EDITOR OF REDSTATE
Bill Clinton’s Bounce: How Media Conventional Wisdom Works
Polling is reflecting Bill Clinton’s bounce out of the Democratic National Convention. You wouldn’t know that if you listened to most of the media, but the bounce belonged not to Obama, but to Clinton. Fortunately for the GOP, Barack Obama is no Bill Clinton. It must privately grate on Barack Obama.The media narrative is all about Barack Obama. He’s going to win. He’s ahead. Forget the economic numbers. Let me explain how the media shapes conventional wisdom.Metaphorically, reporters go into a bathroom at the Politico, sit in a circle, and try to come up with a theme they can bounce off each other with a straight face. Before they go completely blind with dreams of a permanent Democrat majority, they exit the bathroom , call up Larry Sabato or some other designated prognosticator, and ambush him with a statement they then spin into wisdom. And it’s always “experts say” or “Larry Sabato says” or “people close to the campaign” say. But really, it is them saying it. And then they report on it in a climax of irrational reportorial exuberance.The media creates conventional wisdom and then reports on it as if it is news. BOOM! as the kids these days might say.Consider the headline “Storm Still Haunts”, from the Republican National Convention. I can assure you that there were few, if any, Republicans who were thinking about Isaac other than the rain we ourselves experienced at random intervals. But to listen to the media, Isaac was a central focus days into the convention.Here’s what I have no doubt happened as I overheard dozens of these conversations over four days. Reporters chatting amongst themselves came up with that narrative. Then they shoved recorders into the faces of delegates from fly over country who’d never seen hipster reporters in skinny red jeans with rolled up cuffs, no socks with their dress shoes, and flannel plaid shirts in freaking August in Tampa, FL and the poor delegates were as agreeable as possible in order to get the reporter to go away.Then the reporter ran back to the bathroom, joined in the circle, and banged out a story on his keyboard proclaiming that SPECTER OF KATRINA HAUNTS THE GOP AS ISAAC SPINS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! or some such.I saw it in the media center. Reporters would whisper what if scenarios back and forth to each other, one sounded plausible, then they’d race out to ask delegates. And they needed to do something. Below is a four day stack of print media churned out by the various outlets. They had to fill it with something. They filled it mostly with conventional wisdom.