With the election over, members of the mainstream media are now claiming victory over the conservative media. Jonathan Martin of Politico writes about how insular Republicans were blindsided by the Democrats' success last week and chalks it up to "Kaelism"--recalling the movie critic Pauline Kael's claim in the 1972 landslide election that she only knew one Nixon voter. Here's an excerpt:
Now, many young Republicans worry, they are the ones in the hermetically sealed bubble — except it’s not confined to geography but rather a self-selected media universe in which only their own views are reinforced and an alternate reality is reflected.
Hence the initial denial and subsequent shock on the right that the country would not only reelect President Barack Obama — but do so with 332 electoral votes....
Even this past weekend, days after a convincing Obama win, it wasn’t hard to find fringes of the right who are convinced he did so only because of mass voter fraud and mysteriously missing military ballots. Like a political version of “Thelma and Louise,” some far-right conservatives are in such denial that they’d just as soon keep on driving off the cliff than face up to a reality they’d rather not confront.
But if the Fox News-talk radio-Drudge Report axis is the most powerful force in the conservative cocoon, technology has rendered even those outlets as merely the most popular destinations in the choose-your-own-adventure news world in which consumers are more empowered than ever.
Facebook and Twitter feeds along with email in-boxes have taken the place of the old newspaper front page, except that the consumer is now entirely in charge of what he or she sees each day and can largely shut out dissenting voices. It’s the great irony of the Internet era: People have more access than ever to an array of viewpoints, but also the technological ability to screen out anything that doesn’t reinforce their views.
Truth is, there were many in the conservative media warning that Mitt Romney was not running a winning campaign. And plenty of mainstream media folks, including Martin himself, were reporting the presidential race as tight and too close to call in the finals weeks and days of the election.
Martin includes a list of assumptions that only conservative media consumers hold. "In this reassuring conservative pocket universe, Rasmussen polls are gospel, the Benghazi controversy is worse than Watergate, 'Fair and Balanced' isn’t just marketing and Dick Morris is a political seer," he writes.
It's worth noting that there has been lots of interest outside of the "conservative pocket universe" in what exactly the Obama administration knew and how it acted in minutes, hours, days, and weeks after the September 11 terrorist attack in Benghazi. And just because Politico has been slow to cover the Benghazi terror attack, that doesn't mean there is not deserved interest in the story.