Everyone is forever accusing the media of bias, usually incorrectly. For my part, I see that bias as toward profit. More than convincing you of a political point of view, for example, the television news media’s primary job is to keep you watching through the commercial. The petulance of the political press has been on full display as their receipt of the Iowa caucus product they were promised has been delayed. That creates cascading production delays. Now their stories about “momentum” and “what it all means going into New Hampshire” will have to wait.
Iowa isn’t important because of the delegates it produces. It’s important because it’s the season premiere of Presidential Election. Rather than reporting on the news, with Iowa, the political media creates its own weather. The media isn’t reporting on Iowa because it’s significant. Iowa is important because of the reporting. Here we have a 538 story with the headline: “Iowa Might Have Screwed Up the Whole Nomination Process.”Nate Silver notes that Iowa accounts for 41 of the 3,990 Democratic pledged delegates. That’s one percent. But, he calculates that, because of the media coverage surrounding it, it’s worth more like 20%. He calls “the failure to release timely results” “a colossal shitshow.” Keep in mind what we mean by “timely” here. That was written approximately 8 hours after the caucuses started. Eight hours — in a process that will drag on until mid-July. Listening to CNN and MSNBC last night, there was a great wailing and gnashing of teeth as they’d failed to get the “wins” and “losses” they so desperately wanted to feed into the narrative machine.
Compare how strident the complaints are about the delay in Iowa results to the relative indifference when, say, a politician stonewalls an investigation or fails to respond to a question. To me, that underscores where the biases really are.