This segment of self-congratulatory crap from CNN hosts Chris Cuomo and Gloria Borger perfectly sums up the media's coverage of the 2014 midterms. There is not a segment more carefully crafted to expose exactly how cable news chose to cover the elections.
Rule #1: Ignore issues; focus on fear
Borger interviewed Joe Biden about his own 2016 plans, and whether he thought Republicans would take back the Senate. Biden turned to the issues in this election, saying, "If you look at every single major issue in this campaign, the American public agrees with our position, from federal support for infrastructure to minimum wage to marriage equality. Every single poll."
OH NOES, he went off script. This discussion was about Obama's failure to campaign for Democrats in 2014, not issues. Heaven forbid.
Borger rapidly pivoted, interrupting Biden with pesky poll results. "But our polls show voters are angry, they're fearful, they're frustrated, not only about domestic policy...but also on the handling of Ebola and ISIS."
Of course, there was no mention of why they might be fearful, frustrated and angry about those issues. Media Matters supplies some context:
Since [October], CNN discussed the minimum wage on 35 broadcasts and mentioned unemployment or economic growth during 52 broadcasts, according to a Nexis search. Ebola appears in 565 news transcripts during that time. Even factoring in CNN's international broadcasting, it would hard to find an hour of news programming that didn't feed into Ebola panic in the past 4 weeks.
Shorter Borger: We decide the agenda, you stupid people.
Rule #2: Everything is Obama's fault
Not only is everything Obama's fault, it's always his fault no matter what it is he does or does not do. In 2010, he was out on the campaign trail for Democrats and criticized for not spending more time in the White House. In 2014, he was dealing with a few pesky issues on his plate and not as much on the campaign trail. Of course, that also has to do with what Mary Landrieu said, too. They're not as welcoming of Obama in those southern states. He didn't spend much time in Georgia or Kentucky in 2010 or 2014, for obvious reasons.
Rule #3: Perception matters, not reality
Chris Cuomo congratulates Borger for pushing Biden off the issues and onto perception. Cuomo celebrates her journalistic acumen, saying "He had listed that laundry list, that grocery list of items and you pushed him off that, you were right to."
"Because it's all about the perception of whether or not there's been leadership on the key issues, not the positions," Cuomo concluded.
I see what you did there, Chris Cuomo. I see how you took Republicans' recalcitrance and turned it into Obama's failure to lead.
Have you ever tried to lead a mule somewhere it doesn't want to go? The only thing you get for your effort is a kick in the ass and a runaway mule. The same is true here, but we have an equally ass-like media who insists upon assigning all of the blame to Democrats while letting Republicans completely off the hook. They don't even report the stuff Republicans do and say when they're in Washington, DC.
Why? Because it's all about perception. No facts need apply.
This viewer reacts to those rules. Strongly.
One final word for Chris Cuomo, who is unfit to sit in the seat Soledad O'Brien once occupied. This little closing admonition from him was just too much to ignore:
But even though many of these key races are in purple or more red states, Democrats should be under the gun in them, I believe that after tomorrow, they're going to have only themselves to blame. Turnout is going to be low and it's what they're offering people to make them come out and vote. That's what the real discussion is going to be.
Again, I see what you did there, Chris. After 18 months of ignoring ALL of the issues in favor of perception, you have the round nerve to say Democrats don't offer people anything to make them come out and vote?
This isn't a fucking clearance sale after Halloween, little man. It's an election, the outcome of which will determine how this country is governed for at least two more years. If people cannot be bothered to care about that, it's YOUR FAULT, because humans can only take so much bullshit before they shut down and stop caring.
The incentive to come out and vote is simple enough: Not putting lunatics in charge of the asylum, for a start. Not putting someone in charge of the government in 2016 who will see to it that young people's heads are blown off in distant lands while spending all of our money building infrastructure we destroy.
So you, Chris Cuomo, can take your pre-post-midterm discussion and shove it.