Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
Let's face it, the Iowa Caucus is that bright shiny object that the media villagers and Beltway bloviators all fixate on for weeks if not months. They will waste hours talking about every poll that has a half-life of relevancy less than the time spent discussing the poll. The Iowa Caucus is rarely predictive of who the eventual GOP nominee will be, and even less predictive of who will be elected president. The media circus surrounding the Iowa Caucus has come to symbolize everything that is wrong with the corporate media. The media villagers are dumbing down the electorate to their superficial infotainment level.
By the way, Think Progress reports that "The campaigns and the various Super PACs supporting them have spent more than $16 million in advertising in Iowa. It is the latest sign of the flow of money into politics in the wake of Citizens United. That’s likely more than $200 per vote." And who benefits from all this campaign largesse? That's right, the corporate media conglomerates. The media villagers are reporting on their employer's largest advertising clients -- this will be a highly profitable year for corporate media conglomerates, bonuses for everyone next Christmas! Is it any wonder why we get such superficial infotainment reporting?
Luckily, after the Wednesday post-Caucus "analysis" of who won and who lost, who has momentum and who is done, we won't have to hear about Iowa again until the Iowa Straw Poll in 2015, when this media circus will start all over again.
Which begs the question, "Why Iowa?" How the Tiny State of Iowa Took Command Over Electing The President - ABC News:
“It’s all Iowa all the time because, at its simplest, it is the first official recorded vote of the nominating season,” said David Redlawsk, a co-author of “Why Iowa” and a political science professor at Rutgers University. “We are an impatient people, we Americans. We want to know who’s going to win.”
So what is oh-so-important about Iowa, a state that has more bushels of corn than Republican voters?
“Tradition!” insists Timothy Hagle, a political science professor at the University of Iowa.
The Hawkeye State has held the first votes of the presidential cycle in every contest since 1972, when a change in the Democratic Party rules forced its caucus into January for the first time.
That “historical accident,” as Redlawsk calls it, is the genesis of the now-sanctified presidential-nominee-picking tradition. But it wasn’t until Jimmy Carter successfully used Iowa as a springboard to propel his 1976 campaign from Jimmy who? to President Carter that Iowa solidified its spot at the front of the presidential nominating process.
“Iowa is a small state with small media markets,” Hagle said. “You can run a fairly inexpensive campaign in Iowa. It gives lesser-known candidates an opportunity to get in the contest where they would not otherwise be able to be competitive if, for example, the process started in a big state like California or Texas.”
“If you’ve got a vehicle and a map you can do pretty well for yourself,” Hagle added.
But despite all the hype this Midwestern state’s caucuses receive, Iowa has a fairly poor track record in actually choosing the eventual party nominee. In fact, a win in Iowa predicts whether that candidate will win the nomination about as accurately as flipping a coin.
Since Iowa secured its spot as the first-in-the-nation state in 1976, three of the past six contested GOP caucus winners went on to win the party’s nomination. Only one, George W. Bush, went on to win the White House. John McCain was the first GOP nominee who finished worse than third place in Iowa, coming in fourth behind Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney and Fred Thompson in 2008.
This mediocre record could, in part, be due to the small fraction of Republican voters that Iowa represents. About 120,000 Republicans turned out for the 2008 Iowa caucus, a record-setting 20 percent of the state’s registered Republicans.
Hagle said turnout this year will likely be lower, around 100,000 people, or about one-third of one percent of the registered Republicans in the United States.
“It’s a relatively small number of people who have a big impact,” Redlawsk said. “That’s primarily because of the way the media portrays Iowa.”
Redlawsk said the Iowa caucuses are, first and foremost, an expectations game.
“Iowa’s effect on the process is driven pretty strongly by how the media perceives it,” he said. “Candidates are much more interested in doing better than media expectations than in their actual positions. Failing to at least beat some expectations in Iowa means that the media is not going pay much attention to you.”
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“Iowa, especially, determines who the nominee will not be, through the winnowing process,” Redlawsk said. “But it also determines who the media will talk about and as a consequence helps determine who will do well.”
So you need to ask yourself, does our politics determine media coverage, or does media coverage determine our politics? I believe it has been the latter for some time. It is a dangerous thing to cede our political process to the superficial infotainment media villagers of the corporate media. They are our version of the Roman Empire's bread and circuses to distract and to confuse the public away from the decline of its political system.
On a lighter note, Craig Crawford's Top 10 Reasons to Ignore Iowa:
Why Iowa shouldn't matter:
1. Caucuses don't even pick binding convention delegates.
2. The winner's raw vote total would fill one fourth of an NFL stadium.
3. Only 100,000 of the state's 3 million residents participate.
4. Presidents Gephardt, Huckabee, Harkin, Robertson.
5. Saying its worth is "winnowing" the field is like the family dog eating table scraps.
6. The winner gets maybe six unbound delegates out of more than 1,100 needed for the nomination.
7. Iowa has five times more hogs than people.
8. Iowa ranks 30th in population and 22nd in obesity.
9. At 96.14-percent Caucasian, Iowa is whiter than a Justin Bieber Christmas-in-Norway Special (courtesy of Will Durst).
10. After all this, 41 percent still can't make up their minds?!
UPDATE: A friend sent me this post by David Sirota at Salon, The media’s real problem in Iowa - Salon.com (excerpt):
This revealing piece in the trade publication Capital New York tells that sad story. The same journalism industry that pleads poverty to justify cutting big city newspapers’ editorial staffs, gutting coverage of state legislatures and city councils, and eliminating every other critical topic not related to Washington’s red-versus-blue fetish from news content — as writer Joe Romero recounts, this same industry has for months devoted a massive army to cover Iowa’s small contest.
In truth, that last sentence should have quotation marks around “reporters” and “cover.” As any perusal of the news (er, “news”) from Iowa shows, most of what this army produces is candidate stenography, a recounting of the latest poll numbers, gossip or naked speculation — that is, most of what it produces is valueless and neither “reporting” or “coverage” in any dictionary-definition sense of those terms.
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In the midst of the piece’s examination of the eye-popping level of media resources being spent in the Hawkeye State, Pompeo gives us the rare honest acknowledgment of how political “reporting” is now more accurately described as stenography than anything resembling genuine reportage.
The entire post is worth the read.