Tuesday, April 6, 2004

American Presidential Elections & the Media, Part One

Our elections are not traditional boxing matches. In such a match, observers can draw their conclusions by watching the two pugilists. A solid right responded to with a leer and a smile wasn't as damaging as it seemed. A hurt fighter can be perceived via shaky legs and lowered elbows protecting sides. Cuts are plain to see.

Our elections are like boxing matches on tape delay, and at times out of sight. The commentators soundtrack the delay with commentary about issues far and beyond the interaction at hand. At other times, the commentators tell us about the fight on the other side of the wall. We get the pieces they want us to have, sharing snips that further their desired outcome.

Every election we hear how close the fight is, how strong the opposition combatant is. Yet Jimmy Carter and Walter Mondale admitted years later that they knew Reagan had won the election on Labor Day.

So today we hear how this election is going to be very close. Clearly, neither side can give up or assume an easy victory. But close? Dick Morris writes of Kerry's challenges in a way that belies the substantive nature of them.

To watch Kerry's speeches, to see his ads, it is clear that his campaign lacks focus. His response to W's ads is anemic; his own policy statements are thin and easily disputed.

Yet the media has him weighing in at 235 lbs. with a reach of 72". To read the press accounts, you would think he had no neck. And W, of course, is a beefed-up cruiserweight or should not even be fighting in the same ring for the title with a true heavyweight.

The one similarity between a traditional boxing match and an election is our saving grace - we are the judges. Only our scorecards count. The one unanswered question is how deeply into the 300's W will go in the electoral count. He may even break 400.

No comments:

Post a Comment