The apathy factor in American presidential politics has seemingly never been higher.Any sports fan will tell you that the networks who televise games (in any sport, pro or college) don't like blowouts. When one team jumps out to an almost insurmountable early lead, fans flip to another channel or turn off the telly altogether. When viewership tanks, it hurts advertising and ad dollars are what makes the media's world spin 'round.
As if to combat this, we're getting stories now about how this election is closer than you'd think, how Obama is in for a "tight race" or a "fierce fight" with Romney, and how the Republican challenger is "closing in" to a "statistical dead heat."
They're going to say this, and they may even have numbers to back it up, like this week's Gallup poll showing Obama with just a two-point lead. But I think it's a mirage.
The people who work for the wire services and the news networks are physically incapable of writing sentences like, "This election is even more over than the Knicks-Heat series." They are required, if not by law then by neurological reflex, to describe every presidential campaign as "fierce" and "drawn-out" and "hotly-contested."
But this campaign, relatively speaking, will not be fierce or hotly contested. Instead it'll be disappointing, embarrassing, and over very quickly, like a hand job in a Bangkok bathhouse. And everybody knows it. It's just impossible to take Mitt Romney seriously as a presidential candidate. Even the news reporters who are paid to drum up dramatic undertones are having a hard time selling Romney as half of a titanic title bout.
~ from Is This the Most Boring Election Ever? by Matt Taibbi ~
Let's say we're watching Monday Night Football and Team A leads 45 - 0 at the half. Team B hasn't even mustered one first down in two quarters of play. For all intents and purposes, the game is over with. As the second half begins, the announcers will tell us about big comebacks from bygone years and how the game isn't over. When Team B finally gets a first down, we'll be told they have "momentum" and the game is about to become very contentious. Even if Team B fumbles the ball away on the very next play, the announcers will tell us Team B is poised to make a game of it!
Politics is a lot like sports. The networks need voters to believe any given race hangs in the balance. We need to keep watching as one candidate supposedly noses ahead and then the other catches up or surpasses. As long as voters can be duped into thinking a political race genuinely is competitive, they will keep watching and advertisers will remain happy.
And so, even if one candidate is far ahead of another -- particularly in presidential politics -- you'd never know it! The networks will conspire to make sure you think it's nip and tuck all the way.
Sadly, most viewers will buy in to this ongoing scam.