Likewise, TNR's Noam Scheiber suggests that the egghead sector ( "urban, college-educated liberals") of the Democratic party--which used to be less partisan and combative than the blue-collar/labor sector--is now more partisan and combative, because its eggy heads are wrapped up in Kos and other anti-Bush sites, where they absorb the latest undernews about the machinations of Karl Rove and Tom DeLay. Scheiber argues this is a good development for Obama, who surprisingly doesn't have to become more partisan then he actually is in order to win over non-egghead (labor) Dems.
The 2008 campaign will be a test of the relative strength of these various differently-informed electorates. Of those who follow politics (Skurnik's first group) how many follow the "undernews" and how many merely watch Brian Williams? Of those who don't follow politics (Skurnik's second group) how many bone up in the end by madly googling the candidates, and how many just read the editorial endorsements in their local papers? The non-MSM Enquirer will be in the checkout aisles all over Iowa, but will it have an impact?
At the moment it looks as if Edwards has the most at stake in this great experiment, but others will have a stake soon enough. . Much of the anti-"amnesty" immigration movement has been consigned to the Undernews simply because the MSM consensus in favor of some kind of "comprehensive" legalization has been so strong. Why even cover those nativist kooks? That's no longer true, but there may be other issues the MSM doesn't cover, including various partisan conspiracy theories and maybe entire candidacies (e.g. Ron Paul).
My guess is that Skurnik's largest group--those who don't normally follow politics--will by and large continue in 2008 to get their "free media" from the conventional press. That means they won't, by and large, learn the undernews. The MSM will still dominate this election. But not the next one.
**--You might think there would only be three groups: Non-Followers, people who follow through the MSM, and people who follow through non-MSM. But the non-followers who actually vote will have to start following some time, at which point they will also fall into two groups: either relying on the MSM or going beyond it. It's a four-box matrix--very exciting--although the box of "those who don't follow politics but then learn from blogs" presumably doesn't contain many voters.
Thursday, December 20, 2007
McCain's Secret Friends? Pithy, knowledgeable Weekly Standard blogger Richelieu busts Edwards aides for forced spinning of their man's comeback. But Richelieu himself keeps spinning McCain comeback scenarios--the latest suggests that Giuliani could become a "Superman" by dropping out and endorsing McCain. If, as everyone including me suspects, Richelieu is in fact former McCain strategist Mike Murphy, someone should bust him. The Standard is depriving its readers of a key fact they need to judge his posts. ... P.S.: This is not to say that Edwards or McCain might not, in fact, come back. ...Update: And isn't Jake Tapper a famously huge McCain fan? Today ABC's evening news led with Tapper's report hyping McCain rival Giuliani's apparently brief illness as if it were the equivalent of Paul Tsongas' cancer. ... 3:53 P.M. link