by FP Staff Nov 6, 2012 13:47 IST
We have been routinely subjected to rousing articles about Mitt Romney's oratory skills and how he literally word-pummeled President Barack Obama in the debates, leading us to believe that Obama's glorious political romp in the United States of America is finally running out of steam.
However, as a slew of recent newspaper reports and analyses have noted, Romney's perceived edge over Obama might be just a construct of the mainstream American media, with little basis in reality. Some suggest that editorials waxing eloquent about Romney's prospects of turning around the fortunes of the Republican Party, stem from a 'bias' against Barack Obama.
Dan Hodges writes in The Telegraph:
There is a Mainstream Media conspiracy against Barack Obama. It’s been evident for over a month now. But in the last week, frankly, it’s become an embarrassment.
The big broadcasters, the leading commentators: each and every one of them is in the tank for Mitt Romney.
In fact, while most news reports went on an overdrive declaring Romney a clear winner of the first debate, Robert Shrum notes in the Daily Beast that the debate was the Republican candidate's feeble attempt at getting his image made over after Obama successfully painted him as an elitist, affluence-friendly persona in his speeches and addresses. Shrum says:
The Obama strategy of defining Romney over the summer as an out-of-touch, job-destroying financial manipulator—of, by, and for the rich—was so effective that the Republican nominee had to use the hours when the whole nation was watching to re-sculpt his image.
Shrum observes how even if Obama lost in Ohio, considered a decisive constituency by many, he has New Hampshire, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Colorado to bank on - states, which the writer feels, Obama has a clear edge in. He adds that Ohio too is far from being lost, as the latest estimates show that taking factors that could result in an upset into consideration, the President still has a 4-5 percent margin.
Paul Krugman in The New York Times seems to be echoing Hodges and Shrum in his disapproval of the mainstream media's self-imposed gag on the real numbers and pictures from the Presidential race. He refers to a Financial Times article which claims that the Presidential Polls 'hangs on a knife edge' and says points out how it misleads readers. He says:
More important, though, this headline deeply misleads readers about the state of the race — and in so doing, it echoes a lot of political reporting right now. Quite simply, many of the “analysis” articles being published in these final days leave readers worse informed than they were before reading.
Krugman observes that it probably was a valid political strategy that the Republicans used when they announced a 'surge' in voter support in order to save face and put a weak-boned and dangerously wobbly campaign back on tracks - but that evidently was a campaign spin, not the truth. And it ought to have been reported likewise.
Hodges rubbishes the popular media reports on the Republican surge with numbers:
Look at the facts. Twelve days ago FiveThirtyEight had Obama’s chances of winning Ohio at 70 per cent. As of this morning it’s 80 per cent. Wisconsin has risen from 79 to 91 per cent, Nevada 73 to 88, Iowa 66 to 79, Colorado 53 to 65, Florida 33 to 45, New Hampshire 63 to 78, Virginia 47 to 66.
DC Decoder seems to have summed up the general mood of the American poll watchers and analyses of polling figures succinctly:
Sure, plenty of caveats are still being thrown around: Mitt Romney could win, the polls are tight, yadda yadda yadda. But everywhere you look, the predictions are piling up in Mr. Obama’s favor.
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