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Sometimes it seems that the press crosses the line from reporting the news to scripting it.

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this key: campaign press loves to present elections as drama and that means pre-arranges script so viewers can easily follow along day to day

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A few loose points:

In the Before Times, Dems, and to a lesser degree, progressives were doing about as well as possible in the 2018 election and since.

As for complacency, the recent election in Georgia, not to mention other recent elections like Wisconsin, say complacency isn't an issue.

And funny, media-wise: Obviously the mainstream will move on to some other eyeball attracting hot button issues but I really think enough voters have gotten a clue; see that 80% disapproval number. An unhinged, moronic POTUS who's literally killing Americans and handling the economic damage from the pandemic in the worst possible way and who is not supporting racists and tacitly inciting police riots has delivered the message for more than enough voters that he is not to be returned to office, continuing media coverage of the pandemic and BLM or not. Trump's in office because a relatively tiny number of swing voters in key states chose to take a chance on him as hope for change. Well, now he's not a question mark; his unfitness and ineptitude is well documented. So the idea of eking out another Electoral College victory, I mean, all things are possible, but that one isn't exactly something I'd bet on. And I think a safe bet is that Donnie will do worse with the popular vote than he did in 2016.

And telling is that Trump seems solely focused on shoring up the base and is making no real efforts to attract actual independent voters (that is, voters not registered with a party but vote in an alignment with one party or another). As I say ad nauseam, the worst candidate in the race for Trump is Trump. He's a human third rail. And, again judging from the 2018 election and since, the Party of Trump looks like it's heading for a problem. May even be 1964 redux.

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It is certainly true that the media's best interest is to promote a close election as opposed to a landslide. It may even be better for voter turnout as well if people believe the 2020 election is still a horse race. But the Democratic party is still as feckless as ever. They have not truly confronted the reasons Clinton lost in 2016, little of which were about her policies. And when an entitled, lazy congressman like Eliot Engel is in a snit because he has a primary challenger, we see how far the party has fallen. Frankly, they are out of touch with the base and continue to chase those lost Reagan democrats.

Consider the fact that despite the almost 24 hour media coverage Trump commands through his constant tweets and outrageous statements, coupled with conspicuous mishandling of his government, Biden's poll numbers are still quite stunning. Biden isn't winning. Trump and the GOP are losing. That is what should be reported more accurately.

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I'd suggest Biden is winning. new Reuters polls today Biden nearly at 50%, Trump down at 35%.

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Mr. Boehlert,

Suggest Mr. Walkers’ point is that Biden isn’t “winning” as much as Trump is “losing”.

I’ll crawl over broken glass to vote for Biden in November. But I’d have done so for half-a-dozen others.

And I urge you against complacency. In the words of the immortal Han Solo, “Don’t get cocky, kid.”

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Supporting Biden (or not) has nothing to do with it. Dem leaders are out of step with their base and put their thumb on the scales rather than allow for real primaries. Consider Pelosi's threats to boycott political operatives who work for primary challengers. We need more primary challengers not less. Our leadership is old, and can not put together a coherent message. Biden is simply a glaring example of that. To be happy he is at 50% against the most corrupt and incompetent president seems like weak tea. What's his message? We need moral leadership? They will hit him with Hunter and the media will let them.

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Mr. Boehlert,

First off I’ll continue to argue that the failed impeachment benefited a Trump in that it removed a moderator on his actions. Post impeachment Trump is even more unhinged.

Next, the whole “Dems in Disarray” remains a meme because the Democratic Party is not a monolith that allows only one opinion. “Disarray” is the necessary follow on to a big tent. We can, and should, represent a wide range of opinions on how to move America ahead. There is no one right answer.

Third, please remember that Media Outlets exist to make money. Excitement, horse race, too close to call, all attract viewers and advertisers.

At the risk of being offensive, please go back & read about the golden age of CBS News. It won, rightly, award after award. But it never made money. It was a “vanity item” for CBS. Regrettably, the vanity is now the Radical Rich funding Right Wing Media.

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author

it’s become painfully clear that esp TV news treats election as a TV season

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founding

It wasn’t just CBS. If memory serves none of the networks made money off their news divisions but they were more than “vanity projects”. They were legally obligated to serve the public good in exchange for free use of the airwaves. Their news divisions were the main way they met that obligation. That was before our society got convinced by right wingers that the highest value is profit, not democracy.

However money isn’t the only reason or even the main reason for our terrible political coverage. As Mr. Boehlert has documented they have been intimidated by right wing pressure and work hard to prove they aren’t biased.

Too many in the media have an adolescent preference for style over substance. They preferred Bush to Gore because he was “more fun to have a beer with” and whined about Gore boring them with serious substance issues. That includes so-called serious journalists like the venerated David Broder, the “Dean of Washington Journalism. “..... Broder later found Gore too focused in his convention speech on what he'd do as president. "But, my, how he went on about what he wants to do as president," wrote Broder. "I almost nodded off." “

They are impressed by manly men and even faux manly men. Maureen Down said that Gore was so feminized that he was practically lactating!

https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2007/10/gore200710

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