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Did the Media Give Us John Kerry?
by Vincent Fiore
16 March 2004

Several months ago John Kerry was polling a mere 9% among the Democrat candidates for president.


It was not all that long ago that Gallup had Senator John Kerry polling at an abysmal 9% nationwide, in the single digit cellar with the likes of Rep. Dennis Kucinich, Carol Moseley Braun, and the Rev. Al Sharpton.

The 9% reflects a January 9-11 sampling of 426 Democrats who seemed about as enamored with Senator Kerry as a canary would be with the cat. However, in just three short weeks from that date, Senator Kerry went from invisible to invincible, leading all remaining Democrats at 49%. By that time, Mr. Kerry had pulled off twin victories in Iowa and New Hampshire. By February 16, the stodgy John Kerry had effectively claimed the mantle of Democratic nominee, polling among Democrats at a blistering 65%.

But let's backtrack a bit. After winning Iowa from out of nowhere, Mr. Kerry certainly gained momentum going into New Hampshire, leading to another win. From there on, what some have called a "cascading effect" took over, the Democratic electorate wanted to be seen as voting for a winner, and believed they had one in Mr. Kerry.  Now, of course, it is no longer "candidate Kerry," but "Democratic nominee for President Kerry."

But when I look back, I wonder just how this really came to be. Nobody has been able to explain to me just what happened in early January to propel Senator Kerry to the nomination. With single digits in the polls, inadequate funds, and no distinct platform of his own, Senator Kerry was written off dead. Then, methinks, the media caught its collective breath.

When Senator Kerry announced his bid for the presidency, he was instantly spotted as the favorite, or establishment candidate, by the mainstream media. But as time went by, someone else had risen to the forefront. The media soon lost interest in Mr. Kerry, and instead focused its accolades on Howard Dean, the three-term Governor of Vermont. Mr. Dean represented the unruly dissatisfaction of the American left, and though unsure of his viability as "The" candidate to lead Democrats from out of the political wilderness, the media glorified his self-proclaimed Internet revolution and his firebrand rhetoric towards President Bush.

In the same Gallup poll conducted January 9-11, Dean stood at 26% to Kerry's 9%. But as we all have seen, the candidacy of Howard Dean started a slow-motion course towards destruction, with one incredibly acerbic miscue after another, culminating with his now memorable "I have a scream" speech on the night of the Iowa caucuses, where he finished a debilitating third. But months earlier, the media had started to have second thoughts over Mr. Dean, as the specter of Dean’s electability on a national scale was played out daily among the editorial pages. Mindful of Washington whispers that the Bush Administration would welcome a fight against Mr. Dean in November, the media attempted a midstream correction in its course. Enter General Wesley Clark.

Officially entering the race in September of 2003, Wesley Clark was an overnight sensation that was principally media-induced. A virtual unknown to most Americans, a steady cadence nevertheless built up around General Clark. Fawning press, like Newsweek’s  “Who is this G.I.?,” attempted to parlay the General’s four stars into political success. The only problem here was the General himself. When Wesley Clark entered the Presidential race in September of 2003, he led the Gallup poll with 22%. By the time he had bowed out of the running, he stood at 10%.

No amount of media messaging could hide the fact that the General was a four star political disaster, exposing his political naivety and a penchant for conspiracies. In short, he turned into a mirror image of Howard Dean; prone to ill-thought statements and accusations, with the added issue of no vision to speak of except the ever present mantra of scorn against Mr. Bush. Here too, as time went on, his viability as a national candidate was ever fleeting.

These facts were not lost on an elite media who see the present Administration as possibly the greatest threat to world peace since President Ronald Reagan announced his conception of the Strategic Defense Initiative, or SDI, in 1983. It also sees this Administration as a bulwark against the creeping socialism that they have been a part of since FDR’s “New Deal” ushered in a new dawn of generational spanning liberalism.

So now the media presents to you Senator John Kerry. As to the Senator having what it takes to beat President Bush is a question that will have to wait till November. But that does not really matter all that much now, as somebody had to run against Bush. At the beginning of the process, the Democratic Party and those most sympathetic to them among the press were somewhat despondent over the field of nominees who had taken the field against Mr. Bush. What is left of that field is not necessarily the best the Democratic Party can do; it is really a case of what the media had to work with.

The elite media has taken a direct interest in the outcome of this election, of this I am sure. Senator Kerry has yet to be openly vetted and challenged, and has received news coverage worthy of a coronation. He is allowed to straddle the fence on every issue of importance, voting record be damned. He has been given a pass on his lowbrow politicking on the stump, even using 9/11 to his political advantage by demagoguing those who rightly and justly do.

Even so, the best the editorial board rooms like that of the New York Times can muster is point to his ability “to reflect his appreciation that life is not simple. He understands the nuances and shades of gray in both foreign and domestic policy.” Yes, that fits rather nicely in regard to Senator Kerry, the unprincipled choice of an unprincipled media elite. You wanted him, and now you've got him.

Vincent Fiore contributes commentary for several web sites on a weekly basis, and occasionally has commentary posted on NewsMax.com. Your comments are always welcomed.

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