This election followed a typical outcome in the sixth year of a presidency. Based on historical patterns it appears the Dem win was average to a little below average – particularly given the fact that if they take the Senate it will be by a hair.
Historical patterns notwithstanding, is there any doubt that the media played a huge role in this election? Consider the following:
Iraq was a “major” issue to most voters. Given that Iraq is on the other side of the planet, the only source of information for most is through the news, and for many busy folks the only source is regrettably a perusal of the headlines of the day. The coverage was constant stories of failure. Isolated incidents of U.S. military abuse received round the clock coverage while stories of real life heroism (of which there were many) were ignored. Every terrorist bombing made the headlines, but stories like the re-irrigation of the Marsh Arabs were ignored. When milestones were surpassed (like the daily output of oil, or the electrical grid standards) they were ignored where previously those respective “failures” were the stories of the day. To be sure there was chaos. But there was also redevelopment, and normalcy, in many areas of Iraq. As for history, the media slowly but inevitably erased any Democrats’ involvement in the decision to go into Iraq such that, in the end, it was Bush’s decision, and Bush’s decision alone. The support for the invasion by many democrats was erased from the public record.
Only one side of America’s most important story of our times was told. In an election where outcomes have come down to each vote, there can be no doubt that such one-sided coverage affected the election. The “Vietnam formula” whereby the media abuses its position by taking sides in an armed conflict is alive and well.
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