If nothing else the Dean campaign is provoking the major media outlets to show their political biases more blatantly than ever.
I just watched CNN for a few minutes to see the latest headlines. They anounced Kerry's "big wins" in the Michigan and Washington state caucuses. There was no mention of any other candidates - he could have been running unopposed for that matter.
Then I surfed some web sites looking for the latest caucus results. With Dean winning the "expectations game" in Washington today by doing much better than the polls, I figured there had to be *some* positive coverage. Here are the headlines I found:
Kerry Tops Dems in Washington, Michigan (AP) - http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20040208/ap_on_el_pr/democrats&cid=694&ncid=716
This one starts out: "Sen. John Kerry won crushing caucus victories in Michigan and Washington on Saturday, trouncing his Democratic presidential rivals...". Since when is 48% to 31% a "crushing victory"? After praising Kerry for a while the story does mention that Howard Dean had his best showing in washington, getting 30%. But then it goes on to say his "campaign unraveled further" with the union endorsement loss.
Kerry Rolls to Big Wins in Washington and Michigan (Reuters) - http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=615&e=1&u=/nm/20040208/pl_nm/campaign_dc
After crowing about Kerry's "decisive wins" the author says, "The plummeting campaign of former front-runner Howard Dean suffered another huge setback", referring to the loss of the union endorsement. Toward the end of the story he does at least mention that Dean came in second.
Dean Suffers Setbacks in Bid to Keep Campaign Alive (Reuters) - http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=584&e=2&u=/nm/20040208/pl_nm/campaign_dean_dc
This is a horribly negative story, saying "Howard Dean's bid to keep alive his fading Democratic presidential hopes suffered big setbacks on Saturday as he lost two more state contests and the support of a major union that backed him last fall." There is no mention that Dean came in second! No mention that he got over 30% in Washington after being given up for dead.
This last story's bias is appalling. The supposedly objective reporter frames Dean's performance today as a setback and never gives the readers enough information to decide for themselves.
One major problem is that all these stories are from wire services, meaning they will be picked up by hundreds of newspapers across the country.
How do we combat this kind of coverage? Can we even write letters to AP and Reuters?
The real challenge for the Gov. is to find a way to bypass the incredibly biased media coverage and get a message straight to the voters somehow. Or come up with something spectacular that they can't spin the wrong way. But aside from rescuing some kittens from a burning building or something, I'm not sure how Dean can do something the reporters won't ignore or pervert. (Even then they would say something like "the building was crumbling like Dean's faded campaign hopes...").