to simply run with the latest hysteria craze created by the right wingnuts. Over the last few years we've watched them become consumed with everything from presidential birth certificates to literally buying wingnut lies about an American POW before we have the facts. When it comes time for an election, they are quick to point out that American voters STILL say that job creation is their number one concern. And yet they spend all their time running after fake scandals....because its easy.

Its also easy to spend countless hours talking/writing about the perceived inadequacies of the current occupant of the White House. While they wring their hands about whether or not his unfavorables will impact the future of the Democratic Party, they are quick to dismiss the civil war brewing in the Republican Party once a couple of establishment candidates fended off primary challenges from tea partiers. What?! You mean we have to also cover 535 members of Congress? That's too much work!

There are HUGE tectonic shifts happening in our politics these days. Some of them were highlighted in this Cantor/Brat race - such as the diminishing role of money in politics (apparently Cantor outspent Brat 25:1 and still lost). Grassroots movements are gaining momentum on both the left and the right as people organize and inform themselves in ways that aren't tied to traditional media outlets. That's actually how a mostly unknown Senator Barack Obama surprised everyone with his defeat of the Democratic establishment candidate Hillary Clinton back in 2008.

And yet most of our media and pundit class haven't altered their assumptions about how our politics works these days. They're still using the old models that rely on money and top-down control. To understand what is happening and provide some value-added in their political prognostications, these folks are going to have to get off their asses and out of the D.C. bubble with a big dose of curiosity about what the hell is happening out here. Until they do that, they'll continue to get a lot of things wrong and wind up surprised by the likes of everyone from Brat to Obama.


  1. "lazy" is a nice way of saying "don't actually much care if they get shit right or not", but yah.

  2. Two words explain it. Open primary. Everybody Democrat and Republican was sick of Cantor's crap

  3. Get out of DC? Alexandria isn't that far from DC proper. For some it might just be walking around their own neighborhoods and talking to people. Cable news is all about game playing.


  4. I've been reading a lot today from different authors about what Cantor's loss really means...I'm pretty sure no one has it figured out, but I am also pretty sure it means something. The traditional GOP has clearly lost control within their party -- it seems like the only way they can win is to go so far to the right that they might as well call themselves tea-baggers. I am more inclined to think that it has more to do with anti-Washington sentiment in general. The other meme destroyed last night was the "low turnout" issue and (related) how that is bad for dems come November. If the Democrats get out and vote, they will win. It's just that simple. I would also suggest that Allison Grimes go for the jugular with Mitch. He is even more unpopular than Cantor was.

  5. Laziness definitely is a major part of it. I came to realize the uselessness of mainstream punditry during the Lewinsky scandal when *every* *single* breaking news story was touted by the pundits as the one that would do Clinton in, until 24 hours later when the polls for Clinton *always* went up.


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