Friday, March 21, 2008

Coverage of the Democratic Presidential Campaign

Politico.com has a good write up on the state of the Democratic Presidential campaign arguing that the race is essentially over even though the media continues to report it as a dead heat. They analyze the numbers and provide some theories on why the media is failing in its reporting.

Some excerpts:

One big fact has largely been lost in the recent coverage of the Democratic presidential race: Hillary Rodham Clinton has virtually no chance of winning.

Her own campaign acknowledges there is no way that she will finish ahead in pledged delegates.

One important Clinton adviser estimated to Politico privately that she has no more than a 10 percent chance of winning her race against Barack Obama, an appraisal that was echoed by other operatives.

In other words: The notion of the Democratic contest being a dramatic cliffhanger is a game of make-believe.

The real question is why so many people are playing. The answer has more to do with media psychology than with practical politics.

Most coverage breathlessly portrays the race as a down-to-the-wire sprint between two well-matched candidates, one only slightly better situated than the other to win in August at the national convention in Denver.

One important, if subliminal, reason is self-interest. Reporters and editors love a close race — it’s more fun and it’s good for business.

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