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Political Journalism as WWF Promotion: MSM Covers Illinois and the GOP “Race”

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First, today’s Washington Examiner column makes the argument that 2012 can be 1980.

Next, Larry O’Connor of fills in for me today as I head from Florida to Atlanta for tomorrow’s five hour show. If you call in, try not to bring up Michigan’s, well, disappointing weekend. Feel free to bring up the fact that Ohio has four teams in the Sweet 16 of this “Mayan Calender year NCAA tourney.”

Larry will of course be covering the coverage of the presidential campaign.

I just hope he doesn’t call it “journalism.” You could call it crystal-ball gazing or carnival-barking, but the former would be an insult to Larry Sabato, who sees clearly where the GOP race is headed even though the “journalists” refuse to do so.

The MSM is trying –again– to generate some drama where there is none. Dreams of book deals and HBO series based on a down-to-the-wire GOP primary must be in peril somewhere.

First, the “race” isn’t much of a race because the delegate math overwhelmingly favors Mitt Romney, and promises by candidates and consultants to show a different way are beginning to sound like fabled treasure maps which cannot be shown to just anyone. Nixon had his “secret plan” to end the war, Obama his plan to keep unemployment under 8%, Pelosi her plan for healthcare the details of which we could find out after we passed the bill and could read it, and now MSM handicappers have a vision of how we get to Tampa Bay and a brokered convention. Unicorns everywhere.

Thus big wins and delegate sweeps by Romney like yesterday’s blowout in Puerto Rico and those from Hawaii and the far islands a few days back don’t show up on front pages. See the home page of the New York Times, for example, where the link to the story from Puerto Rico is buried down the page and under the story on the alleged test Romney is facing in Illinois. “Illinois is not shaping up to be the effortless romp some had presumed,” the paper reports. Would someone get the quote from Team Romney predicting an “effortless romp?”

Finally, even if there is fact-based evidence of Romney’s lead and likely nomination, the “news” source trumpets his vulnerability. The perfect example is from this morning’s Politico.

Politico’s Burns and Haberman report on a PPP poll that has Romney up by 15 points.

But the lead story at Politico on Romney is headlined “No ‘spark’ for Romney in Illinois.”

Yeah, those “sparkless” 15 point leads sure are troubling. Memo to John Harris: The “Mitt in trouble” automatic headline generator needs to be turned off.

Other polling puts Romney at 6 and 9 points up
, and the campaign is fully deployed there, but Manhattan-Beltway media elites are doing all they can to inject drama into a drama-less situation. Perhaps they will help Rick Santorum to a close-enough finish to keep the MSM’s well-dressed Emperor narrative marching forward to April 3rd’s contests in Maryland, D.C. and Wisconsin and thus keep their ratings and unique visitors generators alive (and the focus off the Romney-Obama race to come) another week, and beyond that to April 24.

“Journalism” as WWF promotion, even though we know they know the ultimate result.

There are great reasons for Rick Santorum to stay in the race and to continue to talk about key issues, especially as Syria continues to become a killing ground with barely a protest out of the White House and as Iran continues to rush to its nukes and Israel to plan its response. The former Pennsylvania Senator is deeply knowledgeable on these topics even if bozos in the media don’t know enough to ask him about them.

But one of those reasons isn’t to actually get to 1144 delegates because he can’t. The MSM pretending anything else is an interesting, new chapter in the evolution of journalism into a purely promotional exercise of content-designed to sell advertising. The most interesting question is when it will be abandoned, which depends on how much shame it takes to overcome a mixed profit/political motive.


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