Briebart today ran an AFP article with the misleading headline "US election: If Iraqis could vote it would be for McCain". I say misleading because it mentions in its first few paras exactly three Iraqis who prefer McCain - and in its last paras mentions two who prefer Obama.That's hardly all or even a representative sample of all Iraqis. That hasn't stopped a couple of rightwing bloggers grasping at straws - including Ed Morrissey, who continues his downward spiral of judgement at Hot Air and who I don't think would ever have linked such thin gruel at Captain's Quarters. Ed can count, but he chose not to mention the small sample size to his click-shy readers.
FWIW, back in July, Reuters did much the same thing in reverse. They interviewed two dozen Iraqis and came to the conclusion that Iraqis liked Obama better than McCain because "a black man would understand their plight." (Something only one of the seven quotes they printed even mentioned.) Back then, an Obama story was the one the media wanted to tell, coming off his close-run and exhaustingly covered primary contest with Clinton they needed to make it seem like Obama vs McCain was a real step up, not down, in tension and expectations. Now, they need to do build McCain again to make for an interesting nailbiter of a finish.
What it comes down to is that the media want a close horse-race because that sells better than a romp-home landslide victory. The news networks have been worrying what they're going to do election night if it's all over by teatime so they've been very relieved that McCain has been telling them that there'll be an upset in a close race and everyone's going to be up late watching election coverage.
That explains, entirely, the media push to describe McCain as closing the gap - which every indicator except some hyped outlier polls says he isn't, he's just solidifying his base support. It explains ridiculous speculation like whether or not Osama bin Laden will endorse a candidate, and whether he or AQ in general will actually mean it if he does. McCain's meant to be stronger on foreign policy -especially Iraq and the "War on Terror", so they're hyping these stories.
There'll be more of this kind of nonsense as the last few days tick by, and the media frantically tries to spin the story as one they think they can sell more of. Remember, because of the collapse of Voter News Service, the networks will be relying solely on AP exit poll data for Elections 2008. That's Ron Fournier in charge of what the networks will report, in other words. So even after the voting is over, we're likely to see a last run of hype about a close-run race.
But don't panic - Obama's got this.
Crossposted from Newshoggers