Cash Begets Favorable Traditional Media Coverage

Posted in Around The State, Commentary, Media, Money In Politics, US Senate Race at 5:08 pm by wcnews

Vince gets the ball rolling in taking apart another in the long, long line of one-dimensional articles by the lazy traditional media in Texas that focuses on nothing but the issue of campaign cash in the Texas U. S. Senate race in 2008. The only thing more asinine then this same article being written 2 or 3 times a week is the even worse, defeatist responses by Democratic “allies” that are quoted in these articles. From Vince’s post:

Put aside whether or not you can consider Jason Stanford as a legitimate barometer of what’s going on in Democratic political circles these days (or of exactly what it takes to win, given his recent record), and you can still pick apart his argument.

First and foremost, Stanford claims Noriega should be “winning already.” Evidently Stanford and the Dallas Morning News slept through the release of the Texas Lyceum Poll, an independent poll that showed Noriega and his rival neck-and-neck, in spite of the fact that Cornyn holds the cash advantage and that Noriega supposedly lacks name recognition.

As we in the Netroots have come to know, a political consultant’s job is to either win or make sure their narrative becomes conventional wisdom. Absent actual victories in recent memory, the consultant class survives on spin, in order to get rehired from one election cycle to the next.

The campaign cash story is a convenient excuse for the traditional media to avoid more substantive coverage of this race. With one candidate low on money, the traditional media feels no guilt in not covering the race. The corporate newspapers and TV stations don’t have to waste their precious “news” budget actually covering a U. S. Senate race all over Texas because, one candidate can’t raise enough money to pay for television ads. TV ads that might give them the money to go all over the state of Texas covering the race. Or is that just too cynical to think that the TV and newspaper corporations would only cover a candidate if they were able to pay for the corporations so their bottom line would allow it?

More from Vince:

Of course, the argument that Noriega lacks “name recognition,” would be moot if the mainstream media in Texas would actually, you know, cover a statewide election in Texas with real stories instead of “news analysis” garbage like this before Labor Day. Texas newspapers and television stations don’t pay enough attention to any Texas races. If they did, perhaps their readers would know what is on the ballot. Yes, there are a few exceptions, but by and large, Texas newspapers’ coverage of political elections is lacking. The DMN even noted that to a degree:

They said he also must generate free news media coverage to offset his money deficit, and stress more pocketbook issues.

To the mainstream media, the question must be asked, “where the hell have you been lately?” Rick Noriega’s been doing this. The Texas media, however, has (by and large) simply not paid attention. I’m not aware that the Dallas Morning News, Houston Chronicle, Austin American Statesman, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, El Paso Times, Amarillo Globe News, Tyler Morning Telegraph, Valley Morning Star, Lubbock Avalanche Journal, Waco Tribune Herald, Galveston County Daily News, Corpus Christi Caller-Times or any of the state’s other large daily newspapers have embedded a reporter with the campaign (even the AP and NPR did this with Barbara Radnofsky in 2006) for any serious length of time, or have bothered to really go out and cover much since the primary that hasn’t happened on top of their own back yards. The Associated Press, too, bears much of the blame since many of the papers above have, as a result of budget cuts, had to trim their political staffs.

It’s the way the political world spins. The ability to raise money not only gives a candidate the ability to buy paid media, it also buys them much rosier free media coverage as well. And with their opponent unable to change, or buy a new perception - because they can’t afford to buy paid media to get the rosier free media coverage - well it just becomes a traditional media self-fulfilling prophecy. Worse and worse coverage of the lesser financed candidate, by the traditional media because they can’t raise money. Oh, and why wasn’t the campaign about the issues? Well one candidate couldn’t raise enough money to get his message out. And so it goes.

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