Jon Stewart took the media to task to for blowing the Wisconsin recall completely out of proportion, and proclaiming the results an Armageddon like event.
Stewart had two points. MSNBC and Fox News were over the top partisan, and the cable news networks blew the significance of Wisconsin way out of proportion. The Daily Show host played clips of Fox News gloating that Walker’s win was the death of all unions, and Sarah Palin claiming that Walker’s recall means that, “Obama’s goose is cooked.” Over at MSNBC, he featured clips of the network’s total state of denial, and Rachel Maddow’s over the top proclamation that if the Republican money machine stays unchecked, the GOP will run unopposed forever. (Maddow is usually solid, but that is one prediction that she can’t say with any certainty will definitely remain true).
The truth is that with Mitt Romney sucking the air out of the 2012 election, the cable news networks went into full over the top mode with the Wisconsin recall. There is no national significance to what happened in Wisconsin. There is a broader point about how Citizens United has changed the landscape that Democrats must learn from, but with the Wisconsin polls showing voters favored Obama over Romney, while voting at the same time to keep Walker, there is no national meaning to the results.
Sure the left wanted to win and their state of depression over the results yesterday was understandable, but I would happily trade losing the Walker recall for a second Obama term. What the cable news networks don’t do anymore is look at the big picture. They are masters of hyping every single election as a titanic struggle for the fate of the universe. In reality, Wisconsin was a unique case. It was never going to have much meaning for November, because presidential elections aren’t the same as recalls. After Barrett lost so quickly, MSNBC was stuck in the position of having to explain to their viewers why Wisconsin wasn’t the end of the world.
Wisconsin was important for the people who live in Wisconsin. For everyone else, it was another political sideshow to take in. If the presidential election was interesting, maybe Wisconsin would have been kept in perspective. Stewart was right for pointing it out. Wisconsin was disappointing for the left, but it was not the end of the world. It is time for the left to pick their chins up off the ground and keep their eyes on the real prize in November