The Media’s Blind Spot: Is Mayor Pete the New Barack?

by | Feb 12, 2020 | Articles

Andrew Yang would be the first one to explain to you that 23 is a larger number than 21; it’s just Math (or as Bill Clinton prefers, Arithmetic). So since Pete Buttigieg has 23 delegates to Sanders’ 21, as of this writing, Pete is the front runner, right? Apparently not. So frequently, the main stream media (MSM) chatters all around the central question and ignores or refuses to acknowledge the obvious.

We should be accustomed to this by now. The MSM gets itself tied up in knots, lives in its own echo chamber, and has bind spots everywhere.

They were easily duped by the weapons-of-mass-destruction ploy and seemed to wave the American flag as we essentially unilaterally invaded Iraq. Regarding electoral politics, the MSM could not quite absorb the ascendancy of Barack Obama in the 2008 primary and insisted (despite very long odds) that Hillary could catch up in the delegate march. Trump’s march to the nomination included huge crowds that the MSM did not fully put on camera (in the post mortem, there were some journalists (e.g., Katy Tur of MSNBC) brave enough to admit that they pretty much downplayed the enthusiasm and size of those crowds). The MSM’s mea culpas are wearing thin. In the actual moment – when it really counts – there is a lot more to be desired.

Last night, this was “the obvious”: a 38-year-old openly gay mayor of a small city with no name recognition and no money launched a campaign and shot through a field of over 20 candidates to the front-runner position (in delegates) after Iowa and New Hampshire.

Of course, there needed to be coverage of the apparent demise of Joe Biden and the surprise last-minute surge by Amy Klobuchar. And sure, we can all muse about the unseemly amounts of money that Bloomberg is dumping into TV commercials throughout the Super Tuesday states.

After we dispense with these story lines, however, surely we will talk about how Mayor Pete’s ascendance is ground-breaking, stunning, and that he may now be the person to beat? Apparently not.

Shockingly, the MSM wonders aloud: who could convert independents and Republicans who are not fully devoted to Trump? Who, they ask, could put together such a coalition? I guess they turn the volume down when mayor Pete is speaking and haven’t studied his successful strategy along these lines in both Iowa and New Hampshire.

Mayor Pete’s Iowa performance demonstrated that he had a clear plan to target the non-Hillary voters and that it was beautifully executed. He converted many of the Obama-to-Trump voters back into the Democrats’ camp, as he predicted he would. Is the MSM covering that success? Apparently not.

The MSM’s mantra coming out of Iowa was the crash of the app and the embarrassing debacle regarding the counting of the votes. It was entirely clear that Mayor Pete pulled off a tremendous upset, but the MSM’s obsession about the vote count problem overshadowed Pete’s victory (and when you get more delegates, it’s a victory). The story line in the media controls momentum and focuses the electorate on what the MSM believes is notable or important, perhaps even altering the outcome.

Is the MSM afraid of a Pete candidacy? It sure looked like George Stephanopoulos was afraid during the last debate before the New Hampshire primary. He took pains to avoid calling on Pete and kept throwing softballs to Amy.

What’s happening here?