Now the major media have decided to be contrite about their treatment of Dean after Iowa (no need to hold our breath about their treatment of Dean before that). CNN, apparently, has even issued a formal apology to the campaign, while ABC has shown a special report on the misrepresentation of the "scream."
But in all likelihood, this is too little, too late. By playing the edited version of the scream so many times here is what the media will probably manage to accomplish:
- Destroy the candidacy of the only candidate who was bringing large numbers of new people into the Democratic party. (Clark isn't bringing them to the party, he's just getting some independents and Repubs to vote for a "D" this time.) The candidacy was destroyed before they got a chance to settle in and feel at home, and the DLC and others insulted them from the start, so now very few will stay with the party.
- Waste the hundreds of thousands of hours donated by volunteers for the campaign. All of it down the drain as far as the prime objective goes. And this all for ratings, and to flog a trumped-up story line that Dean is angry. Maybe, just maybe, this new political energy will be channeled in a new and productive way, despite the media's catastrophic way of making the news.
- make for naught the millions of dollars donated to the campaign by people who felt hope again in their democracy, who actually believed (in my case for the very first time) that a candidate for president might actually bring a new perspective worth fighting for. I realize Trippi seems to have squandered much of the money, but if Dean had been allowed a fair fight and had won it wouldn't matter much.
- A decline in voter interest in the primaries and in political reporting in general. Dean was the story worth telling. He was obviously a ratings boost and magazine/paper seller, or they wouldn't have displayed him so prominently. Now the media fear they've killed the goose that laid the golden egg. A few feel bad about their treatment of Dean, but I suspect the motive to be nicer to Dean has nothing to do with guilt for most. They don't see him as a threat now, so can afford to be even-handed. Or, they have been ordered by business managers to take it easy on him.
- Promoted a hack and a blowhard to be the nominee of the Democratic party. A man who very few like once they get to know him well (just ask around Massachusetts and Capital Hill).