Mainstream Media Downplays Impact Of Wisconsin Recall

When Democrats and organized labor got enough signatures to put Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker up for a recall election today, the national mainstream media did their best to frame the recall election as a test run for the presidential election in November. 

But as multiple polls have shown Walker leading his opponent, Tom Barrett, President Obama, perhaps not wanting to be seen campaigning for a loser -- like he was when he stumped for Massachusetts senate candidate Martha Coakley and Virginia gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds -- did not step foot in Wisconsin even while he was in Minnesota and Chicago. And the mainstream media, doing their best to help the president, is now doing their best to downplay the national impact of the Wisconsin recall election, a recall election that they had initially nationalized.

Just two week ago, DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz said the Wisconsin recall election has “given the Obama for America operation an opportunity to do the dry run we need of our massive, significant dynamic grassroots presidential campaign.”

Wasserman-Schultz quickly walked back her comments, but they were consistent with how the mainstream media had framed the recall since the recall election was first triggered at the end of March. 

On March 30, MSNBC’s “First Read,” a morning political tip sheet read by many mainstream opinion makers, wrote, “By the way, talking to strategists on both sides of the aisle about what impact the recall will have on November is this universal belief that the party that ‘loses’ the recall will find its base a tad less enthusiastic. For Republicans, it means that a loss would almost certainly concede the state to the Democrats. For Democrats, a recall loss almost certainly means this state will be more like 2004 than 2008.”

Mainstream outlets followed suit with the “national implications” meme for months. 

But this week, Chuck Todd, on “The Daily Rundown,” shifted gears and said the "epic recall” was “viewed as less a barometer for November and more an outside example of the state of the two parties in the 21st century where everything becomes a war."

Personalities on CNN, like John King, also said the recall election had more of a “local” and not national flavor to it. 

On MSNBC’s “The Ed Show,” which did more than any other show to nationalize the recall -- Schultz went to Wisconsin numerous times to host his show from there over the course of the past year -- Wisconsin Congresswoman Gwen Moore, a Democrat, said the recall was “family business” and not, in any way, “about President Obama.” 

The Christian Science Monitor chimed in, writing that “the Wisconsin recall is in fact not a true microcosm of the November election. It is a special election, driven by local factors and personalities.”

And the beat went on and on. 

As the poll numbers look bad for Democrats, the mainstream media, in Journolist-like fashion, have begun to downplay the impact Wisconsin’s recall election will have in November -- all in an effort to make Obama look more favorable and help Obama in the fall. 


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