There is an interesting article by Jim Vanderhei and Mike Allen on the website, The Politico. It is titled "The Story Behind the Story: The Clinton Myth." It isn't deep and it certainly isn't left. But it is smart the way some sports bookies, horse handicappers, and even stock brokers are smart. It's simple solid factual point is that Senator Barack Obama has built in reality a solid lead against Senator Hillary Clinton, that it would be very difficult for Clinton to win (maybe one out of ten, the quote one insider as saying) But the media, according to the authors, "have become partners with the Clinton campaign in pretending that the contest is really closer than it is."
Their arguments about why this is so are all insider conventional wisdom. The pundits were all predicting Clinton early and don't want to be embarrassed. The media "loves a close race---its more fun and its good for business. The authors call that reason subliminal, but there is nothing subliminal in it in that mass media is both about business and selling conventional wisdoms all of the time. They also mention the media's love of the Clintons' ability to overcome adversity, engage in Perils of Pauline escapes. Finally they look at the Clinton campaign's ability to set the media "narrative" in their press releases, which they attribute to their "talented" campaign staff.
Let me make as a good Marxist what I think are a few constructive criticisms of Vanderhei and Allen's useful article, criticisms. First, they are very right in their "doing the math" to show that Hillary Clinton would need to have new elections and large victories in Florida and Michigan to make this a really close race and that isn't going to happen Also Senator Obama has a lead of some 150 delegates and his lead is growing and likely to continue to grow.
Along with the significant Pennsylvania primary and its one hundred and fifty eight delegates (a primary which is garnering great attention because Clinton, with the support of virtually the entire Democratic establishment is in the lead) there is the upcoming battle for North Carolina's delegates, which is garnering very little attention, even though the state has 115 delegates and Obama is expected to do very well (based on my own readings I would estimate that even if Clinton does better than she is expected to do in Pennsylvania, and I don't think she will, the combined delegate distribution between Pennsylvania and North Carolin will be a net gain for Obama) Also, the other states whose delegates have not yet been chosen, Oregon, (52 Kentucky (51), Indiana, (72) West Virginia (28) South Dakota (15) Montana (16) and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico (55) add up I think to a net gain for Obama.
Clinton's only chance would really be to win a large victory among the 794 "superdelegates," 261 of whom are uncommitted and 71 of whom have yet to be chosen (I didn't know that until I read the article ). Frankly, I was appalled after reading the article to see how badly the print and electronic media have been explaining the delegate count and contests to readers and viewers, which in lieu of analysis is what they are doing most of the time, and doing such a poor job).
But let me suggest to the authors that there are more important reasons to explain why most of the press and televisin have been perpetrating the myth that Clinton and Obama are locked in a close race that could go either way.
The talking heads on TV and the word processors in the press, and their staffs and especially editors and owners are part of a power structure that is afraid of change, afraid of an administration which might might respond to popular movements and take away some of their wealth and privilege in the public interest.
Clinton is the candidate they are are comfortable with and Obama isn't. A Clinton-McCain presidential race (I apologize to my friends and comrades who will take great umbrage at this statement) is a win win situation for the Master of the World on Wall Street, the Texas Oil Lords, and the Rupert Murdochs and Ted Turners of the mass media because me, my friends and comrades and a probable majority of the electorate will vote for a lesser of two evils middle of the road Democratic candidate who will go back to the old politics (which Franklin Roosevelt in an inspired moment once called "tweedle dumb and tweedle dumber") at the drop of a hat and that will be the best case scenario.
A people who survived the horrors of George W. Bush will be left with Hillary Clinton, just as an electorate which survived the horrors of Ronald Reagan and George Bush I was left with Bill Clinton. The right-wing will regroup and Hillary will sometimes fight them, sometimes appease them, and if they regain control of congress, collaborate with them. In essence they will begin to transform the Bush defeat into another victory for their class interests and the broad left and peoples movements will continue in a political wilderness, fighting defensive battles as band aides are put on a hemorrhaging economic and the working class takes, as it did under Hillary Clinton, takes less of beating but still a beating, than it took under George Bush just as under Bill Clinton it took less of a beating, but still still a beating, than it took under Ronald Reagan.
With Senator Obama, that probably won't happen. First, the victory will be much greater. Second, the president, with far fewer ties to the worst elements of the old Democratic Party politics, will bring new forces into government from the mass movements that are supporting him. Third, the president has shown that he has the ability to articulate a broad progressive vision and mobilize people around it.
Perhaps that is most telling example of mass media's anti-Obama outlook (which is both openly conservative and "closet conservative") is that the very skills that journalists and scholars point to in all of the "great presidents," the ability to go to the people and win them over with both ideology and policy (what distinguishes an Abraham Lincoln from a William McKinley, a Franklin Roosevelt from a Bill Clinton) Obama has and everyone knows he has.
The only reasonable conclusion should be that most of the "media," the high-priced talking heads and word processors, their editors and owners, don't want such a president and they are belittling and denying Senator Obama's remarkable achievements so far in the desire to turn their subjective wishes into objective reality.
Fortunately, I agree with Vanderhei and Allen that there isn't too good a chance that they and the Clinton campaign will succeed, especially if the more than 330 uncommitted "Super Delegates" come to the conclusion that robbing Senator Obama of the victory he is continuing to win among the people is the worst course of action for the Democratic Party and the the nation.