I've been wandering around having random conversations, and by pure chance, all the delegates I've talked to have been Clinton delegates. I have asked all of them whether they will have any problem voting for Obama, or are in any way aware of any of the disunity I see so much about on CNN. In every case the answer is not just 'no', but something closer to 'are you crazy?' The first Clinton delegate I talked to said: "For heaven's sakes, we're Democrats." The second said: "I'm sure some Clinton supporters, somewhere, won't support Obama, but everyone who thinks will." I cannot pretend that the delegates I've talked to are in any way representative, but for what it's worth, they have all reacted to the idea of not supporting Obama by looking at me as though I had come from Mars.Why would the media create a fake controversy like this? Three reasons:
What they are concerned about, more than anything else, is the economy. I would have thought that a convention full of people who can somehow afford to take a week off and get to Denver might be somewhat insulated from that, but I would have been wrong. One of them was telling me, at some length, about the economic problems in her town: the way everyone is cutting back, the fact that she and her husband used to go out to eat every so often, but have cut that out along with the rest of their luxuries, the effects this is all having on local restaurants and other merchants, her fear that it will only get worse, and that politicians do not really get how bad it is. She was sure that the Republicans don't get it; she has her doubts about some people in the upper reaches of the Democratic party. She had none about Obama.
- The media exists to attract viewers so that they can sell advertisements for revenue. Controversy attracts viewers. The media has been creating controversy for a century and a half.
- The conservatives have built up a massive propaganda machine to inject their issues and subjects into the media and then pump up the coverage of those subjects. David Brock, the ex-right-wing propaganda expert described the process in his book Blinded by the Right. Propaganda experts in the the CIA call it "The Wurlitzer." FOX "News", the Washington Times, the Weekly Standard (also a Murdoch publication) and a number of other fake news organizations are part of the Wurlitzer.
- The news media, especially the TV news media, have been hiring conservative activists in order to attract more viewers. Ron Fournier, the Washington Bureau Chief for Associate Press is only one current example. This process got into high gear during the Reagan Revolution when government regulation of how TV used the airwaves was removed and the TV news departments ceased to be public service departments to became profit centers. Profit centers have to sell advertisements for more money. The price of advertisements is based on how many viewers are likely to view them (measured by ratings.) Activist conservatives are an obvious potential market. Since print media readership has been declining since the 60's, they are desperately doing the same thing as TV news. What the conservatives learned after Goldwater was that the free media did them no services. They've had to buy their own media outlets. Democrats are going to have to do the same thing. Free media is now useless for political news. Its purpose is to make money, not provide news, so it is either highly biased or easily manipulated. Professionalism has failed as a method of protecting "objective" news, so the public media now has no protection against either flaw.
It only has the slight flaw - the "controversy" is a fantasy.