Man Without Qualities

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Speak, Memory ... But Only When It's Convenient

During the 2004 election the Man Without Qualities often found himself in awe of the degree the liberal media seemed to be helping George W. Bush's reelection. Now James Taranto scribes an interesting article on the same topic but from a rather different perspective. One memory of the 2004 proceedings that he revives is the hilarious estimate of the remaining potency of the media establishment in the making of a president. As Mr. Taranto recalls:
"The media, I think, wants Kerry to win," Evan Thomas of Newsweek said last July. "I think they're going to portray Kerry and Edwards--I'm talking about the establishment media, not Fox--but they're going to portray Kerry and Edwards as being young and dynamic and optimistic and all. There's going to be this glow about them . . . that's going to be worth maybe 15 points." Mr. Thomas later revised his estimate downward, to five points. If Mr. Thomas was right, then, Mr. Bush would have won re-election with a popular-vote margin of between 7.5% and 17.5% of the total vote--rather than the 2.5% he actually got--but for the liberal media.

Yet, Mr. Thomas is not the only mainstream media nabob who seem to be having a very hard time (and taking a very long time) understanding that the glory days are over. Here's a passage from a 2004 pre-election "analysis" provided by Editor & Publisher:
FLORIDA: Bush is in big trouble here, at least if newspapers have any sway. Every single large paper has gone for Kerry, with the Orlando and Bradenton papers abandoning Bush and The Tampa Tribune (formerly for Dubya) sitting it out. This is how bad it is for the president: As far we know, his two biggest Sunshine State catches so far are the Ocala Star-Banner and The Ledger in Lakeland. So let's give this state to Kerry. In fact, if Bush pulls this one out, E&P promises never to give any weight to editorial endorsements in the future.
Bush did a lot more than "pull this one out" in Florida - so is E&P going to remember to be as good as its analytic word?

Don't count on it!

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