Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Where's the Drama?

Looks like Romney's going to lose.  A mediocre convention, a poorly timed remark on the North African riots/attacks, and the leaked video from a fundraiser have combined to drive most of the Republican establishment into a slough of despond, the Democrats into premature fits of triumphalism, and Intrade into a twenty percentage point excursion in the President's favor over the last ten days.

This clearly won't do.  I predict that this will be Romney's low point, and the finish will be much closer.

Why?  Because the media are highly professional.

What?!  The media are biased, aren't they?  Well, yes, all things being equal, the members of the media skew somewhat liberal in their opinions, and it comes through in their reporting and their editorial choices, when it can.  But all things aren't equal.  Ratings are at stake.  Editorial management and their reporter staffs will do what it takes to make a profit, because that's what they're in business for.

A boring presidential election is a ratings disaster.  It can't be allowed to happen.  So a Romney comeback is a financial imperative.

Furthermore, a Romney comeback is a damn good story.  Think of the drama as the Romney campaign reenergizes itself, retools its message, and claws its way back to within a whisker's breadth of its opponent.  It's the perfect third act.

It's also just the thing to show Obama at his pluckiest.  The beleaguered President, beset by a sea of troubles, slowly gains the upper hand over his rival against all odds, only to become complacent and have things almost slip away.  But at the last moment, he too rights his campaign, just in time to squeak out a win.

All is right with the world.  The media get the outcome they want, and their network executives get to take home their bonuses.

Business will trump ideology every time.  By and large, that's a good thing.  But it's important to understand how all the various actors benefit if you want to understand what's really going on.

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