Saturday, June 30, 2007

Playing Catchup

The NY Times has an article this morning which makes the case that President Bush has zero political capital left. Republicans have abandoned him on a number of issues (e.g. Iraq, immigration) and the American people are done with him:
For a president who once boasted that he had political capital and intended to use it, the back-to-back desertions demonstrated starkly just how little of that capital is left. With the nation turning its attention to who will succeed Mr. Bush — and Republican presidential candidates increasingly distancing themselves from him — even allies say it could become increasingly difficult for the president to assert himself over his party, much less force the Democratic majority in Congress to bend to his will.

Yet, as Arianna Huffington noted months ago (October, 2005), Bush had already lost his 'mojo':
The swaggering victor who just nine months ago was ready to spin his three-percent win into a mandate now can't even get his pal Harriet's nomination out of the starting gate. And odds are very high the Miers fiasco won't be close to the worst news the White House gets this week.

Post Katrina, I think a lot of the American public realized that this guy was not up to the job. President Bush got the benefit of the doubt after 9-11, but when we all saw the failures in New Orleans, it became painfully obvious that this President was completely inept.

However, as the Times article makes clear, the press if finally catching up with the rest of us. The interesting question here is, why? I think one of the biggest reasons is that an outlet like Fox News has warped elite opinion in this country. With its unstated mission of always supporting the President, it has shifted the debate artificially. Consequently, certain positions are left as unresolved (support for Bush policies) in the press discourse, while they have been fully determined by the public.

This wouldn't be as large as a problem if Fox News did not have the ratings they did. While in overall terms their ratings are quite minuscule; in the world of cable news, their ratings are huge. Networks like CNN and MSNBC, recognize this and do their best to peel off some of Fox's viewers. The only way they can accomplish this though, is to embrace the same inflated conservative discourse that Fox does. The end result is a press that is completely out of touch with the American people as the 'elite' opinion makers skew artifically to the right.


Pork Rinds said...

Nope. That's not what CNN and MSNBC are forced to do. No one is holding a gun to their heads. They're choosing to engage in a race to the bottom b/c they're pathetic and short-sighted. I refuse to believe that the only way to get people's attention is to repeatedly whitewash the truth. But of course, I don't watch TV, so what the hell do I know?

Pork Rinds said...

BTW, I'm just feeling extra surly today, so feel free to ignore everything that I say.

Broca said...

What Fox news has, is a conservative fan base, which is unique to any other news channel (the fan base, that is). MSNBC and CNN know that if they can get some of those rabid viewers, they will be able to generate more ad revenue.

Pork Rinds said...

But don't they sacrifice their liberal fan base by moving right? Wasn't it you who posted a report that said that this country is more liberal than conservative? I'm not a statistician or anything, but wrestling over the smaller demographic seems completely retarded to me.