Thursday, December 05, 2002

Great bit by Digby over at Eschaton:
One of the things the right wing media and their cohorts in the RNC have discovered is that the mainstream media need tabloid fare for ratings and are in love with ostensibly trivial, "entertaining" political stories that over time can turn Democratic candidates into clowns and fools. The skewering of Gore was of this character and began with PR stunts orchestrated by the RNC until they took on a life of their own. RNC chairman Jim Nicholson drove up in a horse and buggy to the "fancy" hotel that Gore lived in as a child (when it was a middle class residential hotel.) The point was to show Gore as an elitist and a liar, but it was wisely done with a humorous bitchy flourish that the Dowd worshipping mediaTarts thought was just hilarious. It was only the beginning.

It's very difficult to fight these "silly" stories because the press enjoys them so, and you look like a humorless stiff if you make a big deal out of it. You can laugh them off, which Gore tried to do when he incorporated the internet line into his speeches, but they just keep coming. Soon, the Mean Girls themselves skew the coverage to entertain each other and show fealty to the narrative.

Each story, in itself, is trivial. But over time, they add up to a "character" mosaic in which the candidate has become an exaggerated cartoon figure rather than a real person.

In some ways, the outright viciousness and relentlessness of the attacks on Clinton and the slavering over his sex life (also contrived in part to feed the tabloid beast) were less effective because they humanized him, made him look like a victim of partisan overkill and ultimately people identified with him rather than his zealous accusers.

Gore, on the other hand, was destroyed by the death of a thousand jokes that accumulated until he had a strange, kooky persona that people couldn't relate to.

The Wurlitzer always learns from it's mistakes and it is very, very good.
Not much more to say, really. The Wurlitzer has figured out what the media wants, and feeds it to them. Raises the question, though... can it go the other way?

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