Thursday, May 08, 2008

Why The Media Demands A Single Candidate

"Clinton should step down," read the headlines. "She should step down," repeat the columnists, the talk show hosts and TV's talking heads.

But why? At least three answers underlie this latest dictate of the Media's bosses, an oligarchy of a few very rich men. Their reasons are not generally publicized, but a trip to the 13th floor and an insertion into the mind of one of the privileged few revealed all.

"Stop Edwards: Too often when the Democrats are divided, they've settled on a compromise candidate. Senator Edwards is no compromise. He's little more than a communist, an #$% robin hood, and he'll cost this country a fortune. (O.K., so all #$% politicians cost taxpayers a fortune; this latest #$% has left the U.S. bankrupt; but at least he left my off-shore accounts alone.)

" Trim costs: Having to send out two teams of reporters and cameramen is costing us a fortune. (Note to self for future reference: We could save even more if there were only a single party. We could cut back on our political donations, too.)

"Admittedly, we'll lose some money in the short run, since the audience for the Democratic convention will drop off to nothing. (Come to think of it, we don't actually get paid for showcasing those conventions, it's just another of those worthless public services we do to show our hearts are in the right place. Could we drop them from our schedule entirely?) But in the long run, once the public starts to ignore the conventions, we can get back to electing a candidate the way it ought to be done, in a room full of cigar smoke and good old boys."

Phillip Good, formerly known as #6 of the Berkeley Barb, is the author of Common Errors in Statistics (and How to Avoid Them).