Palin Wows Media, Voters Score Debate For Biden
What’s wrong with the media? They still don’t get it as to what’s going on out here in the real world.
For the second debate in a row the talking heads scored a victory for the Republican candidate while the polls of everyday voters, mostly independents, awarded the win decidedly to the Democrat. Why does this keep going on? There are several possible explanations, things this column has posited before. The media has a vested interest in the need for ratings for their political shows to keep the race tight. Maybe it’s that. The media judges these debates like a beauty contest. Maybe it’s that. The so-called biased left-wing media is not so left-wing after all. Maybe it’s that. Who knows? Only those who manipulate media coverage of this presidential election know the true answer to this question.
There is little doubt that the media had set the bar so ridiculously low for Sarah Palin that it would have been hard for her to fall below expectations. Granted, the evidence presented day by day from the Katie Couric interview made a strong case for low expectations. But the media also bought into the McCain campaign’s “delicate, fragile flower” storyline about Governor Palin. They totally overlooked her old Alaska nickname, Sara Barracuda. Let’s face it, the little lady left a trail of skilled politicians in her wake as she steamed from tiny Wasilla, Alaska, to the statehouse. That wake ran through several debate performances where she did just fine.
So, to bolster their pre-determined view of Governor Palin, the TV news media made much of her “skilled” performance last night. But on Morning Joe today the sometimes vapid-sounding Mika Brzezinski noted that Palin’s answers were rehearsed and canned. But no one, including Morning Joe himself, saw anything wrong with her repeatedly brushing aside the questions she didn’t like and hammering out statements on topics that she chose to talk about. I must also express my disappointment with Gwen Ifill for allowing this to happen and not asking the follow-up questions that would have shown Palin’s real lack of depth which the McCain handlers have worked so hard to conceal during her debate prep.
Last night on CNN the coverage of a group of “persuadable” voters in Ohio gave real insight into what “regular Joe” out here in America thought of the debate. By a wide margin they gave the debate to Joe Biden. A few admitted that the debate had helped them make up their minds, thus disqualifying themselves from the group in the next two debates. Of those who committed to a candidate as a result of last night’s debate, an overwhelming majority named Obama as their choice. The other fascinating aspect of this coverage was the group’s real-time reaction to the debate by the use of dials which recorded their favorable or unfavorable reactions to what the candidates were saying. Two things jumped right out at me. While the Republican base seems enthralled by Palin’s folksy persona, the survey group almost unanimously turned their dials to “unfavorable” when Palin put on the “folk charm.”
Another section of the group’s track reflected how they felt about Biden’s view of getting out of Iraq, which caused the dials to go up, up, up, and Palin’s “white flag of surrender” remark which immediately triggered the group to start dialing into negative territory. This indicates that John McCain and the Republicans just don’t get it about the war, just like they don’t get it about the economy.
Time and time again Palin stuck to the Bush/McCain plan of lowering taxes on the rich and powerful as a stimulus for the floundering economy. The media may think that this election is hinging on personalities, but the evidence in post-debate poll after post-debate poll shows that the American people are listening very carefully this time to what the two tickets offer in the way of relief from the stagnant economy with which we out here in the real world have been living for some time. People who have lost their jobs and homes or are on the verge of that just don’t believe the Bush/McCain plan has worked for them up to this point and aren’t willing to sign on for another four years. Those of us who notice the price of everything at the Wal-Mart rising every time we go in are no longer listening to the economic happy talk of those who would say the fundamentals of the economy are sound.
Down here in Texas we have a saying: Bullshit talks, money walks. What most of us are seeing out here are a bunch of Republicans in the Administration who are talking a bunch of bullshit about how good things are while our money is walking away. We also see a media that simply delivers the message that the Republicans and those they serve want us to hear. We are ready for what John McCain promised when he began this campaign: straight talk. We’re not seeing it from him or Governor Palin and haven’t seen it for a long time from the Administration.
Out here, even in Texas, much to the fears of Republicans here, people are ready for a change. The polls are shifting in that direction, and that slippage doesn’t favor McCain. He knows it and the media know it. It would be refreshing for the media to shift its slant on this election toward the people and express a little interest in the reawakening of the American voter instead of their fascination with the “little lady from Alaska.”
We’re crying for change out here, and the media is still talking lipstick.