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Here are two media myths about presidential campaigns:

  1. The media covers candidates based on their electability, as measured by polls and donations.
  1. If you haven't raised a lot of money, you don't have a chance.

Myth #1 was debunked by Ron Paul. He is set to become the top fundraiser among Republicans this quarter and he isn't getting anywhere near the coverage of Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney, John McCain and at this point Mike Huckabee.

Ron Paul has been raising more money than John McCain for a long time now. Yet, I still see John McCain being discussed as a legitimate candidate for president, albeit one whose chances are shrinking (but at least he's "legitimate" and "credible"). On the other hand, the Ron Paul stories are mainly curiosity pieces. As in, "Isn't that curious how much money that fringe candidate Ron Paul raised?"

The answer you'll get in private from folks in the media is, "But you know he's not going to win!" No, you know that. Apparently, many other people don't agree. And God knows what would happen if the press gave them all equal coverage and pretended to be anywhere near objective when analyzing all of the candidates.

There is far more "fringe candidate" bias in the media than there is liberal or conservative bias. Once the media decides you're a fringe candidate, you better create miracles to overcome that.

Which brings us to Mike Huckabee. What happened, I thought you couldn't be a legitimate candidate if you didn't raise a ton of money? Huckabee raised the paltry sum of $764,000 in the second quarter. He has averaged less than a million dollars in the last two quarters. These are ridiculously low numbers and ... he now leads in Iowa.

Isn't this proof positive that judging candidates by their bankroll is not a credible way of determining their "legitimacy"?

I know that it's hard to give nine people all the same amount of coverage and the press has to make some judgment calls. I just want those judgment calls to be guided by some modicum of reason and evidence, rather than what the conventional wisdom dictates. Because obviously the conventional wisdom is wrong.

Watch The Young Turks Here

Originally posted to Cenk Uygur on Mon Dec 03, 2007 at 09:22 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tips (10+ / 0-)

    The obvious question is what implications does this have for the Democratic side?

    Was there someone sitting at 4%, like Huckabee was forever, who could have risen out of the crowd if given a chance?

    And if Huckabee did it, how come the others couldn't?

    •  For one thing, the Republican base (0+ / 0-)

      was a lot more dissatisfied with its top tier even than the Democrats were with theirs.  It was not just a matter of their top candidates' positions; GOPers were concerned that their top tierers could not unite the party enough to "beat Hillary" or whoever the Dems nominated. So there was a real vaccuum that needed filling.

      Yesterday, Bill Prendergast postedthis diary which discusses Huckabee's secret weapon--the aid of a Christian activist named Brinson who has an enormous direct-emailing list of concerned evangelicals in places like Iowa & allover the US.

      Brinson is the keeper of a massive e-mail list of much-coveted Christian voters that Huckabee is using to reach and organize people in early-voting states such as Iowa.

      Brinson's list numbers about 71 million contacts, with 25 million identified as belonging to "25 and 45 years old, upwardly mobile, right-of-center, conservative households," he said. In other words, a target-rich environment for a candidate such as Huckabee, who is preaching a compassionate conservative message heavily infused with religious sentiment.

      "You can't win an election with this narrow focus of social conservatives, economic conservatives and foreign policy conservatives," Brinson said. "That has fallen on deaf ears with [James] Dobson and those guys."

      Information technology, access to grassroots voters, and ideology seem to have trumped the power of big donors in Huckabee's case. People like, say, Kucinich on the Dem side do not possess the latter two tools in as great measure as Huckabee, apparently.

      Restore constitutional government in America. Impeach Bush and Cheney.

      by revbludge on Mon Dec 03, 2007 at 09:38:32 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I don't know, but I suspect that somewhere, (0+ / 0-)

      right now, Tom Vilsack is cursing under his breath.

      Priez mes frères
      Condamner la guerre
      Qui brûle aux quatre coins de la terre

      by dconrad on Mon Dec 03, 2007 at 12:34:15 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Ron Paul (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lams712

    is tapping into a huge amount of dissatisfaction by Republicans who feel they don't have a real conservative running.  They are against the war and against this tax and borrow administration.  I think it has more to do with the internet than anything else that Paul is raising so much money coupled with this growing sense of doom.  The media crowned frontrunners are actually the weakest candidates and the netroots of the Republican side saw right through that.

    Just a theory.

    I have learned there are much more important things in life than winning elections at the cost of selling your soul. John Edwards

    by Ellinorianne on Mon Dec 03, 2007 at 09:30:36 AM PST

  •  The Media's Forced Narrative (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mini mum, revbludge, cfk, lams712

    The media has its narrative that it likes to run and always acts so shocked when reality doesn't conform. Many outlets had Giuliani versus Hillary as a done deal in the general elections, which is kind of like picking the two top football teams during the preseason and saying don't bother watching any of the regular season games, this is your Superbowl.

    Turns out football and politics are a little more complex than that. You'd figger they'd know that by now? Or are they up to something entirely different?

    "I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal labotomy." Rowdy Roddy Piper

    by iSenseChange on Mon Dec 03, 2007 at 09:30:51 AM PST

  •  Ron Paul+ Mike Huckabee (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dconrad

    I think that equals the dream candidate for Republicans- which is absolutely crazy.  

    In the interest of bipartisan partnership, my candidate is your candidate!

    by otto on Mon Dec 03, 2007 at 09:48:23 AM PST

  •  This campaign would be much better.... (0+ / 0-)

    ....without the media trying to shape the narrative. From debate moderators "guiding" the debates with loaded questions to campaign hacks giving "unbiased" analysis as to who won the debate in the post-debate breakdown to hit pieces by candidate surrogates in the newspapers everyday no wonder people are so turned off and elections in this country barely break 50% turnout in presidential races.

    "...if my thought-dreams could be seen, they'd probably put my head in a guillotine...." {-8.13;-5.59}

    by lams712 on Mon Dec 03, 2007 at 09:52:40 AM PST

  •  Mike Huckabee is the "Anti-Ron." ....nt (0+ / 0-)

    "What were you thinking? Why didn't you act? Didn't you care?" -Al Gore

    by Rumarhazzit on Mon Dec 03, 2007 at 09:57:15 AM PST

  •  If $ was the answer, Perot would have won twice (0+ / 0-)

    I agree. If money was what mattered we would have had presidents duPont, Forbes, Perot, and probably Romney.

    Also Both Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton were dismissed by DC pundits as outsiders with little chance, but look what happened. Still, even Clinton's amazing 1992 run came before Faux Noise and the internet was a fraction of what it is today so I think the MSM would really have ignored his candidicy and he wouldn't have even been nominated.

  •  You do realize that your examples (0+ / 0-)

    are all Republicans?

    When has the media in recent memory ever exhibited fair coverage between Democrats and Republicans?

    I hear precious little about Biden, Dodd, Rochardson, Kucinich. Arguably, these 4 have been making far more grand acts of leadership than the Top Three, yet the media is strangely silent.

    You bring up good points, but the fact that your examples are all of Republicans should be telling.

    •  I think the same point works on both sides (0+ / 0-)

      What both sides have in common is that the media is wedded to their boilerplate narratives and preconceived notions of who is a "mainstream" candidate.

      That's why Paul and Huckabee can't get any traction, despite the fact that Paul and Huckabee are both getting, uh, traction.

      And that's why Dodd, Kucinich, Richardson, and Biden don't get any love from the media, despite making all those grand acts of leadership.

      The only thing we haven't seen is one of those second- or third-tier Democrats breaking through on fundraising even though they haven't broken through in the media. Is that because liberals are more influenced by the MBM (Mossbacked Media), or is it just because Democrats are happier with their current top-tier candidates, and thus have less need to go shopping at the political outlet store?

      Priez mes frères
      Condamner la guerre
      Qui brûle aux quatre coins de la terre

      by dconrad on Mon Dec 03, 2007 at 12:43:43 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The interesting thing about Ron Paul is (0+ / 0-)

    the volunteers that he gets. Yes the money is important. But when people make their own signs without any direction it speaks volumes about dedication, fanaticism or whatever you want to call it. I don't see any other candidate Dem or GOP that has the same dedicated support. I wonder if the polls are missing this.

    •  I don't think the polls are missing it (0+ / 0-)

      it's not there. sure the Paul supporters are fanatic, and that gives them the image of being everywhere. But when the poll is taken, the fact that one person put out 50 yard signs gets counted as one person.

      One of the guys in my unit is a big time Paul supporter. He and his meetup group of five spend their free time putting out signs, writing letters and going to rallies...not Paul rallies but anyone’s. They are just five people who have put out over 200 yard signs.

      They are a force, but not a big one. They will go vote and Paul will get his 5 votes. So I have one Paul supporter in a group of 30. About 3%. Nationally Paul has 3%. sounds to me like the polls are getting it.

      Stupid question hour starts now and ends in five minutes.

      by DrillSgtK on Tue Dec 04, 2007 at 10:51:35 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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