The Media and the Cult of Personality

They never learn.  Gore reflecting on 2000:

Asked about the debate coverage, Gore tells Peretz, “The sighs, the sighs, the sighs … Within 18 hours, they had turned perception around to where the entire story was about me sighing. And that’s scary. That’s scary.”

Peretz reports that the Gore family joked about the nonstop talk about which president you’d want to have a beer with, and Kristin, the Gore’s middle daughter, said, “Gee, I want the designated driver as my president.” But, according to Peretz, deep down they weren’t laughing.

ABC News Today:

If the presidential race were a cross-country road trip, Hillary Clinton would be in the driver’s seat. Or at least riding shotgun.

It’s not, of course. But in a what-if test, 48 percent of Americans in this ABC News “Good Morning America” poll said they’d rather have Clinton as their traveling companion on a drive across country, versus 39 percent who’d want Rudy Giuliani along for the ride.

They drone on:

It’s closer, though, when you move the question out of the Toyota and into the corner office. Ask people whom they’d rather have running a business where they worked and Clinton and Giuliani finish much closer, at 45 percent to 42 percent — essentially a dead heat, given polling tolerances. That’s because on this one, women prefer Clinton by a narrower margin, and men prefer Giuliani, by eight points.

Here’s the kicker (emphasis mine):

Neither sets of results directly signify vote preference, which tends to be driven by issues rather than by personal attributes. But of the two scenarios, running a business would seem more analogous to serving as president. Clinton had best not switch on the cruise control quite yet.

As opposed to media coverage, which tends to be driven by marketability rather than substance.  Good to know the media will be playing the same role in 2008 it played in 2000, raising the level of the debate.

(The best part of that quote?  They are essentially saying “Issues matter, not personality traits, but let’s use the personality trait polling data anyway”.  Awesome.)


2 Responses

  1. You are so right about Clinton not going into cruise control yet. The media has Clinton as the president since January. I think she may be in for a big surprise during the primaries.

  2. I certainly hope so.

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